April 13, 2009

all fallible but the Bible

i love the Roman Catholics, but the doctrine of papal infallibility goes against God's Word. How so? Here's my response to a group email.

Dear everyone:

Like A, I am not here to argue. I seek to discuss, about the God that you and I worship. Since the Philippines is primarily Catholic, we are more or less familiar with the doctrine of papal infallibility, but not as familiar with what the Bible --- the Word of God as recognized by Catholics as well --- says about this.

B wrote: "Our purpose of having this is to KNOW and UNDERSTAND the teaching and standpoint of the Catholic Church on Papal Infallibility. Before hearing any other teaching on the issue, it is just fit to hear first the Catholic Church's version."

Actually, my point is before hearing any other teaching on the issue, is it not "more fit" to hear first God's version?

Let's put the issue this way:

The Catholics claim that the pope is infallible, because he is given authority from God.

But Catholics and other Christians recognize that the Bible is from God. If we read the Bible (even the Catholic versions), we do not see any authority given to any pope.

On the contrary, Peter, who Catholics recognize as the first pope, calls himself only one of many shepherds and warns against "lording it over the clergy" (1 Peter 5:1-3) and calls Jesus "the shepherd and bishop of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25).

The Catholics recognize the Bible as the Word of God. What does the Bible say?

"For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity." (Hebrews 5:1-2, Catholic Bible)

"For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God." (Romans 3:23, Catholic Bible)

Peter described himself as an elder, witness and partaker, servant, and apostle (1 and 2 Peter) but never the first Pope, Prince of the apostles, or Head of the Church. Jesus Christ is the only head of His Church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18).

In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul states that it is not who teaches but what is being taught that is to be used to determine truth from error. And while the Roman Catholic Church continues to pronounce a curse to hell upon those who would reject the authority of the Pope, Scripture reserves that curse for those who would teach a different gospel than what had already been given and recorded in the New Testament.(See for example here.) 

Here is an example from history from an official Catholic publication:

"In the first twelve centuries of her existence the Church was disturbed some twenty-five times by rival claimants of the Papacy. The strife thus originated was always an occasion of scandal, sometimes of violence and bloodshed ... For forty years (in the 14th century) two and even three pretenders to the Papacy claimed the allegiance of Catholics:
whole countries, learned men and canonised saints, ranged themselves on different sides, and even now it is not perhaps absolutely certain who was Pope..." (The Catholic Dictionary)

(In the maths and sciences, is not one disproof enough?)

To answer C's misunderstanding: your non-Catholic brothers and sisters hold up an infallible Bible and very human interpretations.

(1) Even if pastors or ministers make mistakes, they do not make a claim of infallibility in the first place.

(2) Paul writes that there are differences in worship and practice but calls for unity and respect (1 Corinthians 11:17-32).

(3) There
are matters without danger of misinterpretation because the Bible passages already speak for themselves.

If we hold the teaching of our spiritual leaders so highly, should we not hold God's teaching just as highly? And if there is a contradiction, who will you choose --- God or man?

Thank you for your attention. May God be with all of us. The truth shall prevail.

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