Head of the Church
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2008)|
Head of the Church is a title given in the New Testament to Jesus. Roman Catholic theology will commonly distinguish between Visible Head and Invisible Head in order to allow the term to apply to human leadership in the Church.
It is found for example in Colossians 1.18, Colossians 2.19, Ephesians 4.15 and Ephesians 5.23.
Roman Catholic theology
In Roman Catholic ecclesiology, Jesus is called the Invisible Head, while the Pope is called the Visible Head. Therefore, the Pope is often called the Vicar of Christ. Roman Catholic theology claims a close collaboration between christology and ecclesiology.
Church of England
At the time of the English Reformation, Henry VIII took for himself the title of Supreme Head of the Church of England, which was theologically problematic; his daughter Elizabeth I changed this to Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
In fundamentalist Evangelical literature, this Roman Catholic distinction between Visible Head and Invisible Head is often attacked ferociously as being ideas not founded in scripture. Evangelical literature harmonizes christology and ecclesiology within a strictly scriptural context.