Petrine Papacy and Apostolic Succession

Hi folks.

In a number of the threads I’ve been posting in we have touched on Peter and his role in the foundation or governance of the Church. Whether you believe that Peter was the “rock” upon which the Church was found and the first Pope - Bishop of Rome, I think, is ultimately a matter of faith.

Faith aside, it might be worthwhile to explore the evidence. Some in this forum have claimed that there historical proof that the line of popes - apostolic succession extends right back to Peter. Personally, I don’t think so.

Would anyone care to review the facts or post the evidence?

I’d also be interested in exploring the case for Peter’s primacy in the New Testament.

Note: This is my first thread. Please don’t misunderstand me. Regardless of any doctrinal or historical disagreements I may have with you, I respect and appreciate the Roman Catholic Church. The whole world owes it a debt of gratitude.

Some non-Catholics will say anything in order to try and prove that St. Peter the first “Bishop of Rome” was never in Rome. By doing this they hope to discredit Peter as having the primacy, and thus by so doing they attempt to deny that he was the first Pope, and therefore the Catholic claim of Apostolic Succession would fall apart. By denying Apostolic Succession they would then try to show that the Catholic church is not the church which Jesus Christ founded. Interestingly, if they ever reached that point (which they never could), then it would be impossible for them to fill the void of which church Christ did found if it were not the Catholic church. So, they have presented a circular argument for themselves, an argument which has no beginning and no end.
It is a futile attempt on their part, as they completely ignore an overwhelming deposit of genuine historical documents, and expect knowledgeable people to do the same.

Is this a rant?

You did not answer the question. :shrug:

What are you talking about? The OP tends to think Peter didn’t start Apostolic Succession and doesn’t believe he was ever in Rome. Call it a rant if you want, I gather you are not Catholic for that rude response. :mad:

If there is proof of what you claim - which is the topic of this thread - could you post it please.

I don’t believe that Peter was in Rome?

When did I come to that conclusion?

Well, it looks like a rant to me… :popcorn:

Catholics can be just as rude, or more, in posts…

I would post a list here but it is too long–265 names altogether, beginning with St. Peter and ending with Benedict VI. Here is a link to the list: Each and every one of these men served as the Bishop of Rome and history records an unbroken succession. What more evidence do you want? Seriously.

Let’s be serious - shall we?

Names written down on a list are hardly evidence of anything more than someone having written down names on a list. I have a A History of the Popes - Vicars of Christ (Coulombe) with a biography of each “Pope” on the list but even a biography is proof of nothing.

What I am asking for is actually historical information, not tradition, that, for example: Linus, Cletus and Evaristus were actually Popes - monoepiscopal bishops of Rome with primacy over all other bishops.

Here’s how I understand it:

It would be inaccurate to factually state that Peter was the 1st Bishop of Rome or even that the first Bishops of Rome had primacy. The Catholic Church, by tradition accords such but the direct evidence for it is lacking. There is a lack of evidence that Peter, once in Rome served as a theological of administrative leader, certainly not was we understand Bishops today.

… however, I am willing to be educated if someone can demonstrated from the evidence, not tradition, that I am mistaken.

OK, try starting with Matthew 16:19:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Next look at John 21:15-17, where Jesus takes Peter aside and charges him three times to “Feed my sheep.” He gave this charge to no other disciple.

Next we look at the Acts 1, where Peter leads the others in selection of Matthias as the replacement for Judas.

Next go to Acts 2, where it was Peter who delivered the first public sermon of the Christian Church.

Finally go to Acts 5:14-15:

And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women,
so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.

Note that it was Peter, not any of the other apostles whose shadow was sought by the sick.

There is plenty of other scriptural evidence for the primacy of Peter but I think you get the picture with these.

There are others on this board who can answer this much better than I, but Irenaeus in Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3, written about 180 A.D. states as follows:

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.
The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles.

I’m not sure just what you are looking for, but Irenaeus is one of the earliest and best regarded of the Church Fathers and I don’t think he would have made this up.

There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (and Judas Iscariot was always named last):

Matt. 10:1-4
1 Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Mark 3:16-19
16 (he appointed the twelve: ) Simon, whom he named Peter; 17 James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, 19 and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Luke 6:14-16
13 When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Acts 1:13
When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

sometimes the apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him”

Luke 9:32
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles

Matt. 18:21
Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

Mark 8:29
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.”

Luke 12:41
Then Peter said, "Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?"John 6:68-69

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes

Matt. 14:28-32
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 After they got into the boat, the wind died down.

Matt. 17:24-27
24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 25 “Yes,” he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” 26 When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. 27 But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

Mark 10:23-28
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.”



On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds

Acts 2:14-40
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘It will come to pass in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord, 21 and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.’ 22 You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. 23 This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. 24 But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says of him: ‘I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. 26 Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, 27 because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29 My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. 30 But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. 33 Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you (both) see and hear. 34 For David did not go up into heaven, but he himself said: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ 36 Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” 38 Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

and he worked the first healing in the Church age

Acts 3:6-7

6 Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, (rise and) walk.” 7 Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren

Luke 22:31-32

31 “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat,32 but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.”

and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd

John 21:17
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep.

An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter

Mark 16:7
But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’"

and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter

Luke 24:34
who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”



He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas

Acts 1:13-26
13 When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, 16 “My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. 18 He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out. 7 19 This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood. 20 For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’ And: ‘May another take his office.’ 21 Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” 26 Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.

and he received the first converts

Acts 2:38-41
38 Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.

He inflicted the first punishment

Acts 5:1-11
1 A man named Ananias, however, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. 2 He retained for himself, with his wife’s knowledge, some of the purchase price, took the remainder, and put it at the feet of the apostles. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied to the holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it not still under your control? Why did you contrive this deed? You have lied not to human beings, but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last, and great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men came and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, unaware of what had happened. 8 Peter said to her, “Tell me, did you sell the land for this amount?” She answered, “Yes, for that amount.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen, the footsteps of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 At once, she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men entered they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

and excommunicated the first heretic

Acts 8:18-23
18 When Simon [the magician] saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. 21 You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven. 23 For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity.”



He led the first council in Jerusalem

Acts 15

and announced the first dogmatic decision

Acts 15:7-11

7 After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. 10 Why, then, are you now putting God to the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”

It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians

Acts 10:46-48

46 for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?” 48 He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Please publish the whole account. Then others talked. Then James. bishop of Jerusalem summed up the testimony and said “I decide…” then the council as a whole adopted James’ decision, and issued a decree in the name of the “bishops and presbyters”.

I linked the entire 15th chapter of Acts.

After much discussion, it is Peter who spoke up first, and led them. The first to speak in Jewish tradition of the time is the person in authority. Peter is the first to say, the Gentiles are saved by Jesus, the same as themselves.

James, as Bishop of Jerusalem, is leading the church in Jerusalem and so of course he put forth his judgment. But it was second to Peter.

Further into chapter 15 it is stated that all the apostles and presbyters were in agreement with the whole church. Peter, speaking first, James second. They sent the council’s decision by letter to Antioch.

Rebecca has put together a decent case for the proposition that Peter was the first of the Apostles (even though there is some ambiguity, like James’ role at the council in Jerusalem), but where is the evidence that Peter was the first “bishop” of Rome? Zenas quoted Irenaeus about 100 years after the fact saying that the tradition in his time was that “Peter and Paul” founded the church in Rome, and gave the episcopacy to Linus. Irenaeus said nothing about Peter being the “bishop” of Rome, and didn’t even link the founding of the Roman church solely to Peter!

Personally, I have no idea why some Protestants work so hard to deny that Peter was in Rome–who cares?

In fact, all indications are that Paul got to Rome before Peter. For example, after Paul had already been there, he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. If Peter were there, why didn’t Paul mention Peter in the letter? Check out Romans 16, where Paul salutes various prominent Roman Christians by name–but no Peter.

The church existed for many years from the time of death of Jesus on the cross about 33 A.D. until the first book of the New Testament was written in about 51 A.D… The New Testament teaching during those years was none other than **Tradition, **By the time that the last book of the New Testament was written around 100 A.D., the church which Jesus Christ founded was already on its fifth successor of Peter.`
Holy Scripture does, in fact, say Peter was in Rome…Peter wrote “The church which is at Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does my son Mark”. (1 Pet. 5:13).
Where is this Babylon? By the time the New Testament was written, the city of Babylon, in now what is Iraq, was of almost no importance. Its days of glory were long past in the Old Testament.
Christians were under constant persecution by both the Jews and the Romans from the very beginning and had to practice the faith underground in the homes of believers, and the Catacombs of Rome. In order to recognize one another as Christians, they used code names and symbols. The fish symbol (icthos) was used for recognition, and Babylon was the code name for Rome.
If Peter had said he was writing from Rome, then no doubt, the Romans would have begun an intensive search for him.
Holy Scripture tells us that the Roman Emporer Claudius (41-54) ordered all Jews to leave Rome (Acts 18:2). Peter was a Jew, but the church was an underground church in hiding at the time.
Well, that charge to leave Rome would imply that Peter was in Rome doesn’t it.
Eusebius wrote in “The Chronicle” (Ad An Dom 42), that Peter, after establishing the church in Antioch, went to Rome where he remained Bishop of Rome for 25 years.
We know from other early writings that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome in 67 A.D., That date, minus 25 years would put him in Rome in the year 42, during the reign of Claudius. Again, this charge can be dismissed for the same reasons given already, that the church was forced to practice the faith in an underground situation in order to avoid persecution.
The Romans had a policy of hunting down and persecuting all of the Apostles.

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