On Papal Authority

The Baptist Press posted an article in response to the new pope elect, Pope Francis I.  The article is something of a biographical sketch, tracing the  new pope’s humbling beginning in Argentine.

However, the article then moves to a history of the origin of the papacy and the power and authority it later developed.

Next, Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is featured as a reminder of the rejection of papal power and authority by the 16th century reformers.

“The Protestant rejection of the papacy was no small matter, though some liberal Protestants and careless evangelicals seem to have forgotten why.”

[Evangelicals] “simply cannot accept the legitimacy of the papacy and must resist and reject claims of papal authority. To do otherwise would be to compromise biblical truth and reverse the Reformation.”  (read more here…)

This is a timely reminder…

This entry was posted in Al Mohler, Papacy, Reformation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to On Papal Authority

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    The legacy of Protestantism is one of ‘little popes’ running around defending their very own dogma against the dogma of other believers – based (of course) on the ‘plain meaning’ of Scripture – and being infallibly certain that they have the truth because of the illumination of the same Holy Spirit that those they disagree with also claim to posses…

    Let’s face it, we’ve made a mess of it.

  2. Simon says:

    It should be noted that it was the Eastern Church who first reject Papal authority. I concur with Jon’s comments above.

    I think the Orthodox church provides the best example of how we hold together the catholic church without the schisms we see in Protestantism. Patriarch Bartholomew is simply a wonderful example of Christian leadership. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Also note that his official title includes the jurisdiction of “New Rome”. This is because the Bishop of Rome is traditionally the “first among equals” (but not infallible nor universal in jurisdiction). And the Patriarch of Constantinople is now “the first among equals”, i.e. the role that Rome should be fulfilling. But the Bishop of Rome has gone further than the tradition and thus the Great Schism of 1054.

    This conciliar example of the Orthodox stands as a rebuke to Western Christians. The East never had a Reformation. Because, I believe, it was not needed. The excesses of the Latin church led to the Reformation. The Reformation swung things too far the other way. Hence we have confusion, plurality, schism and so on. These are just my opinions. It’s the only way i can make sense of Christian history, whilst being faithful to Scripture – specifically Christ’s promise to uphold the Church and for unity of the Church.

  3. TC says:

    Jon, the human element in the interpretation of Scripture will always be with us. I believe this is also behind Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Paul picked this up in Eph 4. We must constantly be in dialogue with each other. Whoever says it will never be messy?

    Simon, it seems like we’ve come full circle around to church polity again. No escaping it. 😉 I believe church history continues to attest to the essentials. God has a clever way, if you will, of ordering his church history. The telos is in sight.

    • Jon Hughes says:


      I don’t believe that God is pleased with thousands of denominations ever bickering and splintering.

      • TC says:

        Jon, neither do I, but they are here. But how do we account for their origins? Better yet, how do we account for God’s use of them despite the “splintering”?

  4. Simon says:

    TC, as you’ve probably figured out I don’t really like the Reformed guys. But I do like you. I hope that there are more Reformed guys who are as pleasant and reasonable as you, because, frankly, most of them are not very pleasant people from my experience.

    • TC says:

      Simon, I believe in civility in our conversations despite the personal limits of the internet. It’s good to be liked. I hope I never get on your bad side. 😉

  5. Pingback: Al Mohler does not speak for all Evangelicals | New Leaven

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