Is the Church the Way to God?
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." —Matthew 16:18
By David J. Stewart
Peter means Petros; NOT Petra
Many religious people have been misled to believe that the way to God is through the Church. However, nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word. Jesus clearly stated in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Some foolishly claim that the Church is representative of Christ, and that we should obey the church in order to follow Christ; however, no such demonic doctrine is found in the Bible. Jesus Christ is the ONLY foundation, the ONLY way to God the Father, and thus; is the ONLY One we should follow.
The name "Peter" in the Greek means "Petros" (i.e., a small stone or rock); BUT, Jesus is referred to as "Petra" (a large rock or mountain). In the original Greek Jesus said, “Thou art petros [a little piece of rock], and upon this Petra [bedrock] I will build my church.” Clearly, Jesus was NOT speaking about Peter, because Peter was only a small stone.
The only true and sure foundation is Jesus Christ, which is plainly stated in 1st Corinthians 3:11 ... "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." It's that simple.
Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota
Peter was NOT the First Pope!
There are others who hold that Christ is building His church upon the confession that Simon Peter made in Matthew 16:16 ... "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." However, EVERY believer makes the same confession that Jesus is the Christ (i.e., the Savior). This has nothing to do with Peter. Peter was no greater than anyone else, which he had learned in Acts 10:34, "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." Peter was no greater than any of the other Apostles.
Jesus plainly stated in Matthew 11:11 that John the Baptist was the greatest born amongst women; yet Catholics foolishly elevate Peter and Mary to positions of awe and adoration (which is defined in any dictionary as worship). The Catholic Church deceitfully teaches that Peter was the first Pope; but Scriptures do NOT teach any such heresy.
Historically, there is NO evidence showing that Peter was ever in Rome. Howbeit, even if Peter had been in Rome, it still doesn't justify the heresy that Peter was somehow the founder of the Church. In fact, Peter was married (Matthew 8:14), a violation of Catholicism's own rules on celibacy. Why does the Vatican prohibit marriage for their priests, when the Bible clearly teaches that Peter had a wife? The results have been tragic, resulting in 25-50% of the Catholic priesthood turning to homosexuality and pedophilia. This is a direct result of men following the Church instead of Jesus Christ alone. Only a fool would live in celibacy because of some stupid Church policy.
Old Testament priests were REQUIRED to be married (30 minute MP3 audio sermon). Marriage is a gift from God and not to be prohibited. In fact, 1st Timothy 4:1-3 WARNS us that FALSE PROPHETS would come, forbidding marriage!!! Catholicism is a prisonhouse of religion my friend.
Why Go Through the Church?
If we can go directly to Christ, then why should we go through the Church to get to God the Father? We read in 1st Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." The Word of God plainly states that there is only ONE Mediator ... Jesus Christ!!! Ask your priest who he goes to when he needs to have his sins forgiven? If he says "directly to God," then ask him why you can't do the same?
What makes a priest more special than you or I? The veil in the temple was torn into two when Christ died (Mark 15:38), thus signifying that there was nothing between God and man on the basis of Christ's work of redemption. If you come to God on the basis of Jesus' shed blood, then you will find salvation and forgiveness. There is NO forgiveness apart from Christ's shed blood. Hebrews 9:22 states, "...without shedding of blood is no remission." The priest didn't die for you, neither did the Pope or any minister. It was Jesus who died for all of our sins. Therefore, it is sacrilegious for any priest or minister to offer to forgive your sins.
I was very saddened when Catholic Priest John Corapi claimed to have absolved his own biological father's sins, because that is impossible. Only God can forgive sin. John Corapi's father was not forgiven and is likely in Hell today because of the falsehood of Roman Catholicism. I say this with all kindness and sincerity of heart. Please do not be deceived friend, there is no forgiveness of sins in religion, nor by some priest or minister. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and men (1st Timothy 2:5).
Not once does the Word of God record any of the prophets or Apostles forgiving someone's sins... not even once! This FACT speaks volumes against the damnable teaching by Catholics that their priests can forgive sin. Matthew 6:14 reads, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." The Bible commands EVERY believer to forgive the sins of others; but we cannot forgive them on God's behalf. No priest can forgive your sins on God's behalf. Even the unsaved Pharisees professed an understanding of this Biblical truth when they exclaimed ... "Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" (Luke 5:21). How dare Catholic priests and Lutheran ministers, who are saturated with sins themselves, claim the power to forgive sin. They are evil LIARS!
The bottom line is that Jesus died upon the cross for our sins, and redeemed us with His own precious blood. Therefore, we can go DIRECTLY to God's throne of grace when we need something from God ... "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Carefully notice that the Word of God doesn't mention anything about going to your Catholic priest or Lutheran minister. We have a RIGHT to boldly approach God's throne of grace on the basis of our faith in Christ's redeemed blood sacrifice (Hebrews 4:15-16). Please don't be deceived friend, there is NO other Mediator other than Christ Jesus (1st Timothy 2:5). Tell your priest to take a hike.
Salvation is Found ONLY in Christ Jesus; NOT the Church!
Acts 4:10-12 plainly states that salvation is found ONLY in the name of Jesus ... "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." It is clear from Acts 4:10-12 that Jesus is the Cornerstone (i.e., the foundation) upon which the New Testament Church is built. Peter is NEVER mentioned throughout the New Testament as the foundation, or rock, upon which the Church is built. It is therefore quite obvious that Matthew 16:18 is often twisted out of context. An excellent work on the subject is titled THE CHURCH by Pastor jack Hyles (1926-2001).
Let's here from the Apostle Peter ourselves in 1st Peter 2:6-8 ... "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he (Jesus) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient..." This is a quote from Isaiah 28:16, "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste."
Ask any architect what the term "corner stone" means and you'll learn quickly that the key to building anything is to make sure it's accurate from the start. If the base is crooked, then the whole structure is going to be crooked. In order to build a safe and proper building, the foundation MUST be perfectly level. This is why there are industry standards concerning such specifications when buildings are constructed.
Jesus is referred to as the "chief cornerstone" in Ephesians 2:20-21 ... "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." Notice carefully that Ephesians 2:20 speaks of the prophets as being part of the foundation, not just the Apostles. Thus, it is their power of influence that has helped us, nothing more.
Also, please notice that NONE of the Biblical prophets or Apostles ever took it upon themselves to fabricate their own doctrines, or to blasphemously claim the power to forgive sin. The prophets and Apostles FOLLOWED Christ in obedience! In sharp contrast, Catholics have historically fabricated their own doctrines. They have NOT followed Christ; but rather, their own TRADITIONS!
They have blasphemously and arrogantly claimed the power to forgive sins. Please don't allow yourself to become a victim of false religion--the only safe way is to follow Christ. If you do listen to preachers or ministers, make sure that what they are telling you is in 100% agreement with the Word of God. Let the Bible be your Guide, a Lamp to lighten your path in this sin-cursed world. Men and women will often lie to you; but the Word of God says what It says. May Psalm 118:8 be our motto, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."
Every saved person in the Old Testament believed upon the coming Messiah to be saved (Genesis 15:6, "And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Likewise, we are saved today by believing upon that same Messiah who came 2,000 years ago, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5). Galatians 3:26 proclaims, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Salvation has NEVER been found in any Church; but rather, in Christ Jesus alone. Churchianity cannot substitute for Christianity my friend. Peter is NOT the rock upon which the church was built. Christ is the ONLY rock upon which we can be saved ... David wisely said, "He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved" (Psalm 62:6).
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