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Ipswich Christadelphians

"Prove all things, hold fast what is good" 1Th 5:21

The Pope falls to earth

 

We have just experienced our closest recorded Visitor from Space. On February 15th  a 130,000 ton asteroid named Apophis brushed past the Earth. Fortunately, the piece of space rock 328 yards across, won’t be back again until 2029 so the Earth can breath again!

However, as one ‘star’ leaves our orbit another one crashes! On February 11th Pope Benedict announced   he would resign after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church because at 85 he was too old and infirm to continue. He is the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

To Catholics (1.2 + billion people worldwide) the Pope is probably the most important man in the world, certainly his Titles would suggest that. And he has many titles: His holiness, the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of St. Peter ,Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, and 6 more! (The Handbook of Catholic Practises)

When crowned he was told “Receive this tiara, ornamented with three crowns, and know that thou art the Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the world and Vicar of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Pope Pius X (1846-1878) claimed “The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ himself hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks” (Catholic Nationale 1895).

Pope Innocent 111 (1198 — 1216) considered that as Vicar of Christ he was, 'set midway between God and man, below God but above man', given 'not only the universal church but the whole world to govern'.

Undoubtedly the Pope sees himself as having taken over completely the work which the Lord Jesus Christ set out to do on earth. And here we have two anomalies, the first that the man who currently claims to be Jesus Christ on earth is giving up his job! The second is, does this man with all his pomp and ceremony, bear any resemblance to Jesus – the Carpenter, or Peter –  the blunt fisherman, or the other Apostles who formed the early church?

The man who claims to be Christ

 

How did Benedict get his job? The BBC News World (12th Feb 2013) states ‘The Vatican talks about the cardinals being guided by the Holy Spirit. But although open campaigning is forbidden, a papal election is still a highly political process.

The coalition-builders have about two weeks to forge alliances and senior cardinals who may themselves have little chance of becoming pope can still exert a considerable influence over the others.’

The current pope was elected by a vote of his peers (other Cardinals), and now he wishes to give the job up, quite in contrast to our Lord Jesus’ Apostles, most of whom, after a strenuous life of preaching willingly gave up their lives for a shameful criminal’s death; not to mention the Lord Jesus Christ himself who was the perfect example of self sacrifice even unto death. Yet, here we have a man, who claims to have been called by the Holy Spirit to the highest service – retiring! It is hard to see how a post which makes such high claims for itself can retain its credibility if the holder just decides to resign. Can a man be Vicar of Christ one day and become a pensioner the next- it does seem to remove a lot of the credibility from the post.

Differing lifestyles

The Lord Jesus Christ fully demonstrated that he was the Son of God, but taught that he and his Apostles should not lord it over others. In Mark 10 :44, he said…

’And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

Just before his death on the cross, he behaved as a servant and washed his disciples feet – telling them that they should perform this humble service to each other Joh 13:5 

‘After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel. ‘

The Pope on the other hand is exalted above all his ‘flock’ who have even prostrated themselves before him, kissed his ring and in times past even his feet and toe! The  Pope lives in a gorgeous Palace and is guarded by Swiss Guards. The Lord Jesus, as he ministered to the sick with compassion and preached them the Gospel, was virtually homeless, Lu 9:58 

‘And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’

And while he could have had the protection of a huge army of angels, he never called on them , even at his darkest hour in Gethsemane. Mt 26:53

‘Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?'

He also abhorred violence, when in the garden it might be thought that he really needed protection he said to his disciple 52 ‘ Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.’ And yet Popes through the ages have obtained their positions by violence, humiliated kings , started Crusades, blessed wars and shown a much more worldly attitude than the Christ-like one to be expected from men who claim to be ‘Jesus Christ himself under the veil of the flesh’ And if they, understandably, being only human, fail to live up to Christ’s perfect standards, what of their teaching?

What Jesus taught  

Jesus drew his doctrine from the Old Testament and stated that ‘the Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35), does the Papacy do the same?  Sadly the answer is no, and they appear to fall into the category which their supposed founder, Peter, warned of in 2 Peter 2 1 ‘ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 ¶  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.’ Heresies and merchandise; the Papacy certainly makes money out of its services so what about heresies? Here is a list of some of the decrees which they have made, which are quite at variance with the Scriptures and which would tend to indicate that they are in the False Prophet Class.

Doctrines introduced down the centuries:

AD

124 The Immortality of the soul - Not taught in the Bible. Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die

325 The Trinity adopted (Nicea etc) - The trinity is never mentioned in the Bible and does not exist. 1Ti 2:5  ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;’

431 Mary Mother of God - A pagan belief . Mary was the mother of ‘the man Jesus’ as above 1079 Priestly Celibacy ---Paul advised Timothy. 1Ti 3:2 ‘A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife’

1198 Reading of the Bible in the vernacular condemned - Jesus himself in Revelation stated 1:3 ‘ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.’

1229 The Bible placed on the Index of Forbidden Books - as above

1854 The Immaculate conception -This doctrine claims that Mary was completely sinless her whole life. It is unscriptural as we are told in  Romans  3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; And Jesus’ sole purpose in being born was to redeem all human beings from our sins Colossians 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  Ro 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

1870 Papal Infallibility proclaimed - Even Jesus, who was given the spirit without measure (John 3:34), did not have a perfect knowledge of everything during his life on earth. Speaking of his return he said Mt 24:36  ‘But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.’

1950 The Assumption of Mary to Heaven - in accordance with many pagan beliefs. 1973 Pope re-affirms belief in devil ---in accordance with many pagan beliefs.

At the Return of Christ

In conclusion we must ask; when Jesus returns will he be happy with the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of St. Peter and the Universal Church? How does he now view the worshipping of relics, indulgences, confessionals and all the other impressive trappings with which this ‘church’ is clothed. What will Peter, the simple fisherman think, after his resurrection, of the man who claims to be his successor? The Lord Jesus is coming back very soon, but there is still time for those who truly look forward to his return to look at their lives and the way they worship and see if they correspond with the simple Gospel of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached. There is still time to search the Scriptures and strive to live according to the simple yet powerful teachings of our Lord found there, rather than ‘cunningly devised fables’ (2Peter 1:16)

May the time soon come when every knee shall bow before Jesus, the real Jesus who lived a life of true humility. And may we now try to be like him.

Philippians 2:

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

 

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Acknowledgements for images:   http://ivarfjeld.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/williamsandthepope.jpg The protestant Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams kisses the Pope’s ring.   www.thetimes.co.uk

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