Wala akong sinabing perpekto ang mga Pastor pero wag tayong mag generalize na lahat ng Pastor ay iisa o pareho kasi may fake pastor.
Anyway waste of time makipag usap kay kingron walang sense ang post at biblical proof na mas malinaw about Apostolic succession.
Catholics are taught that Peter was the first Pope and that there has been a succession, one after the other, of Popes that followed Peter. One excellent example of this is found within the foyer of many Catholic churches. As you walk in the front door, there are a series of large plaques that dominate the main wall. On each plaque is the name of a Pope. Starting with the current living Pope, they trace the names of every Pope sequentially back in history to Apostle Peter, who they claim was the first Pope. Yet the office of Pope did not exist for the first 600 years of history. Such displays are a powerful deception to the masses, for historically and Biblically this is simply untrue.
The Catholic church prides itself as the original church that Jesus started in 33 AD and that all other denominations broke away from them and are therefore deviant. Catholics are led to believe from their priests, that if they were transported back in time to 100 A.D, they would be able to attend a Catholic church just like to day. The facts of history, however, paint an entirely different picture, because the Roman Catholic church, in its present organizational structure, did not exist prior to 606 A.D.
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Examining Catholic Successors
The aim of this study is to carefully examine the Scriptures regarding the Roman Catholic claim of successors. As in all our writings, our purpose is not to stir up hatred or to create strife. We wish only to make an honest inquiry regarding the validity of the successor doctrine as taught by the Catholic Church. Our intent is to secure an accurate knowledge of God's truth that we might abide therein. We ask our readers to investigate with open minds and honest hearts the things presented. God requires this of everyone. "Test all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thess. 5:21).
All scriptural quotations in this work are from authorized Catholic translations (from the Confraternity Version unless otherwise indicated), and all quotes are from authorized Catholic books. Ones which bear the "Nihil obstat" (nothing hinders) and the "Imprimatur" (let it be printed). A complete bibliography is furnished at the close of this document.
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In this age, God speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2). Christ spoke the words and commandments given to Him from the Father (John 12:49-50). We are to hear Jesus, not Moses or Elijah (Mark 9:2-8). Christ is the mediator of the New Testament (Heb. 9:15-17). Christ is that great prophet who was to come (Deut. 18:15,19; Acts 3:22-23). The name of Jesus is the only name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). We cannot reject His word and be guiltless (John 12:48). God, therefore, makes known His will to us today through His Son.
Jesus makes known God's will through His apostles and prophets. Christ gave the same words and commandments that He received from the Father to His twelve apostles (John 17:6-8, 17-20). He promised them the Holy Spirit who would remind them of all He had said and would guide them into all truth. He said, "These things I have spoken to you while yet dwelling with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you." (John 14:25-26; see also 14:16-17). Furthermore, Jesus said, "But when the advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me. And you also bear witness, because from the beginning you are with me." (John 15:26-27; see also 16:13-14). From the foregoing passages, we learn two important facts: (1) The promise of the Holy Spirit was to the apostles only. They were the ones to whom Jesus was speaking; they were the ones who had been with Him from the beginning. (2) The Holy Spirit would be in them and would enable them to teach all the truth concerning the will of God.
The apostles were to wait in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit as was promised. "And I send forth upon you the promise of my Father. But wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49). "And while eating with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, 'of which you have heard,' said he, 'by my mouth; for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.' " (Acts 1:4-5). "...You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you..." (Acts 1:
. All of this was in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies which said, "...The law shall come forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:3; Micah 4:2).
The apostles received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-4 and "began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak." (Verse 4). Thus, they began to proclaim by inspiration the will or law of God as Jesus had declared in the words, "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matt. 18:18). What Jesus said to Peter concerning binding and loosing (Matt. 16:19), He also said to all the apostles (Matt. 18:18). The meaning is not that the binding and loosing would come from their own devising--God alone is the lawgiver (James 4:12) and His word is forever firmly fixed in the heavens (Psalm 119:89)--but with the Holy Spirit guiding them they would proclaim the things God wanted bound and loosed. For example, they declared what God bound for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), and what God loosed--"...Delivered me from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). This principle is expressed in Matt. 10:20 which says, "...For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you."
Jesus also said to His apostles, "Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20:22-23). Again, the meaning is not that they would forgive and retain sins in and of themselves. They would not from their own devising arbitrarily say to one "your sins are forgiven" and to another "your sins are retained." The action they were to take was conditioned upon the expression, "Receive the Holy Spirit." By the possession of the Holy Spirit, therefore, they would be enabled to forgive and retain sins.
When the apostles received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), they began to do as the Lord had said. For example, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins..." (Acts 2:38). This and other similar passages are inspired examples of how their authority to forgive sins was exercised. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they laid down the conditions by which sins are forgiven. If we do as they commanded, our sins are forgiven, if we do not, our sins are retained. Since this is the only thing revealed in the New Testament concerning their power to forgive and retain sins, this constitutes the full extent of their authority in this matter.
Up to the point as recorded in Acts 2, only the twelve had obtained the ability to speak by the inspiration of God. Verse 14 of Acts 2 shows that Peter, standing with the eleven, declared that the gift which they had received was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Verse 43 says, "And fear came upon every soul; many wonders also and signs were done by means of the apostles in Jerusalem, and great fear came upon all." Consequently, the apostles up to this point were the only ones who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God worked with them by giving them the power to work miracles. Mark 16:20 says, "But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the preaching by the signs that followed." (See also Heb. 2:3-4).
As we read a little farther in the book of Acts we see how New Testament prophets were made. The first account of someone besides an apostle working a miracle is that of Stephen. "Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:
. Stephen, as well as Philip, was of the seven on whom the apostles had laid their hands. "These they set before the apostles, and after they had prayed they laid their hands upon them." (Acts 6:6). As we read still farther, we see that Philip is the next person who was able to work miracles. "And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached the Christ to them. And the crowds with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, listening to him and seeing the miracles that he worked." (Acts 8:5-6).
Although Philip was a New Testament prophet and could work miracles, he was unable to give the Holy Spirit to others. Only the apostles were empowered with that ability. Acts 8:14-19 says, "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John. On their arrival they prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for as yet he had not come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. But when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me also this power, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' "
Please notice that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands. This is the only way New Testament prophets were made and the prophets themselves were unable to give the Spirit to others. Philip could not give the Holy Spirit to the people of Samaria. Some apostles, Peter and John, had to be sent from Jerusalem before that could be done. When an apostle laid his hands on someone, he received miraculous powers. Acts 19:6 says, "And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy." Cornelius and his household received the "like gift" as the apostles for the specific purpose of God's acceptance of the Gentiles into the New Covenant (Acts 11:14-18).
Thus, we have shown that the apostles were the only ones who were to receive the power from on high and were to wait in Jerusalem for it (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8). This power enabled them to speak in tongues, prophesy and work miracles (Acts 2:4,43). Also, it gave them the ability to transmit the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on others. New Testament prophets were made in this manner and they also could speak in tongues, prophesy and work miracles but could not pass on the power to others (Acts 8:4-6; 14-19).
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We will now notice several quotations from Catholic sources which assert that the present day officials in the Catholic Church are successors to the apostles. Please notice the following:
"There is no just ground for denying to the Apostolic teachers of the nineteenth century in which we live a prerogative clearly possessed by those of the first, especially as the Divine Word nowhere intimates that this unerring guidance was to die with the Apostles. On the contrary, as the Apostles transmitted to their successors their power to preach, to baptize, to ordain, to confirm, etc., they must also have handed down to them the no less essential gift of infallibility." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 54).
Please notice, first of all, that the Catholic writer says, "There is no just ground for denying to the Apostolic teachers of the nineteenth century in which we live a prerogative clearly possessed by those of the first..." In other words, he is saying there is no just ground for denying that the present day teachers in the Catholic Church are successors to the apostles. We claim that there is just ground for denying it. No one is a successor to the apostles and has their authority today because no one is inspired by the Holy Spirit today. The possession of the Spirit is the factor that determined the apostles' authority. They had the power to bind and loose, forgive and retain, because God was speaking through them. On that basis only were they enabled to unerringly deliver God's message to mankind. How can anyone claim to have authority such as theirs, being their successors, when not inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Furthermore, the apostles and those on whom they laid their hands could speak with tongues, prophesy and work miracles. They worked miracles to demonstrate their authority, to show that they were indeed inspired of God. In defense of his own authority, Paul said, "Indeed, the signs of the apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in miracles and wonders and deeds of power." (2 Cor. 12:12). No one can work miracles today as they did; thus, no one is inspired today and no one has the same authority today.
Secondly, the Catholic writer said, "...The Divine Word nowhere intimates that this unerring guidance was to die with the apostles." We agree that the unerring guidance was not to die with the apostles. However, we must inquire, "In what way is the unerring guidance transmitted or handed down to us today?" The Scriptures affirm that we receive it through the inspired writings of the apostles and prophets. The Catholic official, however, tries to show that it is handed down through men as successors of the apostles and prophets. He affirmed that the Divine Word nowhere indicates that it was not to be transmitted to their successors. In reality, the opposite is true. The Divine Word nowhere indicates that it was to be transmitted to successors.
A look at the qualifications of the apostles reveal they would not have successors. An apostle had to be an eye-witness of Christ. (See Acts 1:15-26). Paul defended his apostleship by saying, "Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" (1 Cor. 9:1). The apostles were indeed witnesses in the fullest sense. They were the eye-witnesses, carefully chosen by the Lord, who would witness to mankind what they saw and heard concerning Jesus. Acts 1:8 says, "...But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth." The Lord said to Paul, "...I have appeared to thee for this purpose, to appoint thee to be a minister and a witness to what thou hast seen, and to the visions thou shalt have of me." (Acts 26:16). Peter declared, "For we were not following fictitious tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eye-witnesses of his grandeur." (2 Pet. 1:16).
Realizing this important fact helps us to understand how the apostles witness to us today. They certainly do not do it through other ordained witnesses. It is impossible for one in our time to be a witness in the sense they were. Instead, it is through their writings--the holy Scriptures. The apostle John, in his introduction to his first epistle, declared that he was bearing witness to those things which they had heard, had seen with their eyes, and had touched with their hands, concerning the Word of life. John bore witness to those things by writing them for us. (See 1 John 1:1-4). The apostles' testimony given in their writings was to "all who call upon the name of our Lord in every place" (1 Cor. 1:2), and to "the faithful in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:1). The apostles witness to us today through their writings and this is the only way their unerring guidance is transmitted to the present.
Jesus prayed for unity of all those who would believe on Him through the word of the apostles. "Yet not for these only do I pray, but for those also who through their word are to believe in me." (John 17:20). In this prayer Jesus revealed how believers are to be made--through the apostles' word. Since we do not have the apostles present with us, we must inquire, "How are believers made through their word today?" It is not through their present day successors, but as John said, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31). Very simply, therefore, individuals were made believers at first as result of the inspired apostles witnessing to them while in their presence. Individuals are made believers today as result of the apostles witnessing through their inspired writings.
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We are taught of God not to go beyond the things which are written (1 Cor. 4:6). We must abide in the doctrine of Christ or we don't have God (2 John 9). We must not take from, add to, or pervert the gospel of Christ because doing so causes the curse of God to come upon us (Rev. 22:18-19; Gal. 1:6-9). Thus, if Catholics are to sustain their doctrine that the authority of the apostles was transmitted to authorized successors, they must produce the passages which openly and plainly reveal it. This they have not done. Please notice the following from a Catholic source:
"...The Christian faith has been taught, and was intended by its Divine founder to be taught, in all ages on the same plan that was adopted in the beginning; that is to say, by authorized human teachers, whose adherence to it has been secured by a special Divine assistance, as that of the apostles was in the beginning." (Plain Facts For Fair Minds, pp. 29-30).
The above Catholic writer affirms that the gospel was once in the inspired teachers and therefore must be learned from authorized human teachers today. No Bible was cited to prove his contention. The argument is unreasonable as well as unscriptural. We might as well argue that Adam and Eve were created and therefore "in all ages on the same plan that was adopted in the beginning" men are brought forth into the world today. However, we know that the miracle of creation was temporary and provisional; it was for that first pair alone. All others have come into the world by means of natural birth. In like manner the gospel was revealed by miracle to the apostles and prophets. The inspired word was for many years in the inspired men, but once the New Testament was completed and duly confirmed, the spiritual gifts that had brought the word and confirmed it ceased.
Notice the following quote from a Catholic source:
"The guidance of Christ was, therefore, to continue with their successors. This is clearly disclosed by the words of Christ: 'Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.' Since the Apostles were not to live until the end of the world, Christ promised to be with them in the person of their successors unto the end of time." (The Faith of Millions, p. 137).
The above Catholic writer quotes a passage of Scripture, Matt. 28:20, and declares that it discloses that the apostles were to have successors. Another Catholic writer quotes the same passage and asserts that Jesus was teaching that the church would never teach error. Please note the following:
"Why can't the Catholic Church ever teach error? Because Jesus promised to be always with His church to protect it from error. 'Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: and behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world' (Matthew 28:19-20)." (A Catechism For Adults, p. 56).
Does it not seem strange that these Catholic officials can make the same passage teach two different doctrines when the passage says nothing about either? The promise of Christ was to the apostles and to them alone. In what way would He be with them to the end of the world? Notice the context. Just before He declared, "I am with you all days," he said, "...Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Thus, Christ would be with them in the teaching of His commandments. The apostles themselves would not remain forever, but their teachings, the commandments of Christ which they delivered, would. The same is taught in parallel passages. "For you have been reborn, not from corruptible seed but from incorruptible, through the word of God who lives and abides forever. For, 'All flesh is as grass, and all its glory as the flower of grass; the grass withered, and the flower has fallen--but the word of the Lord endures forever.' Now this is the word of the gospel that was preached to you." (1 Pet. 1:23-25). Also, Christ would be with them always in the same sense He is with all faithful Christians. He dwells in them while they live here on earth (John 14:23), and after death they depart to be with Him (Phil. 1:21-23).
The following chart illustrates that Catholics are without Scriptural authority for their doctrine of successors.
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
THAT WHICH THEY NEED BUT DON'T HAVE
Eph. 2:20, "...You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ himself as the chief corner stone."
"...You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets AND THEIR SUCCESSORS with Christ himself as the chief corner stone."
Eph. 3:5, "...Now it has been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
"...Now it has been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets AND SUCCESSORS by the Spirit."
2 Cor. 5:20, "On behalf of Christ, therefore, we are acting as ambassadors, God, as it were, appealing through us."
"One behalf of Christ, therefore, we AND OUR SUCCESSORS are acting as ambassadors, God, as it were, appealing through us."
1 John 4:6, "We are of God: he that knoweth God listens to us; he who is not of God does not listen to us."
"We are of God: he that knoweth God listens to us AND OUR SUCCESSORS; he who is not of God does not listen to us."
John 20:21-23, "As the Father has sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed upon them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."
"As the Father has sent me, I also send you AND YOUR SUCCESSORS. When he had said this, he breathed upon the, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you AND YOUR SUCCESSORS shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you AND YOUR SUCCESSORS shall retain, they are retained."
John 17:20, "Yet not for these only do I pray, but for those also who through their word are to believe in me."
"Yet not for these only do I pray, but for those also who through their AND THEIR SUCCESSORS' word are to believe in me."
If the Catholics are to sustain their idea of successors, they must produce the passages which plainly and openly reveal it. Anyone who teaches a doctrine not written in the Word of God incurs the displeasure and condemnation of God. Notice the following Scriptures:
"Now, brethren, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos by way of illustration for your sakes, that in our case you may learn not to be puffed up one against the other over a third party, transgressing what is written." (1 Cor. 4:6).
"Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in they name, and cast out devils in thy name, and work many miracles in thy name?' And then I will profess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity!' " (Matt. 7:22-23).
"If anyone thinks that he is a prophet of spiritual, let him recognize that the things I am writing to you are the Lord's commandments." (1 Cor. 14:37).
"Anyone who advances and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, has not God; he who abides in the doctrine, he has both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9).
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The Only Succession
The Catholics cannot produce the passages for their doctrine of successors because none exist. We have already shown that the apostles were the only ones who were to receive the power from on high and were to wait in Jerusalem for it (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8). This power enabled them to speak in tongues, prophesy, and work miracles (Acts 2:4,43). Also, it gave them the ability to transmit the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on others. New Testament prophets were made in this manner and they also could speak in tongues, prophesy, and work miracles, but could not pass the power to others (Acts 8:4-6, 14-19). The apostles and prophets, and they alone, were the chosen ambassadors of Christ through which we are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). They were chosen to reveal God's will to mankind (Eph. 3:5). We are to receive their word as the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13; 1 John 4:6). They are the foundation on which we are built (Eph. 2:20). They were selected to deliver "the faith" to mankind and it has once and for all been delivered (Jude 3). Their message has the promise of God to remain forever (1 Pet. 1:23-25).
When the apostles and prophets approached their deaths they did not give successors to take their places. Instead, they left their inspired writings. Peter said, "Moreover I will endeavor that even after my death you may often have occasion to call these things to mind." (2 Pet. 1:15). This would have been an excellent opportunity for Peter to tell us that he was leaving a successor through which we could recall the things of Christ, if indeed that was the truth regarding it. However, he said "This, beloved, is now the second epistle that I am writing to you wherein I stir up your pure mind to remembrance, that you may be mindful of what I formerly preached of the words of the holy prophets and of your apostles, which are the precepts of the Lord and Savior." (2 Pet. 3:1-2). Thus, Peter plainly declared that the things of Christ would be recalled through his writings. The inspired writings, therefore, are the only infallible succession that we have from the apostles and prophets.
The apostle Paul also demonstrated this fact. He said, "For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come." (2 Tim. 4:6; Catholic Edition RSV). Again, this would have been a wonderful opportunity for an apostle to teach that unerring guidance was to be handed down through their successors. He was writing to the young man Timothy who had received his spiritual guidance from him. Surely, if successors were to be ordained, he would have mentioned it to him so that he would know where to obtain unerring guidance. Or, if perhaps he had made Timothy his successor, surely he would have instructed him regarding it in order that he and others would know about it. However, there is no hint whatsoever of successors as this apostle approaches death. On the contrary, he points Timothy, as well as all men, to the sacred writings which the inspired men left us:
"For from thy infancy thou hast known the Sacred Writings, which are able to instruct thee unto salvation by the faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for instructing in justice; that the man of God may be perfect, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
Please notice the following quotations from Catholic sources:
"Jesus sends forth the Apostles with plenipotentiary powers to preach the Gospel. 'As the Father,' He says, 'hath sent me, I also send you.' (John 20:21). 'Going therefore, teach all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.' (Matt. 28:19-20). 'Preach the Gospel to every creature.' (Mark 16:15). 'Ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.' (Acts 1:
"This commission evidently applies not to the Apostles only, but also to their successors, to the end of time, since it was utterly impossible for the Apostles personally to preach to the whole world." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 56).
"Since it was physically impossible for the Apostles to preach to the whole world, the mission must have been intended also for their successors to the end of time, our Catholic Bishops and priests." (My Catholic Faith, p. 145).
As before, the above Catholic writers assume that our Lord's words to the apostles demand successors. Their whole doctrine of successors is based on this assumption. The words of Jesus were spoken to the apostles only. There is no mention of successors in the verses. As Jesus had commanded them, the apostles went into all the world and preached the gospel to every creature. The apostle Paul said concerning the gospel, "It has been preached to every creature under heaven..." (Col. 1:23). The task of unerringly revealing the gospel was completed by the apostles and their many helpers, those on whom they laid their hands, the New Testament prophets. The apostles and prophets still witness and preach to the world today through their writings. John said, "But these are written that you may believe..." (John 20:31), and "What we have seen and heard we announce to you...And these things we write to you..." (1 John 1:3-4). Furthermore, Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Matt. 24:35). Thus, the apostles and prophets by means of inspiration delivered our Lord's words to mankind and they will remain forever.
It seems very strange and odd that the successor of a king is a king, the successor of a president is a president, and the successor of a governor is a governor, but the successor of an apostles is a Catholic bishop or priest!
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Inheritors Of Authority?
Please notice the following quotation from a Catholic source:
"Christ conferred upon the Apostles the power to forgive sins: 'Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven, they are forgiven.' (John 20:23). St. Paul mirrors the faith of the Apostolic Church when he writes: 'God hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.' (II Cor. 5:18).
"As the inheritors of the power and authority of the apostles, the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church exercise the ministry of reconciliation, forgiving penitent sinners in the name of Jesus Christ." (The Faith of Millions, pp. 71-72)
"Did Christ intend that THIS POWER should BE EXERCISED BY THE APOSTLES ALONE?
"No, Christ intended that this power should be exercised also by their successors, the bishops of church." (My Catholic Faith, p. 107)
"Christ had given the Apostles full powers to choose successors, when He gave them the powers His Father had given Him (John 20:21).
"It was the command of Christ that the Apostles should have successors to continue the Church, which He said would last till the end of the world. (Matt. 28:20). Without successors to the Apostles, the Church would have no rulers, and being unorganized would never have lasted." (Ibid., p. 107).
As one can see from he above, Catholics claim that the present day bishops and priests in the Catholic Church are successors to the apostles, being inheritors of their power and authority. This cannot be true. The Catholic bishops and priests were not promised the power from on high nor commanded to wait in Jerusalem to receive it (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8). They have no authority because they are not inspired of the Holy Spirit nor are they eyewitnesses of Jesus (John 20:22-23; Acts 1:8, 21-26). They cannot prove their authority by speaking in tongues, prophesying and working miracles (2 Cor. 12:12). They are not the chosen ambassadors who were selected to deliver God's message or "the faith" to mankind (Eph. 3:3-4; Jude 3). Moreover, they cannot be successors to the apostles and prophets because the only infallible succession to them are the inspired writings (2 Pet. 1:15; 3:1; 2 Tim. 3:14-17).
The words of Christ quoted by the above Catholic writers were addressed the apostles only. They were not addressed to Catholic bishops and priests and it is sinful and wrong to apply the passage to them. This is done repeatedly in the Catholic Church as they try to prove their man made doctrine of successors. It was done by the above Catholic writers as he made reference to John 20:21-23; Matt. 28:20 and 2 Cor. 5:18. None of the passages made mention of successors nor referred to successors. They referred to the apostles and prophets only, and to apply them to anyone else is to twist and pervert the word of God. The wrath of God rests on all those who do such (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9; Rev. 22:18-19).
Catholic officials confuse the present Catholic bishops with the New Testament bishops. Notice the following:
"The Apostles chose men to assist them, imparting to them greater or less powers. Before leaving a place, they chose a successor with full powers (Acts 14:22).
"Those who received only a small part of the powers of the apostles were called deacons. Those given greater power were called priests. Those appointed successors to rule in the place of the Apostles were the bishops." (My Catholic Faith, p. 107).
The New Testament bishops were not successors to the apostles nor did they in any way resemble present day Catholic bishops. Their qualifications are clearly disclosed in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. We quote Paul's words to Timothy here for you careful consideration:
"This saying is true: If anyone is eager for the office of bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once, reserved, prudent, of good conduct, hospitable, a teacher, not a drinker or a brawler, but moderate, not quarrelsome, not avaricious. He should rule well his own household, keeping his children under control and perfectly respectful. For if a man cannot rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God? He must not be a new convert, lest he be puffed up with pride and incur the condemnation passed on the devil. Besides this he must have a good reputation with those who are outside, that he may not fall into disgrace and into a snare of the devil." (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
A study of New Testament bishops, first of all, reveals they had to be married men. 1 Tim. 3:2 says, "It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behavior, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher..." (Catholic Rheims Translation). "Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife..." (1 Tim. 3:2; Catholic Revised Standard Version). Also, a bishop had to rule his own house well having his children in subjection (1 Tim. 3:4-5). The Catholic Church rejects the will of Christ in this matter. The inspired writers plainly revealed that among other things the great apostasy would "forbid marriage" (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
Secondly, the New Testament reveals that bishops are overseers of the local congregations. They were to be selected by each local church. They were to be "proved" or "tried" in view of the qualifications as were the deacons (1 Tim. 3:10). Deacons had no authority but were to "serve" in the local churches (1 Tim. 3:8-13). Once the bishops were selected, they were to oversee the local congregations wherein they had been chosen and ordained. Peter said to the bishops, "Tend the flock of God which is among you..." (1 Pet. 5:2). This was the extent of their oversight--overseeing only one church. The Catholic Church has changed the law of Christ in this matter also. Their bishops oversee not just one church but a whole diocese of churches. Paul showed that the great apostasy which was already underway in his time (2 Thess. 2:7) would begin among the bishops (Acts 20:28-31).
Thirdly, the New Testament disclosed that there was always a plurality of bishops in each local church. Acts 14:23 says, "In each church they installed presbyters and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith." (New Catholic Translation). Without exception there were always more than one bishop (or elder) in each church. Again, the Catholic Church has corrupted this form of governing as ordained by God. Instead of having several bishops (or elders) overseeing one church, they have one bishop overseeing several churches. The Council of Nicia in Cannon 8 forbad having more than one bishop in a city (Disciplinary a Decrees of the General Councils, p. 34).
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In the New Testament the words "elder," "bishop," or "pastor" are used interchangeably. The three terms refer to the same office which God placed in the local churches. Here is a list of the three words:
(1) Presbyter, or Elder - Acts 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:1. It is translated from the Greek word presbuteros.
(2) Bishop, or Overseer - Acts 20:28; Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:1; Phil. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:2. From the Greek word episkopos.
(3) Pastor, Shepherd, Tend, or Feed - Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2; Eph. 4:11. From the Greek word poimen.
We mention again that all of the above terms refer to the same office because they are used interchangeably. Some passages use all three terms interchangeably in the same context, e.g., Acts 20:17,28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3. We call your attention to the fact that the term "priest" (Gr. hiereus) is not among those synonymous terms, nor is it ever applied to the office of bishop or elder. The Catholic Church confuses this matter by saying that a "presbyter" is one official and a "bishop" is another. For example, "The word 'priest' is derived from the Greek presbyter..." (My Catholic Faith, p. 129). This is another example of their twisting of the Scriptures to prove their own doctrine. The Greek word "presbyter" does not mean "priest" and no reputable Greek scholar has ever rendered it as such. The word simply means "an old man, an elder." He had to have "believing children" (Titus 1:6), and, thus, only older men were qualified.
Catholic officials in their translations of Scripture insert the word "priest" into verses where it does not belong. In the Catholic Rheims Version, Acts 14:23 is translated, "And when they had ordained to them priests in every church..." All reputable Versions of the Scriptures, the King James, New King James, American Standard, New American Standard, etc., render this verse, "And when they had ordained elders in every church..." The word used in the verse is "presbuteros," which mean "elders" and not the word "hiereus" which is "priests." When one checks all the Greek texts, he finds that no variations exist; each contain the word "presbuteros." We can only conclude, therefore, that the Catholic Hierarchy inserted the word "priest" when the word "hiereus" wasn't there!
1 Tim. 5:17,19 - "Let the priests that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honor...Against a priest receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses." (Catholic Rheims Version). This is another devious attempt to give Scriptural support to the Catholic priesthood. In both of the foregoing verses, the word "priest," singular or plural, is a mis-translation. The Greek text used the word "presbuteros" in one of its forms which is correctly rendered, "elder" or "elders."
James 5:14 - "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priest of the church..." (Catholic Rheims Version). Again, the word "presbuteros" is the term used and "elders" is the correct translation. It is abundantly clear that the Catholic Church will stoop to any level, even to the changing of the Word of God, in order to sustain its priesthood.
To summarize regarding New Testament bishops or elders, God commanded that a plurality of them be chosen and appointed in each local church (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17,28). They had to be married men (1 Tim. 3:2) with believing children (Titus 1:6) and were to oversee only one church (1 Pet. 5:2). These are the only bishops ordained by God in the New Testament and, thus, are the only type which exist with His authority and sanction.
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New Testament Bishops
Qualifications for New Testament bishops are clearly disclosed in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. New Testament bishops, first of all, had to be married men. 1 Tim. 3:2 says, "It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behavior, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher..." (Catholic Rheims Translation). "Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife..." (1 Tim. 3:2; Catholic Revised Standard Version). Also, a bishop had to rule his own house well, having his children in subjection (1 Tim. 3:4-5).
Secondly, the New Testament reveals that bishops are overseers of the local congregations. They were to be selected by each local church. They were to be "proved" or "tried" in view of the qualifications as were the deacons (1 Tim. 3:10). Deacons had no authority but were to "serve" in the local churches (1 Tim. 3:8-13). Once the bishops were selected, they were to oversee the local congregations wherein they had been chosen and ordained. Peter said to the bishops, "Tend the flock of God which is among you..." (1 Pet. 5:2). This was the extent of their oversight--overseeing only one church.
Thirdly, the New Testament disclosed that there was always a plurality of bishops in each local church. Acts 14:23 says, "In each church they installed presbyters and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith." (New Catholic Translation). There are three passages in the New Testament which use the terms "presbyter" (elder) and "bishop" (overseer) interchangeably--Titus 1:5-9; Acts 20:17,28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2. Consequently, the terms refer to the same office which God placed in the local churches, and without exception there were always more than one in each church.
In summary, God commanded that a plurality of bishops be chosen and appointed in each local church (Acts 14:23). They had to be married men (1 Tim. 3:2) with believing children (Titus 1:6) and were to oversee only one church (1 Pet. 5:2). These are the only bishops ordained by God in the New Testament and, thus, are the only type which exist with His authority and sanction.
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Present Day Hierarchy
The New Testament plainly reveals that a great corruption from the simple form of government which God ordained would slowly develop (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:1-11; Acts 20:28-31). The book entitled, My Catholic Faith lists the many offices in the present day hierarchy of the Catholic church.
"1. In organization the Church is like a vast army; the Pope, its visible head, is commander-in-chief of this army.
"2. Cardinals, appointed by the Pope, are his principal advisers and assistants in the government of the Church.
"3. Patriarch is a bishop who holds the highest rank after the Pope, in jurisdiction.
"4. An archbishop is the head of an archdiocese; a bishop of a diocese...
"5. Legates, nuncious, internucious, and apostolic delegates are representatives of the Holy Father.
"6. Titular archbishops and bishops are those who hold the title of a see that formerly existed.
"7. Honorary prelates are those with a title, but without jurisdiction." (My Catholic Faith, p. 129).
None of the above offices in the Catholic Church are mentioned in the New Testament of Christ. As we have shown, the New Testament does specify "bishops," but they in no way resembled present day Catholic bishops. There was always a plurality of men chosen and appointed in each local church (Acts 14:23). They had to be married men (1 Tim. 3:2) with believing children (Titus 1:6) and were to oversee only one church (1 Pet. 5:2). All of the above mentioned Catholic offices were slowly developed over a period of several hundred years. The following Catholic sources freely admit this.
"The divine institution of the threefold hierarchy cannot of course be derived from our text; in fact it cannot in anyway be proved directly from the New Testament; it is a Catholic dogma by virtue of the dogmatic tradition, i.e., in a later period of ecclesiastical history the general belief in the divine institutions of the episcopate, presbyteriate, and diaconate can be verified and thence followed on through the centuries. But the dogmatic truth cannot be traced back to Christ Himself by analysis of strict historical testimony." (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, p. 334).
"The word (hierarchy, DJR) first occurs in the work of pseudo-Dionysis on Celestial and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies. The signification was gradually modified until it came to be what it is at the present. A hierarchy now signifies a body of officials disposed organically in ranks and orders, each subordinate to the one above it." (Catholic Dictionary, p. 402).
"In his (Paul's, DJR) opinion the words (presbuteros and episkopos, DJR) were at one time used one for the other, but there has been a gradual adaptation of names corresponding with the progressive evolution of the hierarchy..." (A Catholic Commentary, p. 1144).
"Some parts of the governmental system of the Catholic Church are of divine origin; and many of them are human institutions." (Externals of the Catholic Church, p. 19).
Consequently, the present hierarchy of the Catholic Church was not ordained by Christ. All the modern offices in Catholicism were developed over a period of many centuries by men who had no regard or respect for God's arrangement. With this thought in mind, consider the absurdity of the following "official" claims.
"History proves conclusively that the same doctrines were in the Church from the beginning." (Catholic Facts, p. 209).
"Has the Catholic Church ever changed its teaching? No, for 2,000 years the Church has taught the same thing which Jesus taught." (A Catechism For Adults, p. 57).
"It is a historical fact that the Catholic Church, from the twentieth century back to the first, has not once ceased to teach a doctrine on faith or morals previously held, and with the same interpretation; the Church has proved itself infallible." (My Catholic Faith, p. 145).