Why do Protestants reject the Pope's authority?

Almost every Protestant I’ve talked to sees the position of the Pope as wrong, and that a human shouldn’t be in charge of a church, and that’s God’s position.

But every denomination is run by a man. For one thing, the pastors and preachers tell you their interpretation of the Bible. And somebody had to come with the core belief systems of that denomination. The Methodists and the Lutherans have their people.

Even churches that claim to be non-denominational have some human being at the head of it. Even if their core is that all is needed is faith in Jesus. OK, well somebody had to decide that. The Bible certainly didn’t come out and say that’s all that was required.

So what makes all these Protestant leaders better than the Pope?

It’s true what you say. Most religious organizations have a hierarchy. I think that it would be better if they didn’t. A council of representatives of the people would be better IMO.

Hierarchy is not what the Prostants have a problem with. It is what the Pope claims. To be the Vicar of Christ. The successor of Peter. That he is infalliable on Morals and Truths. They believe only the authority is the bible. Hence the term Sola Scriptura. In Western Christianity these objections both contributed to and are products of the Protestant Reformation. :eek:

I don’t believe Protestants reject a human head for their orgaizations and ministries through which the Church operates and utilizes to spread the gospel. But none of the Protestant leaders claim infallibility and supreme head of the church on earth.

The ecclesiology between Catholicism and Protestantism is different, the two cannot be equated. The visible church meets together under the various banners of religious organizations…but those organizations are not the Church, the Church uses those organizations, the mytical Body of Christ is made up of those who have been redeemed by grace thru faith in Christ…regardless of what organization they belong to.

No Protestant church organization claims to be the Only True Church, but many if not most of the members of the various organizations are members of the One True Church though the work of the Holy Spirit we are joined to Him…not because we have our names an a particular organizations roster.

I recognize the authority of the Pope in his office as Bishop of Rome, having authority over his local diocese within the Roman Catholic Church. Being Anglican, the Pope has no authority over me or any part of my church. In addition, I would reject the Pope’s authority because of the many untruths that office upholds. Just a few quotes from the 39 Articles:

XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

XXII. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper. (in part)
. . . Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. . .

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

I used to be Protestant for awhile and had the same concerns. However, when I thought about it and read early Church history, I came to see that many of my objections about saints, Purgatory, etc. were all accepted by Luther before he broke with the Church. Although Purgatory is not mentioned in the Bible per se, it does speak of a “limbo.” If you look at these issues in Catholic Answers you will see they provide very convincing explanations. In addition, the Orthodoxs Jews also have a similar belief in a kind of limbo and that may have been where the Catholic practice came out of.

If you think about it, everyone except Catholics reject the Pope’s authority. Not just Protestants.

There are definitely Protestants who follow their leaders with the same loyalty Catholics give the Pope.

Since I’m a former Southern Baptist, I will use the Southern Baptist Church/Convention as an example.

How the SBC Has Changed by Dr. Rick McClatchy & Dr. Bruce Prescott:
The Patterson-Pressler coalition changed the role of the pastor in Baptist church life.

“. . . .The Patterson-Pressler coalition insists that the pastor is the unquestioned ruler of the church. W. A. Criswell said, “Lay leadership of the church is unbiblical when it weakens the pastor’s authority as ruler of the church . . . a laity-led church will be a weak church anywhere on God’s earth. The pastor is ruler of the church.” In 1988 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution affirming that the pastor was the ruler of the church. . . .”

“. . . . .The Patterson-Pressler coalition expects seminary professors to indoctrinate their students to a very narrow theological viewpoint. **Adrian Rogers (the first SBC president elected by the Patterson- Pressler coalition) said, **“If we say pickles have souls, they (seminary professors) better teach that pickles have souls.” Seminary teachers who refused to comply were fired, sought employment elsewhere, or took early retirement. Their replacements are indoctrinators who have usurped the place of the Holy Spirit and now presume to make Southern Baptists accountable for living according to the interpretations and convictions of the Patterson-Pressler coalition. . .”
Copyright © 2001 MAINSTREAM BAPTIST NETWORK P.O. Box 6371 Norman, OK 73070-6371 (405) 329-2266. Last modified: February 19, 2001


I realize Catholics believe The Pope is the successor of St. Peter, the chief pastor of the whole Church, and the Vicar of Christ on earth. However, I remain unconvinced of the authority claimed by the Pope and the infallibility claim of Ex Cathedra teachings.

According to DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH LUMEN GENTIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964, Catholics must submit religious mind and will to the Roman Pontiff even when he is not speaking Ex Cathedra. I can only submit religious mind and will to Christ.

Also, East and West view history very differently, especially when it comes to the “universal primacy” of the Bishop of Rome. Catholics claim the Pope always held this primacy. Some Orthodox claim the East was unaware of this “ecclesiological development” in the West, until it was too late to stop it.

The Primacy of Peter, Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church, John Meyendorff, Editor, Chapter 3, St. Peter in Byzantine Theology, John Meyendorff, Page 77:
"Historians have more than once described the disastrous effect of the Crusades upon the relations between Christians of the East and West. The mutual accusations turned into a real uprising of hatred after the capture of Constantinople by the Westerners in 1204. As is known, Innocent III began by solemnly protesting against the violence of the Crusaders, but finally he decided to profit from the given situation and to act in the same way in which his predecessors had acted in other eastern territories reconquered from the Moslems. He appointed a Latin Patriarch to Constantinople. This action appeared to the whole Christian East not only as a religious sanction of conquest, but as a sort of theological justification of aggression. The election of a Latin Emperor in Byzantium could still be interpreted as being in conformity with the laws of war, but by virtue of what right or custom was the Patriarch of the West appointing his own candidate, the Venetian Thomas Morosini to the See of St. John Chrysostom?

In all the anti-Latin documents of that period we see mention of this so-called “right” of the Pope, a right of which the Eastern Church had no knowledge. All of a sudden the East became more fully aware of an ecclesiological development which had taken place in the West and which it was much too late to stop."


I do respect the Catholic faith and have made many wonderful friends in the three years I’ve participated in discussions on CAF.

As an Anglo Catholic, I share many beliefs with Catholics in Communion with Rome; and I use a number of Catholic resources in my studies. I even have the CCC on my desk. :wink:

Peace and blessings, :signofcross:
Anna

Good point. I also have and have benefitted from the CCC, along with a Haydock - Douay Rheims Bible, the Essential Catholic Survival Guide, Parochial and Plain Sermons by Newman, and several books by Ronald Knox. Christians of every stripe have many beliefs in common, and I think it’s a positive venture to study, learn about, and understand one another better.

XXII. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

More ignorance. Give me the date and the name(s) of clergy who invented it? Second, show one one verse where God explicitly says:

ALL and everything must be said and taught from the written word-alone?
Show me where God authorized any man to found His own church based from the Bible-only?

XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper. (in part)
. . . Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. . .

Another Protestant lie! Again,show me one verse where God teaches everything must be said and taught from the Bible-only?

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness

.

More ignorance! Celibacy is a discipline,not a doctrine. St.Paul was celibate. So according to your man-made church Paul is wrong?

I collect Knox. And Belloc and Chesterton and Newman (in a small way) and Lunn, and other such folk. My CCC is on the corner bookcase, of the 5 bookcases in this room.

Anglicans are like that. Some of us, anyway.

GKC

Great question.

As a former Protestant here is my personal experience.

Catholics were viewed as different. Everything about Catholics was different. If you spoke about anyother branch of religion other then the one who’s church you attended, they were different too.

How could Protestants accept the Popes authority when they mearly see him as different? Being Catholic was just as wrong as being Reformed, Baptist ect. Maybe wrong is a harsh word.

I personally believe that thru-out history every religion believes theirs is the only one to follow. In fairness to other religions they too may think that we as Catholics rejuect their leaders of authority.

It is so simple yet so complex.

When I was Protestant we respected the Pope, highly respected the Pope. We thought he was a wonderful leader to his people. We were also taught to respect everyones views on religion. But let me tell you, the division between the people and churches was very strong with I grew up way back in the 60’s and 70’s.

I hope this helps.

The answer to your question is actually very complex, and each and every Protestant will give you a different answer. The problem with getting an answer on an internet forum is that very few of the participants are either historians or theologians. To get a difinative answer, I suggest you locate the title of a good history book about the Reformation and the Counter Reformation and obtain and read it. There is no other way to understand this problem.

True, but they (Jesus and St. Paul) never called for celibacy to be mandatory either, even if it is a matter of discipline.

It is my understanding that they have issues with the infallibility beliefs about the Pope more than him heading up the Church. They do not believe any of their leaders to be infallible.

We have Matt 16-19, as well as John 21:15-17… and also the first three chapters of Acts, too. These (among many other passages) CLEARLY point to Peter’s role of LEADERSHIP of THE Church.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth mentioning… As far as I know, most Protestant denominations trace themselves back to Martin Luther and Henry VIII. Both men were staunch Catholics, were they not? They both bought into the whole package of the Pope as the rightful earthly shepherd of the Church, etc…

Then… BOOM!!! It’s all garbage as far as they’re concerned. They held this belief one day, and they spit on the Office of the Bishop of Rome the next.

I say it is a darning indictment on their character that they would hold such a belief so dearly, and abandon it so quickly. Especially in the case of Luther. If there is corruption… FIX IT. God DEMANDS that we serve Him AND His Holy Ministry, not run away from it. Totally weak. If I lived in that age, I would have expected better from him.

PS: If you would like to read more about this, I recommend John Salza’s The Biblical Basis for the Papacy, and scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html

jrtrent,
Glad to know someone else feels the same way. Our Rector will sometimes quote Catholic authors and Popes in his sermons and classes. Anglo Catholics and Catholics in Communion with Rome have a great deal in common.

I have a Catholic Comparative New Testament that is very useful in comparing translations. Still on my list to purchase is a Catholic Study Bible and an Orthodox Study Bible.

To the OP: Please forgive this sidebar. :slight_smile:

Anna

Hey there GKC,

Indeed some of us are. :smiley:

Anna

=kbwall;9736171]Almost every Protestant I’ve talked to sees the position of the Pope as wrong, and that a human shouldn’t be in charge of a church, and that’s God’s position.

I certainly wouldn’t say that. He is the Bishop of Rome, what one could stll consider the western patriarch.

But every denomination is run by a man. For one thing, the pastors and preachers tell you their interpretation of the Bible. And somebody had to come with the core belief systems of that denomination. The Methodists and the Lutherans have their people.

Even churches that claim to be non-denominational have some human being at the head of it. Even if their core is that all is needed is faith in Jesus. OK, well somebody had to decide that. The Bible certainly didn’t come out and say that’s all that was required.

I don’t see this as the complaint at all, well maybe by some. Without getting into the polemics of the document, the *Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope *
bookofconcord.org/treatise.php
speaks to the Lutheran concerns. Chief among them, in my view, is the seeming contradiction of the claim of universal jurisidiction when one reads the early councils, Nicea 325, canon 6, in particular.

So what makes all these Protestant leaders better than the Pope?

They’re not, necessarily. And recently, the popes have generally been better than many.
That’s not the issue, however. The issue is what is the role of the pope in the historic early Church.

Jon

I assume “Mormon, Lutheran, Anglican” refers to a progression (i.e. you started out Mormon, converted to Lutheran, then converted to Anglican) and not that you are somehow all three sametimeaneously. In other words, you are quoting the 39 Articles because that is one of the defining documents of your curent faith community.

That said, the part in bold just makes the OP’s point. Someone – and, someone not Catholic obviously – had to decide that the 39 Articles are right and the pope is wrong. The Bible certainly doesn’t say the 39 Articles are right.

Let me ask you this: do you interpret the Bible? Yes or no? An honest answer has to be, “Yes.” Everyone interprets the Bible when they read it. Interpreting is inherent to communication - whether it be through the written or the spoken word. When you read, you interpret symbols that we call letters as certain sounds. When those symbols are combined they form words which are symbols that represent things, ideas, concepts. You have to interpret those word symbols. When words are combined into sentences, those sentences represent thoughts, ideas, expressions, etc. that all have to be interpreted in order to try and understand the meaning, the thoughts, the ideas the author was trying to convey. So, yes, we all interpret when we read the Bible.

Assuming your answer is yes, is your interpretation infallible? Yes or no? You know you cannot say, “Yes,” because you have been taught to tell Catholics that no man (i.e., the Pope) is infallible; yet, you realize you can’t say, “No,” because by saying no, you instinctively know you are opening the door to having to admit that your interpretation of this or that Bible passage could be wrong. Assuming your interpretation is not infallible, then will you admit that your interpretations of the Bible could be wrong in one or more places? Yes or no?

Again, assuming your answer to the original question (“Do you interpret the Bible?”) is yes, then does anyone have the authority to tell you, jrtrent, that your interpretations of the Bible are wrong? Yes or no? If yes, then who? Just one name please. I’m just trying to establish who, or what, has final authority when it comes to interpreting the Bible. Is it each individual on his own, which leads to chaos; or did God set up some authoritative guide that we could rely upon to help us understand His Word?

Most Protestant pastors, and laity, believe they have been given the sole authority to decide for themselves what is true and what is false when it comes to the Bible. But, nowhere does the Bible give each and every individual such authority. Rather, the Bible is pretty clear that the church has such authority. The question, ultimately, for Protestants is whether or not they submit to the church in matters of faith and morals, or if they can decide for themselves regardless of what the church teaches. So many Protestants give lip service to the authority of the church, but when it comes right down to it, their churches have no binding authority over any individual when it comes to teaching on faith and morals.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.