It has been almost 600 years since a Pope has resigned from the papacy. At 85 years old, Pope Benedict XVI said he no longer has the mental or physical strength to carry on his responsibilities. He went on to say, “Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me” (CNN). The Pope is expected to step down on February 28th.
According to the Roman Catholic religion, the Pope is the worldwide leader of the church and the successor of the apostle Peter. The problem is, the Bible doesn’t support this. For one, the word “Pope” is not found in the Bible. The first Pope didn’t come until several hundred years after the time of Christ. While some say Peter was the first Pope, the facts don’t support this. First of all, Peter never claimed supremacy but instead claimed he was just “an apostle” and a “fellow elder” (1 Peter 1:1; 5:1-2). Beyond all of this, Peter was married (Matthew 8:14), which is contrary to the Roman Catholic Church’s requirement of their clergymen. Also, the Bible never says Peter was the Pope, or that he was more significant than any other apostle, or that he ever even went to Rome. Scripture simply doesn’t support the Pope, or Peter, as the leader of the church. So, if the Pope isn’t the head of the church then who is?
Scripture makes it clear that Christ is the only head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:22-23; Colossians 1:15-20; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 3:11; etc). Christ is the true head and true leader of the church. Notice what a contrast He is to the Pope.
- Christ will never grow old.
- Christ will never get tired.
- Christ’s physical strength is unlimited.
- Christ’s mental prowess is without limits and beyond comprehension.
- Christ is eternal.
- Christ is God.
- Christ will never resign, nor will He ever need to.
Let’s keep in mind who the true, and vastly superior, leader of the church is. The head of the church is Jesus Christ. There could not be a leader greater than He. Let’s follow Him and no other.