Roman Catholicism #3: Bishop of Rome
Peter is not the Rock upon which Jesus built His Church, nor was he the first Bishop of Rome. There is no historical record of Peter ever being in Rome, nor is there any Scriptural record.
In Romans 16 Paul greets by name a list of Christians in Rome and Peter is not found in the list. In Acts 28 Paul tells of his arrival in Rome, and Peter is not mentioned. Rather, Peter writes to the scattered Christians from Babylon. I Peter 1:1 and 5:13.
Peter never claimed any authority over the Apostles nor over Christ’s Church.
According to Acts 15 the Apostle James was the leading pastor over the first Church in Jerusalem. He made decisions after discussing and praying with the other Apostles. In I Peter 5:1-4 Peter refers to himself as an elder or a pastor in the church. In that passage, as one of the twelve Apostles of Christ and as one of the elder/pastors, he instructs us to feed the flock God has entrusted to us. He makes a special point of warning us not to lord it over our churches, but we are to be examples to them of the truths we teach.
Peter never accepted the worship and homage of people.
In Acts 3 we have an account of Peter and John going to the temple to pray. At the gate was a lame man asking alms, who had never walked from birth. Peter announced healing in the name of Jesus Christ and instantly the man was able to stand up, walk and leap. When the crowds attempted to give homage and glory to Peter and John, they rejected it and turned the people’s attention to Jesus, preaching the Gospel to them. On the other hand, King Herod in Acts 12 accepted the worship of the people who claimed he was a god and not a man. Almighty God immediately caused him to be eaten up of worms and die.
In Acts 10:25-26 when Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter, Peter rejected the worship and commanded Cornelius, “Stand up! I myself am a man!”
In Acts 14 there is an interesting story of Paul and Barnabas being used of God to heal a crippled man. When the people attempted to worship them as gods, they rejected the worship and proclaimed to them the true God. .
As for Apostolic Succession, it is not taught in the Bible.
There were twelve Apostles. Paul also was a special Apostle to the Gentiles. These men were hand picked by Christ and called to the special work of passing on the teachings of Christ and the Gospel message to the church. These teachings are found throughout the New Testament and they are in harmony with the teaching of the Old Testament prophets. As Ephesians 2:20 teaches, these Prophets and Apostles laid down the doctrinal foundation of the Church. Once the Bible was written, the work of the Apostles was finished and they died.
Throughout the Church Age these past 2000 years the work of the church has been carried on under the leadership of God-called, God-ordained pastors and teachers. It’s true that we pass on to the next generation the truths of Scripture that were passed down to us. That is God’s way of continuing the ongoing ministry from generation to generation. II Timothy 2:2 And it’s true that when men are ordained to the ministry, hands are laid on them. I Timothy 4:14 But this is in no way Apostolic Succession. It is simply men confirming God-called men who have been examined for doctrinal purity to the ministry.
Preachers are not infallible and the books they write are not infallible.
I read books and listen to preachers, but I do not swallow everything I hear or read. I test everything by the standards of God’s Holy Word. If it does not square with God’s Word, I reject it as spurious. So should you as you read my articles and as you read books and listen to preachers.
Only God’s Word, the Bible is infallible. The church is not infallible. Through the centuries Satan has raised up false prophets and false movements that often appear genuine. We are warned to test by the Bible everything that claims to be true. Matthew 7:13-23; Matthew 24:4-5,:23-24; Acts 20:27-32; Romans 16:17-19; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 5:1-12; Philippians 3:2; Philippians 3:17-19; Colossians 2:8-18; I Thessalonians 1:9-10; II Thessalonians 2; I Timothy 1; 4,
II Timothy 2,3 Titus 1; II Peter 2,3; I John 4:1-3; II John 7-11; Jude, Revelations 2:14-15. These are just some of the warnings to beware of false doctrine..
Peter is not the Chief Shepherd, but Jesus is.
Peter makes this clear in I Peter 5:4-5. When Jesus returns for us He will reward His faithful servants with unfading crowns of glory. But in this age, no Christian has any business wearing a religious crown or accepting the homage of others. Verse 5 teaches all of us to submit ourselves in humility to one another. In Christ’s church there are to be no “big shots” who run the church. Sadly, that is not the case in many churches where the glory of God has departed. The Apostle John wrote in his third Epistle about Diotrephes who sought preeminence and control in the church.
One more thing we must note before we leave this topic.
The whole idea that priests and preachers should not marry is a false doctrine.
Peter was married. Matthew 8:14. It is a sin and unwise for God’s servants to be denied the privilege and blessing of being married. I Timothy 4:1-5; I Corinthians 7. In I Corinthians 9 Paul teaches that preachers have the right to be married if God leads. In Paul’s case, as an itinerant preacher who faced tremendous persecution and difficulties throughout his ministry, he felt it best not to be married so he could devote himself fully to his special calling. Though not in every case, generally it is best that a pastor be married. See the qualifications for pastors (bishops), elders and deacons. I Timothy 3:1-13 Titus 1:4-9.
I encourage you to be like the Berean Christians in Acts 17:10-11 who received the preaching of God’s Word with open minds and hearts, but then tested what they heard by searching the Scriptures.
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