The Idolatry Of Papas (Part 1)
The apple 🍏 did not actually fall far from the tree 🎄.
It would seem to me that the more things appear to change in the church, the more they remain the same. It is the same idolatry of papacy that the church has been battling for ages.
In church history, the first time anyone would be officially referred to as papa was about the 5th century as there was no evidence of such in the early church.
At the time, Emperor Constantine had successfully legislated the church and there were 5 different bishops of the West, originally referred to as “papas”. The word papa means “Pope” in Latin, “Pappas” in Greek, which is also translated as “father”. They wielded both religious and governmental powers.
At about the 11th century, however, the Pope in Rome had become very prominent to the point that his influence grew to dwarf the other 4 papas. Forthwith, the word pope became reserved for the Bishop in Rome alone.
The office of Pope, who is said to be the successor of Peter, one of the key apostles of Christ, is considered to be inerrant and infallible in doctrine and to have supremacy over the church. These narratives have been supported by some faulty theology with a few mangled scriptural references.
Even though there had been pockets of agitations for reforms by people who seemed to be knowledgeable within the catholic church about many doctrinal issues, whose efforts were suppressed, the reformation of the early 16th century that had Martin Luther as one of the prominent activists was the one that interrupted the status quo. On October 31st, 1517, the German theologian reportedly pasted the famous 95 thesis on the door of the church, challenging major doctrinal practices including the veracity of papacy in the church. It was an audacious move from a little known Luther who was only in his early 30s against a powerful establishment with a long tradition of submiting to the pope without questions, a strong and politically connected church and a powerful pope.
Nonetheless, his thesis spread rapidly and sent Shockwaves throughout the landscape of Europe and altered the history and face of Christianity till date. There was a major upheaval. There were wars, persecutions and massive exoduses from the Catholic church, which was the main face of christianity at the time.
Many protestant churches, denominations and nameless autonomous congregations emerged from this, who held views that were similar or in sync with Luther’s.
It would seem to me that even though, such new churches had their leadership structures in place, the concept of a “papa” who reigned Supreme as applicable in the catholic church was not found among them. As a Matter of fact, for many, their leadership structure was Presbyterian; having a group of elders at the helm of affairs.
However, at the close of the 20th century and with the advent of what is popularly referred to as pentecostalism, the church seemed to be fully back to “papacy” but this time around, it is not the papacy of one pope but of many papas.
Friends, the church of today worships papas, in their millions. Anyone among them who holds leadership positions and is gifted spiritually wants to be called a papa. The young leaders of campus student fellowship groups in their hundreds of thousands are referred to as papas and they are loving it. They live like a “king” among his “subjects” with all the pecks of their “offices”.
Learders of local assemblies are called papas
General overseers are called papas.
It would have been okay if it was just a pet name for fond recognition of service or a sign of honor but it is way beyond this.
These papas have become the object of worship in today’s churches. The fear that belongs to God is given to them. These crop of christians fear their papas than they fear God. The love and adoration that belongs to God is given to their papas. They are the “lords” and the “gods” that the people know. They play the “touch not my anointed… ” card to suppress the people of God. They tell the Miriam-Moses story to send fear and cold chills down the spines of the believers under their watch.
Many believers have been completely captured and paralyzed by the fear of these papas, to whom they submit without asking questions. They were set free by Christ Jesus but they have become entangled by a yoke of slavery to papas again. The knowledge of the truth is not self-evident to them but the truth they know is as defined by their papas. Their papas have to say it, otherwise, it is not the truth.
Dare to disagree with their papas and these people who have turned themselves to subjects to their principals (papas) will fight you. To them, much like the Pope, their papas are inerrant and infallible in doctrine. They will break precious friendships and family relationships because of their papas. You are either on their papas’ side or you are a sworn enemy.
Indeed, the apple🍏 did not fall far from the tree. The more things appear to change, the more they remain the same.
It is the same idolatry which has only shifted from one papa to many papas.
Jesus was unequivocal when he said to his disciples “..And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Matthew 23:9 . In case you do not not know; there were religious leaders in Jesus’ days in Israel who paraded themselves as “fathers”, meaning the source of final spiritual authority. It was against this background that Jesus addressed his disciples.
Friends, while we seek to honor all men and give double honor to those who labor sincerely in ministry, it must be established in our hearts that there is no man who is doctrinally inerrant or infallible. No man deserves our adoration or worship. No man deserves to take the place of God in our lives. No man is the final authority.
If your papa is the one who defines your truth… if he has to say it, before you believe it is true and coming from God, then I’m sorry, you have fallen into the idolatry of papacy. You are a modern-day idol worshiper who worships a man but thinks he’s worshipping God.
Time to have a rethink!
It is a new day!
Reference: Dr. NINYO