If I met the Pope

If I met the Pope, what would I say? I’m no head of state, nor do I have access to a bully pulpit, so it is very unlikely that a meeting would be arranged by our people. As a man that “labors in the Gospel”, I do have some opinions about the Pope. 

So, what would I say? 

I know what I would NOT say: I wouldn’t call him my spiritual Father. [Matthew 23:9] Nor would I bid him God speed, [2Jo 1:10] for the teaching of the Catholic church has become so foreign to the doctrines found in the Bible. 

I also wouldn’t be mean, or bitter, rather, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” [Col 4:6] Whatever words I use would need to be purposeful, for defense of the Gospel, and intentional for the conversion from the errors. [Jas 5:20] 

So, what would I say? 
  • Why is the doctrine of the Catholic church so different from the word of God?
  • Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:4 “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” Clearly, we as people can understand the word of God as revealed to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit, and if any of us lack wisdom we can ask of God and He gives it to us liberally. [James 1:5]
  • Have you considered all of the verses warning against such changes to the word of God? [De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6; Rev 22:18] Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Mat 28:18] How is it that the office of Bishop (His title being the Bishop of Rome) has been elevated above the one described in the New Testament, and that he has power to make doctrine? Even Paul told Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” [1Ti 4:16]
  • Paul also marveled that the Galatians had become removed from Christ to another Gospel. [Gal 1:6-9] The Gospel certainly includes the doctrines of Christ, for in addition to teaching all nations and baptizing them, Jesus gave this command, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” [Mt 28:19-20] 
  • He may respond with some argument that the Pope has authority to make new doctrine. He’ll likely cite Matthew 16:19 saying that Jesus has given the Pope the “keys” to the Kingdom. He’ll also note that he is infallible only if he speaks under 3 conditions, 1) ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) in his official capacity, 2) the doctrine must be binding on the whole Church, and 3) It must be on a matter of faith or morals. 1 
  • To this I would ask in reply, “Are you saying that you can make new doctrine, because Jesus gave you the keys? Wouldn’t that mean Christ has abdicated His role as head of the church to a man?” [Eph 1:22; Php 2:9-10; Col 1:16; Eph 1:1Co 15:27-28] Based on these and other verses, Matthew 16:19 is more accurately understood to mean that whatever Jesus has bound in Heaven will be bound on Earth and whatever is loosed in Heaven will be loosed on Earth.
  • If it’s by faith, which clearly means by hearing the revealed word of God [Rom 10:17], then you could speak nothing different than that which has already been revealed in the word of God. Therefore, there would be no need of you in the capacity which you serve and the New Testament pattern for organization, doctrines, and teachings would be sufficient. [2Timothy 3:16] 

Of course, none of this would ever occur. However, all of us as Christians do come into contact with Catholics here in Borger. Perhaps you found this fictional exchange helpful in your evangelistic efforts. We need to be ready and know how to answer every man. [1Peter 3:15; Col 4:6] 

Our goal is to shine as lights in this dark world. 

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; [Php 2:15]

 

Spencer is the evangelist for the Franklin St church of Christ, Borger Tx.

 

  1. Infallibility of the Pope; http://www.staycatholic.com/papal_infalibillity.htm.
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6 things you can do for YOU today

Last week, I detailed 5 things that you can do for the church. In other words, what you can do for each other. As I pondered that article, I came to the realization that in order to help others, sometimes you need to prepare yourself.

Regardless of our situations, whether we need support or not, we can still provide help and encouragement to one another, but sometimes we need to help ourselves.

When I studied to become a Firefighter / EMT, so many years ago, I learned that in order to be of service to others, I needed to prepare myself. We spent much time in training for scenarios, practicing what we might do during an emergency. This article looks at 6 things you can be doing for yourself in preparation for the “emergencies” of life.

The inspiration for this list is Eph 6:10-18, where Paul gives instructions to the Christian about how to be strong in the Lord and how to stand against the wiles of the devil. This is the passage where Paul tells us to put on the “Whole Armor of God.” Let’s examine these things that we can do for ourselves today…..

  • Put on Truth – We need to spend more time in the Word of God, which is truth. [John 17:17] We accomplish this by diligently studying God’s word. In it we find the truth on life and godliness, the truth on relationships, work, joy and best of all, how to be saved. 

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  • Breastplate of Righteousness – We can be good. Our parents had the same warning for us whenever we went out, “be good.” Being good as a Christian is more than just being nice, it’s doing God’s will. Paul wrote that we were created for “good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [Eph 2:10] We can change our attitudes, help our sorrows if we get busy. Idle hands is the devils playground? [2Th 3:11; 1Th 4:11; 1Ti 5:13]  

1Jo 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

  • Preparation of the Gospel – Remind yourself that you are a child of God, saved by Jesus the Christ and you are not your own. [1Cor 6:19] Let the peace of God, [Rom 5:1] comfort you. If we remember the “Rock” upon which our faith is built, [Mt 16:18], the confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God, then the peace which surpasses understanding shall keep our hearts. 

Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  • Shield of faith – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,” [Hebrews 11:1] and without faith it’s impossible to please Him vs6. In another passage, the disciples asked to have their faith increased, [Luke 17:5]. We can and should increase our faith. Faith is being fully convinced. Polls show that Americans are not fully convinced about God, Jesus, heaven or hell. Let’s increase our faith by looking at creation which “declares His handiwork.” [Ps 19:1] Let’s examine the evidence, both inside the scriptures and without. He’s given us plenty of evidence to know that He exists. [Rom 1:19-20] 

Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

  • Helmet of Salvation –This is a reminder to us that we need to be saved and are saved by obeying the gospel [2Thess 1:8], through the putting on of Christ through Baptism. [Ga 3:27] As Christians, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to repent. Unless we repent, we cannot expect salvation. [Luke 13:3] As we live a penitent life, we can lift our heads in confidence knowing that Jesus blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. [1John 1:9] 

Ac 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

  • Pray – You can pray for yourself. Not just in the wishing form that is normally associated with the praying for ourselves, rather, let us pray asking God for things that make us better equipped to handle life’s troubles. Below are just a few things we should be asking God to supply……

Jas 1:5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,

Ac 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Life is hard at best and downright sorrowful at worst. I have no idea how folks make it through life without God. He has provided a prescription for Christians to follow, a cure that heals the pain of this life and rescues us from death, providing eternal life. Would you try it, His prescription, after all He is the Great Physician. [Mr 2:17]

Spencer Blackwelder, Evangelist in Borger, TX