Is the Pope The Vicar Of Christ?
by Rick Jones
The Pope: Vicar of Christ
Is the pope the vicar (substitute) of Christ on the earth, wielding universal power over the whole church? If you believe the catechism, he is:
"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." Pg. 234, #882
"The Roman Pontiff... as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful..." Pg. 235, #891
While the Catholic church elevates the pope to the position of "supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful," God's Word reveals that someone else already fills that position:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..." John 16:13
Jesus promised that this infallible teacher would abide with us forever:
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;" John 14:16
The pope has clearly assumed a position reserved for the Holy Spirit of God. It is a position no man can fill:
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:11
The Apostle Paul reiterates that the Holy Spirit of God, not a man, is the infallible teacher of all true Christians:
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man' s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth..." 1 Corinthians 2:12-13
If the pope is Christ' s substitute on earth, there should be many similarities in their lives. Let' s see:
- While on earth, Jesus never controlled great wealth. The pope controls one of the wealthiest corporations in the world.
- Jesus dressed like a common man. The pope, on the other hand, is never seen in anything but regal apparel.
- Jesus lived in simple surroundings, but the pope views opulence at every turn.
- Jesus tirelessly served the multitudes, while the pope travels the world on his private jet, meeting with world leaders from every nation.
- Most people eventually rejected and hated Jesus because He told the truth. The pope is worshipped and adored by millions worldwide.
- The pope gladly welcomes the praise of men, but Jesus directed all worship to the Father, and said of Himself:
"Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God." Mark 10:18
Should popes accept the worship of multitudes? Look how "Pope" Peter reacted when Cornelius tried to worship him:
"And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man." Acts 10:25-26
Pope: head of the church?
The Catechism claims that:
"The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls" Pg. 246, #937
According to God's Word, the pope is not the head of the true church of Jesus Christ. That position is reserved exclusively for the Lord Jesus:
"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church..." Ephesians 5:23
Concerning the pope' s title of "Holy Father," Jesus Himself instructed us to:
"...call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Matthew 23:9
Yet, the pope not only accepts the title "Father," but "Holy Father" as well, a title reserved for God alone:
"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy..." Revelation 15:4
It is not wise to assume a name reserved for God, for He will not share His glory with anyone:
"I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another..." Isaiah 42:8
More Nagging Questions
Once again, Catholic doctrine and Scriptures could not disagree more. As a result, you must choose sides on each of the following questions:
- Why didn't God tell us in the Bible that He was sending the pope as the Vicar of Christ?
- Why does the Bible insist that Jesus is still the head of the church, if He isn't?
- Why does the Catholic church want the pope to be the final authority instead of Jesus?
- Why does the Catholic church want the pope to be your teacher instead of the Holy Spirit of God?
Only you can answer these questions for yourself. And only you can decide which side you will believe - Catholic traditions of men... or God's Word?