Did Peter Teach Roman Catholicism?

Roman Catholicism teaches that the Apostle Peter was the first pope and that he consecrated or ordained Clement (although it was Linus who was made the 2nd pope and Clement was 4th), and thus began a long line of the papacy. If this is true, then surely the Holy Scriptures would have told us. The Catholic church, however, believes that the Bible does not have the only or final say on spiritual matters. They have much oral traditions which they place on par with the written word of God. Ask them what exactly are these oral traditions and how many are there, and they have no answer. The problem with oral traditions is that they cannot be proven. There is no paper trail tracing them back to Jesus or the Apostles. So it is impossible to check truth against fables. This makes for a very shaky foundation which can lead to erroneous teachings passed down through the centuries. Repeat a myth often enough and people will start believing it. This is why we have a more sure word: the Holy Bible.

When we look at what Peter said about himself in 1Peter 5:1, we see that he never used the word: “pope.” No title like, head bishop. In 1Peter 1, he says he was an apostle, not the head Apostle. He never claimed special, hierarchical status. In fact, when Peter was speaking to the elders (Jewish believers who were scattered away from Jerusalem because of the persecution) he referred to himself as a “fellow elder.”  Ask a Catholic about this and they will usually say that Peter was just being humble. Yet, that makes no sense. It would be like pope Francis saying he is nothing more than a parish priest. That would be lying, wouldn’t it?

Peter, no doubt, was the spokesman of the apostles, and he was first given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 16:19) But, later we see Jesus giving the keys to the other apostles. (Matt 18:18) What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven? The Gospel. On the day of Pentecost, Peter opened the door of the gospel to the Jews by preaching that they needed to “repent and be baptized” for the remission of sins. Unlike Paul who was the apostle to the Gentiles and preached the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. (1Cor. 15:1-4)

When we read Galatians 2:11-21, we see Paul openly confronting Peter in the presence of the Jews. Not just talking to him, but rebuking him. Paul, a latter apostle corrects one of Jesus’ very own disciple! Why? Because Paul noticed that Peter used to eat with the Gentiles, but when some Jews  walked in the room, Peter became afraid of them and removed himself from the Gentiles. This was an act of hypocrisy. If Peter was pope, wouldn’t this be a terrible way to behave? It would be equally terrible for someone to oppose him to his face and in the company of others. After all, the pope is considered the “Vicar of Christ.” Meaning he represents Jesus Christ, God the Son. The pope, according to the Catholic church, cannot err in matters of faith and morals and  his teachings are declared infallible when he speaks ex cathedra. (whatever that means)

In Acts 15, at the Jerusalem Council, we see that it is James (Jesus’ half brother and not an apostle) who is the moderator and also the leader of the Jerusalem church. Not Peter. Peter seems to have lost some authority here. When some of the Pharisees stood up and said that “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses,”  the apostles and elders had to respond to this assertion. There was nothing here about a pope presiding and making a final decision. It is James who decided the outcome of the deliberations. Peter is in attendance, but was silent for much of this meeting and only later speaks up in order to come to Paul’s defense. After Acts 15, Peter (and the Eleven) begin to fade from the scene and it is Paul who’s ministry takes off as he runs with the Gospel of the grace of God.

One has to wonder why the Catholic church would claim that Peter taught Catholicism and was their pope when he was the apostle of the circumcision (Jews). Jesus said that He was sent for the “lost sheep of Israel” and He commanded that His apostles not go among the Gentiles or enter any towns of the Samaritans, but to go only to the “lost sheep of Israel.” (Matt 10:5,6) The Roman Catholic Church is not Israel.

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15 thoughts on “Did Peter Teach Roman Catholicism?

  1. Excellent points . Catholicism takes the whole “Peter” thing to an extreme but even in Protestant circles he is held in a state of honor as the founder of the church. Christ’s message to us through Paul is just kinda of ignored or mixed up with Israel’s program and if you try to follow what God gave us through him then many will condemn and ostracize you as worshipping Paul or making him an idol, yet they are the ones doing that with Peter and we are just doing what God said. It makes it challenging sometimes when we are speaking truth.

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    1. I agree. I’ve been accused of worshiping Paul and not Jesus. Some folks think that by following what Jesus taught that they are obedient but they fail to see that He taught the law to Jews under the OT. So if they really do follow Jesus then they would have to observe the Sabbath, abstain from certain foods, and all the rest of the law. Another thing about Catholicism, is that they claim both Peter and Paul were in Rome, they founded churches, and yet they give Paul lower status. If they followed only Paul, their theology would fall like a house of cards.

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  2. I have never understood how they get that Peter made it to Rome. Scripture is so clear that the twelve never leave Israel, they follow perfectly the last commission of Christ to begin in Jerusalem and work out from there going to Jews and proselytes only per Acts 1:8. Many Protestants teach that as well claiming Peter is the rock and all, but reading God’s Word it is clear all through the only Rock is Christ and he is the one the Church is built upon. It’s like people don’t get that Paul was the one to see Christ glorified and thus get the latest information from him, the twelve saw him resurrected but before he was glorified and at the Father’s right hand getting the rest of the story so to speak. At the stoning of Stephen Jesus was ready to come back, He was no longer sitting but standing and God was like “Whoa, boy, not yet. I got something else in mind and it’s gonna be good! Let me tell ya what you’re gonna do.” Okay maybe not in those exact words but you know what I mean I hope. God had the gospel of the grace of God hidden in himself a mystery that would complete the times of the Gentiles, which was revealed to Paul as a perfect representation of what God was doing- the whole chief of sinners thing, I’ll say he was the boss at Stephens stoning and a man on a mission to wipe out the followers of Jesus until that one incredible day on the road to Damascus. Then grace came pouring down from heaven as Paul saw the glorified Christ. It’s all so plain when you just read God’s Word as it’s written just the way He said it and stop trying to jack it up.

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  3. I agree about Peter not leaving Israel. There is a tradition that Thomas went to India to preach, but there’s no evidence. When Jews were fleeing Jerusalem due to the persecution, the Apostles stayed most likely because they were preaching the gospel of the kingdom in hopes that Israel would believe and repent and Jesus would come back and set up His earthly kingdom. The Catholic church seems to rely more on traditions passed down, than on the Bible. One tradition is that a guy named Liberianus recorded that Peter had presided in Rome as bishop for 25 years. Another is that Peter and Paul were together in prison and prayed, preached, and prepared for their birth into eternal life. We have no evidence that Peter ever preached the same Gospel that Paul did. If I’m wrong, maybe someone can show me.

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  4. “The problem with oral traditions is that they cannot be proven….This is why we have a more sure word: the Holy Bible.”

    Can you show me in the Bible what books are supposed to be in the Bible? Where did the Bible come from?

    Can you also show me where the Bible commands us to find everything in the Bible and reject tradition? (2 Thess. 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2)

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  5. The books that are in the Bible are the ones that belong there. It is God’s word. Are you questioning its inspiration? Sufficiency?

    By tradition, exactly what are you referring to? Oral ones? How can anyone prove they came from the apostles, for example?

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    1. Let me put the question this way; if we’re only supposed to follow the Bible, and not tradition, where does the Bible say which books should be in the Bible? Is there a list with a chapter and verse?

      Or, is the Bible itself a product of traditional teachings and acceptance by the Church?

      Oral tradition? Yes. 2 Thess. 2:15 says “…hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” So the Bible itself says there are oral traditions that have just as much authority as the writings.

      So if you follow the Bible, you must accept that oral tradition exists somewhere.

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      1. Paul was referring to holding on to those things that he had taught. Not man made traditions. The Bible is God-Breathed. Has nothing do with with any church selecting or accepting books. All scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16) By reading the Scriptures, people have found the way of salvation, eternal life. Not through traditions or church rituals.

        Can you give me an example of some oral traditions?

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      2. I’m not sure we can even discuss what the oral traditions are, and how we know, until you recognize that they must exist somewhere. The Bible says they do. So if you believe the Bible, you must believe oral traditions exist. So far you seem hesitant.

        Do you believe the Bible when it says oral traditions exist?

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      3. It isn’t my intention to argue. But since you are unable to give me a list of what these traditions are, I can’t progress any further on this. You say the Bible says there are oral traditions, yet Paul did not say this. He was talking about his teachings. Although teachings were spread orally, they were eventually written down. Paul said he completed the scriptures. What do you think he missed?

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      4. Paul wrote in Colossians 1.25 that he would complete the Scriptures. 2 Timothy completed the canon. Now can you answer what you believe some of these oral traditions are? I would appreciate it. Thanks.

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  6. You may need to explain how Colossians 1:25 means that Paul “completed the scriptures.” I don’t know what translation you use, but the RSV says Paul was made a minister “to make the word of God fully known.” So I’m a little confused. Do you believe every time the Bible says “word of God” it means “the Bible with a very specific list of 66 books”?

    One example of oral tradition is the canon of Scripture itself. The Bible did not descend straight from heaven on a rainbow. Somebody or group of people decided which books were included and which were not. (This also points to Church authority to make this decision, by the way.)

    Other examples are the liturgy (how the Church worships), the mass as the sacrifice of the New Covenant, baptism as the circumcision of the New Covenant, apostolic succession of bishops, confession. These are all rooted in Scripture, are more fully understood through the living tradition of the Church, and are historically traced back to the earliest Christians.

    And yes, Paul did say oral traditions existed. 2 Thess. 2:15, 1 Cor.11:2

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