#0106 Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:1-5 (KJV)
Today’s posting is part 8 of the new series: “Words of the Bible vs. the WORD”. This series is based upon material to be included in my new book. As I am inspired to write this, I am posting these ideas on-the-fly, so they will be fleshed out and edited more before they get incorporated into the book.
Words of the Bible vs. the WORD
The reason Christianity as a whole can’t let go of this [Old Testament] characterization of God the Father is because they have assigned too much authority to the collection of books known as the Bible. They have done so to the extent of referring to this book—that is to say the words of this book—as the WORD. Because this is the hole the Church has dug itself into, the job of establishing a new Christian narrative becomes a tall order, indeed! So in a very real way the sin of the world John the Baptist was referring to [John 1: 21] and which we identified as the Mosaic Law has been revived or re-manifested in the doctrine of salvation. John the Baptist’s proclamation was that Jesus would take away this “sin of the world”; but what we are seeing is another force at work which has essentially brought it (the sin) back into play upon the world stage. The component that is making this possible is the solidification of the concept of Biblical and priesthood authorities. Even though the Bible and priesthood are well established frameworks within Christianity, and have been in place for centuries, nay, millennia they nevertheless have effectively been siphoning divine authority away from the Holy Ghost and channeling it into a sea of ambiguity. Let’s take a look at how this dynamic got started. We can begin with a couple of questions. 1st: “Where do we suppose divine authority originates from?”; the 2nd question would be: “How have the priests, preachers and all the others claiming to know the mind and will of God—who presume to speak for Him—acquired the right and the wherewithal to do so?” If you ask Catholics, their answers might get into a dissertation on Apostolic Authority and talk about how God’s authority was first awarded to Peter by Christ as is evidenced in this scripture…
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matt. 16:16-18 (KJV)
From this point, the Catholics have laid claim to Peter as the founder and originator of their church by proclaiming him as the first Pope. Today, as successor to the Apostle Peter, the Catholic Church deems the Pope as the sole, infallible personification of divine authority on the earth. This Apostolic Authority gives the Pope the ability to pass along this authority to others through the sacrament of ordination. These lesser/sub-ordinates receive this authority through a kind of trickle down method; this power or authority travels along hierarchical channels down to the local priests all around the world and throughout the centuries of history. One could easily get the sense that the further down the line, away from the Pope (and from St. Peter), the authority becomes weaker and more depleted. All of these members of God’s holy priesthood have undergone rigorous seminary training as a way of bolstering up this authority to keep it energized enough to provide some sort of a meager blessing to the lowly parishioners at the bottom of the spiritual food chain. That’s the hope anyway. Consider this Scripture, once again it comes from Mathew…
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Matt 15 25-27 (NIV)
I am purposefully misinterpreting this scripture in order to better illustrate my point about the diminishment factor this authority hierarchy paradigm tends to promote. Once again, this divine authority the Catholics claim is called Apostolic Authority meaning it originates from the apostles.
With non-Catholic Christians—AKA: Protestants—it’s a similar scenario; but they put much more emphasis on the Bible. They believe that all divine authority is resident in God’s word and it emanates out from there. Protestant Christians believe that the Bible—the one-book Bible—IS God’s word. This notion seems to imply that divine authority is more widespread and readily available to all Christians or even to anyone who can read the Bible for themselves. It’s not that simple, though. It seems that Luther didn’t just translate the Bible, he began putting his own spin on it; he began crafting policies and doctrines using this new availability of scriptures to the common man as their foundation. Before he was through, history sees him essentially kidnapping divine authority out from under the very nose of the Catholic Church. It was a classic bait-n-switch move and this dynamic is still in play today.
- Oct 31, 1517: Martin Luther posted his list of 95 theses on the Church’s door which challenged the Catholic Church’s authority
- 1522: Luther translates the New Testament into German (the language of his countrymen).
- Many of these theses subsequently morphed into doctrines which, put together, formed the foundation of this new Protestant Movement
- The migration of members away from Catholicism was vast and along with them authority was spirited away as well.
- A clash of theologies ensued
If you have a question or a comment about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As usual, thanks for reading.
TBC: Saturday, August 27, 2016