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Vatican City State. The "Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11th 1929. These were ratified on June 7th 1929. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under international law..." For the purposes of WordExplain, the "Vatican" is the world-wide headquarters of the sect of Christianity commonly known as "Roman Catholicism." A communication from "the Vatican" is presumed to have the authority and blessing of the head of the Vatican Church, the Pope. See also the Glossary entries on Vatican Church and Vaticanism.
Vatican Church. WordExplain's preferred terminology for the "Catholic Church." WordExplain rejects the view that the church headquartered in the Vatican in Rome (or perhaps, more technically, led by the Holy See) is coterminous with the Catholic (Universal) Church. That is an elitist, exclusivist definition that finds no Scriptural support. It finds support in the Tradition of the Vatican Church, but not in the Bible.
Jesus founded the Catholic (Universal) Church at Pentecost in Jerusalem. The Church Universal spread from Jerusalem to such local churches as the ones located at Antioch, Damascus, Perga, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and, yes, to Rome. But the church at Rome as the place of prominence was a development of later church history, not Biblical history. Nowhere in Scripture do we find that the church in Rome is coterminous with the Catholic (Universal) Church. We cannot even prove from the Bible that Peter ever arrived in Rome! According to Scripture, Rome is just another location of a local church. Rome's doctrine that it is the only true church is a confusion of the Biblical distinction between the Universal Church and local churches.
The Catholic (Universal) Church will be completed at the Rapture. It is composed of all those who have placed their trust in Jesus as the Messiah (John 3:16-18, 36; 20:30-31; 1 John 5:10-13). Of all these it is stated in Scripture that they are baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-13). It is these, whether now living or deceased since Pentecost, who comprise the Catholic (Universal) Church, whether they associate themselves with the church headquartered in the Vatican, or with Protestantism, or Anglicanism or with the church headquartered in Constantinople.
At the heart of the Vatican Church is its mistaken assertion that Church Tradition is just as authoritative as Scripture (80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 97). This is simply not true. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the statement that church tradition is authoritative. That is the invention of man. Only Scripture is infallible (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). In the Biblical history of the early church, those who attended the synagogue of Berea were more noble than those who attended the synagogue of Thessalonica. That is because they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things they were being taught by the Apostle Paul and by Silas were actually true or not (Acts 17:10-11). So the commoner in the pew is considered noble if he checks his Bible to see if what he is being taught is true or not! That makes no difference if he is listening to the most mundane preacher or to the Pope himself! Scripture trumps church tradition! Church tradition can never trump Scripture!
At the heart of the Vatican's belief in the validity of church tradition is its flawed belief in Apostolic Succession. It is true that the Apostles appointed elders in every church (Acts 14:23), but they could not pass on their apostolic authority. They could only pass on their teaching. The Apostles were one-of-a-kind, appointed personally by Jesus. They were never authorized to pass on their Apostolic authority. Indeed they could not. They could only pass on their teaching. Apostolic Succession is an invention by the Vatican Church (and other churches) which enables them to control the transmission of truth and the behaviors and beliefs of the masses.
The teaching of the subsequent elders appointed by the Apostles was only as valid as their adherence to Scripture. Paul himself warned that some elders would seek to drag away disciples after themselves (Acts 20:28-33). This, I believe, the Vatican has done when it insists that the Pope (an invented office not found in Scripture) and the bishops in communion with him are the sole interpreters of Scripture (85, 100). This is an elitist, exclusivist view that has no warrant in Scripture. Paul left Ephesian elders only the presence of God Himself and “the word of His grace,” i.e. the Bible, as their safeguard against error, savage wolves, and disciple-draggers (Acts 20:28-33). He did not leave them church tradition. The original apostles were infallible only when they penned Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). There is no indication that they were infallible when they taught or spoke. They could not pass their apostolic authority on to anyone else. And the invented “Apostolic Succession” is no guarantee that any officers of the Vatican Church are infallible, either singly or corporately.
The unity of the true Catholic (Universal) Church as the Body of Christ continues on through the centuries inviolate. Though the visible church is fragmented organizationally and doctrinally, the True Church is one, and is united internally and essentially. The prayer of Jesus for unity (John 17:11, 21-23) is answered imperfectly today. But it will one day be realized perfectly when we appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:9-10; Rom. 14:10-12) (there is no Purgatory as imagined by Rome) and are stripped of our carnality, our warts and our wrinkles (Eph. 5:25-30). Then will come the time when the Bride of Christ will be purified and ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9). Until then, the external unity of the church is a work in progress.
Since the Vatican Church, Biblically speaking, is not coterminous with the Catholic (Universal) Church, Wordexplain prefers not to dillute the term "catholic" by limiting it to any jurisdiction, whether it be Vatican, Orthodox, or Protestant.
Vaticanism. WordExplain's preferred term for (Roman) Catholicism. I prefer to avoid the term "Catholicism" when possible because that implies the church headquartered in the Vatican in Rome is contiguous with the Church that Jesus predicted He would found (Matt. 16:18). That is a myth that adherents of Vaticanism use as a mantra, as in, "I am part of the 'one true Church.'" In actual truth, all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ are part of the "one true Church, " the mystical or spiritual "body of Christ" (1 Cor. 1:2; 12:12-13, 27-28). All who trust in Jesus are part of the Catholic (i.e. Universal) Church. One does not have to join the Church headquartered in the Vatican in Rome to be part of the Catholic (Universal) Church. So when you read "Vaticanism" on this website, that is code for (Roman) Catholicism. See also the Glossary entries for Vatican City State and Vatican Church.
Virgin Birth. The method God chose to incarnate His eternal Son as a human being (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20; John 1:1-3, 14). Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by virtue of the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had a human mother but no human father. In the virgin birth Jesus inherited all human characteristics that make one a man, but without any vestige of sin. At the same time Jesus retained all of His “Godness,” so that Jesus is a one-of-a-kind hybrid – 100% man and 100% God combined in one man for the rest of eternity. The virgin birth of Christ was predicted in Isaiah 7:14 and fulfilled as recorded in Matt. 1:18-25.
Vocative Case. The case of direct address in Greek nouns. It is used when one person is speaking directly to another person or a group of people in a recorded conversation. The speaker using the vocative case may, however, be the writer of a letter or document addressing his readers. In many cases, the spelling of the vocative case of a noun is identical to the spelling of the nominative case. Context determines whether the case is nominative or vocative. Some examples of the vocative case: Two angels at the empty tomb of Jesus used the vocative case of "woman" (Gúnai, 1135) when addressing Mary Magdalene (John 20:13). Paul, in addressing the wives among his readers, used the vocative plural of "women" (gunaîkes, 1135) ("wives") in Eph. 5:22, 24. See an off-site discussion of the vocative case.
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Updated December 31, 2019