I have always wondered why the Apostle Peter would be considered the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Peter walked with Jesus for three years. Three years of Jesus railing against a priesthood. Three years of Jesus talking about relationships, not about rituals. The Catholic church says, "All Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life of the Church, but personal prayer and devotions are entirely a matter of personal preference." Jesus did not tell us to pray as a matter of personal preference. Instead, Jesus told us to pray to the Father and gave us the Lord's Prayer as a perfect example. Then Jesus said to ask for everything in His name. Jesus never mentioned the liturgical life of the church.
So how did Peter start a church in Rome with the exact opposite doctrines that Jesus had taught? The answer is simple. Peter was not the first pope and, in fact, never went to Rome.
When the Gospels End
At the end of the Gospels, James, the brother of Jesus, and the Apostle Peter were the church leaders in Jerusalem.
The Book of Acts also ends with Peter in Jerusalem.
Paul mentions traveling to the Eastern Mediterranean to see Peter. Rome is in the Western Mediterranean.
Who Was in Rome?
Often, Paul wrote to the Christians living in Rome or from the city of Rome. In these letters, Paul mentions many other Christian leaders in Rome. He names 50 of them. Paul never designates Peter as being in Rome. Romans 16:3-16 is an extensive list of greetings to the Saints in Rome. The Apostle Peter is not named there, either.
Peter states that he wrote 1Peter from the church in Babylon, and Mark was with him. Not ancient Babylon. Babylon, Egypt, near Alexandria, where much Bible translation would be happening.
History shows Mark was a missionary to Alexandria on the Nile Delta, and Peter was in Babylon, Egypt, also on the Nile Delta. Mark and Peter were traveling companions as Mark and Paul had gone their separate ways.
Rome Was Not Babylon to Peter
The apostle John had a vision in the Book of Revelations showing Rome as Babylon. Many believe that indicates the Apostle Peter went to Rome. However, historically, Peter died 25 years before John used Babylon to mean Rome. Peter was clearly describing Babylon, Egypt.
Where is Babylon, Egypt?
The Coptic section of modern-day Cairo is the Babylon of Egypt in the New Testament. Fort Babylon is a major tourist attraction to this day.
She [the church] who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son [in the faith], Mark. - 1 Peter 5:13 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Peter5:13&version=AMP
Only Luke is in Rome with Paul
Only Luke is in Rome with Paul, and Paul requests that Mark be sent to him. Peter and Mark were traveling together in Egypt. Mark had been to Rome previously with Paul, but Peter had never been to Rome.
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. - 2 Timothy 4:10-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2Timothy4:10-11&version=KJV
Peter wrote his second letter between 65 and 66 A.D. Peter never mentions he was in Rome or was writing from Rome in this letter. Since it is believed he died between 67 and 68 A.D., traveling to Rome would not have allowed him much time before he died. Certainly not 25 years as Bishop of Rome, as Roman Catholic tradition proclaims.
No Written Evidence
There is no connection between Peter and Rome in the New Testament, and the earliest Roman Christian literature does not mention Peter. His name was added much later by the church.
A Problem of Language
Peter was a fisherman who spoke Aramaic. At the beginning of 1Peter, Peter names the scribe who helped scribe his letter in Greek. It is unlikely Peter traveled to a large city like Rome where Latin and Greek were the spoken languages.
Gnostic Legends of the Apostle Peter
The Acts of Peter is a Gnostic book promoting sexuality and material possessions written at the end of the second century. This book was written by a resident of Asia Minor well after the New Testament had been completed. This book contains Peter's request to be crucified upside down. This same book recounts Peter's legends, including fighting Simon Magus, a man who could fly. From the LEGEND of Simon Magus came the church TRADITION that St. Peter started the Roman Church, and he was there for 25 years.
The Catholic Church gives equal weight to the Holy Bible and church tradition. This church tradition is based on a Gnostic book written 170 years after Peter's death. It is a work of fiction at best and a result of the evil one at worst. Half-truths from the father of lies. That is the basis for Peter being the first Pope in Rome. The apostle who never went to Rome.
This post is not an Anti-Catholic post. On the contrary, I love my Catholic friends and family. My parents were Catholic, and our family attended Latin and English services during my childhood. But, I did not find Jesus in the Catholic Church. However, to me, if one has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, knows in their heart that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and everyone's sins and that He resurrected on the third day, then it does not matter what denomination you follow, if any.
This post addresses the almost universal acceptance of Peter as the founder and first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. That is just not true, as Peter never went to Rome.
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