Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1951

Why Millions Do Not Call Him "Holy Father"

R. D. Simmons. Corpus Christi. Texas

(Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles by brother Simmons, answering advertisements in the public press by the Knights of Columbus. For three or four years the Catholics have been doing a tremendous amount of propaganda work through the papers seeking to rationalize their doctrines and make them palatable to the American people. This particular article from brother Simmons is in answer to the Catholic advertisement, "Why Millions Call Him 'Holy Father.')

Our Catholic friends call us "Protestant" because we protest against much of their teaching—just as they protest against our teaching. In fact a recent series of Catholic advertisements have appeared in the newspaper. Such publicity for their views and ours is entirely in accordance with our American freedom of the press. It is wonderful to live in a country where friends and neighbors of differing faiths may consider their differences with mutual respect. We trust each reader will examine the scriptures to see whether these things are so. The Bible is right!

1. We do not call the Pope "Holy Father" because Jesus Christ condemned the practice. I now quote from a Catholic Bible from Matthew 23: verses 8, 9, and 10: "But do not you be called 'Rabbi' for one is your Master, and all you are brothers. And call no one on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters; for one only is your Master, the Christ." The King James version and the American Revised version carry the same message in Matthew 23:9. Anyone who believes any version of the Bible, Catholic, King James, or American Revised will recognize this truth.

2. Christ never gave the apostle Peter the title of Father, Holy Father, Pope, or Vicar of Christ on earth. In fact, the Bible is silent concerning all the titles used to define religious leaders today except elders, deacons, bishops, and pastors. The terms Reverend, Doctor, arch-bishop, cardinal and other such titles are not in harmony with the New Testament teachings.

3. Peter did not claim to be the head of the church and he was not regarded as such by the rest of the apostles. Paul referred to Peter as "one of the pillars of the church." (Gal. 2:9) Note: Peter was one of the pillars, not the head of all the churches. The Bible states plainly and repeatedly that Jesus Christ is head of the church. (Col. 1:18; Col. 2:10; Eph. 1:22, 4:15, and 5:23.) Christ nowhere authorized any man to be head of His church on earth.

"All authority in heaven and on earth" was given to Christ (Matt. 28:18.) In New Testament times, each local church had a plurality of elders, and these elders were required to be married men. (I Tim. 3:2) Peter in addressing elders of the churches speaks of himself simply as a "fellow-elder." (I Peter 5:1) He does not speak of himself as the "chief elder," but when he did use that term "chief shepherd" he was speaking of Christ. (I Peter 5:4 )

4. You have heard that the church was founded on Peter, but I Cor. 3:11 states plainly: "other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

5: It would be very hard for those who claim to believe the Bible and follow it to just give us the scriptures for the following expressions: "the Holy Father," "His Christ given office," "where the Apostle Peter was commissioned as the first head of the church," "the church was governed by the apostles under the leadership of Peter," "the Pope as successor to Peter," and "the Vicar of Christ on earth." Then, just one more thought, Popes can be traced back over a period of hundreds of years, but not back to Christ, the apostles, or the Bible.

We plead with the people to read their Bibles and forsake religious error of all kinds. We want to study the scriptures with anyone who request it. Questions on Bible matters may be mailed to us. We are ready to engage in private or public discussion with any church leader.