Succession of Peter


Hello all,
I am new to this forum, but have been reading for some time and find it very informative. I need help defending papal succession! My Bible Christian friend has acknowledged that perhaps Peter was meant to be the rock, but that it ended with him after the church began. She will not accept anything other than Scripture, and she barely accepts reason! Any pre-figurement in the OT? I’ve already cited the filling of offices, too. On that note, how was it determined that the authority remained with the Bishop of Rome?
In the OT, was the high priest a definitive authority for the Jews?
Thank you so much!


Hello heisey8.

Former Protestant preacher here.

Ask your friend: Why Bible (Scripture) only? This was one of the big deals of Luther’s Reformation. Why is the Bible the only authoritative source for your friend? (She probably either can’t answer that, or with answer that the Bible says it is the inspired word of God - which it is, of course.)

But the real answer is this: The New Testament did not even exist until around 400 AD. What did the early Church, the first Christians do for 400 years? They did what that early first Church still does today - followed the teachings of its leader(s), which is how our Bible came into being in the first place.


Good luck. :wink:


Good Luck! You’ll find out that if someone doesn’t want to believe in something, they will refuse to believe it.

(Need a non-religious example? Just ask the AARP why they invest a majority of their members savings in the stock market, in some way, shape, or form, yet Social Security should not be invested in the same market because it’s “too risky”) Maybe another thread, huh?

Since they understand that Peter is the Rock and was the leader, you are half way there, though, so Take Heart! Ask them what did Jesus mean by Binding and Loosing? That means Peter can make the rules of the New Church, with the guidance of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit.

What did the Early Church believe? You’ll see by numerous writings of the Early Church Fathers gave creedence to the Bishop of Rome.

Finally, ask them what did Jesus leave behind? A CHURCH! He did NOT leave behind a book. No where does He make even a veiled reference to a book. Whenever you read about Him or the other NT epistles referencing the Scriptures, they are talking about the Old Testament Scriptures.

When you read about the “Kingdom of God”, Jesus is talking about his earthly kingdom, His Church! One that He will stay with til the end of time! One that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against! Can this possibly mean that He’s going to pick one leader (Peter) and then let his bride wander aimlessly for the next 300+ years until a Bible replaced her?

And then, He’s going to trade in His bride for a newer younger one 1200 years later? No, I think that’s a tradition of man, not a tradition of God.

Thanks for your patience!



Go to Isaiah 22:22, then read Matt 16:18. You will see that the parallels are too striking to write off. In Isaiah 22:22, a prime minister was chosen. This Prime Minister had the authority to speak for the king, to bind and loose, and most significantly - he had the keys to the kingdom (symbol of authority). What’s more, this “Prime Minister” was an office, which means it had successors. This is clearly evident when you read Isaiah 22. Again, the real clincher is 22:22/16:18. Your friend would have to explain if Jesus either 1. Simply didn’t know about this verse, or 2. Actually did want to start an office, with successors, empowered to speak with His full authority, such that “whoever hears you hears me”.

Couple words of free advice (for what that’s worth). Don’t sling scripture with your friend. You will wind up missing the forest for the trees. Seriously examine every verse your friend brings up, and insist that your friend examine your verses.

These sites may help you in your talks: - this is a little “higher level” stuff, but itsjustdave is excellent at making a point!

Good luck, and God bless,


Another prefigurement would be Joseph’s role in Pharoah’s kingdom.


To add to RyanL’s post, not that Jesus was parrelleling Is 22 with Matt 16:18. No Jew who knew his Bible would have missed it and the spiritual application Jesus was giving it in applying it to Peter. The KEYS which are in both passages are VERY important. Note in IS 22 Eliakim is given the keys to the house of David. Christ is a king in the line of David, reestablishing the Davidic Kingdom spiritually in the New Covenant. He gives Peter the KEYS to the Kingdom of heaven with the binding and loosing authority that in rabinnical language is equivalent to the opening and shutting of Is 22. Note Shebna was a Steward in a long line of stewards I believe it was some 400 years after David. I figured it out once but can’t recall exactly how long the line was. This indicates succession. Keys also indicate succession, access, and authority. When I bought my house the transfer was when the previous owner handed me the keys to the house. I can delegate that access to my wife and kids. But when it is time for me to sell the house I will hand the keys to another.

You might look at Matt 23:2 for evidence of succession as well. Note the office of the seat of Moses (not mentioned previously in scripture) still existed and the scribes and the pharasees did have authority for Jesus says “DO WHATEVER THEY TELL YOU”. Of course their hearts were wicked so he said do not follow their example. Hope that helps.



To piggy-back Thessalonian, let me add a little bit more to the Matt 23:2 section. Here you have Jesus clearly acknowledge the binding authority of the “Teaching Chair of Moses”. While the Pharasees were horribly corrupt, God had promised them authority (I believe in Deu 17:8-13, though it’s not called that - another helpful verse to have in your pocket) to bind Jews in their rulings. What’s more, Jesus himself recognized their authority in Matt 23:2! There is no other way to reconcile that verse. This is a helpful illustration when confronted with the several not-so-good (to put it mildly) Popes we’ve had. Even though the men were corrupt, God would not allow their powers of binding and loosing to be wrongfully employed. Whereas in the OT the rulings were to be observed to the punnishment of physical death (Deu 17), the NT fulfillment of this binding-and-loosing power carries the punnishment of *spiritual *death. “He who hears you hears me, he who rejects you rejects me.” “What you bind on earth is bound in Heaven, what you loose on earth is loosed in Heaven.”

NOTE: It’s probably best not to rush into the “spiritual death” part, lest you scare them away with very intimidating words; but the truth is there. Get to it later rather than sooner, and understand the concept of “invincible ignorance” before you speak about “spiritual death”. Just because they don’t observe the rulings of the Pope does* not* necessarily mean that they are spiritually dead. The Church teaches that God does not judge those who do not know through no fault of their own, and will not hold them accountable for sins they don’t know they’re committing (not mortally, anyway).

When the Pope teaches from the “Chair of Peter”, or ex cathedra (which is literally “from the chair”), he is speaking with the authority that God gave to the office through the keys. The retort may be, “he gave everyone that power in Matt 18:18,” which is false (it was to the apostles only if you read the text - our “college of bishops”), but it cannot be denied that the keys were Peter’s alone.

Good luck, and God bless!


OH, and Thessalonian had a good point in the “Davidic kingship” of Christ. Make this point very explicit - Christ is a King (King of Kings) in the line of David. This will help when it comes to Mary, the Queen Mother, and the Giberah tradition! But that’s for a different thread…



Tag team apologetics.:smiley:


WOW!! You guys are GREAT! These examples and parallels are great news for me! I’ll certainly be back for more! In the meantime, God bless each of you!


Personally, I think Jesus’ words in Luke 12:41-46 go along way to explaining the papacy (Peter and his successors, the popes), even intimating that there might be bad popes at times (vv. 45-46):41Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. [size=1]44Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45But if that servant says to himself, `My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. [/size]

  • Jesus is the master.
  • The Church is his household.
  • Peter and his successors, the popes, are the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household; note similar language used in Isaiah 22:15, "go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household."
  • The portion of food to be given by the steward to the household at the proper time is sound doctrine. It should be noted that food is not a luxury that the members of a household can take or leave but a necessity required for the survival of the members of the household.
  • The* master when he comes* refers both to the death and particular judgment of each pope and to Jesus’ Second Coming at the end of time.

From this passage, it seems to me fairly clear that Jesus intended that there always to be a faithful and wise steward set over his household, the Church, until his Second Coming, in order that his household might receive their portion of food (sound teaching) at the proper time and that such a steward (pope) is necessary for the long-term survival of the household.


I’ve had a similar challenge from an ex-Catholic non-denom. He wants actual hard evidence of the “transfer of power” between Peter and Linus. He doesn’t insist on scripture alone, so that’s good. Also, he wants to know about the mechanism. How did it happen, what transpired, etc.

Obviously, it might have been difficult because Peter was martyred, but if anyone knows of any sources, that’d be great.



[quote=montanaman]I’ve had a similar challenge from an ex-Catholic non-denom. He wants actual hard evidence of the “transfer of power” between Peter and Linus. He doesn’t insist on scripture alone, so that’s good. Also, he wants to know about the mechanism. How did it happen, what transpired, etc.

Obviously, it might have been difficult because Peter was martyred, but if anyone knows of any sources, that’d be great.


The Papal succession does not travel from Peter to Linus to Anacletus . . . The succession lies in the overall Apostolic Succession which descends through all bishops. For scriptural warrant of this, see Acts 1:15-26. A bishop is a bishop is a bishop. Think of Apostolic Succession more as a net than as a chain. Bishops consecrate other bishops in teams as a rule. The bishop who happens to occupy the see of Rome legitimately at any given moment receives the charism of primacy in virtue of his office. Peter did not appoint Linus. Technically, no bishop appoints his own successor.

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