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It is written:
2 Timothy 4:3-4-For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
The church of Christ has one Head-Jesus Christ Himself (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18). However, the Apostles of Christ foretold that one day a power structure would arise within the church that would attempt to replace Jesus as the Head of His own body! This would come about with the fall of the Roman Empire (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12), and history shows that this indeed took place.
In God’s arrangement, every congregation (or church) of saved individuals would be overseen by pastors or bishops (cf. Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5, 7; 1 Timothy 3:1-8). There was to be a plurality of these bishops in every congregation (cf. Philippians 1:1). Early in the second century church, the Christians understood and abided by this arrangement-but then eventually began to elevate one bishop over all the rest. This in turn led to this one elevated bishop taking control over that congregation, and then over other congregations in his vicinity. These things then eventually led to the formation of five huge “mega churches”which began to contend for power and control over the Christian world with the downfall of the Roman Empire.
“As the city churches began to evangelize those in the country, the city bishops began to assume authority over the country bishops. These were called the Metropolitans. Thus began the avenue by which the organizational structure eventually evolved into the hierarchical form of church government that exists today in the Catholic and some Protestant churches. BISHOPS over elders (beginning in the second century). METROPOLITANS (city bishops over country bishops). PATRIARCHS in five cities (Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Rome).” (Calvin Fields, 10, 000 Faces Of Christianity: What Face Have You Seen? 5569-5574 (Kindle Edition); Xulon Press)
Eventually, the Catholic church in Rome began to make the claim that Christ had built His church on the Apostle Peter. They even forged documents to try and justify this teaching, and eventually won the fight for supremacy! Writing of the extent of Catholic forgeries (admitted within Catholic books themselves), O.C. Lambert documents:
“She admits, as you will see by glancing at the chart, that forgery is a gigantic thing designed to make the world accept her apostasy. This is not my assertion—not the falsehoods of her enemies—this is what she says of herself! Forgery Quite a Trade When: In Every Century To What Extent? “Quite a Trade,” (Cath. Ency., VI, 136). “So often met with,” (Outline of Dog. Theol., II, 564). “Many writings,” (Cath. Ency., IV, 14). “A great many,” (Cath. Ency., IX, 224). “Prolific in forgeries,” (Com. Augustine, I, 27). “Rife with fabrications,” (Com. Augustine, I, 23). “A large number of forgeries,” (Cath. Ency., IV, 544). “Describe many practices as apostolic institutions,” (Cath. Ency., III, 484). “Alleged instances from earlier times,” (Cath. Ency., XIV, 378). Purpose of Catholic Forgeries “Plainly for the purpose of deceiving,” (V, 13). “Secure the authority of the Roman Pontiff,” (Com. Augustine, I, 25). “Defend hierarchy” (Com. Aug., I, 25). “Against heretics,” (Cath. Ency., V, 16). “To supply documents,” (Dic., 388). “Create impression . . . time of apostles,” (Cath. Ency., V, 14). “To describe many practices as apostolic” “Produce alleged instances from earlier times,” (Cath. Ency., XIV, 378). “Exalt power . . . of . . . Pope,” (Dic., 338) “More centralization,” (Com. Augustine, I, 26). “Defend hierarchy in all its degrees” (Com. Augustine, 25). “The writer wished to be thought to belong to the preceding generation,” (Hermas) (Cath. Ency., VII, 270). Who Perpetrated These Forgeries? Popes Fathers Councils Monks Cardinals Doctors Bishops When Did She Forge These Documents? The next chart is a listing of some of the most important of her forgeries, though by no means all of them. By each I give the century in which she admits to making them, and on the other side a reference to her own writings verifying the statement. You will note that there are thirty-one listed. Others might be presented. Nearly All These Documents Are Extensive To let you see how extensive they are, we find that Apostolic Constitutions have 8 volumes, Acts of the Martyrs comprise 12 volumes, The Clementines consists of 20 books, and Lives of the Saints are printed in 64 volumes!!! (Question Box 122, 1929 edition). Forgery “Was Quite a Trade in the Middle Ages” Catholic Encyclopedia speaking of these matters says: “Substituting of false documents and tampering with genuine ones was quite a trade in the Middle Ages” (VI, 136). Let us remember that the “Middle Ages” was the period when the Catholic Church had everything her own way. She would even forge a document in one century and re-forge it in later centuries!!! Catholicism is the most gigantic hoax of history! My next chart is given to show the actual century in which the persons lived or were supposed to have lived, whose names were forged. They were continually manufacturing documents, purporting to be ancient, many of them attributed to New Testament characters. But these forgeries were really made hundreds of years after the death of the persons whose names they bear. Actual Century of Forgeries Century Some Catholic Forgeries by Centuries 2 Epistle of Barnabas (Cath. Ency., II, 299-300) In Codex Sinaiticus (4th Cen.) 2 Shepherd of Hermas (Cath. Ency., VII, 268-270) Sinaiticus—Mid. Ages—Penance 2 Didache (Cath. Ency., IV, 779) “embodies” Apostolic Constitutions 3 Didaskalia Apostolorum (Cath. Ency., IV, 781-2) “earliest attempt—Corpus Juris” 4 Apostles Creed (Cath. Ency., I, 629-630) “unhistorical” “legend” “ex Cathedra” (Cath. Ency., I, 632). 4 Liberian Catalogue (Cath. Ency., IX, 224) ends with Liberius 4 Clementine Recognitions—20 books (Cath. Ency., IV, 14, 39-41, 44) Summa 7 times, “forms” (Cath. Ency., IV, 42) 4 Clementine Liturgies (Dic. 522). 4 Apostolic Church Ordinances (Cath. Ency., I, 635). 4 Egyptian Church Ordinances (Cath. Ency., I, 636). 5 Acts of the Martyrs—12 books (Dic., 9) Lives of Saints 64 Volumes (Question Box, 122) Lives of Saints began Acts of Martyrs (Cath. Dic., 9) 5 Apostolic Canons (85 Canons) (Dic., 41-42; Cath. Ency., III, 280) 5 Apostolic Constitutions—“ embodies” Didache (Cath. Ency., IV, 779; I, 571; Dic., 43). 5 Dionysius the Areopagite (Dic., 402; Cath. Ency., V, 13-17; Dog. Theol., II, 279). 5 Antiochene Liturgy (Cath. Ency. I, 572). 5 Canons of Hippolytus (Cath. Ency., VII, 361-2; XI, 307, 622, on penance I, 636). 6 Symmachian Forgeries (Cath. Ency., XIV, 378). 7 Augustine—3 forged (Cath. Ency., II, 79; I, 629; XI, 623) (De Condition Cordis (Summa, Part III, Fourth No., 119). De Penitentia (Summa, Part III, Third Number, 57). Hypognosticon (Summa, Part III, Third Number, 77). These forgeries cited many times by Thomas. 8 Liber Pontificalis “took over” Liberian-Catoluge-Used Clementine Recog. (Cath. Ency., IX, 225) Reforged. 9 Donation of Constantine (Cath. Ency., VII, 539; Short History, 82; Dic., 165 De Montor, I, 73). 9 False Decretals of Isadore (Cath. Ency., V, 773; Gen. Leg., 37; Cath. Ency., V, 777; Comm. Augustine, I, 25-6). Took over former forgeries, reforging them. 10 Deed of Gift to Sylvester II (Dic., 338-9; XIV, 371). 12 Apoc. Acts of Apostles; Acts of Peter and Paul (Cath. Ency., I, 610-13). 13 Prayer of Manasses—Quoted from Latin Bible by St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa, Third Part, Third Number, 87). 14 (?) Bonaventure’s Writings—several works forgeries (Cath. Ency., II, 654) 2000 variants in vol. I (10 Volumes). 14 Forged Decree of Council of Vienna 13 (Disciplinary Decrees of General Council, 429). 14 Works of Duns Scotus (Cath. Ency., V, 195). 14 Works of Thomas (Cath. Ency., XIV, 666; Outline of Dog. Theol., II, 564). 15 Alan DeRupe—Rosary a Forgery—St. Dominic (Devotion of Holy R., 52; Cath. Ency., XIII, 186; Catholic Facts, 86). 16 Clement VIII & “St.” Bellarmine’s Lie in Preface to Vulgate Bible (Cath. Ency., II, 411, 412). Popess Joan—Falsifying history. 18 Irenaeus (Pfaff) (Cath. Ency., VIII, 131). 20 Leo XIII Approves De Rupe’s Forgery, (Cath. Ency., XIII, 186; Catholic Facts 86). 20 Liguori—Glories of Mary (New edition a Forgery!). 20 Assumption of the Virgin—based on Dionysius, a forgery (Cath. Ency., I, 608). Actual Century of Persons Whose Names Are Forged (For Reference) 1 Clement 1 Dionysius 1 Linus 1 Barnabas 1 Apostles 2 Soter 2 Ireneaus 2 Alexander I 2 Evaristus 2 Ignatius 2 Sixtus I—“ bishop of bishops” 2 Shepherd of Hermas 2 Telesphorus 2-3 Tertullian 3 Cyprian 3 Zephrinus 3 Corneleus 3 Hippolytus 3 Fabian 3 Origen 3 Marcellinus 4 Ambrose (alias Hegisippas) (Cath. Ency., VII, 195; I, 387). 4 Sylvester 4 Athanaseus 4 Constantine 4 Chrysostom 4 Eusebius “Cannot be used as historical data” (VII, 341) 4 Damasus (Letters: some of them forged (Cath. Ency., IV, 614) 4 Liberius (Letters forged (Cath. Ency., IV, 614) 5 Hilary of Arles 5 Augustine 5 Jerome 7 Vitalian 13 Thomas 13 Duns Scotus 13 Bonaventure 13 Dominick 15 Concerning Alexander VI. “white-wash” 16 Prophecies 16 Sixtus V. 18 Liguori 41 men—33 of them before the 5th century! Names of Others Whose Names Are Forged Manasses (prayer)—Quoted from Latin Bible in Summa (Third part, Third number 87). Linus (De Montor, I, 19). Soter (De Montor, I, 36). Alexander I (De Montor, I, 25). Barnabas (Cath. Ency., II, 299). In Codex Sinaiticus with Shepard of Hermas. Evaristus (De Montor, I, 23). “Now considered to be apocryphal.” Shepherd of Hermas (Cath. Ency., VII, 270). “The writer wished to be thought to belong to the preceding generation” (Also Cath. Ency., II, 299). Ignatius (Cath. Ency., I, 637; VII, 646-7) Forged 5th century-reforged! “even Catholics have denied that St. Ignatius was aware of a divine origin for the hierarchy” (Cath. Ency., VII, 339). Sixtus I (De Montor, I, 30). “an apocryphal letter” “bishop of bishops.” Telesphorus (De Montor, I, 31) Used today. Zephrinus (quoted in Liber Pontificalis) (Cath. Ency., XV. 757). Corneleus (Cath. Dic., 338). Pontian (De Montor, I, 45). “two epistles . . . are evidently apocryphal.” Fabian (Cath. Dic., 338). Athanaseus (Pseudo-Athanaseuan Creed (Cath. Ency., II, 92). Marcellinus (De Montor, I, 66). “Both letters . . . spurious.” Sylvester (Cath. Dic., 338-9). Constantine (Cath. Ency., VII, 539). Chrysostom (Cath. Ency., II, 92; IV, 782). Eusebius (De Montor, I, 67). “Three letters . . . spurious.” Used as proof (VII, 338). Jerome (De Montor, I, 86). “A letter . . . now known to be apocryphal.” Vitalian (Cath. Ency., IX, 224; XV, 485). Bonaventure (Cath. Ency., II, 654) “Several works”—2000 variant readings 1st Vol. (10 Volumes). Ambrose (Cath. Ency., I, 386-7). Forgeries in Benedictine edition!!! Many (Cath. Ency., I, 368-9). Liberius (Cath. Ency., IX, 220). Hegesippas (alias Ambrose) (Cath. Ency., VII, 195). Damasus (Cath. Ency., IV, 614). Hiliary of Arles (Cath. Ency., VII, 349). Cyprian (Cath. Ency., VII, 268). Tertullian (Cath. Ency. VII, 195, 269). Origen (Cath. Ency., II, 92). These two charts cite 71 names of men to whom forgeries were attributed!” (O.C. Lambert, Catholicism Against Itself: Volume 1 REVISED EDITION: Their History Of Forgeries, Attitude Toward The Bible, Immorality, Lack Of ‘Unity,’ Opposition To American Constitutional Freedoms, Pagan Origins (Kindle Edition), 83-91 (Kindle Edition); Charleston, AR; Cobb Publishing)
Early church history clearly shows that there was not a pope in the Catholic sense of the world until around the sixth century A.D.
“The first point of note in examining the early Church and the origins of the Papacy should be that of the equality of the bishops. If the Roman claims regarding the Papacy are true, that is, if Peter acted as a Pope, chose a successor to follow him as a Pope, and established the foundations of the Papacy at Rome, teaching all other bishops that he, and he alone, was the “Vicar of Christ on earth,” then we should find evidence of this important teaching in the writings of the early Christians. But we do not. Rather, we find that for hundreds of years after Christ each bishop was considered equal to each other bishop. Indeed, during the first two centuries, the Biblical teaching, clearly drawn from an unbiased interpretation of the New Testament itself, had been maintained: that being that the office of bishop, elder or presbyter, was all one office. A presbyter was a bishop, a bishop a presbyter. Only as the the “clergy/ laity” split took place and deepened did this primitive, Biblical situation change. Cyprian (200-258), bishop of Carthage, was an impressive thinker and theologian, who died a martyr under Valerian. In a preface, written by him to the seventh council of Carthage, we read, “For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another.” 3 Note that Cyprian surely does not believe that there is a hierarchy of bishops in the church, or that one has the “primacy” over the others. Each is the bishop of his own territory, and has authority within that territory, and not elsewhere. No bishop can then sit as “judge” over other bishops, as all are equal to one another. Not only this, but Cyprian in a letter to “the clergy and people abiding in Spain” rebuked the Roman bishop Stephen who had meddled in the affairs of the African church. Basilides, a bishop who had been deposed for idolatry, had gone to Rome and enlisted the help of Stephen, seeking to be reestablished. Cyprian writes, “Neither can it rescind an ordination rightly perfected, that Basilides, after the detection of his crimes, and the baring of his conscience even by his own confession, went to Rome and deceived Stephen our colleague, placed at a distance, and ignorant of what had been done, and of the truth, to canvass that he might be replaced unjustly in the episcopate from which he had been righteously deposed.” 4 It is difficult to imagine such an attitude or belief in one of the bishops attending the Council of Trent, or any modem Roman Catholic conclave for that matter. Cyprian did not see the Roman bishop as being superior to, but rather equal with, all other bishops. This is even more important in the light of the fact that Cyprian was one of a minority of early Christian writers who did see Peter as the “rock” of Matthew 16: 18! 5 Therefore, while Cyprian did see Peter as the rock, he did not see that this made the bishop of Rome superior to anyone else! The bishop of Rome was an equal among equals—important, for he lead the large and influential church which was located at the very seat of the Roman empire, but not superior for any reason. During the early centuries, the term “pope” was used simply to mean “father.” It was not used of the bishop of Rome primarily, or even very often. 6 Cyprian was called “pope” more than once in letters sent to him, two of them, interestingly enough, from the “presbyters and deacons abiding at Rome”! 7 Surely if the “papacy” was an institution founded from the earliest times of the church, we would not find the clergy of Rome writing to an African bishop, calling him “Pope Cyprian.” Oh, but we are told, “the particular titles and honors of the papacy developed over time, led, of course, by the Holy Spirit, so that just because we do not see a fully-formed and developed concept of the papacy at this time does not mean it did not exist.” To which we reply that it is one thing to speak of development, another of absolute change. Not only does Cyprian not see the bishop of Rome as a “Pope” in the modem sense of the term, but he denies that the Church is structured in such a way as to allow for one man to be the “head of the Church.” Yes there was evolution, change, development—in fact, a nearly total rejection of the Biblical form of the Church and nearly every one of her doctrines! Another source of information in this regards comes from the “Apostolic Canons.” These canons are appended to the “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles.” Dating of the canons ranges from the early third to the fifth century. Canon 35 reads, “The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them, and to esteem him as their head, and not to do any great thing without his consent; but every one to manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it. But let him not do anything without the consent of all; for it is by this means there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.” 8 There is no mention of the Roman Papacy here; the unity of the Church is not maintained, according to this canon, by adherence to the Roman See. But, if the Papacy was in existence at this time, and it was the “universal” faith of all Christians that the Roman See perpetuated the primacy of Peter, why is this not taught here? We must remember that it is the Roman Church that is claiming the positive existence of a particular belief. The evidence, then, must not only substantiate the existence of such a belief, but must also explain why, when the “faith of the Church” was under discussion, this particular belief would not be taught or even mentioned. When the Council of Nicea met, one would think that the “Vicar of Christ on earth,” the Roman Pope, would figure prominently in the proceedings. Instead, the bishop of Rome attended none of the proceedings, and was represented by but two presbyters. These representatives had little important part in the proceedings. 9 The Council formed a very interesting canon, Canon 6. It is very important in that it gives us a clear understanding of the position of Rome at this time: “Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop. 10 Here the early Church Fathers indicate that the Roman bishop is on an even plane and of equal status with Eastern bishops. There is no hint of any “papal supremacy” and just the opposite is indicated: Rome was seen as an equal, not the sole leader. Over a century later, the Council of Chalcedon, where some of the specifics of the relationship of the divine and the human in Christ were defined, also expressed in words that Rome found to be unacceptable the reason why anyone looked to Rome as having any kind of special position or authority. In “Canon 28” we read, “Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city, (emphasis ours) And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported to him.” 11 Rome, then, was given “privileges” because it was the royal city. This is only logical. Rome’s priority (as seen above, possibly, in the citation from Irenaeus) was due to the fact that Rome was the center of the Empire, not due to some concept of “Petrine authority” in the Roman See. It might be likened to the modem situation where a church in Washington D.C. would, simply by its geographical location, demand the respect of those in its denomination, while another church, say in Ajo, Arizona (no offense intended to the citizens, few as they are, of Ajo) would probably not demand the same kind or amount of respect or privilege. But even this does not fully express the situation of Rome, for the city of Rome was the very center of the Empire itself; and, therefore, the bishop of the church in that city would have great privileges. Canon 28 of Chalcedon shows us, then, that the rank and privilege of Rome was not based upon theological reasoning, but on political reality. But note, that this canon also does not indicate that the bishop of Rome was superior to any other bishop, but simply enjoyed greater privileges. In fact, about fifty years before Chalcedon, the great scholar Jerome had written, “Wherever a bishop may be, whether at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegtum, at Alexandria or at Thanis, he is of the same worth, and of the same priesthood; the force of wealth and lowness of poverty do not render a bishop higher or lower; for all of them are the successors of the apostles.” 12 Jerome uses a similar comparison as ours above between Washington and Ajo; he compares the three great patriarchates (Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch) with much lesser-known cities, and, on this basis, asserts that the bishop of Rome is of the same worth as the bishop of any smaller city or province. All the bishops, Jerome claims, are the successors of the apostles. No mention is made of Peter, no mention is made of the unity of the church depending upon Rome. Surely Jerome recognized the importance of the Roman See—so did just about everyone else. But they did so for reasons that are other than those claimed by modem Romanism. One of the bishops of Rome itself, Gregory I (540-604), wrote, “Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others.” 13 Such words would describe many of the medieval popes with great precision. But Gregory said more: “If then he shunned the subjecting of the members of Christ partially to certain heads, as if beside Christ, though this were to the apostles themselves, what wilt thou say to Christ, who is the Head of the universal Church, in the scrutiny of the last judgment, having attempted to put all his members under thyself by the appellation of Universal? Who, I ask, is proposed for imitation in this wrongful title but he who, despising the legions of angels constituted sodaily with himself, attempted to start up to an eminence of singularity, that he might seem to be under none and to be alone above all? 14 Gregory likens anyone who would claim to be “universal bishop” to Lucifer himself who attempted to raise his throne above the throne of God Himself (Isaiah 14). Would the modem claims of the papacy qualify for Gregory’s ridicule? This author believes that they would.” (James R. White, Answers to Catholic Claims: A Discussion of Biblical Authority, 1700-1807 (Kindle Edition))
The “man of sin” had its’ fulfillment in the papacy of the Roman Catholic church.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.