Article - Scripturally Speaking: Who is the “Pope”

The word “pope” means “papa” or “father.” Only One is worthy to be called “Holy Father,” namely, God (Matthew 23:9). Only Jesus is worthy to be called “the Head of the Church” (Ephesians 1:22-23), “the Mediator” between God and man (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5) and “the High Priest” (Hebrews 7:22-28). The apostle Peter did not wear a religious title, such as, “pope.” Peter did not preach or practice celibacy. In fact, Peter was married and had a family (Matthew 8:14; 1 Timothy 3:1-6). Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, defined as “Christ’s church” (Matthew 16:18-19). Jesus did not build His church on Peter (“Petr-os,” masculine gender of the Greek), but on Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Son of God (“Petr-a,” feminine gender, Matthew 16:15-17). Jesus did not begin His church in Rome, but in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5, 47). Peter presented the keys to those who wanted to be added to the Lord’s church, namely, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Even though Peter was given the keys to “open” the Lord’s church, he realized he was not any greater than any other man. When Cornelius fell down at his feet and tried to worship him, Peter lifted him up and told him that he also was a mere man like Cornelius (Acts 10:25-26; there was no such thing as clergy or laity). Peter was rebuked by Paul in the presence of all for showing partiality (1 Timothy 5:19-20; Galatians 2:11-14). So, remember that when you pray or confess your sins, be sure to hallow the name of the “Holy Father” by praying to God through Jesus only, for God is the only true “Pope” (Matthew 6:9,12).

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