Getting a Look at What Lies Beneath

Related imageThursday of this past week, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, walked into the congressional chamber to give a speech.  Let me be clear, the Pope did not come to speak on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ, even though he bears the title “vicar of Christ”.  This may astound some of my readers, who may have Catholic ties, or remain in the confines of that religious organization. The word “vicar” is of Latin origin and produces the English word vicariously.  In laymen terms “vicar of Christ” means that the pope literally stands in for Jesus, vicariously.   In this role, this man is endowed with infallibility and has universal power to exercise over the Roman Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, pg. 234 sec. 882 and pg.235 sec. 891).

The problematic nature of this teaching is so expansive as to need its own blog posting to knock down.  I will merely say, that for a man who is considered too literally stand in for Jesus Christ,  and holds virtually universal power among the Roman C.C. faithful, to give a speech of 3400 words and not to even use the name of Jesus Christ in invocation or benediction is troubling at best.  This of course was not the only unsettling thing of his populous speech.

In the first place, many would shout “amen”, at this man’s statement about protecting human life at every stage of development.  What followed this statement is what befuddles and causes alarm.  In answer to his statement on life, he proceeded to proclaim to be seeking the abolition of the death penalty in the entire world.  That’s all fine and good, but it is not necessarily a directive of the word of God, as God gives human governments the responsibility to punish evil doers commensurate to the crime committed (See Romans 13:4-5).  In fact the entirety of the New Testament, speaks nothing of how a human secular government should enforce punishment.  Our Lord Jesus was not interested in redeeming human governments, but establishing His kingdom in those who are the redeemed of the Lord.  Interestingly, Jesus life was taken in capital punishment and He instructed us to deny ourselves and take up our cross.  In spite of these points of discussion, what is most troubling about the pope’s statement on life is the word he never used…ABORTION.

Later on in the day he gave his speech, debate was to continue in the same chamber, on the possibility of defunding Planned Parenthood—the world’s largest provider of child murder, at the earliest stage development.  When discussion continued in congress later in the day, another bill was presented that would not fully defund Planned Parenthood, allowing there murderous practices to continue if adopted.  One can only conjecture if the pope’s omission had an impact.   For the pope to say nothing is an insult to all who have fought to end the scourge of abortion.   As the leader of 2 billion Catholics, who have been taught the evil of abortion, this should raise red flags.  It seems to me that if Jesus, who said “Let the little children come to and forbid them not”, and also said “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven”, were present He would have had something to say to representatives of a government that have watched the abortion of 53,000,000 children.  Yet he championed protecting the life of convicted criminals who deserve secular punishment.

In the second place, it is amazing how little outcry came from those who always shout “separation of Church and state”!  In a climate where Christians are now being sanctioned for merely practicing their faith in good conscience, the leader of the Roman C.C. waltzed into the head of America’s representative body, and began to give direction, with almost no protest.  Could it be that it was already known this man would not speak on behalf of Jesus Christ, but would bolster the programs already set in motion?  You decide.

Pope Francis lectured the Congress that it should open the nations’ borders and their hearts, so that as many refugees and immigrants could come into the U.S., for an opportunity to live out their dreams.  His comments are closely in line with one of our political parties, and those who illegally enter America is one of the hottest political footballs.  His comments sided with one side of the isle and disavowed some of his own flock who are serving on the other side of the issue.  I am not trying to enter the political fray, but use what happened to pull the veil back on the pope.

For years politicians have pandered to the poor with programs and rhetoric that is very Robin Hood like; we will take from the rich, so the poor can get a leg up and all will be equal.  This is the pope’s plan as well.  Let me be clear, I am no fan of greed, but even Jesus said “The poor you always have with you”.  I believe that the Lord commands us to love our neighbor’s as we love our self, but this is not enforced upon a populous through the force of human government.  This kind of love comes from a heart which Christ possesses.  My point, if Jesus were calling the shots, I do not believe this would have been His message.  Seems to me opening up a country’s borders, belongs to the will of that nations people; meaning it belongs to the realm of human government, Caesar’s government.  Jesus declared “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, give to God, what is God’s.

If that were not enough, the pope went on to speak in veiled terms against the second amendment.  It is no secret that he believes it is un-Christian to manufacture or own guns.  For my part, I do not own a weapon and will not, but I will not force my decision on another.  I believe this is an important issue of conscience for the individual believer in Christ and the word of God does declare “all things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.  All things are lawful, but not all things build up (I Corinthians 10:23)”.  In I Corinthians 6:12 in similar language the Word of God declares “All things are lawful, but I will not be mastered by any”.  Jesus had much to declare on how His own were to respond to violence against them for His name sake (Matthew 5:38-48), yet He left out giving direction to secular governments, for that was not why He came.

This is the issue with Francis instructions.  He walked into a chamber that is deeply divided over this issue.  His instruction lines up with one of the parties and denies the others position.  Again, gun control, whether you are for or against it as a Christian, is an issue of Caesar.  Again the pope did not speak to congress on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If he had he would have used the Lord’s name.  If Francis was speaking on behalf of Jesus he would have called congress to repentance over the unconstitutional Governmental sanction of homosexual marriages, which denies God’s blessed union of man and woman.  He would have spoken on behalf of the voiceless Christian refugee’s on the run from the brutality of Isis, whom our government refuses to allow asylum too.  He would have spoken the name of Saeed Abedini, and pleaded with congress the absentee president to act.  Sadly, he did not.  Many were listening and had his voice been on behalf of Jesus, it may have made a difference.

One may think, well Mike, “What do you want the pope to do?”  Well, really nothing.  What I seek to do is pull the mask off of this idea of the “vicar of Christ” for all people, including Catholics.  It is about time we wake up to God’s Word and pull the see what has been beneath the surface, which has been fooling people for centuries.  We are not going to look at the sordid, immoral and sick history of the roman pope, but look at the crookedness that birthed such an idea.  I will try to be brief in explaining the errors and troubles, so if you would like more information you can contact me.  This is also not a point by point deconstruction of all Roman Catholic doctrine, but a journey to the danger the lies beneath the surface, a danger we can’t always see.  Beginning with the error of the “vicar of Christ” we will travel below the surface to reveal the blasphemous lie against our Savior Jesus Christ, in His finished word and deity.


when looking into what is crooked, we must begin with how the Catholic Church regards the word of God.  Their error begins with placing Scripture alongside their tradition as is handed down through what the call “apostolic tradition”.  In layman terms the Word of God is not the only rule of faith and conduct.  When the word of God and their tradition would seem to clash, it would be a matter of wrong interpretation of the bible, therefore they who have the “gift” of revelation would interpret is properly, in their error prone view.

Their error prone view comes from the idea of what they call “apostolic succession”. In this term they claim that Peter is the first pope, because Jesus said to in Matthew 16:18-19 “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church… And I will give you the keys to the kingdom and what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”.  If not careful to divide the word of God correctly, it may seem that what Jesus was saying is that Peter is the head of His church  He is not, for if it had Jesus would have been denying Himself as the head of the Church as recorded in Colossians 1:18 and Ephesians 2:19-20.

Ephesians 2:19-20 (NKJV) Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone

What the Lord Jesus was saying was actually quite simple.  He said you are Peter (stone; piece of the rock), and on this rock (petra; meaning massive rock) I will build my church.  Jesus was referring to Himself for He is the chief cornerstone. Peter, as well as all who follow Jesus are “chips off the Rock”.  Jesus is the Rock on which the church is built.  Jesus was not referring to Peter as the cornerstone, but Himself and the apostles and O.T. prophets teaching, contained in the Word of God are its foundation.  In obvious error, the Roman C.C. claims Peter the head, and the pope his successor.  Interestingly, Peter would not even claim that right and history and the bible would invalidate the Roman C.C. claim.  In Acts 15 we encounter the Jerusalem council, where the issue of whether circumcision was necessary for salvation, was debated.    Peter was there but did not even preside over the council. The scriptures give no indication of what is claimed by the papacy.

This error continues with the idea of papal infallibility, which was earlier discussed and where and to whom that extends.  In their doctrinal position, those who are referred to as magisterium (the pope and the college of the cardinals), are the only ones to receive scriptural revelation to pass on to the priests they ordain.  Therefore the rank and file, in ignorance need them to interpret the bible.  This is a great system when you want to buck the word of God and elevate your preference for tradition.  In this the gate keepers forget that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God as defined by the scriptures in John 1:1-5, and this Living Word needs no redefinition by the deadened intellect of men.  Jesus Himself told us that the Holy Spirit would be the one to teach those who followed Him (John14:26).  In I John 2:20-21; 27 this point is reiterated by declaring the each believer has an anointing to understand the truth and that it is this anointing (by the Holy Spirit) which teaches all things.  The reason for this exhortation was that men who would blow into town and claim authority over believers because of their apostolic authority to teach the Word of God.  Paul dealt with this also, in the first and second books to the Corinthians, as charlatans were denigrating him as the Lord’s servant.

I realize the tone of my writing may appear to be assigning some malicious intent on the part of the pope and the entire Roman C.C. leadership.  Although that is possible, I am assuming they have good intentions, but as a wise British politician once declared “We must be careful not to be drown at sea in the storm, having first been carried off by a wave of good intention”.  I believe that this pope is sincere in what he says, and I believe he sincerely believes he is serving God.  Yet sincerity is not the only defining trait of godliness, in fact it is not even a dominating one.  Sincerity is only effective as an indicator of godliness, if it is generated by a love for truth, God’s Truth, which is God’s Living Word, as detailed in the written word of God.  Many would say they love the Truth, yet interpret it according to their natural understanding—and this wreaks havoc, even if the person is sincere.

So I believe the pope is sincere, but so was Gandhi, so was John Lennon, so was Hitler, as is Vladimir Putin, the Ayatollah in Iran and even Donald Trump.  Even though these folks were and are sincere and believe they have the right way to go, but I would run from following any of them—remembering that old adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  It is for this reason that we must be careful to engage Roman Catholic leadership with grace and not treat the rank and file as dolts or foolish for following their error filled and faith damaging teaching.  In spite of needing that mental framework to engage them, we must engage them, for the world tends to see the faith once delivered to the saints as the faith of Roman Catholicism.  Sadly from their crooked foundation built not on Jesus but fallible men, come some of the most egregiously and faith damaging doctrines every machinated.

From their foundation in “apostolic tradition” we get the torturous and unnecessary doctrine of celibate priests, and a priesthood which opposes the word of God, which declares all followers of Christ as priests in the Kingdom of God (I Peter 2:9-10, Revelation 1:6; 5:10).  Out of the Roman Catholic well of supposed “illumination” has arisen the demonic doctrines of Mariolatry, declaring she also was too without sin.  Never was a more unnecessary lie accepted by so many lost sheep. Springing from this satanic lie, Mary has been elevated to interceding as a mediator, when scripture declares that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5).   To top it off they have raised her almost officially to becoming a co-redeemer.  I could write tomes about these egregious and sinister additions to the faith but one, which is the central core of their teaching, is the most profound and far reaching of all, as it is the most heinous attack on Christ.  In my next posting we will look a little further beneath the surface.

About Michael J Erdel

Mike is a pastor with The Assembly of God Fellowship. He is the lead pastor at Encounter Church in Fostoria Ohio. His desire is to encourage the Church of Jesus Christ, and declare God's hope through His Son Jesus, to a world which is long on excuses and short on hope. Mike has experienced the truth that when we kneel before Christ, surrendering to Him as Savior and LORD, being led and empowered by His Spirit. To Jesus Christ be all glory and honor.
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