How would you answer this person? I don’t know how to answer this and also just don’t know whereabouts to start.
I have mostly just commented on answers up to this point, but I want to address some things said in other answers/comments. I defy any Catholic to show where in the Bible authority is established for the Catholic church and for Peter as the first Pope without using Matthew 16:15-18.
A typical Catholic reading of that passage mixes two Greek words to create a false church structure. Christ told Peter that He would establish His church on the rock of Peter’s confession of Him as Christ, not on Peter himself. Peter is “petros”, a maculine noun meaning “stone”. Jesus told “petros” (actually, since “Peter” is the direct object of that sentence, the accusative form of this masculine noun would read “petron”) that He would build his church on this “petra”, a femine noun meaning “large rock, cliff, or ledge”. The words are completely different genders in the original text. This passage does not make Peter a pope. He was, instead, an elder in a congregation of the 1st century church as a reading of the letters he wrote will show.
Even a quick reading of 1st century practices during the assembly in Acts, 1 Corinthians, etc… and of the organizational structure of the church as discussed in Timothy and Titus reveal that Catholicism is a drastic departure from this example and Biblical standard.
The Catholic church is not the original church. It is an apostate branch of the church as described in scripture that developed over time as an abandonment of congregational autonomy and the introduction of traditions that carried the weight of scripture took hold. Numerous Christian movements today are trying to return to the New Testament example of God’s church (the church of Christ where I attend is an example), and some are having more success than others as millenia old Catholic (and even Protestant) traditions and social sensitivities cloud an effort to return to pure Bible teaching.
I challenge any reader to prove through scripture alone that the Catholic church is the one church established by God. I will append this answer as necessary to respond.
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