It is taught universally that Rome is the ‘mother Church’ and that all churches outside its direct rule are divided, and must return, or be deemed lost. In reality, it was Rome that split from the main body of the true Church; it is Rome that needs to return to truth and genuine Christianity. As it now is, Rome is not just apostate, but completely separate from the true Church, whose only head is Jesus Christ. Christians must never accept the claim of Rome to be superior or head, because Roman Catholicism is not even Christian.
Rome began to assert itself very soon after the apostles ordained bishops in many areas. The name bishop is synonymous with presbyter, elder and pastor, so there is no superiority in the title. Indeed, it is not to be a title, but simply an office within a local church. Scripture teaches nothing of a worldwide central ‘church’. But, the Roman bishops began to kick against this simplicity and truth, by asserting that they should rule the other churches. The reason they gave was that Peter was the ‘head’ of the Church and anyone who succeeded him would automatically be the head of the Church also. But, as I have shown elsewhere, it is doubtful that Peter went to Rome, and he was certainly never mentioned as its bishop or first pope!
It must be asked why Peter was chosen as their figurehead. That is easily answered – Rome wanted to link Peter to ‘The Rock’ on which the Church was built. Once they ascertained (wrongly) that he was the foundation of the Church, all they had to do was make him the first pope, and a new cult was born! But, many bishops would not accept that claim, and rightly so. Therefore, the Rome bishops began to manoeuvre things so that they could begin a ‘rumour’ of superiority. Using the principle of propaganda: that if we say a lie often enough it will be believed eventually, Rome began its campaign. And, sure enough, untaught bishops fell for the lie and into the trap. Thus began the cult of Rome.
The only thing missing from this scenario is the actual date that Rome took possession. I place it at roughly 300 AD (even later in Britain – about 600 AD). Others place it around the time Constantine adopted Christianity as his new religion, and the bishop of Rome received undue accreditation as more worthy than other bishops because of his royal patronage.
Of course, if Peter is called the first pope, this would make Rome superior from the start. But, as this is a lie, the date is irrelevant when coupled to Peter. The first pope to be called ‘bishop of Rome’ was Boniface III, in 607 AD, but this date, too, is not relevant, for there were many popes before him; Linus was the first ‘pope’ or ‘pappa’.
Even the First council of Nicaea did not indicate Rome to be the prime church in the world. But, as one would expect, Roman Catholics insist that this meeting of the ‘whole’ church meant those churches were in full communion with Rome! We only need to look at the list of attendees to see this was nonsense. And even if it were true, it proves that not all churches were subservient to Rome.
The first known Council was the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts 15. Its existence proves that Rome had no prominence at the time of the apostles, and was not the ‘headquarters’ of the Church. If any church was the ‘mother’ church then it had to be Jerusalem. But, it never claimed such prestige for itself. In that council Peter did not claim superiority, but is just one of the apostles named. Rather, James was pastor of the Jerusalem church and he presided over matters.
After this era came the final overthrow of Israel by Rome (70 AD) and much upheaval. It was not until Constantine declared leniency that the churches came out of hiding and the Rome bishop claimed authority. He was, in essence, riding on the wave given to him by the emperor, not by God. Soon, emperors gave way to popes, but it was a shift in name only, because the popes were merely emperors in papal clothing. One big result of this was the influx of pagans into the ‘church’ so-called, and the split of the Roman bishop from genuine Christianity took place.
Rome insists that the rest of the Church split from Rome. But, the facts point the other way – Rome became arrogant and divisive and decided to ‘go it alone’. From then it developed its own doctrines until it came to be what it is today, a non-Christian organisation masquerading under the title ‘Church’. Interestingly, I have read a small number of admissions to this. For example, where Rome itself says it is Catholic and not Christian (I cannot now remember the source for the statement, but it came from Rome). Rome, then, is an example of tares growing alongside the wheat.
From the time of Thomas Aquinas, Rome had a cohesive theological foundation, even though it was, and is, grave error (See my book, ‘Tom Got It Wrong’). In the last decade or two, Rome has ‘gone public’ in declaring that scripture is full of errors: the basis for this is its return to the almost defunct ideas put out by Higher Critics (See articles on this topic).
So, Rome split from the true Church, pretending to be the true Church on its own. It presses the notion that Rome is the Mother church and the pope its Head, contrary to the statements by Christ concerning who is Head. At first, Rome was only wrong. But, after the split, when it demanded obedience from all other churches, it displayed its true status as non-Christian. No Christian should have fellowship with it, nor see it as containing brethren.
© February 2011
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Please 'Make a Donation' to support the work of Bible Theology Ministries