And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is
the word of God.
Volume XI, Number 39
August 24, 2008
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
Editor......Joe R. Price
In this issue:
Organization of the Roman Catholic Church
What Children Can Do to Help the Church
the Roman Catholic Church
Joe R. Price
The organization of the Roman Catholic Church is a maze of
complexity. Developed through centuries of apostasy, its arrangement is a
behemoth of interlocking levels of ecclesiastical and political power. Papal
authority oversees the moral and religious lives of one billion Catholics
worldwide. Yet, the Bible speaks nothing of the Roman Catholic Church and
its vast organization. It is a departure from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
The organization of the New Testament church is a model of simplicity. The
church of Christ is composed of Christians, not churches (Acts 4:27; Eph.
1:22-23; Heb. 12:23). Independent congregations accomplish their God-given
work without universal arrangement and oversight (Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Pet.
The complexity of Catholicism and the simplicity of the New Testament church
are seen by observing the organizational structure of the Roman Catholic
1) The Hierarchy. Hierarchy means sacred rule, and the term has been used
since the sixth century to “denote the totality of ruling powers in the
Church.”(2) This hierarchal power exists “for the guiding of man to his
eternal salvation.”(3) The hierarchy of order administers matters relating
to public worship and the sacramental services while the hierarchy of
jurisdiction formulates and administers the laws of the Catholic Church.(4)
Catholic hierarchy is not in the Scriptures. Following the New Testament
pattern, Christians organize themselves into local congregations that
function under the oversight of elders (bishops, pastors) and are served by
deacons (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). Each member
has a place of value, purpose and service in the local church (Eph. 4:11-16;
1 Cor. 12:12-27).
2) The Pope. The pope (“papa”) is considered the Vicar (agent) of Christ,
holding “supreme headship of the Church on earth.”(5) The pope is viewed as
the “Holy Father,” the Roman Pontiff and the successor of Peter (whom
Catholics say was the first pope). In contrast, the Bible teaches Christ,
not a man, is the head of his church (Col. 1:18; Matt. 28:18; 23:9). The
Roman papacy usurps and rebels against the authority of Christ.
3) The Cardinals. A cardinal is “a dignitary of the Roman Church and counsellor (sic) of the pope.” It is “the usual designation of every priest
belonging to a central or episcopal church.”(6) Cardinals are the
administrators of the Catholic hierarchy. The New Testament church has no
central church and thus, no place or need for Cardinals to administer it.
4) The Roman Curia. This is the governing administration of the Catholic
hierarchy: “Strictly speaking, the ensemble of departments or ministries
which assist the sovereign pontiff in the government of the Universal
Church. These are the Roman Congregations, the tribunals, and the offices of
Curia.”(7) The Curia is composed of committees of cardinals called
congregations; for example, the Congregation of the Sacred Consistory, the
Congregation of the Inquisition, the Congregation of the Holy Office and the
Congregation of the Sacraments. Thus, the Catholic Church is a Church
composed of Churches. The New Testament church is composed of Christians,
not churches. Christians compose local churches (Acts 2:47; Heb. 12:23; Eph.
2:16-22; 1 Cor. 1:2).
5) The Roman Tribunals. These are the judicial instruments of the Catholic
Church, judging crimes and violations of Church law. New Testament churches
(congregations) did not organize tribunals to judge right and wrong. Under
the oversight of its own elders, each church is expected to judge righteous
judgment concerning sin and error in its midst (1 Cor. 5:1-5; Rom. 16:17;
6) Apostolic Legates. The Pope is also considered the Head of State who
rules over the Roman Catholic Church’s government. As such he sends
representatives to governments around the world. These ambassadors represent
the interests of the Catholic Church among the nations. No such legates are
found in the New Testament church, for Christ’s kingdom is not of this world
7) The Councils. These are assemblies of bishops arranged into three types:
General council (these are called by the pope and composed of all Catholic
bishops in the world. Its actions on doctrine and discipline must be
approved by the pope.); Plenary or National Council (bishops in a country,
its actions must be approved by the pope.); and Diocesan or Provincial
Council (composed of bishops in a province, it applies the decrees passed on
by the other councils). New Testament churches are lead by their own
shepherds (bishops, elders), not by provincial, national or general councils
(Acts 28:20; 1 Pet. 5:2).
8) The Episcopacy. In the hierarchy of Catholicism, this is the governance
of churches by bishops and archbishops. Catholicism is structured with a
plurality of churches under one bishop. In the New Testament the opposite is
true: one church is under a plurality of bishops (Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Pet.
9) The Prelates. These bishops hold ecclesiastical offices and exercise
jurisdiction within dioceses and Catholic institutions (there are also
honorary prelates).(8) Again, such titles and offices are completely foreign
to the Bible; they are human innovations that corrupt the “pattern of sound
words” given by the apostles of Christ (2 Tim. 1:13).
10) Religious Orders. “These organizations in the Catholic Church are
societies bound by vows.”(9) Orders are numerous for both men (priests) and
women (nuns). There are not religious orders in the New Testament.
Christians are bound together by a common faith and salvation (Titus 1:4;
Jude 3). Christ warns against binding ourselves to the traditions of men
The complex organization of the Roman Catholic Church is a monument to the
apostasy of men. The simple New Testament order of independent congregations
is a tribute to the “simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).
1 Wallace, Jr., Foy E., Bulwarks of the Faith, 100-106
2 Catholic Encyclopedia, “Hierarchy”
5 Catholic Encyclopedia, “Vicar of Christ”
6 Catholic Encyclopedia, “Cardinal”
7 Catholic Encyclopedia, “Roman Curia”
8 Catholic Encyclopedia, “Prelate”
9 Wallace, 105
-Back to Basics, June 2008
You can find the
complete outline of this sermon at
God's Word to Mankind
Scripture Reading: Psalm 19:7-11
1. Is the Bible from God?
a. Has God revealed His word?
b. How did God reveal His word?
c. Why did God reveal His word?
2. Our faith will be stronger when we understand the answer to these
I. HOW AND WHY GOD'S TRUTH HAS BEEN DELIVERED TO MEN.
-GOD (Psa. 19:-11; Jno. 17:17)
-CHRIST (Heb. 1:1-2; Jno. 12:49-50)
-HOLY SPIRIT (Jno. 16:12-15)
1. All truth revealed (1 Cor. 2:10), confirmed (Mk. 16:20) and inspired (2
Pet. 1:20-21) delivered to apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:3-5)
2. Word: Scriptures (Rom. 16:25-26; 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Jno. 1:1-4) produce a
"perfect" man (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 4:11-16).
II. WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU TODAY.
• You can trust that the Bible is the word of God, Jno. 17:17 (1 Ths. 2:13)
–“If it were not so, I would have told you.” 14:2
• All you need from God to guide you to heaven is contained in the New
Testament of Christ, 2 Tim. 3:16-17; John 14:6; 12:48
• God will not guide you apart from His inspired Scriptures, 1 Jno. 2:20-21,
27 (2 Pet. 1:3-4)
• You will have fellowship with God when you follow His word, Jno. 8:31-32;
14:23; 2 Jno. 9
• To reject the Bible is to reject God, Matt. 10:40 (1 Ths. 4:8); Matt.
You can find the
complete outline of this sermon at
The Lord's Supper in a Second Assembly on the Lord's Day
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
I. THINGS WHICH MUST EXIST TO PROPERLY EAT THE LORD’S
A. Correct Realm: The Kingdom, Luke 22:18.
B. Correct Arrangement: Assembly, 1 Co 11:18,20
C. Correct Time: First Day of the Week, Ac 20:7
D. Correct Elements: Unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, 1 Cor.
11:23-25; Matt. 26:26-29.
E. Correct Participants: Christians who have not eaten the Lord’s Supper, 1
Cor. 11:20; 14:15, 23, 26; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 5:4-5 (11:27-29).
F. Correct Conduct of Participants, 1 Co 11:23-29
II. TWO PROBLEMS, TWO SOLUTIONS, I COR. 11:17-34.
A. Two Problems, 11:18-22.
B. Two Solutions, 11:22-32, 34.
C. Individual Responsibility Fulfilled when the Church comes Together, 1 Co
III. IF THE LORD’S SUPPER CANNOT BE AVAILABLE FOR CHRISTIANS TO EAT
DURING A SECOND ASSEMBLY ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, THEN…
-The Christian’s eating is only valid when all the saints are present and
all properly eat the Supper. Yet, 1 Cor. 11:27-30
IV. THE OBJECTION: NO NEW TESTAMENT PATTERN FOR OFFERING THE SUPPER MORE
THAN ONCE ON THE LORD’S DAY.
A. Consistency of the Argument Demands only One Assembly on the Lord’s Day,
B. Defense of No Second Assembly Supper: “You Can’t Give an Example” of the
Supper being Eaten in a Second Assembly.
C. Truth: There is NT Authority for Multiple Lord’s Day Assemblies and for
making the Lord’s Supper Available to Christians at each Assembly, 1
Cor. 11:18, 20, 33 (14:23, 26).
Our responsibility is to eat worthily while hindering no one from also
worshiping the Lord.
What Children Can Do to Help the Church
Joe R. Price
This church is blessed with many children, and we are
thankful for each one of you! We want to help you grow up to be faithful
Christians. As you learn more about Jesus and His word you will be helping
yourself and the church. There are many things you can do to be strong in
your faith and help the church at the same time. Here are a few of them. You
may want to ask your parents to help you with them. If you are already doing
them, keep up the good work!
1. Come to all the worship services – God wants you to (Heb. 10:24-25).
2. Get ready for your Bible class by studying your lesson ahead of time (2
3. Pay attention to the sermons and classes being taught from God’s word
4. Sing with the congregation; learns the words and what they mean (Eph.
5. Take notes of the sermon charts and study them later (Acts 17:11-12).
6. Be quiet and respectful in all of our worship services and Bible classes
7. Invite a friend to come with you to learn about Jesus (John 1:43-46).
8. Read the bulletin each week and use it to learn more about Jesus and how
to obey Him (1 Ths. 2:13).
9. Talk about Jesus and His word with your parents every day (Deut. 6:6-9).
10. Read a chapter from the Bible every day (Acts 8:28).
11. Help your brothers and sisters learn what you already know about God’s
word (John 1:40-42).
12. Memorize the books of the Bible, the plan of salvation, the apostles of
Jesus, etc. and then use what you learn to obey God (Matt. 7:21).
Can you think of other things you can do to grow in your faith? Ask your
parents to help you. As you get stronger in your faith you will be like
Jesus when He was growing up (Luke 2:52).
Created by Chuck Sibbing.
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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