The First Pope?

An Apologetic Exchange

A mixed group of Catholics and Christians were discussing the Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19; that Peter was the first leader—pope, if you will—of the Christian church. One of the non-Catholic participants had suggested that when Jesus said that He would give the keys of the kingdom to Peter, this was proof that the Apostle would be the first to preach the Gospel.

In that I had never come upon anything in Scripture that clearly declared Peter's primacy within the college of Apostles, I could not agree with this position.

I had written:

Whether Peter was the first to perform a miracle after Christ's ascension is not provable. We know, from Acts 2 and a multitude of other places in Scripture, that there were 12 apostles. Unfortunately, Luke has not given us a full account of the activities of many of these, including Peter and Paul. It may well be that Matthias, or John, or Andrew or one of the others may have beat Peter to the miracle punch. We do not know, and to build a stand based on the silence of Scripture is most assuredly not good theology.

One of the Catholic participants jumped on my unwillingness to accept an improvable statement and attempted to fashion my disagreement into a weapon useful for defending the Romish understanding. Notice that he addresses a statement that I did not make. I had made no mention as to who was the first to preach to the Jews, but that was the premise chose to deal with.

The suggestion that the keys referred to in Matthew 16:19 indicates that St. Peter would be the first to preach to the Jews and to the Gentiles seems logical, although I disagree with it. A number of Bible Believers, including Ron, seem to dispute it, arguing that St. Peter wasn't the first to preach to the Jews.

Catholic "apologetics" in action. If not possible to convince by the weight of argument, then introduce division into the ranks in the opposite camp. Deceptive. Devious. Dishonest. Utterly Roman Catholic.

I do not "dispute" the stated position, nor do I wish to appear to dispute it. What I do is offer a simple statement of fact: There is no indisputable evidence upon which to build a dogma. Play fair, Sir Romanist. Deceitfulness does no honor either to you or to Rome.

Perhaps I am being unfair. Perhaps the full text of my statement did not come through on your machine. Or perhaps you experienced a power failure before you had read all the way through the paragraph. On the other hand, it seems always safe to say that Windows crashed and the file was corrupted before you were able to completely read it. Of course, you could admit that you were merely practicing normal RCC apologetics by ignoring those parts of a difficult passage that are inconvenient to the position you are defending. Naah. That would be expecting too much of a Romanist apologist.

Undaunted, the Defender of Romanism diverted the discussion of Matthew 16:18-18 to a number of different threads, the first of which was:

I also think it is relevant to consider other renamings that God did in the Bible: [This in reference to Jesus calling the Apostle "Peter" in Matthew 16:18]

Wow!!! You really like this angle, don't you? Certainly, there was significance attached to Abraham's new name, as there was to Israel's. However, I fail to see how this supports the RCC fantasy concerning Peter as first Pope. God gave a reason for His renaming of the Patriarchs. Sound exegesis of Matthew 16:18 does not support your argument. Spend time reading the interpretation of Dr. Robertson, whose seminal work, Word Pictures In The New Testament, is widely acclaimed by Bible scholars.

The man then fired a number of apologetic volleys, supporting them with out-of-context verses from Scripture:

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.--Genesis 17:5

In this verse, we learn that God gave Abram a new name, a covenant name. In renaming the Patriarch, the Lord God also tells him why and spells out the details of the covenant between Himself and man, given through Abraham.

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.--Genesis 17:1-8

The Catholic apologist then called up Genesis 32:28, where God gives Jacob a new name, Israel, after Jacob had wrestled all night with his Lord.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What [is] thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked [him], and said, Tell [me], I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore [is] it [that] thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.-- Genesis 32:24-29

Jacob's renaming came after the decisive moment in his life, when he wrestled with God Himself. Now, who can believe that a mere mortal could have prevailed against the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, particularly through the night, unless God so willed it? No, God was making a major point here. Read what The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary has to tell us about this event:

Despite reassurance of God's continued protection (32:1-2), Jacob feared meeting Essau upon his return through Seir; Jacob's anxiety was heightened by his messenger's report that his brother was already en route with four hundred men . Overcome by fear, he divided his household and flocks in two, so that if Esau could slay one part the other would escape (vv.3-8). He sought further to ease the meeting by sending lavish gifts to Esau (vv.14-21). His prayer for divine protection (vv.9-13) led to the decisive event of his life. At Peniel ("the face of God," v. 32), Jacob met a man with whom he wrestled. Though lamed by a dislocated hip, Jacob would not release his opponent until the man blessed him. From the blessing it became clear that the "man" was God himself, who gave Jacob the new name Israel ("he who strives with God and with men"; v.28; cf. Hos. 12:4-5). In the end Jacob's encounter with Esau was peaceful and full of brotherly tenderness …

To recap, God renamed Abram when He established a covenant with the Patriarch. God renamed Jacob, after striving with him throughout the night, and blessing him. Both renamings were proximate to a significant interaction between man and the Lord God. There was no interval between the renamings and the proximate action. This biblical fact may be of some interest to the serious student -- and those who would invent dogma out of lapses and "omissions" in Scripture.

One day, John was baptizing for repentance in the Bethabara area. Jesus came to him for baptism, and John made his landmark declaration, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:28). Two men who were with John that day (John and Andrew) heard these words and set out to follow Jesus. (John 1:37) Andrew was so impressed by Jesus that he ran off to get his brother, Peter (John 1:41). That first encounter between Jesus and Peter went like this:

And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.--John 1:42

Now, to resort to RCC apologetics, why is Peter's renaming different? Peter was renamed when first he encountered Jesus, not after some major Christological occurrence. We do not see Jesus making a word play of Peter's new name until many months have passed. Why is this? No doubt the Teaching Authority of Rome has come up with some fantasy to force all three incidents into a common mold. The Bible is clear; Peter is NOT the rock upon which the true Church is built.

I then pointed to another "Rock" that is surely identified as the cornerstone, the foundation, of the Christian Church. Look, for example, to this passage:

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.-- Matthew 21:42-44

John MacArthur comments thusly on the foregoing passage:

21:42 The stone … rejected. This refers to His crucifixion; and the restoration of "the chief cornerstone" anticipates His resurrection. the chief cornerstone. To the superficial eye, this quotation from Ps. 118:22, 23 is irrelevant to the parable that precedes it. But it is taken from a messianic psalm. Jesus cited it to suggest that the Son who was killed and thrown out of the vineyard was also "the chief cornerstone" in God's redemptive plan.

21:43 a nation bearing the fruits of it. The church. See note on v. 41. Peter spoke of the church as "a holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9).

21:44 this stone. Christ is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" to unbelievers (Is. 8:14; 1 Pet. 2:9). And the prophet Daniel pictured Him as a great stone "cut out of the mountain without hands," which falls on the kingdoms of the world and crushes them (Dan. 2:44, 45). Whether a ceramic vessel "falls on" a rock, or the rock "falls" on the vessel, the result is the same. The saying suggests that both enmity and apathy are wrong responses to Christ, and those guilty of either are in danger of judgment. (John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, © 1997 Dallas: Word Publishing

I find it of extreme interest that Peter, now infallible according to arguments you have presented on this board, did not see himself as the stone upon which the Church rests but, instead, gives that appellation to Christ.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. -- Acts 4:8-12

Now, is Peter referring to Jesus as cornerstone of the Church? Well, I do believe he is. There are those who would agree with me. In his Exposition of the Bible John Gill comments on verse 11:

Ver. 11. This is the stone, &c.] That is, this Jesus of Nazareth, by whose name the lame man was made whole, is that stone spoken of in #Ps 118:22 by whom is meant the true Messiah, comparable to a stone, for his strength and duration, and usefulness, as a foundation and corner stone, in the spiritual building of the church; and yet notwithstanding is the stone

which was set at nought of you builders: the priests, elders, and Scribes; who were fond of being called builders, but made miserable work of it; despising and rejecting the stone of Israel, and instead of him as a foundation, built themselves, and others, on the traditions of the elders, and their own righteousness: but though Christ was rejected by them, both in person and in doctrine, and was ignominiously treated, and at last put to death, yet he was raised from the dead, and exalted at the right hand of God; and is the stone,

which is become the head of the corner; or the chief corner stone, that adorns, strengthens, knits, and keeps together, the whole building; in which Jews and Gentiles, saints in all ages and places, even all the elect of God, are united together;

Hey! Do you see something in Gill's words that could be used as a definition of the Roman Catholic Church? Check it out:

...the priests, elders, and Scribes; who were fond of being called builders, but made miserable work of it; despising and rejecting the stone of Israel, and instead of him as a foundation, built themselves, and others, on the traditions of the elders, and their own righteousness ...

Hello, members of the Magisterium. Are your ears burning?

Let's see what Gill wrote concerning Matthew 21:42:

Ver. 42. Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read the Scriptures, &c.] The passage which stands is #Ps 118:22,23. The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.

Very appropriately is this Scripture cited, and applied to the present case; which expresses the rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish builders, priests, and scribes: the whole Psalm may be understood of the Messiah

Christ is often in Scripture compared to a stone, and is called the stone of Israel; is said to be a stone of stumbling to some, and a precious tried stone to others: is represented as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and on which are seven eyes: and is fitly compared to one, for his usefulness in the spiritual building the church, where he is as both the foundation and corner stone, and for his strength and duration…Christ is the foundation, on which the church, and every believer, are built, and therefore will abide; for the gates of hell cannot prevail against them …He is

become the head of the corner: he is the corner stone in the building which knits and cements it together, angels and men, Jews and Gentiles; Old and New Testament saints; saints above, and saints below, and in all ages and places, all meet, and are united together in this corner stone…

this is the Lord's doing; this stone is laid in the building by him: the rejection of him is according to his determinate counsel and foreknowledge…and

is marvellous in our eyes; in the eyes of all the saints; there being in all this such, a wonderful display of the wisdom, grace, mercy, power, and faithfulness of God.

Apparently, Paul wanted to make those in the Ephesian church aware of just who is the stone upon which the church is built:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.--Ephesians 2:19-22

Robertson explains verse 20 thusly:

. . .If one is surprised that Paul should refer so to the apostles, he being one himself, Peter does the same thing #2Pe 3:2). Paul repeats this language in #Eph 3:5. {Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone} (|ontôs akrogônianiou autou Christou Ięsou|). Genitive absolute. The compound |akrogôniaios| occurs only in the LXX (first in #Isa 28:16) and in the N.T. (here, #1Pe 2:6). |Lithos| (stone) is understood. Jesus had spoken of himself as the stone, rejected by the Jewish builders (experts), but chosen of God as the head of the corner (#Mt 21:42), |eis kephalęn gônias|. "The |akrogôniaios| here is the primary foundation-stone at the angle of the structure by which the architect fixes a standard for the bearings of the walls and cross-walls throughout" (W. W. Lloyd).

The spokesman for Rome pressed his argument that the council in Jerusalem provides proof that Peter was premier among the apostles, implying that Peter silenced the disputing apostles by his authority. This, despite the fact that the words of Scripture do not say such a thing. Once again, the voice of Rome had found a void in the scriptural account and filled it with a fantasy. The biblical account does not say that those present at the meeting were silenced by Peter or by his authority. What the biblical account does say is that they listened.

When I read the account of the council meeting (in Acts 15), I get the impression of a meeting attended by passionate men. I see them arguing among themselves and I see Peter rising to state his arguments. Again, we have no information as to whether others at the meeting also rose to speak -- with everyone being respectfully quiet to hear their words. Perhaps no one stood to speak until that moment. Perhaps many did. Scripture does not say and, when Scripture is silent, man does not have the right to fill the perceived gaps in God's Word. Perhaps, it simply was Peter's turn to speak. We do not know, and literal/grammatical/historical hermeneutics does not permit fantasy as exegesis. Rome's allegorical/fantastical/imaginative hermeneutics may support such unfounded declarations but, then, this is not a Roman board. The Bible says:

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.-- Acts 15:7

In fact, if one reads the biblical account of this meeting, there is no clear indication that those present stopped their wrangling until it was time for Paul and Barnabas to speak. This raises the questions: 1) Did the disputing cease while Peter was speaking?; or 2) did the disputants not cease their wrangling until it was time for Paul and Barnabas to speak?; and 3) could they not have grown quiet out of respect for Paul and Barnabas? So many questions. So many possible answers. How interesting that Rome and those who parrot her twisted theology do not focus on the doctrine declared in these verses but, rather, on a fantasy primacy of Peter that is necessary to support the flimsy dogma that Peter was the first of an unbroken succession of popes.

Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.-- Acts 15: 12

James was the guy running the council. If Peter was considered senior to him, why did he not take charge of the business of the council? If Peter were running things, would that not have fallen to him? Do not popes normally convene church councils and then ratify and promulgate the council results? Why did it fall to James to make and declare the final judgment on the issues?

James settled the issue with these words:

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:-- Acts 15:19

My Catholic antagonist had a ready explanation to support the Romish position:

In Acts 15, Sts. Paul and Barnabus do speak of their activities and St. James does say that the teaching should be taken to the various communities. But all of that happens after the dispute has been silenced by St. Peter's teaching. In other words, the chapter makes clear that there is a dispute and St. Peter silences it with his teaching. The teaching was not St. James's, he simply recognized it as something that should be taken to the universal church.

It appears that you are not carefully reading what is presented in refutation of your Romish claims. As I showed in an earlier response to you, Paul was teaching that doctrine before he and Peter came face to face in Jerusalem on the issue. I provided the passage in Paul's letter to the Galatians (5:1-6) that clearly demonstrated that. In what is characteristic of Catholic apologists, you apparently elected to pass over that biblical verification that the concepts declared by Peter were not original with him and that, in fact, the reason Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem was to defend the validity of these positions. In effect, Peter, in his declaration to the Jerusalem council, merely re-iterate Paul's prior position. However, in any case, the doctrine at issue here was not Peter's, nor even Paul's, but had its origins with the Lord God Almighty.

Perceiving his stand to be weak, I suspect, the defender of the Roman cult aimed his apologetic gun in a new direction.

As far as St. Peter being the first to preach to the Jews and the first to preach to the Gentiles, there seems to be some disagreement among Bible Believers, some of whom claim that is what Jesus meant by the keys to the kingdom. Ron says he didn't, and speculates that another apostle may have done those things first. But it is the Bible Believers who say that they believe in the Bible alone. I agree with what Ron implies (and what the Bible specifically states) that not all that happened is recorded, but I would be more likely to accept his speculation if there were evidence among the early Christians that they believed someone else did these things first.

Again, you misstate facts, Sir. Someone less inclined to be civil might even say you are a liar. Fortunately, I am in a civil humor this fine day. As I quite clearly demonstrated above, Sir Roman Apologist, I never said that Peter was not the first to preach to the Jews. What I said, which may be verified above, is that there is no conclusive evidence upon which to build a dogma. As to whether there exists evidence that early Christians believed Peter to have been the first to preach or the last, what does it matter? In Rome's apparent desperation to discover (even if it must be manufactured from whole cloth) such evidence, she is anchoring her ship of fantasy to a flimsy rock made of silence. And this, of course, points to why Rome clings so to Tradition, as defined by herself.

In any event, Mr. Romanist, biblical truth is not confirmed by a majority vote, nor even by the declarations of men -- however enlightened they may be. No, Sir. Biblical truth and God's doctrine are revealed in Scripture, through the illuminating presence of the Holy Spirit. No pope, no Christian theologian, no Catholic Magisterium can create biblical truth. It exists because God declared it. And those whom the Lord has regenerated, who attend to the ministering of the Holy Spirit can find it in God's Word. That this truth can be comprehended by those whom God has called to salvation should not be read to mean that all heed the illuminating council of the Holy Spirit. Some, far too many in my opinion, bring strong presuppositions and pre-conceptions to their studies and rely on their own counsel. While this is a problem that can make their walk in faith a difficult and troubled one, so long as their grasp of the foundational doctrines is correct, they continue to walk in Christ's footsteps. It is only when fallen man persists in looking to his own strength for salvation, such as in the semi-Pelagian doctrine and dogma of Rome, that he will discover only lies and false promises pointing to a vain hope for eternity.

The lists of the apostles that start with St. Peter or say simply "Peter and the others" occur mostly in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This doesn't convince me that his name's prominence is insignificant. First of all, it occurs mostly in the four Gospels, but not exclusively. Second of all, the prominence of something in the four Gospels hardly makes it look insignificant.

Sophistry and unworthy of a response.

The guy continued to press his argument:

Do Bible Believers believe that the leader of the Jerusalem community was St. Peter, or St. James, as Ron says?

Sigh! Do you Catholic apologists ever devote any effort or energy to research? Do you ever make any attempt to discover on your own the answers to the questions you raise concerning Christian beliefs? What we have seen on this board is your exposition of the Catholic belief concerning Peter's primacy. And that was found wanting of biblical support. Now, in an apparent effort to divert attention from the reality that has been shown to you, you are attempting to build a Trojan horse, based on a survey of Christian thought on the matter. Shame! Shame on you. Biblical truth is not determined by the results of a survey or a popular vote. Biblical truth was determined long ago by the Lord God Almighty. Rather than kick up a dust cloud to hide the weaknesses of your own position, why not instead explore the foundation document of the Christian faith: The Holy Bible?

The apologetic smokescreen thickens:

Why does it matter that St. Peter's speech in Acts 15 was shorter than St. James's speech? By that logic, wouldn't we all need to become Jewish rather than Christian, since the Old Testament is longer than the New Testament? (That last question is rhetorical.)

More sophistry, and yet another attempt to divert the focus of the discussion.

Why do some Bible Believers say that none of the apostles have a distinct character while others, say that St. Paul alone received the entire revelation to teach all the truth about the church?

Why don't you do a little research of your own to seek what other "Bible Believers" think on the issue? Now, of even more importance, why don't you tell us why this issue should be of interest to this board, which exists for the purpose of examining Catholic doctrine in the light of Scripture? Are you here attempting to establish yet another rabbit trail to distract readers and those who would respond to you?

The guy was indefatigable:

I'd also like to make a few points. Catholics believe that all the apostles preached infallibly on Pentecost, and that they continued to preach infallibly so long as they were in union with each other. When a dispute arose, St. Peter settled it with his preaching. The Holy Spirit protects the church from teaching error, which means that it protects the leader from teaching error when he is settling disputes.

You do like to repeat yourself. Now, concerning infallibility (a favorite word of popes and popish), apparently Peter's infallibility paralleled that of more modern Catholic popes. Peter's infallibility was such that Paul publicly called him to task in Antioch for the errors he was teaching. It was after having been corrected by Paul that Peter claimed the doctrine that he declared at the council in Jerusalem. So, to use the RCC turn of phrase, the doctrine Peter declared at Jerusalem was not his, as you, Sir, have declared, but Paul's (though we all know it's origins are in the Lord God.). Oops!

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?--Galatians 2:11-14,

My Catholic opposition then outdid himself in his effort to explain away Scriptural indications that Peter would have been a less-than-perfect first pope:

Knowledgeable Catholics also would see nothing challenging about St. Peter's hypocrisy regarding the house of Cornelius. As Catholics believe, the Holy Spirit protects the church's teachings and therefore the teachings of St. Peter when he was settling a theological dispute. It did not protect the personal behavior of St. Peter in any special way.

This champion of Romanism, who apparently considered himself to be a knowledgeable Catholic, sees nothing to concern himself as regards Peter's behavior in this account (Acts 10). You see? Peter's unwillingness to take the Gospel to the home of a Gentile had nothing to do with biblical doctrine. After all, the Great Commission was given before Pentecost, reckon that made it unbinding on Peter.

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.-- Matthew 28:16-20

You claim Catholics believe the Holy Spirit protects the church's teachings and therefore the teachings of Peter when he was settling a theological dispute. OK. Then, by extension, would you acknowledge that same Holy Spirit was protecting Paul's conflicting teaching when he publicly corrected Peter's faulty doctrine in Antioch? Or is that a different issue, being that it affords no support to the Roman fantasy that Peter was first among apostles and the foundation stone upon which the RCC was built?

Ron said that since he rejects the papacy, the pope does not speak to him and therefore the First Vatican Council is demonstrably false. But if I'm speaking to you and you aren't listening, I'm still speaking to you.

You missed my point entirely, Sir. Or, perhaps, you chose to misstate it deliberately. What I had hoped you would grasp is that John Paul II, or any pope for that matter, does not speak to Christians when he speaks to the Roman Catholic Church. I am disappointed, Sir. You seem so adept at discovering things that are not clearly stated. How could you miss my intent here?

Read the Bible. It will be as the balm of Gilead for your spirit.

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