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Papal Succession

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Page 12: Revised 04/30/2000

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On this page: | Rome's Claim of Papal Succession | Was Peter Bishop of Rome? | Evidence from Scripture | Peter's Claim of Superiority | Paul's Confrontation with Peter | The 'Father's' on Peter REVISED!| Catholic Historian on Peter | Alter Christus? | Vicar of Christ? | The Final Questions |

Rome's Claim of Papal Succession

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the current Pope (or any Pope) is the 'Vicar of Christ' on earth. It also teaches that the Pope, and all ordained priests are 'Alter Christos,' which means 'Another Christ.' Rome claims that the Pope can trace his official lineage in a straight line all the way back to Peter. They claim that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, and that he held supremacy over all the other Apostles (i.e., that he was the first pope). Biblical support for these claims is in short supply, so Rome's primary appeal is more to her own traditions than to Scripture.

If, in fact, Rome's dogmas and doctrines can be supported by Scripture, and by the Fathers of the Church, we have no choice but to accept them - and submit ourselves to the Pope as the 'Vicar of Christ.' On the other hand, if it can be proven that Rome's claim for Apostolic Succession is false, we have no choice but to reject it.

A major claim of Rome is on trial here. It is a very serious claim. Thus the rules of evidence demand that I prove Rome false by a preponderance of evidence. That is, I must be able to show substantial, incontrovertible evidence that proves Rome guilty of perjury and manipulation of facts. In all seriousness we must ask, and answer, some pointed questions. I have listed these questions in the following table.

Try your hand at the answers before you read further. Please make a note of sources you used to arrive at your answers (such as a particular Bible passage, quote from the Fathers of the Church, quotes from historical documents, etc.). We already agree that the Roman Catholic Church answers "Yes" to all of these questions. All I am trying to do here is to get you to think - to seek the answers for yourself rather than blindly believe what you are told.

Questions About Papal Succession

The Question Your Answer?
Yes No
Is there historical proof that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome? . .
Did the Fathers of the Church declare Peter as the first Bishop of Rome? . .
Does history say who was the first Bishop of Rome? . .
Did Christ give Peter supremacy over all other Apostles? . .
Can the present Pope prove a direct line of descent from Peter? . .
Are Roman Catholic priests really 'other Christs?' . .
Did Jesus have anything to say about those who say they are 'another Christ?' If so, what did He say? . .
Did Jesus commend or condemn the concept of one Apostle having supreme authority over the other Apostles? Your Answer?
Is there Biblical proof that Christ declared that the supreme power of the Bishop of Rome could be passed-down to his successors? . .
ARGUMENTS WORK BETTER AFTER YOU GET THE BUGS OUT!These are important questions. Take your time.

QUESTION: If it can be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Pope's claim to Apostolic Succession is false, what will you do?

Your answer?

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Was Peter ever Bishop of Rome?

Thanks to a surfer named Dick S., I have changed the above headline from "Was Peter ever in Rome?" to "Was Peter ever Bishop of Rome?" Dick supplied a host of quotations from the Fathers of the Church that say Peter was, at some time, in Rome, and died there for his faith. (Caius, Presbyter of Rome, A.D. 198/217, as recorded in Eusebius, History of the Church, Bk.2, Ch. 25 {106a][2, 25, 5]) Peter's presence in Rome is also confirmed by Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and others. Thank you, Dick, for your input. You showed me that my original question was poorly phrased. Let me say to all you great surfers, that, yes, Peter did spend time in Rome, and a number of the Fathers of the Church attest to his being martyred there. However the mere fact that Peter was at some time in the city of Rome does not prove, or even suggest that he was the first Pope, the first Bishop of Rome.

Thus, Dick's input sent me back to my copy of The Fathers of the Church to seek for some indication, any indication, that Peter was ever the Bishop of Rome. I found several lists of Bishops, and Peter was not on any of them! The Fathers of the Church generally concur that a fellow named Linus held that distinction - not Peter. See Fathers of the Church on Peter, later in this section for details.

Evidence from Scripture

Epistle to the Romans

If Peter had been a Bishop of Rome, a most important position, we should expect to see evidence in Scripture. Do we find such evidence? No, we do not. We do find, however, strong evidence that, except for a brief period at the time of his martyrdom, Peter was not in Rome, much less being its Bishop.

A good example is the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. The custom of the times was to include greetings to friends and important people at the end of a letter. Paul was no exception. At the end of the Epistle to the Romans, Paul sent the following greetings:

"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household. Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them." (Romans 16:1-15)
QUESTION: Do you see Peter's name in Paul's list of greetings? Your answer?
QUESTION: If Peter was in Rome, and was Paul's superior (as taught by Rome) what possible reason could Paul have had for not greeting his own boss? Your Answer?

Paul went to a lot of trouble to compose his list of people to greet in Rome. The only reason why Paul would ignore his own boss would be that Peter was not in Rome, and was not his superior.

Another question arises from the Epistle to the Romans. If, in fact, Peter was the Bishop of Rome, what right did Paul have to send the Romans instructions in the Faith? Would he not be usurping his superior's authority? Would it not have been Peter's responsibility to teach the Faith to his own diocese? Yet we have no record, in the Bible or elsewhere, of Peter issuing instructions to the diocese of Rome. What an amazing oversight by a supposedly infallible commander-in-chief! What do you think, dear surfer?
QUESTION: If Peter was the Bishop of Rome, what right did Paul have sending religious instructions to the church at Rome? Your answer?
QUESTION: If Peter was the Bishop of Rome, why did he not reprimand Paul for usurping his authority there? Your answer?
QUESTION: If Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, why do we have no record of his giving pastoral instructions to the church at Rome? Your answer?
QUESTION: Is it possible that Peter never reprimanded Paul, and never sent an epistle to the Romans because Peter did not have the responsibility for the church at Rome? Your answer?

Second Timothy

From Rome, Paul wrote this Epistle to Timothy. Consider the following:
"Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 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. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus." (2 Timothy 4:9-12)

Notice that Paul, writing from Rome, says that only Luke was with him. Where was Peter? Certainly not in Rome or Paul would have mentioned it. And once again we have Paul sending religious instructions to Timothy when, according to Rome, that was Peter's job! How come?
QUESTION: Where was Peter while Paul was imprisoned in Rome? Your answer?

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Fathers of the Church on Peter

If, as Rome teaches, Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, we should expect to see proof in the writings of the early Fathers of the Church. Who should better know the facts than the ministers and Bishops of the first few centuries after Christ? Want to try your hand at the basic question before reading further?
QUESTION: Do the Fathers of the Church tell us that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome? If so, which ones? Your Answer?

Alright. Now let's examine what a number of "Fathers of the Church" said about Peter. Read it and decide for yourself if Peter was the first bishop of Rome.

| Iraeneus | Hippolytus | St. Clement | Peter | St. Augustine | St. John Chrysostom | Cyril of Alexandria |

Iraeneus on the Bishops of Rome

[Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume I, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. SOURCE: Iraeneus Against Heresies, Volume I, Book III, Para 3: "A Refutation of the heretics, from the Fact That, in the Various Churches, a Perpetual Succession of Bishops Was Kept Up."]
3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. . . . . To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Sorer having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth. (St. Ingatius, Ignatius to Mary at Neapolis Chapter IV; Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume I, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997.

Note that Iraeneus does not identify Peter as the first Bishop of Rome. The first Bishop of Rome that he does identify is named Linus. If Peter had, in fact, been first Bishop of Rome, why did Iraeneus ignore him? Iraeneus then gives us the identity of the first twelve Bishops of Rome:

1. Linus
2. Anacletus
3. Clement
4. Evaristus
5. Alexander
6. Sixtus
7. Ignatius (Telephorus)
8. Huginus
9. Pius
10. Anicetus
11. Sorer
12. Eleutherius
QUESTION: Do you see then name of Peter in this Father's list of Rome's bishops?

Yes

No
QUESTION: Who does Iraeneus mention as the first Bishop of Rome? Your answer?

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Hippolytus on the Bishops of Rome

(Hippolytus, Book XLIV; ON The Twelve Apostles Where Each OF Them Preached, And Where HE Met His End.)
1. Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner.
2. Andrew preached to the Scythians and Thracians . . .
The Same Hippolytus ON The Seventy Apostles.
1. James the Lord's brother, bishop of Jerusalem.
2. Cleopas, bishop of Jerusalem.
3. Matthias, who supplied the vacant place in the number of the twelve apostles.
4. Thaddeus, who conveyed the epistle to Augarus.
5. Ananias, who baptized Paul, and was bishop of Damascus.
6. Stephen, the first martyr.
7. Philip, who baptized the eunuch.
8. Prochorus, bishop of Nicomedia, who also was the first that departed, believing together with his daughters.
9. Nicanor died when Stephen was martyred.
10. Timon, bishop of Bostra.
11. Parmenas, bishop of Soli.
12. Nicolaus, bishop of Samaria.
13. Barnabas, bishop of Milan.
14. Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandria.
15. Luke the evangelist.
These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spoke, "Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me." But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter's instrumentality, and the other by Paul's, they were honoured to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree.
16. Silas, bishop of Corinth.
17. Silvanus, bishop of Thessalonica.
18. Crisces (Crescens), bishop of Carchedon in Gaul.
19. Epaenetus, bishop of Carthage.
20. Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia.
21. Amplias, bishop of Odyssus.
22. Urban, bishop of Macedonia.
23. Stachys, bishop of Byzantium.
24. Barnabas, bishop of Heraclea.
25. Phygellus, bishop of Ephesus. He was of the party also of Simon.
26. Hermogenes. He, too, was of the same mind with the former.
27. Demas, who also became a priest of idols.
28. Apelles, bishop of Smyrna.
29. Aristobulus, bishop of Britain.
30. Narcissus, bishop of Athens.
31. Herodion, bishop of Tarsus.
32. Agabus the prophet.
33. Rufus, bishop of Thebes.
34. Asyncritus, bishop of Hyrcania.
35. Phlegon, bishop of Marathon.
36. Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia.
37. Patrobulus, bishop of Puteoli.
38. Hermas, bishop of Philippi.
39. Linus, bishop of Rome.
40. Caius, bishop of Ephesus.
41. Philologus, bishop of Sinope.
QUESTION: Do you see then name of Peter in this Father's list of Rome's bishops?

Yes

No
QUESTION: Who, according to St. Hippolytus, was first Bishop of Rome? Your Answer?
QUESTION: Hippolytus goes to some trouble to describe where Peter preached the Gospel - yet failed to mention either Rome, or Peter's supposedly being bishop of Rome. Why this oversight? Your Answer?
QUESTION: How can Rome claim Peter as first Bishop of Rome, and an 'infallible' pope, when so many Fathers of the Church seem to be so ignorant of the fact? Your Answer?
QUESTION: Is it possible that Rome lies when she claims a direct line of papal succession from Peter as first Bishop of Rome? Your answer?

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Peter on the Bishops of Rome

XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:--James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord; upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Caesarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchaeus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul; and Clemens, after Linus' death, the second, ordained by me Peter. (Anti Nicene Fathers, Volume VII, Book VI, Sec. IV, XLVI)Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume VII, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997.
QUESTION: Who, according to Peter himself was the first Bishop of Rome? Peter Linus
QUESTION: Ordained by Paul, Linus was Bishop of Rome while Peter was still living. (This point is confirmed by Father of the Church St. Clement.) If, as Rome teaches, the Bishop of Rome is Pope, supreme pontiff, does this not mean that Peter, an Apostle, was subservient to Linus? Yes No
QUESTION: How can Rome contradict here own 'Fathers of the Church' by saying that Peter was first Bishop of Rome? Your answer

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St. Clement on the Bishops of Rome

"There is a letter in which this same Clement writing to James the Lord's brother, gives an account of the death of Peter, and says that he has left him as his successor, as ruler and teacher of the church; and further incorporates a whole scheme of ecclesiastical government. This I have not prefixed to the work, both because it is later in point of time, and because it has been previously translated and published by me. Nevertheless, there is a point which would perhaps seem inconsistent with facts were I to place the translation of it in this work, but which I do not consider to involve an impossibility. It is this. Linus and Cletus were Bishops of the city of Rome before Clement. How then, some men ask, can Clement in his, letter to James say that Peter passed over to him his position as a church-teacher. The explanation of this point, as I understand, is as follows. Linus and Cletus were, no doubt," Bishops in the city of Rome before Clement, but this was in Peter's life-time; " (St. Clement, Addressed to Bishop Gaudentis, from the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second series, Vol III. Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series: Volume III, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997.
QUESTION: How could Linus be bishop of Rome while Peter was still alive? Your Answer?
QUESTION: If Linus was bishop of Rome while Peter was alive, does that not mean that Linus, not even an Apostle, had Papal supremacy over both Peter and Paul - two living Apostles? Your answer?

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St. Augustine on Peter

In his interpretation of Matthew 16:18, St. Augustine wrote, "Because thou hast said unto me, 'thou art the Christ the Son of the living God;' I also say unto thee, 'Thou art Peter.' For before he was called Simon. Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is also called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. Therefore he saith, 'Thou art Peter and upon this rock' which thou hast confessed, upon this rock which thou hast acknowledged, saying, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God' will I build my Church' that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, 'will I build My Church.' I will build thee upon me, not myself upon thee . . . For men who wished to be built upon men, said 'I am of Paul; and I am of Apollos; and I of Cephas,' who is Peter. But others did not wish to be built upon Peter, but upon the Rock, said,'But I am of Christ.' And when the Apostle Paul ascertained that he was chosen, and Christ despised, he said, 'Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?' And, as not in the name of Paul, so neither in the name of Peter; but in the name of Christ.; that Peter might be built upon the Rock, not the Rock upon Peter." (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956, Volume VI, St. Augustine, Sermon XXV!.1-2, p. 340)
QUESTION: Does St. Augustine say that Paul or Christ is the Rock upon which the true Church will be built? Your Answer?
QUESTION: Does St. Augustine identify Peter the man, or Peter's confession of faith as the Rock on which the Church will be built? Your Answer?
QUESTION: How do you reconcile St. Augustine's teaching (the Rock is Peter's confession of faith in Christ) with Rome's teaching that Peter himself is the Rock upon which the Church will be built? Your Answer?

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St. John Chrysostom on Peter

St. John Chrysostom, one of the greatest theologians of the early Church, says this of Peter:

"'And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church;' that is, on the faith of his confession." (A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Oxford: Parker, 1844; Homilies of S. John Chrysostom on the Gospel of Matthew, Homily 54.3)
QUESTION: Who does St. John Chrysostom identify as the Rock upon which the true Church will be built - Peter or Christ Himself via Peter's confession of faith? Your Answer?
QUESTION: How do you reconcile St.John Chrysostom's teaching (the Rock is Peter's confession of Faith in Christ) with Rome's teaching that Peter himself is the Rock upon which the Church will be built? Your Answer?

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Cyril of Alexandria on Peter

Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444 A.D.) wrote: "Now by the word 'rock,' Jesus indicated I think the immovable faith of the disciple." (Commentary on Isaiah IV.2, M.P.G., Vol. 70, Col 940.)
QUESTION: Does Father of the Church Cyril of Alexandria agree with St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom that it is Peter's confession of faith in Jesus, not Peter himself, as the Rock upon which the true Church will be built? Your Answer?
QUESTION: We have seen how several Fathers of the Church agree that it is Peter's confession of Faith, and not Peter himself that is the Rock upon which the Church is founded. How do you reconcile this fact with the fact that Rome declares Peter himself as that Rock? Your Answer?

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A Roman Catholic Historian On Peter

Now let's have a look at what a good Roman Catholic historian, Johan Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger, who taught Church history for 47 years has to say about Rome's 'interpretation' of Matthew 16:18. "Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages in the Gospels (Matthew 16:18, John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter's successors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these texts, yet not one of them whose commentaries we possess - Origin, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas - has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter!" (The Pope and the Council, Boston: Roberts, 1869, P. 74)
QUESTION: How can the Roman Catholic Church claim the primacy of Peter when her own best historian denies it? Your answer?
QUESTION: Is it possible that the Roman Catholic Church lies when she claims the Peter was the first Bishop of Rome? Your answer?
QUESTION: How do you resolve the contradiction between the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and the Roman Catholic Church itself? Your answer?

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RIGHT ACROSS THE BOW!Did Peter Claim Superior Authority?

If, in fact, Jesus had appointed Peter as having supremacy over the other apostles, we have a very strange scripture to deal with:
"And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." (Luke 22:24-26)

Notice that the Apostles had an argument about which of them was the greatest. Notice, too, that this argument occurred during the Last Supper, just hours before the end of Jesus' ministry on earth. Notice finally, that Peter was among the group. What better opportunity for Jesus to confirm the supremacy of Peter? What better opportunity for Peter to stand and declare his supremacy to the others?

How did Jesus settle their argument? By reminding them that the 'exercise of lordship' was a Gentile characteristic, but that it shall not be so with the Apostles! How clear can you get? Jesus plainly stated that there would be no assignment of leadership such as claimed by the Church of Rome!
QUESTION: If the supremacy of Peter was a fact, why did all the Apostles argue about who was greatest among them? Your answer?
QUESTION: Did Jesus declare the supremacy of Peter when he had the chance? Your answer?
QUESTION: Why didn't Peter exercise his supposed supremacy to settle this argument? Your answer?
QUESTION: Did Jesus clearly state that, among the Apostles, there must never be a hierarchy of authority? Your answer?
QUESTION: Can you see how Rome contradicts Jesus Himself in the question of a supreme authority among the Apostles? Your Answer
QUESTION: Is it possible that Rome is wrong when she claims the supremacy of Peter over the other Apostles? Your Answer?

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RIGHT BETWEEN THE RUNNING LIGHTS!

Paul's Confrontation with Peter

If Peter was the 'top' Apostle, the chief honcho, the Pope, you would expect him to be giving the orders, and chewing-out his subordinates, not the other way around, right? Well, hold onto your chair, dear surfer. We are about to examine a serious confrontation between Peter and Paul, and you may be surprised at who is giving the orders - at who is correcting whom. Please open your bible to the book of Galatians, and read Chapter 2, verses 11 through 21.

Ready. Good. Notice that Paul chastised Peter - in view of the other leaders of the church! Isn't that backwards according to the teaching of Rome? Can you just imagine what would happen if a bishop or cardinal publicly accused the pope, as Paul accused Peter? That poor bishop or cardinal would find himself severely disciplined, demoted, constrained, labeled a heretic or schismatic, excardinated or even defrocked for his audacity.

Notice how Paul accused Peter of sin in that he, Peter, "did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel."

Notice that what Peter had been teaching was false doctrine!
QUESTION: How could Paul openly rebuke Peter, if Peter was really the leader of all the Apostles?

Your Answer?

QUESTION: Did Peter accept Paul's chastisement and change his own teaching? Your Answer?
QUESTION: How could Peter have taught false doctrine if he was the 'infallible pope' that Rome says he was? Your Answer?
QUESTION: After reading the above Scripture, do you still believe Rome's teaching that Peter was an infallible Pope - the appointed leader above all other Apostles? Your Answer?

Are you a good Roman Catholic? If so, you are constrained to declare that this passage of Scripture is not the inspired Word of God, but a lie! You see, Paul reminded Peter that we are "not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ." (Vs 16-21).

Your present Pope, along with many of his predecessors, teaches exactly the opposite of what Paul said to Peter! Yet Peter accepted Paul's correction! On the other hand, the Popes consistently teach that you are justified by obedience to their law, not by faith in Jesus Christ. Oh, yes, they do give lip service to faith in Christ, but where the pudding is tasted, the Roman Catholic religion is a religion of works, not of faith. Oh, yes, Rome calls it faith - but it is faith in the sacramental system, faith in penance (works), faith in an 'infallible Pope', faith in the church itself that it speaks of. Catholic readers are well aware that there is Roman Catholic law behind attending the Mass, going to confession, eating the Eucharist, performing the sacraments, indulgences, submitting to the Pope, and so forth. All are backed-up by cannon law and/or ecclesiastical pronouncements. Some of those laws include serious curses too. Break Roman Catholic canon law and Rome consigns you to hell. Its a fact: just study the 'infallible' declarations from the Council of Trent which remain in full force to this very day.

Please, my Catholic surfers, just think about it for a while. Were you not told that your salvation was to be gained by obedience to the laws of the Roman Catholic Church? By faithful attendance at the mass? By going to confession and communion? By earning indulgences? By submitting to the Pope? Which of these things point you to Jesus Christ as the author of your salvation? None of them! The best that Rome can say is that the sacrifice of Christ 'made your salvation possible.' Possible? Yes, possible. But only if you obey all the rules, participate in all the sacraments, and so forth. Thus does Rome interpose herself between you and God! She also interposes Mary between you and God when it comes to your salvation. These things put Rome in the same category as the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, the Eastern mystery religions, and other religious cults.

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Alter Christus?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that her priests are "Alter Christus," which means literally "another Christ." Because Christ is God, this is a most serious claim. One would expect to hear such a claim from the false pagan religions, but from a supposedly Christian religion? Here's some evidence for you to consider.
"The priest is indeed another Christ, or in some way he is himself a continuation of Christ." (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical on the Priesthood).
"The priest on earth (is) another Christ." (The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism.)
"In this moment, the priest quite literally becomes Christ Himself." (This is the Mass, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Page 100)
"The priest is not just the cross, he is Christ Himself." (The Lone Star Catholic, March 1, 1959)
"To the carnal eye, the priest looks like other men, but to the eye of faith he is exalted above angels." (Faith of our Fathers, Gibbons, Page 422)
"Another grace of the synod [Synod of Bishops, October, 1990] was a new maturity in the way of looking at priestly service in the Church; and thus also of the personal life of each and every priest, that is to say, of each priest's participation in the saving mystery of Christ: 'Sacerdos Alter Christus.'" (Pope John Paul II, Letter to Catholic priests on the occasion of Holy Thursday, 1991).
"The priest is given transcendent power to forgive sins, to administer the sacraments, but most of all to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which he becomes an 'Alter Christus'" (Pastoral Reflections on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Cardinal John J. O'Conner.)
"In the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the priest is a substitute of Christ Himself. As a result of his ordination, he is a true alter Christus." (The Latin Mass: Chronicle of a Catholic Reform, Summer 1995 Issue. )
"Thus the priest, as is said with good reason, is indeed another Christ;" (Papal Encyclical 'Ad Catholici Sacerdotii' on the priesthood, Pope Pius XI, December 20, 1935)
QUESTION: If priests are, as they claim to be, literally "another Christ," shouldn't they all be able, at will, to do the works of Christ (read minds, heal the sick, raise the dead to life, turn water into wine, etc.)? Yes No
QUESTION: Have you ever seen a priest die, and then resurrect himself three days later as Christ did? Yes No
QUESTION: Have you ever seen a priest change water into great wine like Jesus did? Yes No
QUESTION: Have you ever seen a priest call a man dead several days out of his casket (like Jesus did with Lazarus)? Yes No
QUESTION: What do reason and logic suggest to you when a person claims to be Jesus Christ but cannot do the works Jesus Christ did? Your answer?
QUESTION: Did Jesus have anything to say about men who would claim to be Him? Click here for the answer

The Warning of Jesus Christ

"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." -Matthew 23: 3-5

There you have the clear warning from Jesus Himself many will come in His name and claim to be another Christ and they are deceivers. Does any group of men come to mind? Only Roman Catholic priests make the claim to be another Christ. You will find the same phenomenon in many pagan religions as well, but using different terms for the same thing. For example, you have the "masters," "gurus" and "avatars" of the Hindu religions. . . where each term refers to a physical incarnation of their deity. A Hindu "master" is one they say has become "Jivan Mukti" (free while living, and therefore God in the flesh; a messiah in their faith.)

I am inclined to believe that many priests are themselves victims of deceit. . . that they really do buy into the great lie. . . and proceed to deceive others in the doing. . . not deliberately, but in ignorance. Yet the end result is the same.
QUESTION: Now that you know the facts, who will you believe - the Roman Catholic Church or Jesus Christ? Your answer?

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Vicar of Christ?

To be supplied.


The Final Questions

Alright my surfer friends. At the outset, I asked a simple question: "If it can be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Pope's claim to Apostolic Succession is false, what will you do? " If you have carefully considered the evidence on this sub-page, now is the moment of truth. I have given you the words of a number of early Church Fathers on the subject. The reason for doing so is because the Roman Catholic Church claims that she will not interpret any Scripture, save that which has the "unanimous consent of the Fathers." It is that claim of Rome that gives us the right, indeed, the duty, to examine those Fathers to see if they are in "unanimous consent" about Peter being first Bishop of Rome (and therefore the Pope).

I have also given you considerable information from Scripture to consider. And I have even given you a direct quote from a well-known Roman Catholic Historian on the topic. Now its your turn.
Do the Fathers of the Church identify Peter, the man, or his confession of faith in Jesus (and, therefore Jesus Himself) as the Rock upon which the true Church will be built? Jesus is the Rock Peter is the Rock
Do the Scriptures anywhere indicate the Peter had supremacy over all other Apostles. Yes No
QUESTION: Do the Scriptures anywhere indicate that Peter did not have supremacy over all other Apostles? Yes No
QUESTION: Does Jesus Christ say, quite directly, that there shall be no one considered a supreme leader among the Apostles? Yes No
Does Roman Catholic historian von Dollinger say that the Bishops of Rome are successors of Peter? Yes No
Who do the Fathers of the Church identify as first bishop of Rome: Peter or Linus? Peter Linus
Who does Peter himself identify as first bishop of Rome: himself or Linus? Himself Linus
According the the historical and Biblical evidence above, is the Pope's claim of Apostolic Succession back to Peter true or false? True False
Who will you believe in this matter: The Fathers PLUS history PLUS Scripture - or the Pope and Roman Catholic Tradition? Your answer?


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