Skip to comments.11 Reasons the Authority of Christianity Is Centered on St. Peter and Rome
Posted on 01/06/2013 3:56:49 PM PST by NYer
Bl. John Henry Newman said it best: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” History paints an overwhelming picture of St. Peter’s apostolic ministry in Rome and this is confirmed by a multitude of different sources within the Early Church. Catholic Encyclopedia states, “In opposition to this distinct and unanimous testimony of early Christendom, some few Protestant historians have attempted in recent times to set aside the residence and death of Peter at Rome as legendary. These attempts have resulted in complete failure.” Protestantism as a whole seeks to divorce Christianity from history by rending Gospel message out of its historical context as captured by our Early Church Fathers. One such target of these heresies is to devalue St. Peter and to twist the authority of Rome into a historical mishap within Christianity. To wit, the belief has as its end the ultimate end of all Catholic and Protestant dialogue – who has authority in Christianity?
Why is it important to defend the tradition of St. Peter and Rome?
The importance of establishing St. Peter’s ministry in Rome may be boiled down to authority and more specifically the historic existence and continuance of the Office of Vicar held by St. Peter. To understand why St. Peter was important and what authority was given to him by Christ SPL has composed two lists – 10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy and 13 Reasons St. Peter Was the Prince of the Apostles.
The rest of the list is cited from the Catholic Encyclopedia on St. Peter and represents only a small fraction of the evidence set therein.
It is an indisputably established historical fact that St. Peter laboured in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his earthly course by martyrdom. As to the duration of his Apostolic activity in the Roman capital, the continuity or otherwise of his residence there, the details and success of his labours, and the chronology of his arrival and death, all these questions are uncertain, and can be solved only on hypotheses more or less well-founded. The essential fact is that Peter died at Rome: this constitutes the historical foundation of the claim of the Bishops of Rome to the Apostolic Primacy of Peter.
St. Peter’s residence and death in Rome are established beyond contention as historical facts by a series of distinct testimonies extending from the end of the first to the end of the second centuries, and issuing from several lands.
That the manner, and therefore the place of his death, must have been known in widely extended Christian circles at the end of the first century is clear from the remark introduced into the Gospel of St. John concerning Christ’s prophecy that Peter was bound to Him and would be led whither he would not “And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God” (John 21:18-19, see above). Such a remark presupposes in the readers of the Fourth Gospel a knowledge of the death of Peter.
St. Peter’s First Epistle was written almost undoubtedly from Rome, since the salutation at the end reads: “The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark” (5:13). Babylon must here be identified with the Roman capital; since Babylon on the Euphrates, which lay in ruins, or New Babylon (Seleucia) on the Tigris, or the Egyptian Babylon near Memphis, or Jerusalem cannot be meant, the reference must be to Rome, the only city which is called Babylon elsewhere in ancient Christian literature (Revelation 17:5; 18:10; “Oracula Sibyl.”, V, verses 143 and 159, ed. Geffcken, Leipzig, 1902, 111).
From Bishop Papias of Hierapolis and Clement of Alexandria, who both appeal to the testimony of the old presbyters (i.e., the disciples of the Apostles), we learn that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome at the request of the Roman Christians, who desired a written memorial of the doctrine preached to them by St. Peter and his disciples (Eusebius, Church History II.15, 3.40, 6.14); this is confirmed by Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3.1). In connection with this information concerning the Gospel of St. Mark, Eusebius, relying perhaps on an earlier source, says that Peter described Rome figuratively as Babylon in his First Epistle.
Another testimony concerning the martyrdom of Peter and Paul is supplied by Clement of Rome in his Epistle to the Corinthians (written about A.D. 95-97), wherein he says (chapter 5):
“Through zeal and cunning the greatest and most righteous supports [of the Church] have suffered persecution and been warred to death. Let us place before our eyes the good Apostles St. Peter, who in consequence of unjust zeal, suffered not one or two, but numerous miseries, and, having thus given testimony (martyresas), has entered the merited place of glory”.
He then mentions Paul and a number of elect, who were assembled with the others and suffered martyrdom “among us” (en hemin, i.e., among the Romans, the meaning that the expression also bears in chapter 4). He is speaking undoubtedly, as the whole passage proves, of the Neronian persecution, and thus refers the martyrdom of Peter and Paul to that epoch.
In his letter written at the beginning of the second century (before 117), while being brought to Rome for martyrdom, the venerable Bishop Ignatius of Antioch endeavours by every means to restrain the Roman Christians from striving for his pardon, remarking: “I issue you no commands, like Peter and Paul: they were Apostles, while I am but a captive” (Epistle to the Romans 4). The meaning of this remark must be that the two Apostles laboured personally in Rome, and with Apostolic authority preached the Gospel there.
Bishop Dionysius of Corinth, in his letter to the Roman Church in the time of Pope Soter (165-74), says:
“You have therefore by your urgent exhortation bound close together the sowing of Peter and Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both planted the seed of the Gospel also in Corinth, and together instructed us, just as they likewise taught in the same place in Italy and at the same time suffered martyrdom” (in Eusebius, Church History II.25).
Irenaeus of Lyons, a native of Asia Minor and a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna (a disciple of St. John), passed a considerable time in Rome shortly after the middle of the second century, and then proceeded to Lyons, where he became bishop in 177; he described the Roman Church as the most prominent and chief preserver of the Apostolic tradition, as “the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Against Heresies 3.3; cf. 3.1). He thus makes use of the universally known and recognized fact of the Apostolic activity of Peter and Paul in Rome, to find therein a proof from tradition against the heretics.
In his “Hypotyposes” (Eusebius, Church History IV.14), Clement of Alexandria, teacher in the catechetical school of that city from about 190, says on the strength of the tradition of the presbyters: “After Peter had announced the Word of God in Rome and preached the Gospel in the spirit of God, the multitude of hearers requested Mark, who had long accompanied Peter on all his journeys, to write down what the Apostles had preached to them” (see above).
Like Irenaeus, Tertullian appeals, in his writings against heretics, to the proof afforded by the Apostolic labours of Peter and Paul in Rome of the truth of ecclesiastical tradition. In De Præscriptione 36, he says:
“If thou art near Italy, thou hast Rome where authority is ever within reach. How fortunate is this Church for which the Apostles have poured out their whole teaching with their blood, where Peter has emulated the Passion of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John.”
In Scorpiace 15, he also speaks of Peter’s crucifixion. “The budding faith Nero first made bloody in Rome. There Peter was girded by another, since he was bound to the cross”. As an illustration that it was immaterial with what water baptism is administered, he states in his book (On Baptism 5) that there is “no difference between that with which John baptized in the Jordan and that with which Peter baptized in the Tiber”; and against Marcion he appeals to the testimony of the Roman Christians, “to whom Peter and Paul have bequeathed the Gospel sealed with their blood” (Against Marcion 4.5).
The Roman, Caius, who lived in Rome in the time of Pope Zephyrinus (198-217), wrote in his “Dialogue with Proclus” (in Eusebius, Church History II.25) directed against the Montanists: “But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. If you care to go to the Vatican or to the road to Ostia, thou shalt find the trophies of those who have founded this Church”.
By the trophies (tropaia) Eusebius understands the graves of the Apostles, but his view is opposed by modern investigators who believe that the place of execution is meant. For our purpose it is immaterial which opinion is correct, as the testimony retains its full value in either case. At any rate the place of execution and burial of both were close together; St. Peter, who was executed on the Vatican, received also his burial there. Eusebius also refers to “the inscription of the names of Peter and Paul, which have been preserved to the present day on the burial-places there” (i.e. at Rome).
There thus existed in Rome an ancient epigraphic memorial commemorating the death of the Apostles. The obscure notice in the Muratorian Fragment (“Lucas optime theofile conprindit quia sub praesentia eius singula gerebantur sicuti et semote passionem petri evidenter declarat”, ed. Preuschen, Tübingen, 1910, p. 29) also presupposes an ancient definite tradition concerning Peter’s death in Rome.
The apocryphal Acts of St. Peter and the Acts of Sts. Peter and Paul likewise belong to the series of testimonies of the death of the two Apostles in Rome.
I would think that Constantine also had a hand in it.
Respectfully disagree. Center point not Rome and St. Peter. Center point = Jesus (faith in...) and the Bible, God’s Word.
Tomb of St. Paul in Rome
The center of my Christianity is Christ.
The Twelve Apostles of the Catholic Church: St. Peter [Catholic Caucus]
Church Authority Doesn't "Peter" Out
Radio Replies Second Volume - St. Peter in Rome
Did Peter Have a Successor?
St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome
SAINT PETER'S CHAINS (44 A.D.)
Heart of the Church (St. Peter in Words and Stone)
A Saint for the Rest of Us
On This Rock
WAS ST. PETER IN ROME?
St. Peter and Rome
Did the Apostle Peter Ever Visit Rome?
Occasionally Naive and Fearful, Yet Honest and Capable of Repentance (Profile of St. Peter)
Saint Peter As Seen by His Successor (extraordinary document from B16 on his preaching and papacy)
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON THE FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL
Peter, Witness of the Resurrection (Papal preparations for Easter 2006)
The Fraternal Society of St. Peter on EWTN
The Primacy of Peter
Saint Peter and the Vatican, the Legacy of the Popes
Saint Peter and The Vatican - Legacy of the Popes
The center of Christianity is Christ not a place and certainly not a group.
Did Christ Build the Church on Peter (Matthew 16:18)?
Our faith is founded on Christ -- this is about Authority.
Christ is the Rock. Through scripture he is referred to as the Rock. On THIS rock he builds his church.
It reminds me of leftist democracy: one man, one vote, one time.
The Euro-style Rome-First Catholics point to Matthew 16:18 in order to set the primacy of the priests above the Bible.
They’re nothing like the growing breed of U.S. Catholics who will actually study the Bible to try and see what God is saying. Which is not what their Euro-style/Hispanic-style cousins do.
I'm not misreading it. I read it just fine. The Authority is with Christ. And if any place on earth has authority it would be Jerusalem. Is God going to build a New Rome? OR did He say He would build a New Jerusalem?
Christ gave the authority to St. Peter. How many times is Peter’s name in scripture? More than all the other apostles put together.
It astound me how Catholics continue to make such claims and then one can read the Catholic dictionary New Advent about how the Early Church Fathers were ignorant on matters of the atonement, adoption, judgment and other important doctrinal issues or reject works on matters of predestination or the inerrancy of scripture. And today Catholics no longer believe that scripture is any more important than writings coming out of the Vatican-a view NEVER shared by the Early Fathers. Catholic doctrine today looks more like Constantinople than it does Rome.
Early Protestant writings such as John Calvin quoted extensively from the Early Church Fathers. In fact, it was because Rome had deviated so much from the Early Fathers that Protestants had to go back to their writings which provided much of the framework of Protestantism.
This statement is simply a lie.
There's no fact to it...It's a fallacy...
PROOF ONE: We should consider Christs commission to Peter. This is often very embarrassing to Catholics, because Christ commissioned Peter to become chief minister to the CIRCUMCISED, not to uncircumcised Gentiles.
"The gospel of the CIRCUMCISION was unto Peter; (For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)" (Gal. 2:7-8).
Here we have it in the clearest of language. It was Paul, NOT Peter, who was commissioned to be the chief Apostle to the Gentiles. And who was it that wrote the Epistle to the ROMANS? It certainly WASNT Peter! "And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace [i.e., the gift or office] that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision" (Gal. 2:9). Paul further mentioned his special office as the Gentile Apostle in II Timothy 1:11: "Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."
PETER is NOWHERE called the Apostle to the Gentiles! This precludes him from going to Rome to become the head of a Gentile community.
PROOF TWO: Paul specifically told the Gentile Romans that HE had been chosen to be their Apostle, not Peter. "I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable" (Rom. 15:16). How clear! Paul had the direct charge from Christ in this matter. He even further relates in Romans 15:18 that it was Christ who had chosen him "to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed."
PAUL Established the Only TRUE Church at Rome during the apostolic era.
PROOF THREE: We are told by Paul himself that it was he -- not Peter who was going to officially found the Roman Church. "I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established" (Rom. 1:11). Amazing! The Church at Rome had not been ESTABLISHED officially even by 55 or 56 A.D. However, the Catholics would have us believe that Peter had done this some ten years before -- in the reign of Claudius. What nonsense! Of course you understand that NEITHER Peter nor Paul established the Catholic Church! But these proofs are given to illustrate that it is utterly impossible for PETER to have been in any way associated with ANY Church at Rome.
PROOF FOUR: We find Paul not only wanting to establish the Church at Rome, but he emphatically tells us that his policy was NEVER to build upon another mans foundation. "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, LEST I SHOULD BUILD UPON ANOTHER MANS FOUNDATION"(Rom. 15:20). If Peter had "founded" the Roman Church some ten years before this statement, this represents a real affront to Peter. This statement alone is proof that Peter had never been in Rome before this time to "found" any church. Peter Not in Rome
PROOF FIVE: At the end of Pauls Epistle to the Romans he greets no fewer than 28 different individuals, but never mentions Peter once! See Romans 16 --read the whole chapter! Remember, Paul greeted these people in 55 or 56 A.D. Why didnt he mention Peter? -- Peter simply wasnt there!
PROOF SIX: Some four years after Paul wrote Romans, he was conveyed as a prisoner to Rome in order to stand trial before Caesar. When the Christian community in Rome heard of Pauls arrival, they all went to meet him. "When THE brethren [of Rome] heard of us, they came to meet us" (Acts 28:15). Again, there is not a single mention of Peter among them. This would have been extraordinary had Peter been in Rome, for Luke always mentions by name important Apostles in his narration of Acts. But he says nothing of Peters meeting with Paul.
Why? Because Peter was not in Rome!
PROOF SEVEN: When Paul finally arrived at Rome, the first thing he did was to summon "the chief of the Jews together" (Acts 28:17) to whom he "expounded and testified the kingdom of God" (Verse 23). But what is amazing is that these chief Jewish elders claimed they knew very little even about the basic teachings of Christ. All they knew was that as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against" (Verse 22). Then Paul began to explain to them the basic teachings of Christ on the Kingdom of God. Some believed -- the majority didnt.
Now, what does all this mean? It means that if Peter, who was himself a strongly partisan Jew, had been preaching constantly in Rome for 14 long years before this time, AND WAS STILL THERE -- how could these Jewish leaders have known so little about even the basic truths of Christianity? This again is clear proof Peter had not been in Rome prior to 59 A.D. No Mention of Peter in Pauls Letters
PROOF EIGHT: After the rejection of the Jewish elders, Paul remained in his own hired house for two years. During that time he wrote Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, Philemon, and to the Hebrews. And while Paul mentions others as being in Rome during that period, he nowhere mentions Peter. The obvious reason is -- the Apostle to the circumcision wasnt there!
PROOF NINE: With the expiration of Pauls two years imprisonment, he was released. But about four years later (near 65 A.D.), he was again sent back a prisoner to Rome. This time he had to appear before the throne of Caesar and was sentenced to die. Paul describes these circumstances at length in II Timothy. In regard to his trial, notice what Paul said in II Timothy 4:16. "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men [in Rome] forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge." This means, if we believe the Catholics, that Peter forsook Paul, for they tell us Peter was very much present at Rome during this time! Peter once denied Christ, but that was before he was converted. To believe that Peter was in Rome during Pauls trial, is untenable!
PROOF TEN: The Apostle Paul distinctly informs us that Peter was not in Rome in 65 A.D. -- even though Catholics say he was. Paul said: "Only Luke is with me" (II Tim. 4:11). The truth becomes very plain. Paul wrote TO Rome; he had been IN Rome; and at the end wrote at least six epistles FROM Rome; and not only does he NEVER mention Peter, but at the last moment says: "Only Luke is with me." Peter, therefore, was never Bishop of Rome!
PROOF ELEVEN: Peters death is foretold by Christ himself (John 21:18-19.) . When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Hmm, it sounds like Christ himself said that Peter would die of old age. Why would Peters death in old age glorify God? Peter was the one that ran from Christ the night of his trial and crucifixion. This exchange is after Christ rose from the tomb and Peter was forgiven three times, just as he denied his master three times before the cock crowed that fateful night of Christs trial.
Where was Peter the apostle of Christ? At the times the Catholics believe Peter was in Rome, The Bible clearly shows that he was elsewhere. The evidence is abundant and conclusive. By paying attention to Gods own words, no one need be deceived. Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome!
Near 45 A.D., we find Peter being cast into prison at Jerusalem (Acts 12:3, 4). In 49 A.D., he was still in Jerusalem, this time attending the Jerusalem Council. About 51 A.D., he was in Antioch of Syria where he got into differences with Paul because he wouldnt sit or eat with Gentiles. Strange that the "Roman bishop" would have nothing to do with Gentiles in 51 A.D.! Later in about 66 A.D., we find him in the city of Babylon among the Jews (I Pet. 5:13). Remember that Peter was the Apostle to the CIRCUMCISED. Why was he in Babylon? Because history shows that there were as many Jews in the Mesopotamian areas in Christs time as there were in Palestine. It is no wonder we find him in the East. Perhaps this is the reason why scholars say Peters writings are strongly Aramaic in flavor, the type of Aramaic spoken in Babylon. Why of course! Peter was used to their eastern dialect.
At the times the Catholics believe Peter was in Rome, The Bible clearly shows he was elsewhere. As previously mentioned there are many supposed historical accounts of Peter in Rome but none of them are first hand accounts and should not be put above the many accounts of The Bible.
We know from The Bible that the apostle Peter was not in Rome. There was a Simon Peter in Rome after the death of Christ but it is not the apostle Peter that was a fisherman from Jerusalem. Who is this Simon Peter that was in Rome during the middle of the first century? This is how the great false Church of Rome got its start; along with the first leader Simon Peter not the apostle Peter.
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“This statement is simply a lie. “
Nope, and they ripped apart the Bible in their efforts to deceive.