WAS PETER EVER POPE?
Rev. George R. MacFaulTHE Roman Catholic Church claims that Christ gave to Peter supremacy over the other apostles; that the authority given to Peter passed to his successors; that the sole inheritors of Peter are the Bishops of Rome. She affirms Peter founded the Church of Rome and was its Bishop for twenty-five years. Butler's Catholic catechism, pages 15 and 16, contains the following: 'Who is the visible head of the Church?' 'The Pope, who is Christ's vicar on earth and supreme and visible head of the Church.' 'To whom does the Pope succeed as visible head of the Church?' 'To St. Peter, who was the chief of the apostles, Christ's vicar on earth, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome.'
Was Peter ever Bishop of Rome? This question is most important to the Roman-Catholic Church, for with it either stands or falls the whole papal system. If Peter was not Pope at Rorne then the Popes were never his successors.
A brief study of the New Testament will at once furnish to any candid-minded person convincing proof that Peter was never Pope. It will readily be seen that ...
CHRIST REFUSED TO RECOGNISE ANY POPE AMONG HIS DISCIPLES
The Saviour never introduced Peter to the other disciples by saying: 'See, I have appointed Peter as My successor; receive him as your Pope and head of the Church, call him Holy Father, honour and obey him.' On the contrary, Jesus made the following positive declaration, which is diametrically opposed to Roman teaching: 'But be ye not called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shalt exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.' Matthew 23:8-12.
THE APOSTLES NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED PETER AS POPE
Paul is silent about Peter's primacy. He wrote some thirteen or fourteen epistles, and never once refers to Peter's authority over the others. If such authority had existed would he not have spoken of it?
Paul considers himself Peter's equal. He says: 'I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.' 2 Corinthians 11:5. If Peter had been Pope would he have dared to speak after this fashion?
Paul censured Peter openly. He says: 'When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.' See Galatians 2:11-16. How would Paul have dared to censure Peter openly for failure to practice what he preached in his action toward the Gentiles, if Peter had been Pope?
Peter was considered only as one of the pillars of the Church. See Galatians 2:8-10. He was like James and John, one of the pillars of the Church, not its head.
No writer of the New Testament speaks of Peter as Pope. What does their silence mean? Can it be a conspiracy against him? Why do they ignore his authority? Why? Because Peter never was Pope. All the apostles were brethren.PETER NEVER SPOKE OR ACTED AS POPE
The only time that Peter acted at all like a Pope was when he used the sword and cut off the ear of Malchus. John 18:10. Popes have often made much use of arms; when at Antioch he did not walk according to the truth. Galatians 2.14. - Popes have done the same thing for centuries; when he contradicted and opposed the teachings of Christ. Matthew 16:21-23 - In this respect all the Popes have excelled. This was all the popery Peter had in him. It was enough, but Christ delivered him from the power of the evil one.
Peter was sent to preach by others. 'Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.' Acts 8: A 4. This does not seem Popelike. In place of sending others to preach, Peter is sent out himself.
Peter did not preside at the Council in Jerusalem. He did not call the Council nor open its deliberations. James took the direction of the gathering. If Peter had been Pope why did he not show his authority? See Acts 15.
Peter refused to have Cornelius kneel before him. 'As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up: I myself also am a man.' Acts 10:25-26. How different from the Popes, who compel men to kneel before them!
Peter did not profess to have power to forgive sins, but the Popes pretend they have power to forgive sins. Peter told Simon to pray to God for pardon. 'Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart rnay be forgiven thee.' Acts 8:22.
Peter speaks of himself simply as an elder or pastor. 'Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.' I Peter 1: l.'The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God that is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.' I Peter 5: 1-3.
Peter is completely silent about his position as Pope. He preached the Gospel on the day of Pentecost and exhorted the people to repent of their sins, to believe in Jesus and be baptised, but he was silent about his great power and high position. Was he too modest, or did he not know that he had been elected Pope? He wrote two epistles, but never mentioned his office of Pope. Who of the Roman Popes acted like Peter?
Peter never celebrated mass, nor did he hear confessions; he never directed a soul to pray to Mary nor to the saints, nor to use beads; he never advocated the use of holy water, and scapulars, and old bones; he never ordered the people to abstain from meat on Fridays and during Lent; he never declared that priests and nuns should not marry; he never presented his foot to be kissed; he never lived in a palace with soldiers to guard him and hundreds of servants to supply his every want. Why did he not do these things? Because he never was Pope.
PETER WAS A MARRIED MAN
In the 'Question Box' of the Catholic Register of Toronto, Canada, appeared the following 'I hear it said that St. Peter was a married man. Is it so?'
'Yes, St. Peter was a married man, but was among those who left all to follow the Lord and preach the Gospel. The law that priests shall not be married is not a divine law, but what we call ecclesiastical, and the Church made it because an unmarried clergy is doubly efficient for many reasons ... And the constant experience of all Christian times shows that the experiment, if so it may be called, has been a signal success ...
We are glad to learn the editor of the Catholic Register acknowledges that Peter was a married man, and the law that priests shall not marry is not divine.
That this so-called law has rendered the clergy of the Church of Rorne more efficient we are not prepared to grant, and that the experiment, for we deem it an experiment, has been a success, we also deny. We would urge all priests to read carefully the words of Paul concerning the office of a bishop: 'A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife ... one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?' I Timothy 3:1-7.
We would call the attention of all Roman Catholics to the fact that the law that priests should not marry is not only not a divine law, but it is a diabolical one. Paul speaks of it as 'A doctrine. of devils.' 'Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God bath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.' I Tirnothy 4:1-3.
Generally Roman Catholics believe that the apostles were celibates like the priests of today. But Rorne, to save her cause, will answer that when Peter became priest, or Pope, he left his wife. In the Question Department of the Catholic Observer appeared the following: 'St. Peter was married before he became an apostle, but ceased to live with his wife when he was elevated to the office and dignity of the Christian priesthood.'
The Menace very aptly answered this slander against Peter by saying: 'If St. Peter ceased to live with his wife one of them must have left the other If it were the wife who left St. Peter he must have been a poor foundation for a Church. If, on the other hand, St. Peter did the leaving then he was a wife deserter. The Roman Catholic Church, then, was founded by and upon a wife deserter.'
We know that this statement that Peter left his wife is a falsehood. Paul makes it plain that after Peter became an apostle he still had his wife. He says: 'Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas?' I Corinthians 9:5.
The Word says: 'A bishop rnust be blameless, the husband of one wife.' Why did Pope Gregory VII say: 'Leave your wives! Forsake your children! Abandon your home! My clergy shall not rnarry!'? Why? Because he was not the successor of Peter.
THERE 1S NO SCRIPTURAL PROOF THAT PETER WAS EVER IN ROME
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the first Pope, reigning at Rome twenty-five years. We challenge her to bring a single Scriptural proof in support of her assertion. If Peter did visit Rome, the New Testament is completely silent about that visit. The Word of God speaks of Peter as the apostle of the Jews. See Galatians 2:7-8. In reading the Acts of the Apostles, written by the Apostle Luke, we see Peter at work in Jerusalem, Caesarea and Antioch. If he had been in Rome for twenty-five years as Pope, why did not Luke mention this fact? NO historian would overlook mentioning the most important event in a man's life.
In the year 58 Paul wrote a letter to the Romans. In this letter he mentions more than twenty persons, but he does not say a word about Peter; he sends no greetings to Pope Peter. If Peter had been there he would undoubtedly have mentioned it. In 61 Paul goes to Rome and visits all the brethren. He did not meet Peter there; if he had been there he surely would have seen him. In 62 and 63 Paul wrote to the Philippians, to the Colossians, to the Ephesians, and to Philemon, from Rome. He speaks of several of his fellow labourers, but he is silent about Peter. In 66, a short time before his death as a martyr, Paul writes to Timothy from Rome and relates to him how all had forsaken him except Luke. Does any one believe that if Peter had been there he, too, would have neglected Paul? Never! Between 41 and 66, when it was said Peter was in Rome we cannot find a passage anywhere in the whole New Testament mentioning that fact. Why? Simply because Peter never was Pope.
CHRIST'S VICAR ON EARTH 1S THE HOLY SPIRIT
Before leaving the earth Jesus made this promise: 'I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' Matthew 28:20. How is He with us? By the Holy Spirit, and not by a visible head, called the Pope. Jesus said: 'It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin... Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.' John 16:7-13.
This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Since then the same gift of God has been bestowed upon all actual Christians. Today we need no Pope to guide us. God's Word is our authority. Every one whom Jesus saves has the promise of the guidance of the Holy Spirit to illuminate his pathway.
Was Peter ever Pope of Rome? NO! Therefore NO POPE COULD EVER BE HIS SUCCESSOR. Consequently the whole papal fabric falls to pieces. Why? Because it is founded upon a lie.
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