THE word “papacy” is derived from “papa,” and designates that religious system in which the church acknowledges a visible earthly head. This head is called the papa, or pope.
It is obvious that this system demands for the church a human source of authority in spiritual affairs; otherwise her visible, earthly head would be such only in name. This demand is met in the pope’s claim to infallibility, when speaking “ex-cathedra.” Infallibility must, of course, pertain to the church’s spiritual head.
Hence it is equally obvious that this system dispenses with the Scriptures; for they claim to be the source of all authority in questions of religious belief and practice. “To the law and to the testimony; if the speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
If the church should appeal to the law and to the testimony for knowledge upon every religious question, she would acknowledge as her head the Author of that word, who is Christ. There would be in this no recognition of any visible head on earth. The papal system demands that there should be another “word,” equal in authority to that given through the prophets and apostles. But two such words cannot stand together in truth; for they deny each other. The Scriptures deny that any spiritual authority exists in any word other than the word of God; and the pope’s word, by claiming to be infallible, contradicts scripture; and this contradiction appears in the very fact that by the scriptural doctrine that all question are to be determined by the law and the testimony, the pronouncements of the pope are superfluous.
It is not strange, therefore, that the papal power should look with no great favor upon the Word of God as a guide for the people, and should commit the copies of that Word to the flames whenever she has a favorable opportunity to do so.
The papal antagonism to the Bible is simply a necessary part of the antagonism of the papal system to Christianity, in respect to the church’s head. For the Word of God declares that Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18. The body cannot have two heads; the church of Christ is not a monstrosity. That church which acknowledges a visible earthly head, denies by that very act the invisible, divine head, which is Christ. That system of religion is antichrist.
Another thing demanded by the papal system is the union of the church with the State. The word of God has in it the power of God. By his word all things were created. It has all power itself, so that it needs no other support. But the word of man is powerless in itself; it must have support to make it effectual. That support must be the power of man; and the highest form of that power is represented in the State.
The thing produced by the union of the papal system of paternalism in religion, with the State, is designated in the Scriptures as “the beast.”