This has been the topic of so many discussions in the long history of the Catholic Church. The authority of the leaders of the Catholic Church from the pope to the clergy claim that they derived their power from the Apostle Peter, allegedly the first pope and the successor of Christ in the overall administration of the Christian Church. They based their claim on what is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.
(Matthew 16:18-19) “I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” DOUAY-RHEIMS VERSION
Their claim and explanation about these verses is printed hereunder from the Modern Catholic Dictionary.
The claim that Peter was the first pope and the rock whereupon the church was built is erroneous and can not be substantiated, either in history or in the Bible. The word pope was first used by an alleged saint, Saint Ennodius, in the year 521, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. (Photocopied below)
And also, in the Modern Catholic Dictionary, it states:
How can Peter be a pope when such title was first used 400 years after the death of Peter?
Biblically, Peter can not be a pope! It is prohibited by Christ to the original twelve disciples to be called ‘rabbi’ or teacher because their only teacher was Jesus Christ.
(Matthew 23:8) “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.”
They were also forbidden to address anybody on earth their father because (religiously speaking) they have only one Father, which is the Father in heaven.
(Matthew 23:9) “And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven.”
Peter will definitely not allow anybody to call him pope because that word means Father, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia cited afore.
So, we can safely conclude that Peter did not ever hold the position of pope, biblically and historically, according to the Bible, and to official documents from the Catholic Church itself.
But was he the rock upon which the Church was built?
Peter, an Apostle, first to be called, is part of the Church.
(1 Corinthians 12:28) “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
He is not the rock or the foundation, but were among those who were founded upon the real rock or ‘petra’, or foundation.
Feminine of the same as G4074; a (mass of) rock (literally or figuratively): – rock.
Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
Dictionaries of Hebrew and Greek Words taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.
Note that the Church was founded on a ‘petra’ — in the feminine gender, and not on a ‘petros’ ( a stone), the name ascribed to Peter.
(John 1:42) “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”
It was not only Peter which was called a stone, but Peter himself called the members of the first century Church as lively stones.
(1 Peter 2:5) “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
Members of the first century Church were called by Peter as ‘lively stones’ or ‘lithos’ in the original Greek tongue.
1) a stone
1a) of small stones
1b) of building stones
1c) metaphorically of Christ
They, Peter, other Apostles, and the members, altogether formed the edifice founded on the rock or ‘petra’.
(Matthew 16:18) “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The rock mentioned is ‘petra’ and not ‘petros’.
(Ephesians 2:20) “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone…”
Note that the Apostles (including Peter) and prophets are built upon the foundation(they are not the foundation), the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Is there anybody else qualified to be the foundation of the true Church in the Bible?
(1 Corinthians 3:11) “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Anybody who will build a church, and make Peter or any other man its foundation is rejecting Christ and building it in vain. Peter said:
(Acts 4:10-12) “Be it known to you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him, this man standeth here before you, whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” DOUAY-RHEIMS VERSION
The house or the building founded or built upon the ‘petra’ or the foundation rock (which is Christ), is the Church of God.
(1 Timothy 3:15) “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
God built it upon Christ — the real foundation.
(Hebrews 3:4) “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.”
(Psalams 127:1) “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
To Kay, I hope you will considers these things in your search for the truth.