Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pope Peter???

The following questions are in no way meant as an attack against the Apostle Peter. However, I do have questions pertaining to the authority of Peter and, specifically, was he the first "Pope"?

1. Did Peter know he was the first Pope, because in 1 Peter 5:1 he refers to himself as an elder?

2. Did he ever refer to himself as Pope? Did anyone else in scripture ever address him as such?

3. How many churches did Peter establish vs. the number of churches established by Paul?

4. Was Paul establishing churches under Peter's authority?

5. Why did Paul publicly check Peter in Antioch about eating with Gentiles until the Jews arrived, at which time Peter then withdrew from the Gentiles out of fear of the opinion of the Jews (see Galatians 2:11-14)? As Pope, would Peter have acted in this way? And would Paul have publicly admonished him in such a way?

6. In scripture, what ties does Peter have to Rome? Was Peter the founder of the early Church in Rome?

7. Why didn't Paul address Peter in any of his letters to churches, especially in Rome?

8. Matthew 23:9 "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." The title of Pope comes from the Greek word "Papas" which originally meant "Father". Popes are also often referred to as the "Holy Father". In vs. 8 of this same scripture, Messiah advises the apostles against being called by lofty titles because "all ye are brethren". Does, then, calling Peter a Pope, line up with this scripture?

9. Why doesn't scripture identify Peter (instead of James) as head of the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts 15?

10. How many epistles did Peter write? Or, put another way: Why are the majority of the epistles attributed to Paul if Peter was actually the Pope or head of the early churches?

Please, when answering any of the above questions, include scripture in your explanations. While I don't mind entertaining opinions or even outside sources, the only explanations I can accept as valid truth are those that are aligned with scripture.




Sayid Abu Khamr al-MaseeHee said...


I myself am not (yet) a Catholic, but after much reading and studying, I am seriously considering converting. So I'd like to make an attempt at answering.

Regarding your first question, I don't know if Peter ever conceived of the English concept "Pope." As for 1 Peter 5:1, the original Greek text has "presbyteros," which more literally means presbyter. In the Catholic Church, the Pope is a presbyter. Beyond that, the Pope is a Bishop (and Peter was that as well - each apostle was a Bishop).

Regarding your second question, no, the English word "Pope" does not appear anywhere in the Bible.

Regarding your third question, I would say that the different apostles set up congregations, but there is only one Church, which was established by Jesus Christ, of which all those congregations or churches are a part of. Those congregations/churches which are separated from the One Church, they run the risk of being antichrists (1 John 2:18-19). Anyway, I am not certain how many congregations Peter established.

Regarding your fourth question, I think any apostle who established a congregation did so under Christ's authority.

Regarding your fifth question, Paul's disagreement with Peter is mentioned right there in the text. I have never seen a Catholic teaching which holds that the Pope is impeccable. And yes, Bishops are aloud to question the moral behavior of the Pope (you can find Catholic writings criticizing certain Popes). The Catholic Church teaches that a Pope speaks infallibly when he puts forth official Church doctrine, and in Peter's case these are his two epistles, his declaration in Acts 15, and perhaps more (e.g. Peter was probably wrong on A LOT of subjects, but when he put forth official Church doctrines, God insured that those teachings were free from error).

Regarding your sixth question, I'm not sure the Bible says anything about Peter in Rome.

Regarding your seventh question, perhaps because none of those letters were intended specifically for Peter?

Regarding your eighth question, indeed, calling Peter "father" or "papa" or some word along those lines because he was a Presbyter, and we are to address a presbyter as Father (cf. 1 Timothy 5:1). That is why Paul, also a presbyter, said he became our father through the gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15). Another way to go about this is to read Matthew 16:18-19 in parallel with Isaiah 22:20-22. Eliakim, given the keys, was a sort of prime minister under the then current king in the Davidic line, and was a father to Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Analogously, Peter, given the keys, was a sort of prime minister under the final and eternal King in the Davidic line, and was a father to the believers.

Regarding your ninth question, I am at a loss. In which verse does it say James was the head?

Regarding your tenth and final question, it was my understanding that Catholics and Protestants had the same New Testament, and therein each recognizes two epistles by Peter. Paul has more letters in the Bible because he wrote more I suppose.

Anyone who wishes to e-mail me can do so at

FreeIndeed said...

Thanks for your reply, Sayid, and welcome!

You bring up some interesting points that, unfortunately, I don't have the time to address now (preparing for Sabbath), but will do so as soon as I am able.

Thanks and I hope you'll take the time to visit again soon.


FreeIndeed said...

Hi, again, Sayid. Hope you had an enjoyable weekend!

Back to our topic...

I don't ask questions with the intent of being argumentative and I hope you won't be offended by our discussion, but I do think there are some issues worth examining a bit closer.

That said, I'm sure Peter never heard the English word "Pope", but what I'm getting at isn't so much about the word, but the position. I don't see where Peter held any higher position than any of the other apostles and I don't see where he thought he should.

Also, considering Messiah admonished the apostles to NOT be as those insisting to be addressed by titles and treated as special (Matt. 23:9), I don't believe Peter was given any special position of authority by Messiah. It doesn't seem, by Peter's demeanor, that he thought so either.

Also, when I ask whether or not Paul was establishing churches under Peter's authority, I understand that all authority belongs to Messiah and Messiah ONLY. What I'm asking is if there are some who assume otherwise and assume Peter was an authority figure over the church, are we also to then assume that Paul was establishing churches under Peter's leadership? Yet he never once addresses Peter's authority in any of his letters? Especially to the church in Rome?

That Paul's letters weren't directly to Peter doesn't much matter as Paul's letters were often directed to one person, yet also meant to send warm regards to others who he had no reservations of mentioning by name. If Peter had been of special rank, it would stand to reason that Paul, or even one of the other NT writers, would have mentioned this at some point, yet none did. Further, all Peter had to say regarding his rank was that he was a fellow elder. Again, if Peter was the first Pope, it seems he didn't know it.

Regarding the official church doctrines Peter put forth, just out of curiosity, what was his "official" position on the Sabbath?

Regarding James and the Jerusalem Council, a careful reading of Acts 15 shows us that at vs. 13, James is the one to first begin speaking on the final ruling and in vs. 19, he gives his sentence on the matter. While Peter offered his thoughts earlier in the chapter, it appears to be James who issued the final decision on the matter.

Pope Peter? I dunno, Sayid, it's just not adding up for me, but I do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter.

Michael said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my testimony. It means a lot to me. What an awesome God we serve!

Have the greatest of days!