A Basic Expose’ of Catholicism Part 3

Jean Damon’s  basic expose’ of Catholicism, for those interested in knowing Jesus – Part 3

Part 1  Part 2

As I begin part 3, I must point out that as I have stated earlier, there are many Catholics that do, in fact, know and love Jesus Christ and feel that He is in their heart, as they go about being Catholics. I am always very happy for anyone that knows and loves Our Lord; each of us is responsible for determining whether or not they know and follow Him (2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”), and we should be where He wants us to be.

The Catholics that I am reaching out to, rather, are those that are putting the weight and strength of their salvation and righteousness before God on the mere fact that they are a Catholic– that they belong to and follow Catholicism.  In the same way, I do not lean on the fact that I follow “Christianity” to be what saves me, but rather, that I have been born again by water and the spirit (John 3:5), and strive to follow and obey and love Jesus Christ. As such, I must have as a guidepost something that God Himself gave us—His Holy Word, written by men, but as inspired by Him.

Even Catholics know that the bible is reliable and trustworthy; but those that belong to Jesus have the benefit of the meaning of the scriptures imparted to them by the Holy Spirit (“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”  John 16:13). Those that search the scriptures and attempt to be intimately familiar with them know that it is important to be acquainted with the whole of it, in order to comprehend what God’s heart really is on any given subject. Thus, they don’t just take one scripture and start a whole movement based on it, not bothering to try to find corroborating and confirming scriptures. No, the responsible Christian, leaning on the Lodestone of God’s word for Truth, looks carefully into the word to find out what it really tells them about that area of study or concern or interest.

So, we take the idea, in Catholic tradition that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus was actually singling out Peter, among the other apostles, to be the “rock upon which He would build His church”;  they include the further words where Jesus supposedly gave only Peter the keys to the kingdom. Then, they built a doctrine whereby Peter became a bishop in Rome ( I suppose the first one), and that he had “successors” after him, all of whom carried equal authority with him, eventually becoming the “recognized” head of the church-standing in the place of Christ (the “vicar” of Christ).

But this is where diligent study of the whole of scripture disproves  this doctrine, and can be pointed out here. Firstly, if you take the words that preceded Jesus’ supposed “anointing” of Peter, you see that starting in Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks Peter who he says that He is, and Peter replies: “You are the Messiah-the Son of God”, and then Jesus goes on to tell him that he is blessed because it was His Father in heaven that had revealed that truth to him. I must admit, I do wish that Jesus had clarified a bit more what He was actually saying to Peter, but, of course, this is where diligent bible study comes in, and one learns that it is actually Jesus Himself that is the rock upon which the church is built (“…And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”-eph 2:20); this scripture, along with a few other similar ones, helped most bible scholars understand that Jesus was referring to that REVELATION THAT PETER HAD RECEIVED FROM GOD that gives one the power of the keys to the kingdom and of being a member of the body of Christ. They also know that all the apostles shared those same keys and were all on equal footing and authority. The epistles all throughout show examples of believers using the keys to the Kingdom, since they believe in Jesus.        

There are a number of places where Jesus spoke to the idea of authoritarian rule over men, such as “…make no man your father…” (Matthew 23:9), and “For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men.”(mark 7:8), But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them, It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant”. Matthew 20:25-26) etc. Thus Jesus makes it clear He does not want anyone to “Lord it” over others. And a careful study of the book of Acts as well as many of the epistles shows you that, though both Peter and James seemed at times to stand out a bit and to speak for the group, eventually (you see by acts 13) that Paul became even more prominent and quite eligible to be the “guy at the top” if the church had allowed that.

Since there is no evidence in any place in the New Testament that Peter as much as preached in Rome, let alone was a bishop there, Catholics rely on “extra-biblical” sources for this idea, namely, Eusebius, a bishop and church historian from about the 300’s, and some of the well-known “church Fathers”, who will be named below. This statement from Eusebius, in his Book 2, Chapter 14, paragraph 6, would be the closest he came to claiming that Peter was in Rome. One of the lines has a reference to a note at 385, from editorials that followed his writings, and I include that editorial note following his writing (from Christian classics ethereal library):

6. But this did not last long. For immediately, during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things, led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome385 against this great corrupter of life. He like a noble commander of God, clad in divine armor, carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls, and preaching the kingdom of heaven.386

 Editors’ note from 385:

Upon the historic truth of Peter’s visit to Rome, see below, chap. 25, note 7. Although we may accept it as certain that he did visit Rome, and that he met his death there, it is no less certain that he did not reach there until late in the reign of Nero. The tradition that he was for twenty-five years bishop of Rome is first recorded by Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 1), and since his time has been almost universally accepted in the Roman Catholic Church, though in recent years many more candid scholars of that communion acknowledge that so long an episcopate there is a fiction. The tradition undoubtedly took its rise from the statement of Justin Martyr (quoted in the previous chapter) that Simon Magus came to Rome during the reign of Claudius. Tradition, in the time of Eusebius, commonly connected the Roman visits of Simon and of Peter; and consequently Eusebius, accepting the earlier date for Simon’s arrival in Rome, quite naturally assumed also the same date for Peter’s arrival there, although Justin does not mention Peter in connection with Simon in the passage which Eusebius quotes. The assumption that Peter took up his residence in Rome during the reign of Claudius contradicts all that we know of Peter’s later life from the New Testament and from other early writers. In 44 a.d. he was in Jerusalem (according to Acts xii. 3); in 51 he was again there (according to Acts xv.); and a little later in Antioch (according to Gal. i. 11 sq.). Moreover, at some time during his life he labored in various provinces in Asia Minor, as we learn from his first epistle, and probably wrote that epistle from Babylon on the Euphrates (see chap. 15, note 7). At any rate, he cannot have been in Rome when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans (57 or 58 a.d.), for no mention is made of him among the brethren to whom greetings are sent. Nor can he have been there when Paul wrote from Rome during his captivity (61 or 62 to 63 or 64 a.d.). We have, in fact, no trace of him in Rome, except the extra-Biblical but well-founded tradition (see chap. 25, note 7) that he met his death there. We may assume, then, that he did not reach Rome at any rate until shortly before his death; that is, shortly before the summer of 64 a.d. As most of the accounts put Simon Magus’ visit to Rome in the reign of Nero (see above, chap. 13, note 9), so they make him follow Peter thither (as he had followed him everywhere, opposing and attacking him), instead of precede him, as Eusebius does. Eusebius follows Justin in giving the earlier date for Simon’s visit to Rome; but he goes beyond Justin in recording his encounter there with Peter, which neither Justin nor Irenæus mentions. The earlier date for Simon’s visit is undoubtedly that given by the oldest tradition. Afterward, when Peter and Paul were so prominently connected with the reign of Nero, the visit of Simon was postponed to synchronize with the presence of the two apostles in Rome. A report of Simon’s meeting with Peter in Rome is given first by Hippolytus (VI. 15); afterward by Arnobius (II. 12), who does not describe the meeting; by the Ap. Const., the Clementine Recognitions and Homilies, and the Acts of the Apostles Peter and Paul. It is impossible to tell from what source Eusebius drew his information. Neither Justin, Irenæus, nor Tertullian mentions it. Hippolytus and Arnobius and the App. Const. give too much, as they give accounts of his death, which Eusebius does not follow. As to this, it might, however, be said that these accounts are so conflicting that Eusebius may have omitted them entirely, while yet recording the meeting. Still, if he had read Hippolytus, he could hardly have omitted entirely his interesting account. Arnobius and Tertullian, who wrote in Latin, he did not read, and the Clementines were probably too late for him; at any rate, they cannot have been the source of his account, which differs entirely from theirs. It is highly probable, therefore, that he followed Justin and Irenæus as far as they go, and that he recorded the meeting with Peter in Rome as a fact commonly accepted in his time, and one for which he needed no written authority; or it is possible that he had another source, unknown to us, as suggested above (note 4). against this great corrupter of life. He like a noble commander of God, clad in divine armor, carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls, and preaching the kingdom of heaven.386386    A most amazing mixture of metaphors. This sentence furnishes an excellent illustration of Eusebius’ rhetorical style. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.xv.html#fnf_iii.vii.xv-p14.1

“In 1 Peter 5:13, it tells us very plainly that he wrote that epistle from the city of Babylon [In Peters day Babylon was still a city and a territory—See Josephus, Antiquities, Book xv, Ch 2, 2. “The ancient city of Mesopotamia, an area which was then a center of pure and uncompromising Judiasim” p. 65, 1 Peter by A. M. Stibbs. ACT 2:9 tells us they were in the Pentecost crowd. “After the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 Babylonia became, and for centuries remained, a seat of Jewish Schools devoted to the study and interpretation of the law” Dictionary of the Bible, p. 72, by J. J. Davis]. This is far to the east of the Roman Empire and not in Rome which is in the western part of the Empire. This is where Peter apparently had much of his ministry among the many Jews scattered there from previous centuries. He was there preaching that the Messiah had come, that Jesus Christ was that promised Messiah, and that Jesus Christ was the only hope of salvation. He was there preaching to those people when he wrote the epistles of 1 and 2 Peter. He wrote to those who were in what is now Asia Minor or what is now modern Turkey. All of these districts that he mentions are in a little section of eastern Turkey. From christianbeliefs.org  (and A. Allison Lewis).

It’s vitally important to note that the “extra-biblical” “church fathers” were all writing at least 100 years after the beginning of the church, taking their information from one another and other “historical” sources; by contrast, Luke, who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, was writing pretty close to when the events he chronicled were taking place; plus, he wrote one of the Gospels; plus, his writings are considered to be “inspired” material. I believe that the wise and logical position is to not trust any extra-biblical doctrines or theories pertaining to the church and/or Jesus Christ when they don’t line up with inspired scripture.

I must add the scriptural accounts of where in fact Peter was preaching and ministering.  In Galatians, Paul is recounting what happened when he went to Jerusalem to meet with the church leaders, wherein no small discussion ensued; extrapolated from that is  Galatians 2:7-8 (NIV)”7 On the contrary, they (the church leadership) recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised,[a] just as Peter had been to the circumcised.[b]  8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised (the Jews), was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. ” This could be referenced back to Acts 13:1-3, wherein Paul and Silas met with the church council at Antioch, who subsequently “sent” them to minister to the gentiles; though it’s not written, presumably it was recognized as well by the council that Peter had been chosen by the Lord to minister to the Jewish believers. In fact, Acts 15 finds Peter in Jerusalem, and when there’s a big to-do about the problem with the Jewish converts, Paul and Barnabus meet with Peter and the church council to discuss the problem. In the ensuing discussion, in verses 7-11, Peter makes a great speech for the gospel of grace vs. the law. However, this is the last that is written about him in Acts, as by Acts 13, Paul has risen to prominence and becomes the main player for the rest of Luke’s chronicles.

For the sake of your soul, please carefully and thoroughly read the gospels and the epistles, asking the Holy Spirit to guide your reading and to bring you into all Truth, as Jesus promised He would.

If you would like to contact Jean you may do so here – seasideroses333@gmail.com


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