Boast Not Against the Branches

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“The church at Rome has many ancient glories, but what does it have the Jerusalem did not have? . . . Now in response to this, Rome would maintain that she is far more than just a particular church in a particular city, that she is not just a branch on the tree, but rather that she is the tree itself. This is internally consistent, but this is not what Paul tells them. These words from Romans 11 are not just being applied by me to the church at Rome, they were written by Paul to the church at Rome. Paul expressly warns the Gentiles at Rome (Rom. 1:7; 11:13) that their removal from the Catholic Church was a very real possibility. ‘Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee’ (v. 18). What we have here is a letter from Paul the apostle to the church at Rome, telling her that she is not the root, but simply another branch on the tree. He states further that if she becomes haughty and proud, she could be removed as completely as previous branches were removed . . . The issue is whether or not the apostle Paul warned Rome of what could happen to her status as an ancient church when she began to produce men who looked more like Caiphas than Peter. Do not be haughty, he said, but fear. ‘Fear what?’ the question comes back. The apostle told Rome to fear removal” (Mother Kirk, pp. 33-34).

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