William Andrew Dillard
WAS PETER A POPE?
Much usage of the term “Pope” has been employed of late in international news. It is an interesting word that many attribute spiritually to one man, and credit him as father (pope. papa) to the church: the successor to the apostle Peter, they say. Around Easter, the subject appears more frequently. Never mind that Peter was never a pope or a papa to any church, or that he was a married man with a stated mother-in-law. Think about it!
“Father” comes from the Greek word “pater” meaning “father”. From this word, we get the extended adjective “paternal,” etc. Several languages have a similar form of “pater” to indicate that basic idea. The specific term “Pope” is often listed as Pope (from Latin: papa; from Greek: πάππας pappas, a child’s word for father. Of all the many ways these terms may be used, the basic idea of them all is that of origin, progenitor, and creator. We correctly recognize our male parent as “father” and although the idea of caregiver, provider, protector, and instructor may be associated with that person in one’s mind, the basic idea remains progenitor even in the synonyms of “Dad” or “Pop.” These terms certainly are most appropriate in designating our earthly relationships, but in the dimension of the spiritual world greater, more respectful, and worshipful restrictions apply.
Spiritually, the term “Father” became especially endearing to New Testament disciples of Jesus through Whom we came to know our Creator, not so much as “Lord God” but as “Our Father:” a much more loving, mature, and endearing term of close-knit, day to day relationship, as we live within the scope of His holy will. Jesus clearly and commandingly said, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Matt. 23:9. Jesus also forbade ecclesiastical hierarchy in His church; Matthew 20:20-29. Moreover, those who minister spiritual things in the church are not to be considered priests any more than other members of the church because the entire church is a royal priesthood. I Peter 2:5. Neither is there any man on earth who may take ascendancy over others in regard to approaching God or finding acceptability or blessings from God. There is one mediator between God and man and it is that man Christ Jesus, I Tim. 2:5.
So, what does this writer think about all the hoopla? Well, it is just that,“ Hoopla.” But, it is more profitable to point out truth and errors than to negatively criticize. There is one Judge of us all. No one will escape an appointment before Him, and He will not deviate from His Holy Word. The personal responsibility to know, and to do righteously is too immense to entertain such foolishness for very long. So, is that fried chicken I smell coming from the kitchen? Maybe there is a biscuit and a little gravy there, too!