The oldest church in the world is the church of Christ.

If asked to name the oldest church in the world, many would instantly reply, “The Catholic Church.” Three possible reasons for this response are: 1) Lack of diligently searching the Scriptures, 2) Constant bombardment of Catholicism by mass-media and/or 3) They are members of the Catholic Church. Another factor that enters into this equation is a lack of militancy in exposing the errors of Catholicism.

Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, very little has been written exposing the fallacies of Catholicism. Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude of many members of the church is to ignore; i.e. not expose, any and all false doctrines. This has resulted in a weak, compromising mind-set throughout the Lord’s church. Brethren need to be reminded we are “to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11) [and to] “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

Toleration of error weakens the body of Christ. Weak brethren soon, if not careful, compromise truth, adjust and eventually accept that which they once opposed!
It might be very surprising for many to learn that the oldest church in the world is NOT the Catholic Church or any other denomination! The oldest church in the world is the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16)! This is the one and only church Jesus said He would build (Matt. 16:18). It was established on the first Pentecost following His resurrection (Acts 2:4,41,47)!

The heart and core of Catholicism is the supposed primacy of Peter. According to Catholicism, Peter is considered superior to the other apostles and the first Pope. Note the following quote:

“The Catholic Church teaches also, that our Lord conferred on St. Peter the first place of honor and jurisdiction in the government of His whole church, and that the same spiritual supremacy has always resided in the Popes, or Bishops of Rome, as being the successors of St. Peter. Consequently, to be true followers of Christ all Christians, both among the clergy and the laity, must be in communion with the See of Rome, where Peter rules in the person of his successor.” (Faith of Our Fathers, James Cardinal Gibbons, one hundred and tenth edition, p.78).

Catholics insist that Peter was the rock/foundation of the church. Their so-called proof is Matthew 16:18, “And I say 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.” A close examination of this verse destroys the false doctrine that Peter was the “rock” upon which Christ promised to build His church. The word translated “rock” is petra which means a huge ledge, massive, rock. Whereas the word “Peter” is petros which means a small stone or pebble. Thus, our Lord was telling Peter: Thou art petros (a small pebble) and upon this petra (massive rock) I will build my church. This petra upon which Christ built His church was His authority and divinity. “Thou are the Christ the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).
Catholic scholars often state Peter’s supremacy is verified in the first twelve chapters of Acts where his name occurs 53 times. The absurdity of this argument is quickly seen in the last 16 chapters of Acts where Paul’s name is mentioned approximately 130 times and Peter’s name is referred to only twice. Does this mean Peter relinquished his supremacy to Paul?

The fact is, Peter was just one of the apostles. Simply because his name heads various lists and events in the first 12 chapters of Acts does not make Peter superior to the other apostles any more than it makes Paul superior to the other apostles since he is the leading character in Acts chapters 13-28 and penman of the majority of the New Testament. Furthermore, one can search in vain and never find one instance where Peter was ever called Pope or spoken of above the other apostles! As pointed out by brother Ben Vick, “If Peter were the first Pope, why did he refuse to let Cornelius worship him (Acts 10:25-26)? However, the Pope today does not prohibit individuals from bowing to him. Evidently, Paul did not know Peter was the first Pope because he rebuked Peter before all because he was to be blamed (Gal. 2:11-14).” (The Informer, Is The Catholic Church The True Church of Christ? Ben F. Vick, July 15, 2007).

Furthermore, the Pope is not holy, nor is he my father! The Lord said, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). There is no doubt that Paul is referring to the Pope when he wrote, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4)!

The Catholic doctrine of Peter being the first Pope is without biblical support! Christ and Christ alone is the only head of the church both in heaven and on earth (Eph. 1:22-23)! He alone stands between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5)!

By Ivie Powell

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