Now, before you make a few phone calls or send a few emails…
Pope Benedict XVI has spoken from his “infallible” roost that only the Catholic church can be a true church because of apostolic succession. Therefore, other Christian churches and denominations are only “ecclesial communities” and are not recognized as having the true means of salvation. If you want to read a secular report on this click HERE.
While I am not that interested in ecumenical discussions, this will hopefully wake up many to the very dangerous error of following a religion that requires works for salvation and follows a man who is given infallible authority. The basis for the entire Catholic religion rests on the interpretation of Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Catholics, of course, take this to mean that Peter is the one that Christ will build his church upon; therefore instituting Peter as the first “pope”. If this verse was not included in the rest of the New Testament, that interpretation might have some merit, but within the greater context of scripture, even Matthew, this is not the case. Peter’s confession of Christ being Lord is the foundational statement supported as the central figure for the church. Christ is the head, not the Pope (not even vicariously). This is why our brothers during the Reformation put roosters on the top of their newly established “protesting” (Protestant) churches. They wanted to remind the communities as they were breaking from the Catholic church that Peter, the supposed first infallible pope, denied Christ three times before the cock crowed and he could NOT have been a pope as the church had proposed for years. The picture below illustrates this. This is a French protestant church I photographed last year that was established soon after the Reformation reached France through John Calvin’s extended ministry.
The practical truth for us in all of this (although I’m tempted to write much more than I have) is to remember…
- Colossians 1:18 states that Christ ALONE is the head of the church!
- Romans 10:17 states that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ!
- Ephesians 2:8-9 states that grace, coming through faith, is the only means of salvation!
- I Corinthians 10:31 and Ephesians 1 make clear that all things, including salvation, are for God’s glory ALONE!
So, let us stand with those who faithfully labored before us several hundred years ago during the Reformation and proclaim the battle cry of their movement…
Solus Christus! (Christ Alone)
Sola Scriptura! (Scripture Alone)
Sola Fide! (Faith Alone)
Sola Gratia! (Grace Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria! (To God Alone be the Glory)
We are NOT some mere “ecclesial community”. We are the church, because Christ is our head. We are not the church because of UBC’s heritage or name or denomination. This is a great opportunity to remember that Christ is indeed coming for His bride and we must be ready for our bride-groom! He will recognize His own and it will certainly not be based on what any “man” has said, it is His criteria. So, let us treasure Christ above all things and reach others to find joy in HIM!