Peter the CHIEF APOSTLE, having absolute authority over all the
other 11 apostles? The Catholic Church claims Peter was the designated
LEADER of all other apostles; that there has been an unbroken "succession
of popes" which has ruled the Catholic Church from that time—and
that the pope (called the "vicar of Christ"), when speaking
from his official seat in St. Peter's, is INFALLIBLE. But was Peter
the "pope" over the other 11? Was he in complete autocratic
authority over them? Did he, alone, RULE over God's church, with
all other apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers,
under that ONE MAN in whom was vested absolute authority?
will build my church," said Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). Jesus
described His church as "a little flock"
(Luke 12:32), a group that would be persecuted, maligned
and attacked by the world. He said, "In the world ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"
His final prayer, just before His crucifixion, He said of the apostles,
"I have given them thy word and the world hath hated them,
because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world"
would not be of the world.
He had predicted, "They shall put you out of the synagogues
[churches]: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will
think they doeth God service" (John 16:2).
described the group of "called-out ones" (for that is
the meaning of the word "church") who would form
the "ekklezia" (church); He said they would be a small,
persecuted group of individuals. Some would receive martyrdom
for remaining faithful to the calling and commission Jesus placed
did Jesus indicate His true church was to become a powerful,
influential, politically oriented organization which would
become part of this world; having concourse with this world's
government and governmental leaders, becoming a large, visible
church, capable of influencing legislation, wielding political
power through numbers and financial resources!
Jesus' predictions, major persecution set in against the
true Church of God from the very moment of its inception!
few chapters of the book of Acts show the furious attempts of the
Jewish religious leadership to stamp out what they considered to
be a dangerous new religion, and history is replete with
examples of massive persecutions throughout the Middle East, and
the Roman Empire, which, for all their ferocity and brutality, failed
to stamp out the true Church of God.
promised that "the gates of the grave [Greek: hades] shall
not prevail against it! " (Matthew 16:18).
Did Jesus Put Peter in Charge?
Jesus established His true church, did He intend to relinquish
control of it—giving the total headship of the church
into the hands of one of the apostles?
Bible answer. Jesus said, "And I say also unto thee, that thou
art Peter [Greek: Petros, meaning a 'pebble' or a small 'rock']
and upon this rock [Greek: Petra, meaning a whole mass of rock,
like a craggy cliff or mountain] I will build my church; and
the gates of hell [Greek: 'hades,' meaning the grave]
shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).
two "nicknames," one in Greek and the other in Aramaic.
Jesus supplied Peter this name when He said, "Thou art
Peter" (using the Greek, "Petros") and
said He would make Peter a "fisher of men." The other
is "Cephas" (pronounced KE-fus), which is the Aramaic
equivalent to "a stone."
that Jesus called Peter a "little pebble," or a small
"stone," did not indicate He was placing a TITLE on Peter's
name. Names have meanings. Titles are added to names. If
Peter had been given a "title," it would have been obvious,
for Jesus would have called him "Peter Primus "
or "Peter the First. "
argue that Peter's name meant he had the "primacy" OVER
the other apostles—that they had to be subject to him—are
in error. Peter himself was to write that each minister—whether
apostle, elder, or whatever—was to be "subject to the other"!
(I Peter 5:5).
of name is not uncommon, for God changed Abram to "Abraham,"
meaning a "father of many nations," Jacob to "Israel,"
Saul to "Paul," and so on.
He would build His church "upon this ROCK"! Who
did He mean?
said, "Thou art Petros, and upon this ‘PETRA’ I will
build my church, " He used, first, the masculine
ending of the root Greek word which means "a rock" When
He said "upon this rock" [Petra]
I will build my church, He used the feminine, which has a
are familiar with the "romance" languages (based upon
Latin, such as French and Spanish, etc.) know that articles,
including physiological and topographical objects, have "masculine"
and "feminine" gender. Thus, in the Spanish language,
a "mountain" is "la montana." Our western
state, in the United States, of "Montana" means, literally,
on the end of "montana" demands a "la"
(feminine) at the beginning of the phrase.
objects, such as the house (la casa—feminine) or the
automobile (el automobile—masculine), have feminine or masculine
the gender of the root Greek word deliberately.
the masculine petros, means "a rock, " but it means
a much smaller rock, like a chunk of rock or stone taken from a
much larger piece of rock. When He used the feminine gender in
the second case, "PETRA," He meant the craggy side
of a cliff, a great monolith, or a mountain of rock!
to whom—did He refer? Let the Bible answer!
"…And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank
of the spiritual ROCK that followed them: and that ROCK [Petra,
in the Greek] WAS CHRIST! (I Corinthians 10:4).
very important scripture refers directly to Jesus Christ, that
member of the Godhead who was continually with the Israelites during
their wanderings in the wilderness.
what David wrote, in the Psalms: "O come, let us sing unto
the Eternal: Let us make a joyful noise to the ROCK of our salvation"
the Eternal is my defense; and my God is the ROCK of my refuge"
is my ROCK" (Psalm 92:15).
are my ROCK and my fortress" (Psalm 71:3).
only is my ROCK and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not
be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The ROCK of my strength,
and my refuge, is in God" (Psalm 62:6, 7).
only is my ROCK and my salvation; He is my defence; I shall
not be greatly moved" (Psalm 62:2).
the important chapter of Deuteronomy 32!
I will publish the name of the Eternal: ascribe ye greatness unto
our God. He is the ROCK, His work is perfect: for all His ways are
judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is
He" (Deuteronomy 32:4).
God says, ". . . Then he forsook God which made him, and lightly
esteemed the ROCK of his salvation ... of the ROCK that begat thee
thou art unmindful, and hath forgotten God that formed thee"
times in this chapter the God who is the Creator (who
became Jesus Christ—Hebrews 1, John 1) is described as "the
"How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand
to flight, except their ROCK had sold them, and the Eternal had
shut them up? For their rock is not as our ROCK, even our enemies
themselves being judges" (Deuteronomy 32:30, 31).
"Upon this ROCK I will build my church," NOT meaning Peter
(Petros), whom He called a "pebble" or a "stone,"
but upon HIMSELF! He, CHRIST, was to head it!
Did Jesus Give the "Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" to Peter?
attempting to prove one-man RULE over the church, cite the remainder
of the passage in Matthew 16: "And I will give unto thee the
keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on
earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose
on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Jesus was speaking to all the disciples at this moment (read the
entire chapter in context), and only two chapters later tells all
the disciples, "Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye
shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
I say unto you [emphasizing that this is at least the second
time He has given them this charge], that if two of you shall agree
on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done
for them of my Father which is in heaven.
where TWO or THREE are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:18-20).
NOT say where "Peter" is—there am I with Peter;
that I only work through, in and by this ONE MAN!
required checks and balances in His early church government,
plainly saying it required at least two of the disciples
(apostles) or three to be in complete harmony and agreement
and THEN Jesus would be in the midst of them."
He did not say He would be with ONE—but said "there am I in
the midst of THEM"! (Matthew 18:20).
said, "Lo, I am with you alway," He plainly revealed that
HE would remain the active, living HEAD of His true church!
are under the impression that "God has gone way off somewhere,"
and see the Eternal Creator God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth—the Head
of His church and our High Priest in heaven—only in the vaguest,
ethereal, unreal, dreamlike terms.
not aware of an active, LIVING, dynamic and all-POWERFUL
Jesus Christ of Nazareth who makes daily intercession for His people,
and who, through the power of His Holy Spirit, is fully capable
the centuries, men have tried to usurp the office
of Jesus Christ!
(or, in some cases, women) have become the leaders of various
and sundry "churches," man-made religious organizations
which, through the sheer numbers who willingly flock to some charismatic,
dynamic leader, can become quite large. Some such religious organizations
become politically powerful, and wealthy.
such churches are churches of this world, man-made, and
are not a part of the true body of Jesus Christ! They were
not founded by Christ, and they are not GOVERNED by Christ, but
by their human founders.
Christ is the HEAD of His true church!
He is the Head of the body, the church" (Colossians
how Paul, in speaking of marital relationships, said, "For
the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head
of the church " (Ephesians 5:23).
wrote that the church must "…grow up into Him in all things,
which is the HEAD, even Christ!" (Ephesians 4:15).
men give "lip service" to the Headship of Christ, and
claim merely to be the "second in command, under Christ,"
but, since they are the only visible head, and since there
are no other "checks and balances" in the structure
of their organizations, such men (or women) usually wield absolute
and TOTAL power and authority over doctrine, policy, procedure and
administration, as well as total authority and CONTROL over
the lives of their members.
How Do Human Leaders Gain Control?
an individual has achieved the absolute pinnacle of psychological,
financial and legal power over such a church hierarchy, none
in such an organization ever dares claim that the human leader
of said church organization does not receive every thought,
doctrine, teaching or administrative policy or procedure directly
from Christ! Any who challenge such control or authority are
quickly disposed of.
gradually, men have managed to convince their followers in literally
hundreds of organizations down through the centuries that
to question them, the human leader, is to question
do they deceive their followers?
It is all
a very simple process, really.
much said about church government in the New Testament! Read
Ephesians the 4th chapter, I Corinthians the 12th chapter, I Timothy
3, 1 Peter 5, and others. All deal with CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
Paul said a great deal about "those that have the rule over
you," and spoke of settling church difficulties with "a
simple process of continual preaching, teaching and repetitive emphasis
on "authority"; by emphasizing the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit in preaching, teaching and Bible study; a powerful,
charismatic, persuasive religious leader is able to convince his
followers that, when he stands in the pulpit, he is speaking
"under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit," and is therefore
BEYOND QUESTION! Gradually, his followers begin to believe they
are hearing virtually firsthand, directly from GOD.
an outstanding example of human arrogance and vanity, and God's
terrible judgments for such conduct, in God's Word.
when Herod sought for him [Peter], and found him not, he examined
the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death.
he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode. And Herod
was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came
with one accord to him, and having made Blastus the king's chamberlain
their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished
by the king's country.
upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne,
and made an oration unto them.
the people gave a shout, saying, 'It is the voice of a god, and
not of a man,' and immediately the angel of the Eternal
smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten
of worms, and gave up the ghost [expired, died—Greek]" (Acts
Herod was not a religious leader, even though he exercised control
over the religious leaders.
an arrogant, pompous, power-crazed human leader; a totally corrupt
individual, who had the literal power of life and death over
his people. The jail keepers could not prevent Peter's release,
for an angel had performed a miracle to free Peter Nevertheless,
Herod had them killed!
in his exalted power; so, when the ignorant masses indulged him,
by loudly shouting he was a "god" when he spoke to them,
he reveled in their adoration!
were beginning to WORSHIP A MAN! They were ascribing to a mere mortal
godlike qualities; beginning to believe on his every pronouncement;
to claim when he spoke they were hearing directly from a divine
Eternal Creator God of heaven hates this ridiculous, egotistical
and empty vanity of pompous men—and God struck Herod dead! He was
"eaten of worms"; dying a HORRIBLE DEATH for his vanity!
millions of humans, in MANY different nations, and in MANY
different religions (think of the Ayatolah Khomeini, of Iran, as
an example), WORSHIP MEN!
followers came to WORSHIP the man—believing he was directly inspired
of God. They so gave their own minds over into the hands
of this mentally deranged, egotistical man that they became conditioned
to do ANYTHING he said—NO MATTER WHAT!
that gullible human beings can literally so give themselves into
the hands of a human religious leader that he can tell them to murder—or
to kill themselves—and they immediately OBEY!
It is a
false and ridiculous concept that a mere MAN can be so divinely
inspired as to be answerable ONLY TO GOD, and NEVER answerable or
accountable to ANY OTHER HUMAN SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES.
to its ultimate extreme, this concept has led to the declaration
of papal infallibility for the popes in Rome!
Church teaches that, when a pope speaks from the "Holy See,"
in the Vatican, he is infallible!
Church places at least Two sources of supposed "authority"
on an equal level with the Bible!
is the pope himself, when making official pronouncements from the
"Holy See." Such pronouncements carry the weight of
Scripture with Catholics, are said to be absolutely inspired,
and are considered infallible!
traditions of the church—those procedures, doctrinal tenets,
teachings and administrative and organizational systems which have
been gradually established over centuries and centuries of historical
development—are considered to be inviolable, "cast in
concrete," and on an equal par with Scripture!
abuses are cataloged, in literally scores of history books,
concerning the wielding of such awesome power by a tiny handful
of individuals, headed by only one man at the very pinnacle
of power in a large, wealthy church organization.
Reformation was as much a protest against hierarchical abuses
of power as it was a protest against doctrine.
as the centuries have passed, many organizations which sprang up
following the Protestant Reformation have themselves drifted
into a similar type of hierarchical structure as the organization
they left, in protest.
Jesus Christ ever intend exalting only one man to
the position of "No. 2" under Jesus Christ?
was it Jesus Christ as the Head of the church in heaven—but
PETER, having the "primacy," as the "No. 2"
individual in the church hierarchy (meaning the No. 1 on this
earth)—who was OVER all the other 11, over all the prophets,
evangelists, pastors of churches, deacons and others?
ONE MAN, plus 11 others who were under him?
Bible, the sacred Word of God, which is going to JUDGE,.
Peter Arrogated No Unique Office to Himself
remember Jesus warned, "You know that the princes of the gentiles
exercise dominion over [lord it over] them, and they that are 'great'
exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among
you; but whosoever will be 'great' among you, let him be your minister
[servant]; and whosoever will be chief among you,
let him be your servant [minister]: even as the son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life
a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25-27).
Peter "Feed MY sheep" three times, when
He reminded Peter of his denial of Christ even as He was
being beaten, tried and crucified!
vThree times, demanding to know if Peter truly "loved"
Jesus, He charged Peter, "Feed MY sheep!" He did not say,
"Feed your sheep," but emphasized, clearly, they
were Christ’s flock—that Peter was merely a shepherd caring
for the flock that belonged to Jesus Christ!
himself, certainly never tried to assert himself as a "chief
he claim to be "the one and only apostle," or "the
leading apostle," or "the chief apostle," or even
feel such a claim would be blasphemous? After all, it is only
Jesus Christ who is called THE APOSTLE in the Bible!
himself "an apostle," as does Peter. But notice
what the Bible says of Jesus Christ: ". ..THE apostle
and high priest of our profession. . ." (Hebrews 3:1). Christ,
ONLY, is called "THE APOSTLE."
took such office to himself
after describing himself as "an apostle" (which merely
means "one sent"), "The elders which are among you
I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of
the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that
shall be revealed: feed the flock of God ... neither as being lords
over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when
the CHIEF SHEPHERD [referring to Jesus Christ, not himself!] shall
appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away"
(I Peter 5:1-4).
referred to himself as an elder This merely meant an older, more
mature and more experienced person spiritually—usually an
older person in physical years—and was a term which found its way
in the early New Testament church directly from the status of the
"elders" in village and tribal society in the nations
of Israel and Judah!
of a village were the older, wiser men—"sages," to whom
the younger generation sought for wisdom.
formed a body of elders, not unlike a town council of
today, and carried certain authority in the village and town
"elders" were first converted in the early New Testament
church, they continued to be "elders" so far as
their physical age, maturity and experience were concerned, and,
as they now grew in spiritual wisdom and knowledge, were
looked upon as "elders" in the church!
It is nonsensical
to "ordain" young boys, immature, young men perhaps
below the age of 30 (and some churches have ordained "elders"
in their 20s!) and call them "elders."
It is quite
likely that, in the early New Testament church, the title "elder"
was already attached to an older gentleman who, upon conversion
and baptism, would continue to be viewed as "an elder"
among members of the church.
time Peter wrote his letter (I Peter 5), he may well have been in
his 60s or 70s.
probably about Jesus' own age—perhaps in his 30s—at his calling.
No doubt, with the passing years, Peter's physical appearance had
changed markedly; no doubt his hair had grayed. Now he was not only
one of the original 12 disciples; one of the original "foundation
stones" which formed the underpinnings of the New Testament
church, but he was an older, wiser, more mature, seasoned "veteran"
in God's church; having suffered persecutions, traveled many hundreds
of weary miles, preached, taught, counseled, prayed, spent himself—through
year after year in the service of God's people—and could humbly
refer to himself as "an elder."
not an exalted title—and Peter's statement to other older, mature
leaders in the church, calling them "elders," shows he
viewed himself as being on an equal footing with the
other leaders he had addressed!
"Likewise, you younger [elders—for he was writing to the 'elders
of the church'], submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you
be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt
you in due time. . ." (I Peter 5:5).
absolute equality (each being subject to the other);
unanimity, and Christian humility.
written from Babylon (I Peter 5:13), was long after Peter had learned
quite a bitter lesson himself!
another apostle, one who was "begotten out of due season,"
who came along years after the original 12 apostles, to
first two chapters of Galatians!
allowed feelings of racism to creep into his heart. The confrontation
you read of in the second chapter very probably occurred during
the Feast of Tabernacles, or another annual Holy Day!
number of leaders were present; a number of mixed converts
representing both gentile and Jews were also present.
The area in the province of Galatia to which Paul writes included
the congregations of converted Christians at Iconium, Lystra and
important second chapter, you learn a great deal about God's
government in the true church!
you notice the apostle Paul continually reinforcing his absolute
equality with the other apostles! In the first chapter (please
read it all!), he clearly shows that he did not "confer with
flesh and blood" or "go up to Jerusalem to them that were
apostles before him" but that he was directed by Jesus Christ
(see I Corinthians 9:l; 15:8).
2, verses 1-9, you notice the apostle Paul encountered party
spirit in Jerusalem; and also an obvious beginning of an ugly
political "pecking order." He scathingly said, "But
of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh
no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed
to be somewhat in conference [in concert; as a group,
plotting to usher circumcision back into the church!]
added nothing to me" (Galatians 2:1-6).
the order in which the apostle Paul lists the "chiefest
apostles" (remember, that is a plural term; there were several
who were "chiefest"): "And when James, Cephas
[Petros', Peter] and John, who seemed to be pillars,
perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and
Barnabas [who was also an apostle!] the right hands of fellowship;
that we should go to the heathen, and they to the circumcision"
from verse11 to the end of the chapter!
when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the
face, because he was to be blamed.
before that certain came from James, he did eat with the
gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated
himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas
also was carried away with their dissimulation" (Galatians
authorities urge the understanding that "those certain"
who "came from James" does not apply to Peter,
but certain other men. This is strengthened by the use of
the pronouns: "But when they [these other men who came
from James] were come, he [Peter] withdrew ...
how the apostle Paul, Peter's absolute equal, stood
up to one of the "chiefest apostles."
when I saw that they walked uprightly according to the truth of
the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, 'If thou, being a
Jew, livest after the manner of gentiles, and not as do the Jews,
why compellest thou the gentiles to live as do the Jews?"'
rest of the chapter, and you will see that the rest of the entire
dissertation, including Paul's moving statement "I am crucified
with Christ," continues with first-person quotation as spoken
to Peter in the audience of a large group!
that Peter did not "mark" Paul, rising up in arrogant
wrath and saying, "How dare you embarrass me in front of these
did Peter embark on a hate campaign to "get" Paul;
to assassinate character, or attempt to create a division in
Peter was hurt by being soundly rebuked in front of others, including
other apostles, elders, and laymen!
no "rank" at work here. No hierarchy; no pyramid form
of government," in which Peter, on the top of a step-ladder,
like a general of the army who had just been insulted by a colonel,
takes out his wrath on Paul, who had affronted him!
says he was one of the "least" of the apostles, and claimed
he was not "fit to be called an apostle" (I Corinthians
15:9), yet ye said, later, ". . . For I suppose I was not a
whit behind the very chiefest apostles"! (II
note the use of the plural.
no use, ever, in the Bible of "chief apostle,"
or "only apostle."
said he was not a whit behind the "chiefest apostles,"
he obviously meant those same "chiefest apostles"
he clearly identifies in their appropriate order to
the Galatian churches; namely, James, Peter and John.
for a moment the book of Romans.
first epistle, and one of the lengthiest, following the book of
Acts, the apostle Paul addresses the large church in Rome.
and Catholic claims are correct, WHY did this apostle to the gentiles
dare address the large church in Rome, yet never mention
does he not address Peter at the beginning of the letter, but in
the lengthy 16th chapter, containing many personal salutations,
including the mention of a woman first, one cannot find the
name of Peter!
if Peter were the "chief apostle"; if he were the "first
pope" in Rome—then this would have been a colossal insult;
sufficient to have had Paul put out of the church!
truth is otherwise.
NOT a "chief apostle," he was NOT in Rome!
the apostle to the gentiles—Peter wrote from far in the east
portion of the empire, from Babylon, where there was a large colony
of Jewish converts.
of the "primacy of Peter" by the Catholic Church or anyone
else are FALSE! The hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church
was many centuries in the building.
first two centuries, there was a gradual development from
bishops in larger cities to "metropolitans" (bishops over
the largest population centers), and, finally, the emergence of
five "great patriarchs" in principal cities of the Middle
East and Europe.
through attrition, largely as a result of wars, there were
only two "great patriarchs." One was in Rome, and
the other in Constantinople.
carefully and you will find there were times when there were "two
popes," each angrily "disfellowshipping" the other!
claims of the great "universal" church of "Peter's
primacy" are absolutely FAISE, and a blatant, blasphemous effrontery
to the humble, spirit-led equal attitude Jesus Christ urged among
the human leadership of His church!
remains the living Head of His true church!
past, He has caused deacons and laymen (like Apollos) to become
powerful speakers, evangelists, preaching the Word of God!
given the gifts of prophecy (including inspired speaking) and other
spiritual gifts to individuals, regardless of so-called "rank"
within the church!
Jesus, the REAL JESUS, guides, controls, inspires and corrects
His true church TODAY!
Great Shepherd, who tenderly leaves the ninety and nine,
earnestly and carefully seeking the restoration of "the one,"
Jesus Christ shows us He hates vanity, arrogance, police-state
tactics, dictators, "spiritual policemen," and the pompous,
egotistical human desire to exercise POWER over others' lives!
seeks those who are willing to be the servant of all; who
are willing to be corrected, taught from the Word of God,
and who will always keep their eyes directly on Jesus
true Church of God, a statement from anyone that he or she will
"follow a man, AS THEY FOLLOW CHRIST," is certainly always