Few events generate the coverage we’ve seen over the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Almost every media outlet has been talking about the retirement of the old Pope and the coming installation of a new. Even sports call in shows have featured the Roman drama. When Christians hear Catholics talking about the Pope how should we respond?
The Papacy is False
The official Catholic dictionary defines the pope this way:
“The title pope… is at present employed solely to denote the Bishop of Rome, who, in virtue of his position as successor of St. Peter, is the chief pastor of the whole Church, the Vicar of Christ upon earth.”
It’s beyond the scope of our article to go into detail but we would note that the office of the Pope is not found in Scripture in any form. No pastor/bishop/elder is ever said to be chief over the others and the idea that the Pope is a successor to the apostle Peter is unsustainable.
Indeed, any comparison between the present Roman Catholic Church and the original church is a study in sharp contrasts. We cannot support the idea of a common man has the head of the church. There is but one head of the church and that is Jesus (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18).
We Must Not “Bash” Catholics
Many, if not most, Catholics have been raised in their faith and have not been taught to study the Scriptures. The training of the church is the final answer for spiritual questions. Those who are so raised are excellent opportunities for teaching. The bulk of Catholics are outstanding people who love God and desire to live according to his direction.
One who uses the current newsworthy events as a pretext for insult ought to consider how Jesus and the apostles dealt with those who practiced false religion. Our Lord called them to the truth without insult. Paul taught idol worshippers with kindness (Acts 17:16-31).
Instead of insulting, let us draw people to the truth of Scripture and the glorious direct relationship with have with Jesus.
For some, any questioning or disagreement with another’s faith is bashing. It is not. We can and must seek to always share the truth with people who have been deceived.
Be Thankful for Opportunities
In Revelation 3:8 Jesus told the church of Philadelphia that he had set before them an “open door which no one is able to shut.” The events in Rome may provide just such an open door. The complexity and bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic Church and the exaltation of a mere mortal to a position of such extreme power and authority may cause some to wonder of this truly a work of God.
But being thankful for opportunities is not the same as acting upon them. When our friends begin to speak of the new leader let us listen kindly and gently lead toward truth. People who are truly seeking God will gladly welcome offers of study. Be the one who leads another to truth!
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.