Hello! I just got introduced to this subject yesterday, so I am just beginning to do some research on it, so if you have any knowledge of this subject you would like to share with me, I would appreciate it. Thanks!
Today; however, there is a fundamental difference between the Roman Catholic and Protestant views on the nature of the visible church. Roman Catholics believe that the one true visible church Christ established is the Roman Church, over which He placed a visible vicar of Christ, namely, St. Peter. They further hold that God set up an apostolic succession so that those who subsequently served as bishop of Rome are the only divinely appointed, infallible, official interpreters of faith and practice for believers.
All other branches of Christendom, including Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and every form of Protestantism, reject this claim, though both the Anglican and Orthodox Churches have their own episcopal form of government with a single head.
Note; however, that there are a few groups which call themselves “Apostolic.” Generally speaking, these churches all seek to uphold or return to the teachings and practices of the first church. Some of these churches hold to Pentecostal doctrine, while some do not. The largest groups are probably the Apostolic Church (or Apostolic Faith Church), which was born out of the Welsh revival of 1904-1905; and the New Apostolic Church International, which is traced back to the British revivals of the 1830s. Despite each organization mistakenly fabricating an office of "chief apostle" to head their respective organizations, their teachings fall within orthodoxy.
The biblical and historical evidence favors the Protestant view, which asserts that an infallible Bible [correctly understood] is sufficient for faith and practice without any alleged infallible interpreter of it. Indeed, both Scripture and the early Fathers support the position that neither Peter nor his supposed successors in Rome were divinely appointed to any such position.
Furthermore, Christ's apostles established independent self-governing churches that didn't have overarching human governing authority but rather were based on apostolic teaching that was later, upon the death of the apostles, contained in apostolic writings (e.g. the New Testament).
Hence, there is no one visible church but rather many visible assemblies who all have one head that is Jesus Christ (not the Pope) and they are all to be based on the teachings of God's own infallible Word (e.g. the canon also called the bible).