Again, the answer to the title question is “Yes” if one happens to be of the Catholic persuasion. However, for those who believe God’s Word, the answer is a resounding “No.” Let us be reminded that “ALL Scripture (Old and New Testaments) is given by inspiration (spoken to man by God via His Holy Spirit) and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness” in order to make us “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:14-17). With that in mind let us examine Romans 15:18 where the Apostle Paul makes it clear that Jesus Christ had ordained him “to make the Gentiles obedient by (Paul’s) words and deeds.” Two verses earlier Paul had written that God had ordained that “I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering THE GOSPEL OF GOD–the Holy Scriptures–that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable.” Paul, who had received his gospel directly from Jesus Christ through revelation (Gal. 1:12), said in no uncertain terms that it was he, not Peter, who was chosen by the almighty to be the apostle to the Gentiles. The vast majority of people living in Rome were Gentiles. Let us believe God’s “voice” by which He spoke, via His Spirit, to “holy men of old (who then) spoke what they heard as they were moved upon by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Then their scribes recorded what they had spoken, which God calls His Law (Genesis to Revelation) which He condensed into Ten Commandments and wrote them in stone with His own finger.
From the beginning God had made it clear that Paul, not Peter, would officially found His church in Rome. We know from the timing of Paul’s writings that the Lord had not established His church there by the mid-50’s A.D. when Paul was in Rome from where he wrote several of his epistles. Some Catholics claim that the Universal (Catholic) Church was established in Rome in 33 A.D. Others put the date in the mid-40’s. Either way, or any other way, neither church nor secular history maintain that the Apostle Peter was in any way involved in the establishment of God’s church in Rome. He most certainly was not involved in the raising up of “Mystery, Babylon” in that city. That Paul was the founder of the Church of God at Rome is brought out in Romans 1:11 where he wrote: “I long to see you (Christians at Rome) that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be ESTABLISHED” (as an official church). Paul wanted to establish the Christians in Rome as a congregation–church (called out ones).
If Peter had established God’s church at Rome, only to have Paul came along later and build upon that church, this would not only have offended Peter, but would made Paul out to be a liar in that he wrote in Romans 15:20: “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was (already) named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.” One of the hallmarks of Paul’s ministry was that he built the churches under his authority from the ground up. He first laid the firm foundation using the teachings of the prophets and the apostles (Eph. 2:20), then built on it using THE gospel he had been given personally by Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:12). Having received his gospel from the Author of it, Paul could write the same thing to all of the churches he founded (2 Cor. 8:18) with absolute confidence that what he wrote was Truth revealed to him by Christ Himself.
Paul wrote his letter to the church at Rome in the mid-50’s A.D., long after Peter had supposedly established the Catholic Church. At the conclusion of his letter to those in the Rome church he sent salutations to over two dozen people associated with that church. One will notice that Peter was not among them.
A half dozen years after Paul had written his epistle to the church at Rome he was taken there as a prisoner in order to stand trial before Caesar. “When the (Christian) brethren (of Rome) heard of us, they came to meet us” (Acts 28:15). Paul did not mention that Peter had been among his visitors, which would be strange indeed. Surely Peter would have been among Paul’s visitors and would have spent some valuable time alone with him. That apparently did not happen. Also, Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, always mentioned by name important apostles involved in Paul’s ministry. He would have been remis for not mentioning the founder and leader of the church at Rome.
Upon his arrival in Rome Paul summoned the “the chief of the Jews” to where he was staying in a rented house (Acts 28:17). He “expounded and testified the Kingdom of God” to them (vs 23). They confessed their ignorance concerning Christian beliefs, stating that the only thing they knew about the “sect” was that it was not popular among the people of Rome (vs 22). When Paul told them about Christ and His gospel, some of the Jews believed while others did not. Doesn’t it sound reasonable that if Peter, a Jew, had established a church in Rome over a dozen years earlier, and was still in Rome, that the local Jewish leaders would have known more about Christianity? This is proof that Peter had not been in Rome prior to the late 50’s A.D. By that time his church would have been in existence between ten and twenty years. Isn’t it strange that the Jewish leaders knew nothing about it? Following his meeting with them Paul remained in Rome two more years during which time he wrote five of his epistles. Nowhere in any of them does he mention Peter being in Rome. One must wonder why this was the case.
Following his two-year prison sentence Paul was allowed to leave that supposed citadel of Catholic beliefs and practices. He was brought back in the mid-60’s once again as a prisoner. His crime was that he preached about Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. Upon being brought before Caesar he was sentenced to die. Paul wrote to Timothy that during his second imprisonment in Rome only Luke stood with him (2 Tim. 4:11). If Catholics are right about Peter’s church having been already established in Rome by that time, then would one of them explain why he refused to associate with Paul during his time of greatest need?
The truth about Peter and his supposed connection to Catholicism is clear from the Biblical narrative as well as secular history. From the written record we can with confidence proclaim that the Apostle Peter did not establish the Catholic Church, that he was never the bishop of Rome and that he was not the first pope. In his epistles he never mentions Rome. Why? because HE WAS NEVER IN ROME.
The Bible Truth is that both the Catholic Church and her Protestant offspring are counterfeit. Their god, their messiah, their gospel and their salvation are all counterfeit. All three billion plus of them are CINOs–Christians In Name Only. If, that is, we can take God at His Word. I say we can. The churches, however, beg to differ.
If Peter was not in Rome during the 40’s and 50’s A.D., where was he? The Holy Scriptures tell us that around 45 A.D. he was in a Jerusalem jail (Acts 12:3,4). In 49 A.D. he was out of jail and attending a meeting with the Jerusalem Council. In 51 A.D. he was in Antioch where he was chastised by Paul for refusing to eat with Gentiles. Strange, in that he had supposedly built the world’s greatest Gentile church several years earlier. In 66 A.D. we find Peter in Babylon among the Jews (1 Pet. 5:13). This would be understandable in that he was the APOSTLE TO THE CIRCUMCISION.
“Come, let us reason together.” Let us reject Satan’s perverted gospel (Gal. 1:6-9) and embrace Biblical Truth. Peter was not the first pope, and papal succession is not from him. L.J.