Protestant arguments against the primacy of Peter

I was reading this article that provided convincing arguments against Peter being the pope, among them is peter not presiding counsil of jerusalem, peter never mentioning to follow his succesor, his name being mentioned behind the name of james, and st paul saying that he and peter have separate ministries. What are the rebuttals to this articles main arguments?

Well, for starters…

“To find the solution to this question, we must go to the Bible. Protestants and Roman Catholics both agree that the Bible is God’s authoritative Word to the human race. We have this in common. Consequently, we should look at what it says concerning this issue. We will find that it has much to tell us. Church history, the decisions of church councils, and the decrees of popes do not enter into this discussion. The Bible must give us the answer.”

Lots of assumptions here! The writer is presupposing the conclusions right at the beginning.[quote=“commenter, post:2, topic:624351, full:true”]
Well, for starters…

“To find the solution to this question, we must go to the Bible. Protestants and Roman Catholics both agree that the Bible is God’s authoritative Word to the human race. We have this in common. Consequently, we should look at what it says concerning this issue. We will find that it has much to tell us. Church history, the decisions of church councils, and the decrees of popes do not enter into this discussion. The Bible must give us the answer.”

Lots of assumptions here! The writer is presupposing the conclusions.

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Right. After all, “if we’re asking a historical question, we should really ignore all the historical sources, and instead, focus on a book whose goal isn’t history as such (but rather, bringing people to faith in Christ). Yeah… that’s the sole source we should reference!”

Who was the apostle at the head of the Church of Jerusalem? (Hint: it wasn’t Peter. :wink: )
A modern analogue might be when the POTUS steps into a local courtroom. Does he tell the presiding judge to step aside? Does he stride up to the bench, take the gavel, and pronounce judgment? Of course not!

But… if he stands up to offer testimony, wouldn’t the assembled court hear him and greatly value his testimony? That’s exactly what happens in this passage – after Peter speaks, debate is over. And James, who is the presiding bishop, passes judgement.

Read Mt 16 in the original Greek. When Jesus says “you”, it’s in the singular. He’s talking to Peter. Then read Mt 18. In that grant of authority, he says “you” in the plural. He’s talking to all the apostles. The difference? Peter is the only one given “the keys to the kingdom” and is the one rock “on whom I will build my church.”

Not a necessary set of assumptions here. They’re making it up as they go along.

Wrong. “Proven”? Sure. “Proven by the Scripture”? Why that particular standard? They haven’t established why it must be in Scripture. (That’s kinda like saying “You say that you’ve baked the the most excellent chocolate cake in the world. Therefore, you must find the recipe in Scripture, or else it’s not what you say it is.”)

The author claims Jesus never mentions Peter’s pre-eminence. That’s not true. See Luke 22:31-32. Jesus is speaking to Peter alone (again, singular “you” when He tells Peter that he will have faith and he will strengthen the apostles).

The author points out Galatians. He fails to mention that Paul’s claim to authentic apostleship is bolstered by his visit to Peter alone for two weeks.

The author claims “we find no evidence of the papacy in the Bible”. That’s a straw man argument: they’re the ones who claimed that you must find it there, but haven’t demonstrated that their claim is reasonable. It’s like saying “I don’t believe that vanilla ice cream exists; and if it does, you must find it right here.” (And someone else says, “umm… you’re in the produce aisle, dude. It’s right over there in the freezer, man…”)

Anyway, their claims are arbitrary and weak, IMHO.


Peter and James.

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You mean we don’t have this in writing? Maybe this has to do with suddenly being arrested and killed in Rome. Maybe he didn’t feel it was necessary to name a successor but leave it to the Bishops to choose one.

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Depends on how you read it. Even if you think “no apostles” means “no apostles but James”, you don’t have evidence of a meeting between them. Just that Paul says that he saw James.

And maybe, just maybe, if the author took a minute to examine the implications of his claim that Peter and the other Apostles were merely “equals”, then he’d realize that this would imply that, upon Peter’s death, they could meet to name a successor, the way that they had done when they needed to replace Judas. :thinking: :wink:

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Referring to 2Peter,

'If at the time Peter wrote this letter, Jesus Christ had already given believers everything that they need, what therefore is the point of two thousand years of so-called holy tradition which the Roman Church adds to the Scripture? According to Peter’s own statement such holy tradition is unnecessary."

But at the time 2Peter was written, the New Testament had not been gathered together, 27 books canonized, nor identified as a “New Testament,” as Scripture. Tradition (interpreted by the Magisterium) was the only Christian revelation they had.


What the text says is, he saw Peter AND James.

Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother.
Galatians 1:18‭-‬19 NRSV-CI

And apostle in the New Testament more often than not isn’t relegated to the Twelve.

The Evangelicals, in a limited way, recognize the primacy of Peter, to judge from the words of R. Wade Paschal of Asbury Theological Seminary. Referring to a verse in the farewell discourse, Lk 22:32, “But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,” Paschal writes:

Peter, despite his failure, is implicitly singled out for special leadership … Not so much transfer of authority as mission. … Peter is to care for the disciples much as Jesus has. This anticipates Peter’s role in Acts, where he will be the leader of the early church, but not the sole possessor of Jesus’ authority.

Green & McKnight (eds.), Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels , InterVarsity Press, p. 231a.

It was implicitly stated.

Dr. Brant Pitre rightly pointed out that, when quoting Scripture, our separated brethren often do not take the Scriptures as a whole. They target the NT but fail to look at the OT as well.

To the comment about Peter having any authority over the other Apostles, I would say: look to Isaiah 22:15-25 because when speaking to St. Peter in Mt 16:18-20, Jesus was referencing Isaiah for context.

Isaiah 22 NABRE (USCCB):

Pay close attention to the office from which Shebna is being removed - over whose household he has authority - & all other references about authority cited.

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Additional Info with Historical Support:

CHN Intl - Deep in History:

“Peter, the Rock, the Keys, and the Chair” - Steve Ray

From Wikipedia:

“Keys of the kingdom“

“Binding and loosing”

From New Advent:

“St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles“:

“The qualifications of an apostle included being with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry through the time He came back from the dead. Obviously, nobody, apart from those living at Jesus’ time, could meet these qualifications.”
Except that St Paul was also an apostle, and didn’t meet those conditions.
But the writer is besides the point anyway. The bishops are not considered by Catholics to be Apostles, but successors to the Apostles. The writer rejects Apostolic succession, but many scholars in the early Church emphasized it, as do Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and others.

If you argue that the Early Church was wrong about Apostolic Succession, why accept their New Testament?

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I am sorry, our Protestant brothers are always saying scripture alone! When the Gospel on John says everything is not written!


Except that in the Church’s infancy, the Christian Bible as we know it with the completed NT canon was not around then.

So what did the Church have then in the absence of the completed Christian Bible…?

From Strong’s Concordance (BibleHub):


אָב1191 noun masculine father

Scroll down to Para. 7 & 8, where we see the following:

7 figurative of benevolence & protection Job 29:6 אָב אָֽנֹכִי לָֽאֶבְיוֺנִים, compare Job 31:18; of Eliakim Isaiah 22:21; perhaps also of gracious Messianic king אֲבִי עַדIsaiah 9:5 everlasting father (Ge Ew De Che Brd Di) — others divider of spoil (Abarb Hi Kn Kue BrMP).

8 term of respect & honour ( Abbas, Pater, Papa, Pope ); applied to master 2 Kings 5:13; priest Judges 17:10; Judges 18:19; prophet 2 Kings 2:12 (twice in verse); 2 Kings 6:21; 2 Kings 13:14 (twice in verse); compare 2 Kings 8:9; counsellor Genesis 45:8 (E; compare δευτέρου πατρός ᵐ5 add. Esther 3:13; τῷ πατρί1Mac Esth 11:32); king 1 Samuel 24:12; artificer 2Chron 2:12; 2 Chronicles 4:16.

Something else to consider:

If witness to Christ in the flesh is the deciding factor by which one is an Apostle & Teacher of the faith, by what authority do modern Protestant pastors claim to teach the faithful since their churches didn’t arrive on the scene til almost 1500 years after Christ?

As an unbelieving outsider I wish protestants would acknowledge that Catholics do not rely on scripture as the sole source of authority. As I understand it all Catholics say is that they rely both on scripture and tradition and that scripture does not contradict scripture. Therefore, from a Catholic point of view, provided their traditional interpretation of scripture is a possible interpretation, countervailing interpretations will not change the Catholic mind.

Protestants wishing to argue against Catholic positions are on stronger ground if they can find apparent variations in tradition related to their scriptural interpretations. Because formal teaching is more carefully constructed that scripture (even if you believe the latter to be inspired) this is much more difficult.

With regard to the position of the Bishop of Rome all indications are that from biblical times we have evidence of some sort of primacy for the position, but that it may not have been ‘sole’ primacy. Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants argue their different positions but unless a second-century document stating yes, or no, is found the answer will be partly determined by belief rather than documentary evidence.

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They don’t. As I understand it many protestants argue that their beliefs, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have arisen again and again from the earliest days of the Church and been met by oppression. I think, from memory, that they call this the ‘succession of blood’ as opposed to apostolic succession.

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And where is this teaching in the Scriptures explicitly stated?

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