For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. - 2Corinthians 11:5
As the world awaits the election of a new Roman Catholic pope, former Roman Catholics like myself grieve at the deception inherent in Catholicism—particularly the un-Scriptural office of the papacy.
If we accept Rome's claim that Peter was the first pope, we must also assume the other Apostles were the first Cardinals? But check out the passage at the head of this post.
If Peter was the first Pope, how may Paul claim he is not inferior to the most eminent apostles? Would this not include Pope Peter? This isn't quite the reverence a cardinal should offer the Holy See, is it?
Elsewhere, Paul recollects his initial years in the faith and his early ministry as an apostle. In Galatians we read (please note the underlines):
Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised." (Galatians 2:1-9)
Note Paul mentions "pillars." Plural pillars including Peter, James and John—not a single pillar, Peter alone.
"What they were makes no difference to me...?" Is this a common occurence at the Vatican? Do cardinals walk up to the pontif saying, "What you are makes no difference to me"? The Apostle Paul did not obeisance upon first seeing Peter? Does this sound like the Apostle Paul believed Jesus had made the Apostle Peter his superior? Or was he simply being rebellious?
Then there was that whole Antioch situation when Paul got up in Peter's face in front of everyone, confronting him for his hypocrisy:
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Galatians 2:11-14)
Publicly rebuking the "Supreme Pontif of the Universal Church" does not seem becoming in a cardinal, does it? Did Paul take too much upon himself on this occasion?
In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul again makes a statement claiming equality with the other apostles:
I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. (2Corinthians 12:11)
Then, on top of it all, the Apostle Paul claims to have worked harder than the other apostles—even harder than Pope Peter:
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1Corinthians 15:9-10)
Paul, you are pushing it. You as an underling claiming to outwork the Pope? This seems arrogant and rebellious to me.
Now, coming back to 2013: the world will watch, waiting for the white smoke to ascend declaring the conclave has arrived at its decision. Hundreds of thousands will gather waiting for the new pope to come out onto the balcony and we will have, as Rome would have us believe, a new vicar of Christ and chief pastor of the whole Church; a man who wields as he will, "unhindered authority" over Christ's Church:
882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (PART ONE THE PROFESSION OF FAITH SECTION TWO THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH CHAPTER THREE I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT ARTICLE 9 "I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH" Paragraph 4. Christ's Faithful - Hierarchy, Laity, Consecrated Life)
Just so you know, I am aware that the first cardinals were recognized in the early sixth century and I have been a little facetious in my writing, but not without reason. We might just as well speak of the Apostle Paul as a cardinal as speaking of the Apostle Peter as a pope. But neither is the case. It's all error and deception.
In Christ's Church, there is no papacy; never has been and never will be. As I heard one pastor say some years ago, "It is never God's will to have a man dressed up in fine clothes and carried around on a chair." This was not the case with Paul, John, James, Peter or any of the other apostles. The Bible does not command bowing, ring kissing, indulgences or papal bulls. Rather Gospel preaching, Gospel living, and church building by the power of God, based on the Word of God, to the glory of God. Alone.
I love Roman Catholics and I believe some of God's true children are in captivity behind Rome's walls, but I pray that God will reveal the deceitfulness of Rome's doctrines (including the papacy) and bring those who have been under Rome's deceptive influence into Gospel truth and freedom.
Another pope is a sad thing. Christians should not watch apethically or in resignation as one more man ascends to this high and mighty place.
May God help us to pull down strongholds:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ... (2Corinthians 10:3-5)