H. Leo Boles
There are many errors taught by the Catholics. Hence, this article is headed, Some Errors of Catholicism. All of their errors could not be discussed in one brief article. At one time, the Catholic Church published its doctrines in papers under the title, Religious Information Bureau. The general reading public never took the time to investigate the bold Catholic assertions and allowed them to go unchallenged by the truth.
The Catholic Church
In their published “Information Bureau,” they declared that Christ built the Catholic Church and they affirm that he built only one church. In this assertion, they have some truth mixed with error.
It is true that Christ built only one church, but it was not the Catholic Church. The church that Jesus built belongs to Christ and not to the pope. Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). This shows that the church belongs to Christ. All authentic church history teaches that the Roman Catholic Church was not developed as we now have it until some centuries after Christ established his church.
It is an error for Catholics to claim that Christ established the Catholic Church. Many will not take time to investigate this false Catholic claim that “Christ established only one church and that was the Catholic Church.” A half truth is a lie. Christ built only one church, but that was not the Catholic Church.
The New Testament declares that the church Christ built is the “church of God,” the “body of Christ,” “the household of faith,” etc. The New Testament nowhere mentions the Roman Catholic Church. Neither does it mention anything about the pope, who is the head of the Catholic Church. The New Testament church was never cumbered with the ecclesiastical machinery that now belongs to the Catholic Church. Anyone who knows what the Catholic Church is and what the New Testament teaches can know there is the width of the poles between the Catholic Church and the church of Christ.
Church Not Built On Peter
Another error taught by the Catholics is that Christ built his church on the apostle Peter. In the new translation of the New Testament Revised by the Catholic Church, we have this quotation:
Then Jesus answered and said, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but my Father in heaven. And I say to thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:17-18).
In the notes of their Revised New Testament, we have this comment:
In the gospels the word church is used only here and in 18:17. In the Old Testament it designated the assembly of Israel. Here, in speaking of his church, our Lord means a society of men united to serve God as he had taught them to do. Compared with an edifice, it is said to rest on a rock, as did the house of the wise man of 7:24. That rock was Peter. Of course, the strength of the foundation comes from Christ.
It is a bold claim of the Catholic Church that Christ built his church upon Peter. This is false and is abundantly disproved by the New Testament. The Holy Spirit said through Paul, “So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).
Again, Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “According to the grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation; and another buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:10-11).
So Christ is the foundation upon which the church is built—not Peter. The fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, must be preached in order for one to truly preach Christ. When Catholics claim that the church was built upon Peter, they make a false claim, which contradicts the teachings of the Holy Spirit. This is a deadly offense against Christ.
“Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The name Peter here means a stone (John 1:42) and in the Greek it’s in the masculine gender, petros. “Upon this rock,” as used by our Lord, contradicts the claims of the Catholic Church. Rock, as used here, is in the feminine gender, petra. It refers to the foundation upon which Christ built his church. Petros, which means a stone, is one thing, and petra, which means a ledge of rock, is another thing. Jesus did not say—neither did he mean to say—that his church would be built upon “a stone,” but upon a solid “ledge of rock.”
What was this petra upon which the church was to be built? The Catholics claim that it was Peter, but the context shows this claim is untrue. It’s clear from the context that Jesus, by using the term petra, referred to the truth that Peter had just confessed, which was the deity of Jesus. The truth that Jesus is the Son of God is the most fundamental and basic of all truths pertaining to man’s redemption.
Peter Is Not The Head Of The Church
Peter was not the head of the church that Christ built. Catholics claim that Peter was the first pope and, therefore, the head of the church. They claim that the pope of Rome is the head of the church that Christ built. Peter was not a pope at all, therefore he could not be the first pope.
Peter was a married man. “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother lying sick of a fever” (Matt. 8:14). This passage also tells us that Jesus healed Peter’s wife’s mother. To the church at Corinth, Paul said, “Have we not a right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” (1 Cor. 9:5).
Catholics deny the right of the pope to marry. Neither will they permit a cardinal, bishop or priest to marry. The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but he is not the head of God’s church. The New Testament clearly, frequently, and emphatically teaches that Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23; 1:22; Col. 1:18). These and other scriptures teach that Christ is the head of the church and that he is over all things to the church. That leaves no room for Peter to be the head of the church, and it certainly doesn’t leave any room for the pope of Rome to be the head of the church Christ built.