The Pope, An Impostor in the Vatican

Let us refute the legitimacy of the pope. The Catholic Church holds that reason in the light of the Bible and Tradition of the Church gives us the truth from God. It irrationally excludes anybody who does not recognise the pope in Rome as being the head of the Church and as infallible when he puts certain conditions into effect. It claims that the sources of God’s truth reveal that the pope has this lofty office. But we will see that it is not in these sources from God at all. The pope is an impostor and his position can only be defended by twisting the facts and by lying. Even if Jesus did establish the papacy it might have been only an administration post meaning that it is no serious matter to break away from the pope when the pope preaches heresy and leads a heretical Church like the Roman pontiff does. The semi-divine status of the pope is a status that was invented by the Church. Like all impostors, the pope will not step down until he is forced to.
The excommunication laws mean that anybody at all might be really a fake Catholic – you are automatically excommunicated for denying Church dogma - who thinks he or she is a Catholic so the claim of the pope to represent a visible Church is silly for the excommunications back up the Protestant claim that the Church is invisible and not visible (page 72, Handbook to the Controversy with Rome, Vol 1). A Church that is invisible cannot have a visible head.
Suppose the Catholic Church has merely two members. Say one of them was a convert who didn’t really receive the sacraments he got though he did in appearance. Suppose he didn’t want them but just went through the motions. The Church says he hasn’t made the necessary intention to receive the sacraments so he hasn’t in reality. That person is a fake Catholic. That means that at least half of the Church is only outwardly Catholic and not in reality. It makes nonsense of the visible Church idea.


The Catholic Church claims that the historical evidence in the Bible shows that the pope is the head of the Church and the papacy was started by Christ. Catholic Doctrine says, “Peter was the first pope for Christ said he was Peter and on this rock on whom he would build his Church and the gates of hell would never prevail against it (meaning the Church being the last thing mentioned) (Matthew 16:18). See also Luke 22:32; John 21. Jesus gave Peter the keys of the kingdom of Heaven – symbols of authority – and told him that whatever he bound or unbound on earth would be bound or unbound in Heaven. Peter’s authority was to run and teach the Church. These promises were made to Peter alone at the time so they signify a special authority just for him. Like Peter, the pope, his successor, is the supreme head of the Church on earth – its chief shepherd and teacher and who takes the place of Christ on earth. The popes are the successors of Peter for the true Church needs a pope to mark it as the true religion and guide it – the early Church needed a pope so does the modern one. Commonsense shows the need for a pope”.
Roman Catholicism imagines that Matthew 16 where Jesus tells Peter, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church”, is where Jesus promised to make Peter the pope, the rock on which he would build his Church. The Church says that Peter means rock so Jesus was in effect saying that Peter was Rock and on this Rock he would build. But Jesus tells him he is Peter and on this rock instead of saying you are rock and on you I will build. A distinction is obviously intended. Plus even if Jesus did say Peter was the rock there is no need to assume that he meant leader. Your mother can be the rock of the family without being its head or being in control. Nothing in the Bible supports the papacy. And Peter wasn’t much of a rock for he failed many times. Jesus was telling Peter to be the rock. He called him Peter to remind him of that. He was predicting that Peter would be enough of a rock for him to build his Church on him. He wasn’t saying Peter would be the rock all the time. The pope does claim to be the rock all the time, as long as he is pope he is rock. Peter was not that kind of Rock. 
Also, Jesus called Peter rock because of Peter's assertion that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the Living God. This is actually a political title. Judaism was a religion based on God and his promised land of Israel and the Christ was to be the king of Israel like David was. Christ means anointed one or king. The king is referred to as son of God in the Psalms reflecting the notion that the king rules as God's vicar or representative in the kingdom. It can be argued that if Jesus made Peter the rock of his Church that Jesus was promising to make Peter his right hand man in his political Church. If so, Jesus has not built his political Church yet. So the verse does not support the papacy.
Passing over Luke 22:32 which shows how deceptive and desperate Rome can get when it tries to gather and manufacture evidence for the validity of the papacy, we move to John 21. Here Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep after asking if he loved him three times. Rome asserts that this story’s appearance in the gospel indicates that there must be something special about Peter. But it may just be there for the sake of being inserted or because it reverses Peter’s threefold rejection of Christ and his mission when Christ was on trial. The gospellers selected stories about Jesus and left other ones out which does not mean that there was anything special about the people in the stories they chose.
Rome interprets John to mean that Peter was made supreme shepherd of the Church but a person who leads the mission work and who is to feed the lambs and the sheep with the gospel is not the same as a pope. We must abide by the least complicated interpretation. And the fact that the anonymous gospeller in the next breath accused Peter of misleading the flock by misinterpreting something Jesus said despite claiming earlier that Jesus promised the apostles that they would be guided by God and protected from error shows that Peter was not regarded as the head of the Church or infallible or even prudent.
Following the resurrection, the first time Jesus asked Peter if he loved him he asked him if he loved him more than the rest. Peter said yes and told Jesus he knew it. Peter had boasted to Jesus that he loved him better than the rest which shows how little the rest must have loved him if Peter’s love is anything to go by. And the too-human Jesus accepted his arrogant boast and rewarded him for it by telling him to feed his lambs and tend his flock. The passage is only saying that since Peter loves Jesus the best that Jesus is telling him to look after his flock because he is the best man for the job. This actually refutes the papacy for the papacy never seeks the man who loves God the most. Jesus asked him if he loved him and used the word agapao for love which means intellectually accepting that Jesus is lovable and submitting one’s will to him entirely. Peter said, “You know that I love you”, but used the word phileo for love. Phileo means emotional love. So Peter was unable to give Jesus the agapao love but gave him phileo instead (page 31, How does God Love Me?). Jesus obviously wanted the agapao but settled for this other love. What Jesus must have meant then was for Peter to feed the flock with emotional love for Jesus himself. In other words, the verses contradict the notion of Peter being pope.
The Church teaches that when Jesus was on earth, Peter could not be pope because there was no Church founded until the day of Pentecost after Jesus stopped appearing. But though there was no Church, Peter would still have been pope and in charge of the Jesus people and this would have started with the resurrection of Jesus. He would have been pope since the resurrection because Jesus was appearing only occasionally in visions then to the apostles meaning they were the Masters now. But John proves he was not. When Peter did not give his heart to Jesus in obedience and full surrender to his will Peter could not have been pope for the purpose of the pope is to teach the faithful what God wants them to do and believe and remind them to submit to God in all things. Jesus accepted Peter’s inability thus he was saying Peter was not a pope.

If the Church argued that Paul who clearly WAS the only pope like figure in the primitive Church was given the rock role by Peter it might have a bit more credibility.  It does not.  And I wonder about people who see a church monarch and law maker in the word "rock".


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