And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.            Ephesians 6:17


Volume XI, Number 39 August 24, 2008

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
John Hague
Dan Head


In this issue:

Organization of 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. 5:2).

The complexity of Catholicism and the simplicity of the New Testament church are seen by observing the organizational structure of the Roman Catholic Church.(1)

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; Titus 3:10-11).

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 (Jno. 18:36).

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. 5:2).

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 (Matt. 15:1-11).

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”
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
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 BIBLE ANSWERS

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 questions.

-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).

• 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. 7:21-23


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Lord's Supper in a Second Assembly on the Lord's Day

Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 11:17-22

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

A. Two Problems, 11:18-22.
B. Two Solutions, 11:22-32, 34.
C. Individual Responsibility Fulfilled when the Church comes Together, 1 Co 11:27-28 (18,20,33)

-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

A. Consistency of the Argument Demands only One Assembly on the Lord’s Day, Period.
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 Tim. 2:15).
3. Pay attention to the sermons and classes being taught from God’s word (Neh. 8:18).
4. Sing with the congregation; learns the words and what they mean (Eph. 5:19).
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 (Acts 10:33).
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.  08/25/2008

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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