Keith Hunt - Church History #5 - Page Five   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

History of the Church #5

The Apostle Peter


(BRIEF) CHURCH HISTORY

Continued:


THE APOSTLE PETER


The congregation of Jerusalem became the mother church of Jewish
Christianity, and thus of all Christendom. It grew both inwardly
and outwardly under the personal direction of the apostles,
chiefly of Peter, to whom the Lord had early assigned a peculiar
prominence in the work of building his visible church on earth.  
The apostles were assisted by a number of presbyters, and seven
deacons or persons appointed to care for the poor and the sick.  
But the Spirit moved in the whole congregation, bound to no
particular office. The preaching of the gospel, the working of
miracles in the name of Jesus, and the attractive power of a holy
walk in faith and love, were the instruments of progress. The
number of the Christians, or, as they at first called themselves,
disciples, believers, brethren, saints, soon rose to five
thousand. They continued steadfastly under the instruction and in
the fellowship of the apostles, in the daily worship of God and
celebration of the holy Supper with their agapae or love-feasts.

(Schaff is here going along with the false idea that the
desciples "breaking bread" among themselves was observing "the
holy supper" or "communion service" as some call it. Nothing
could be further from the truth of the matter. The Passover
memorial service was held once a year on the 14th of the first
month in God's calendar. Schaff studying church history of the
2nd century should have come to the light of truth, but obviously
he did not - Keith Hunt)

They felt themselves to be one family of God, members of one body
under one head, Jesus Christ; and this fraternal unity expressed
itself even in a voluntary community of goods--an anticipation,
as it were, of an ideal state at the end of history, but without
binding force upon any other congregation. They adhered as
closely to the temple worship and the Jewish observances as the
new life admitted and as long as there was any hope of the
conversion of Israel as a nation. They went daily to the temple
to teach, as their Master had done, but held their devotional
meetings in private houses.

The addresses of Peter to the people and the Sanhedrin are
remarkable for their natural simplicity and adaptation. They are
full of fire and vigor, yet full of wisdom and persuasion, and
always to the point. More practical and effective sermons were
never preached. They are testimonies of an eye-witness so timid a
few weeks before, and now so bold and ready at any moment to
suffer and die for the cause. They are an expansion of his
confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God,
the Saviour. He preached no subtle theological doctrines, but a
few great facts and truths: the crucifixion and resurrection of
Jesus the Messiah, already known to his hearers for his mighty
signs and wonders, his exaltation to the right hand of Almighty
God, the descent and power of the Holy Spirit, the fulfilment of
prophecy, the approaching judgment and glorious restitution of
all things, the paramount importance of conversion and faith in
Jesus as the only name whereby we can be saved. There breathes in
them an air of serene joy and certain triumph.

We can form no clear conception of this bridal season of the
Christian church when no dust of earth soiled her shining
garments, when she was wholly absorbed in the contemplation and
love of her divine Lord, when he smiled down upon her from his
throne in heaven, and added daily to the number of the saved. It
was a continued Pentecost, it was paradise restored. "They did
take their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising
God, and having favor with all the people."

Yet even in this primitive apostolic community inward corruption
early appeared, and with it also the severity of discipline and
self-purification, in the terrible sentence of Peter on the
hypocritical Ananias and Sapphira.

At first Christianity found favor with the people. Soon, however,
it had to encounter the same persecution as its divine founder
had undergone, but only, as before, to transform it into a
blessing and a means of growth.

The persecution was begun by the skeptical sect of the Sadducees,
who took offence at the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ,
the centre of all the apostolic preaching.

When Stephen, one of the seven deacons of the church at
Jerusalem, a man full of faith and zeal, the forerunner of the
apostle Paul, boldly assailed the perverse and obstinate spirit
of Judaism, and declared the approaching downfall of the Mosaic
economy, the Pharisees made common cause with the Sadducees
against the gospel. Thus began the emancipation of Christianity
from the temple-worship of Judaism, with which it had till then
remained at least outwardly connected. Stephen himself was
falsely accused of blaspheming Moses, and after a remarkable
address in his own defence, he was stoned by a mob (A.D. 37), 
and thus became the worthy leader of the sacred host of martyrs,
whose blood was thenceforth to fertilize the soil of the church.
From the blood of his martyrdom soon sprang the great apostle  of
the Gentiles, now his bitterest persecutor, and an eye-witness of
his heroism and of the glory of Christ in his dying face.
The stoning of Stephen was the signal for a general persecution,
and thus at the same time for the spread of Christianity over all
Palestine and the region around. And it was soon followed by the
conversion of Cornelius of Caesarea, which opened the door for
the mission to the Gentiles.  In this important event Peter
likewise was the prominent actor.  

After some seven years of repose the church at Jerusalem suffered
a new persecution under king Herod Agrippa (A.D. 44). James the
elder, the brother of John, was beheaded. Peter was imprisoned
and condemned to the same fate; but he was miraculously
liberated, and then forsook Jerusalem, leaving the church to the
care of James the "brother of the Lord." Eusebius, Jerome, and
the Roman Catholic historians assume that he went at that early
period to Rome, at least on a temporary visit, if not for
permanent residence. But the book of Acts (12: 17) says only: 
"hee departed, and went into another 'place.'" The indefiniteness
of this expression, in connection with a remark of Paul; 1 Cor. 9
:5, is best explained on the supposition that he had hereafter no
settled home, but led the life of a travelling missionary like
most of the apostles.


THE LATER LABORS OF PETER

Afterwards we find Peter again in Jerusalem at the apostolic
council (A.D. 50); then at Antioch (51), where he came into
temporary collision with Paul; then upon missionary tours,
accompanied by his wife (57); perhaps among the dispersed Jews in
Babylon or in Asia Minor, to whom he addressed his epistles. Of a
residence of Peter in Rome the New Testament contains no trace,
unless, as the church fathers and many modern expositors think,
Rome is intended by the mystic "Babylon " mentioned in 1 Pet.5:
13 (as in the Apocalypse), but others think of Babylon on the
Euphrates, and still others of Babylon on the Nile (near the
present Cairo, according to the Coptic tra dition). The entire
silence of the Acts of the Apostles, in ch.28, respecting Peter,
as well as the silence of Paul in his epistle to the Romans, and
the epistles written from Rome during his imprisonment there, in
which Peter is not once named in the salutations, is decisive
proof that he was absent from that city during most of the time
between the years 58 and 63. A casual visit before 58 is
possible, but extremely doubtful, in view of the fact that Paul
labored independently and never built on the foundation of
others; hence he would probably not have written his epistle to
the Romans at all, certainly not without some allusion to Peter
if he had been in any proper sense the founder of the church of
Rome. After the year 63 we have no data from the New Testament,
as the Acts close with that year, and the interpretation of 
"Babylon" at the end of the first Epistle of Peter is doubtful,
though probably meant for Rome. (No, it was Babylon that Peter
was at - many Israelites were still in the area of ancient
Babylon. Peter was there teaching the word of God; it was not
Rome that he was in, but indeed Babylon - Keith Hunt) 

The martyrdom of Peter by crucifixion was predicted by our Lord,
John 21:18,19, but no place is mentioned.

We conclude then that Peter's presence in Rome before 63 is made
extremely doubtful, if not impossible, by the silence of Luke and
Paul, when speaking of Rome and writing from Rome, and that his
presence after 63 can neither be proved nor disproved from the
New Testament, and must be decided by post-biblical testimonies.
It is the uniform tradition of the eastern and western churches
that Peter preached the gospel in Rome, and suffered martyrdom
there in the Neronian persecution. So say more or less clearly,
yet not without admixture of error, Clement of Rome (who mentions
the martyrdom, but not the place), at the close of the first
century; Ignatius of Antioch (indistinctly), Dionysius of
Corinth, Iremeus of Lyons, Caius of Rome, in the second century;
Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus, Tertullian, in the
third; Lactantius, Eusebius, Jerome, and others, in the fourth.  
To these patristic testimonies may be added the apocryphal
testimonies of the pseudo-Petrine and pseudo-Clementine fictions,
which somehow connect Peter's name with the founding of the
churches of Antioch, Alexandria, Corinth, and Rome.
However these testimonies from various men and countries may
differ in particular circumstances, they can only be accounted
for on the supposition of some fact at the bottom; for they were
previous to any use or abuse of this tradition for heretical or
for orthodox and hierarchical purposes.

The chief error of the witnesses from Dionysius and Irenaeus
onward is that Peter is associated with Paul as "founder" of the
church of Rome; but this may be explained from the very probable
fact that some of the "strangers from Rome" who witnessed the
Pentecostal miracle and heard the sermon of Peter, as also some
disciples who were scattered abroad by the persecution after the
martyrdom of Stephen, carried the seed of the gospel to Rome, and
that these converts of Peter became the real founders of the
Jewish-Christian congregation in the metropolis. Thus the
indirect agency of Peter was naturally changed into a direct
agency by tradition which forgot the names of the pupils in the
glorification of the teacher.

The time of Peter's arrival in Rome, and the length of his
residence there, cannot possibly be ascertained. The above,
mentioned silence of the Acts and of Paul's Epistles allows him
only a short period of labor there, after 63. The Roman tradition
of a twenty or twenty-five years episcopate of Peter in Rome
is unquestionably a colossal chronological mistake.

Nor can we fix the year of his martyrdom, except that it must
have taken place after July, 64, when the Neronian persecution
broke out (according to Tacitus). It is variously assigned to
every year between 64 and 69. We shall return to it again below,
and in connection with the martyrdom of Paul, with which it is
associated in tradition.


THE PETER OF HISTORY AND THE PETER OF FICTION. 

No character in the New Testament is brought before us in such
life-like colors, with all his virtues and faults, as that of
Peter. He was frank and transparent, and always gave himself as
he was, without any reserve.

We may distinguish three stages in his development. In the
Gospels, the human nature of Simon appears most prominent the
Acts unfold the divine mission of Peter in the founding of the
church, with a temporary relapse at Antioch (recorded by Paul);
in his Epistles we see the complete triumph of divine grace.     

He was the strongest and the weakest of the Twelve. He had all
the excellences and all the defects of a sanguine temperament. He
was kind-hearted, quick, ardent, hopeful, impulsive, changeable,
and apt to run from one extreme to another. He received from
Christ the highest praise and the severest censure. He was the
first to confess him as the Messiah of God, for which he received
his new name of Peter, in prophetic anticipation of his
commanding position in church history; but he was also the first
to dissuade him from entering the path of the cross to the crown,
for which he brought upon himself the rebuke, "Get thee behind
me, Satan." The rock of the church had become a rock of offence
and a stumblingblock. He protested, in presumptive modesty, when
Christ would wash his feet; and then, suddenly changing his mind,
he wished not his feet only, but his hands and head to be washed.
He cut off the ear of Malchus in carnal zeal for his Master; and
in a few minutes afterwards he forsook him and fled. He solemnly
promised to be faithful to Christ, though all should forsake him
and yet in the same night he betrayed him thrice. He was the
first to cast off the Jewish prejudices against the unclean
heathen and to fraternize with the Gentile converts at Caesarea
and at Antioch; and he was the first to withdraw from them in
cowardly fear of the narrow-minded Judaizers from Jerusalem, for
which inconsistency he had to submit to a humiliating rebuke of
Paul.


THE PETER OF HISTORY

But Peter was as quick in returning to his right position as in
turning away from it. He most sincerely loved the Lord from the
start and had no rest nor peace till he found forgive ness. With
all his weakness he was a noble, generous soul, and of the
greatest service in the church. God overruled his very sins and
inconsistencies for his humiliation and spiritual progress. And
in his Epistles we find the mature result of the work of
purification, a spirit most humble, meek, gentle, tender, loving,
and lovely. Almost every word and incident in the gospel history
connected with Peter left its impress upon his Epistles in the
way of humble or thankful reminiscence and allusion. His new
name, "Rock," appears simply as a "stone" among other living
stones in the temple of God, built upon Christ, "the chief
corner-stone." His charge to his fellowpresbyters is the same
which Christ gave to him after the resurrection, that they should
be faithful "shepherds of the flock" under Christ, the chief
"shepherd and bishop of their souls." The record of his denial of
Christ is as prominent in all the four Gospels, as Paul's
persecution of the church is in the Acts, and it is most
prominent - as it would seem under his own direction - in the
Gospel of his pupil and "interpreter" Mark, which alone mentions
the two cock-crows, thus doubling the guilt of the denial, and
which records Christ's words of censure ("Satan"), but omits
Christ's praise(" Rock"). Peter made as little effort to conceal
his great sin, as Paul. It served as a thorn in his flesh, and
the remembrance kept him near the cross; while his recovery from
the fall was a standing proof of the power and mercy of Christ
and a perpetual call to gratitude. To the Christian Church the
double story of Peter's denial and recovery has been ever since
an unfailing source of warning and comfort. Having turned again
to his Lord, who prayed for him that his personal faith fail not,
he is still strengthening the brethren.

As to his official position in the church, Peter stood from the
beginning at the head of the Jewish apostles, not in a partisan
sense, but in a large-hearted spirit of moderation and
comprehension. (Better to say he was a leading figure, yes at
first the leading figure in "function" but never as some "most
powerful and dictatorial" apostle - Keith Hunt). He never was a
narrow, contracted, exclusive sectarian. After the vision at
Joppa and the conversion of Cornelius he promptly changed his
inherited view of the necessity of circumcision, and openly
professed the change at Jerusalem, proclaiming the broad
principle "that God is no respecter of persons, but in every
nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is
acceptable to him;" and "that Jews and Gentiles alike are saved
only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." He continued to
be the head of the Jewish Christian church at large (Nope, Schaff
is wrong in saying "head" - there was NO "head" apostle, and
Peter never ever said he was, which he could have easily have
done in his epistles - Keith Hunt)

and Paul himself represents him as the first among the three 
"pillar" - apostles of the circumcision.

(Putting a person's name first in the line of names means
nothing, certainly does not mean Peter was "head" apostle, with
authority over all other apostles. All this "church government"
stuff I've gone into in great detail under my stuides called
"Church Government" - Keith Hunt)

But he stood mediating between James, who represented the right
wing of conservatism, and Paul, who commanded the left wing of
the apostolic army. And this is precisely the position which
Peter occupies in his Epistles, which reproduce to a great extent
the teaching of both Paul and James, and have therefore the
character of a doctrinal Irenicum; as the Acts are a historical
Irenicum, without violation of truth or fact.

(All what Schaff has just said still does not make or prove Peter
was "head" apostle. He "functioned" in a certain way, but
function is not "head apostle" as the Roman church would like you 
to believe - Keith Hunt)


THE PETER OF FICTION

No character of the Bible, we may say, no personage in all
history, has been so much magnified, misrepresented and misused
for doctrinal and hierarchical ends as the plain fisherman of
Galilee who stands at the head of the apostolic college. Among
the women of the Bible the Virgin Mary has undergone a similar
transformation for purposes of devotion, and raised to the
dignity of the queen of heaven. Peter as the Vicar of Christ, and
Mary as the mother of Christ, have in this idealized shape become
and are still the ruling powers in the polity and worship of the
largest branch of Christendom.

In both cases the work of fiction began among the Judaizing
heretical sects of the second and third centuries, but was
modified and carried forward by the Catholic, especially the
Roman church, in the third and fourth centuries.

1. The Peter of the Ebionite fiction.   

The historical basis is Peter's encounter with Simon Magus in
Samaria, Paul's rebuke of Peter at Antioch, and the intense
distrust and dislike of the Judaizing party to Paul. These three
undoubted facts, together with a singular confusion of Simon
Magus with an old Sabine deity, Semo Sancus, in Rome, furnished
the material and prompted the motive to religious tendency -
novels written about and after the middle of the second century
by ingenious semi-Gnostic Ebionites, either anonymously or under
the fictitious name of Clement of Rome, the reputed successor of
Peter. In these productions Simon Peter appears as the great
apostle of truth in conflict with Simon Magus, the pseudo-apostle
of falsehood, the father of all heresies, the Samaritan possessed
by a demon; and Peter follows him step by step from Caesarea
Stratonis to Tyre, Sidon, Berytus, Antioch, and Rome, and before
the tribunal of Nero, disputing with him, and refuting his
errors, until at last the impostor, in the daring act of mocking
Christ's ascension to heaven, meets a miserable end.

In the pseudo-Clementine Homilies the name of Simon represents
among other heresies also the free gospel of Paul, who is
assailed as a false apostle and hated rebel against the authority
of the Mosaic law. The same charges which the Judaizers brought
against Paul, are here brought by Peter against Simon Magus,
especially the assertion that one may be saved by grace alone.
His boasted vision of Christ by which he professed to have been
converted, is traced to a deceptive vision of the devil. The very
words of Paul against Peter at Antioch, that he was
"self-condemned" (Gal.2:11), are quoted as an accusation against
God. In one word, Simon Magus is, in part at least, a malignant
Judaizing caricature of the apostle of the Gentiles.

2. The Peter of the Papacy.   

The orthodox version of the Peter-legend, as we find it partly in
patristic notices of Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, and Eusebius,
partly in apocryphal productions, retains the general story of a
conflict of Peter with Simon Magus in Antioch and Rome, but
extracts from it its anti-Pauline poison, associates Paul at the
end of his life with Peter as the joint, though secondary,
founder of the Roman church, and honors both with the martyr's
crown in the Neronian persecution on the same day (the 29th of
June), and in the same year or a year apart, but in different
localities and in a different manner. Peter was crucified like
his Master (though head-downwards), either on the hill of
Janiculum (where the church St. Pietro in Montorio stands), or
more probably on the Vatican hill (the scene of the Neronian
circus and persecution); Paul, being a Roman citizen, was
beheaded on the Ostian way at the Three Fountains (Tre Fontane),
outside of the city. They even walked together a part of the
Appian way to the place of execution. Caius (or Gaius), a Roman
presbyter at the close of the second century, pointed to their
monuments or trophies on the Vatican, and in the via Ostia. The
solemn burial of the remains of Peter in the catacombs of San
Sebastiano, and of Paul on the Via Ostia, took place June 29,
255, according to the Kalendarium of the Roman church from the
time of Liberius. A hundred years later the remains of Peter were
permanently transferred to the Basilica of St. Peter on the
Vatican, those of St. Paul to the Basilica of St. Paul (San Paolo
fuori le mura) outside of the Porta Ostiensis (now Porta San
Paolo).

(Ya and what is never told is that the remains eventually went to
Britain, but that is British church history that Rome will fight
and deny till Jesus comes to smash Babylon Rome to a million
pieces - Keith Hunt)

The tradition of a twenty-five years episcopate in Rome (preceded
by a seven years episcopate in Antioch) cannot be traced beyond
the fourth century (Jerome), and arose, as already remarked, from
chronological miscalculations in connection with the questionable
statement of Justin Martyr concerning the arrival of Simon Magus
in Rome under the reign of Claudius (41-54). The "Catalogus
Liberianus," the oldest list of popes (supposed to have been
written before 366), extends the pontificate of Peter to 25
years, 1 month, 9 days, and puts his death on June 29, 65 (during
the consulate of Nerva and Vestinus), which would date his
arrival in Rome back to A.D.40. Eusebius, in his Greek Chronicle
as far as it is preserved, does not fix the number of years, but
says, in his Church History, that Peter came to Rome in the reign
of Claudius to preach against the pestilential errors of Simon
Magus. The Armenian translation of his Chronicle mentions 
"twenty" years; Jerome, in his translation or paraphrase rather,
"twenty-five" years, assuming, without warrant, that Peter left
Jerusalem for Antioch and Rome in the second year of Claudius
(42; but Acts 12:17 would rather point to the year 44), and died
in the fourteenth or last year of Nero (68). Among modern Roman
Catholic historians there is no agreement as to the year of
Peter's martyrdom: Baronius puts it in 69; Pagi and Alban Butler
in 65; Mohler, Gains, and Alzog indefinitely between 66 and 68.
In all these cases it must be assumed that the Neronian
persecution was continued or renewed after 64, of which we have
no historical evidence. It must also be assumed that Peter was
conspicuously absent from his flock during most of the time, to
superintend the churches in Asia Minor and in Syria, to preside
at the Council of Jerusalem, to meet with Paul in Antioch, to
travel about with his wife, and that he made very little
impression there till 58, and even till 63, when Paul, writing to
and from Rome, still entirely ignores him. Thus a chronological
error is made to overrule stubborn facts. The famous saying that
"no pope shall see the (twenty-five) years of Peter," which had
hitherto almost the force of law, has been falsified by the
thirty-two years reign of the first infallible pope, Pius IX.,
who ruled from 1846 to 1878.

(Yes Schaff is correct in claiming what the church of Rome claims
about Peter founding the church at Rome and being the first Pope
is all a bunch of nonesense garbage, and false historical and
theological errors - Keith Hunt)


NOTE - ON THE CLAIMS OF THE PAPACY

On this tradition and on the indisputable preeminence of Peter in
the Gospels and the Acts, especially the words of Christ to him
after the great confession (Matt.16:18), is built the colossal
fabric of the papacy with all its amazing pretensions to be the
legitimate succession of a permanent primacy of honor and
supremacy of jurisdiction in the church of Christ, and--since
1870 - with the additional claim of papal infallibility in all
official utterances, doctrinal or moral. The validity of this
claim requires three premises

1. The presence of Peter in Rome

This may be admitted as an historical fact, and I for my part
cannot believe it possible that such a rockfirm and world-wide
structure as the papacy could rest on the sand of mere fraud and
error. It is the underlying fact which gives to fiction its
vitality, and error is dangerous in proportion to the amount of
truth which it embodies. But the fact of Peter's presence in
Rome, whether of one year or twenty-five, cannot be of such
fundamental importance as the papacy assumes it to be: otherwise
we would certainly have some allusion to it in the New Testament.
Moreover, if Peter was in Rome, so was Paul, and shared with him
on equal terms the apostolic supervision of the Roman
congregation, as is very evident from his Epistle to the Romans.

2. The transferability of Peter's preeminence on a successor

This is derived by inference from the words of Christ: "Thou art
Rock, and on this rock I will build my, church, and the gates of
Hades shall not prevail against it." This passage, recorded only,
by Matthew, is the exegetical rock of Romanism, and more
frequently quoted by popes and papists than any other passage of
the Scriptures. But admitting the obvious reference of petra to
Peter, the significance of this prophetic name evidently refers
to the peculiar mission of Peter in laying the foundation of the
church once and for all time to come. He fulfilled it on the day
of Pentecost and in the conversion of Cornelius; and in thus
pioneer work Peter can have no successor any more than St. Paul
in the conversion of the Gentiles, and John in the consolidation
of the two branches of the apostolic church.

3. The actual transfer of this prerogative of Peter - not upon
the bishops of Jerusalem, or Antioch, where he undoubtedly
resided - but upon the bishop of Rome, where he cannot be proven
to have been from the New Testament

Of such a transfer history knows absolutely nothing. Clement,
bishop of Rome, who first, about A.D. 95, makes mention of
Peter's martyrdom, and Ignatius of Antioch, who a few years later
alludes to Peter and Paul as exhorting the Romans, have not a
word to say about the transfer. The very chronology and
succession of the first popes is uncertain.

If the claims of the papacy cannot be proven from what we know of
the historical Peter, there are, on the other hand, several
undoubted facts in the real history of Peter which bear heavily
upon those claims, namely:

1. That Peter was married, Matt. 8:14, took his wife with him on
his missionary tours, 1 Cor. 9:5, and, according to a possible
interpretation of the "coelect" (sister), mentions her in his
first Epistle (5:13). Patristic tradition ascribes to him
children, or at least a daughter (Petronilla). His wife is said
to have suffered martyrdom in Rome before him. What right have
the popes, in view of this example, to forbid clerical marriage?

We pass by the equally striking contrast between the poverty of
Peter, who had no silver nor gold (Acts 3:6) and the gorgeous
display of the triple-crowned papacy in the middle ages and down
to the recent collapse of the temporal power. 

2. That in the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-11), Peter appears
simply as the first speaker and debater, not as president and
judge (James presided), and assumes no special prerogative, least
of all an infallibility of judgment. According to the Vatican
theory the whole question of circumcision ought to have been
submitted to Peter rather than to a Council, and the decision
ought to have gone out from him rather than from "the apostles
and elders, brethren" (or "the elder brethren," ver. 23).   

3. That Peter was openly rebuked for inconsistency by a younger
apostle at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14). Peter's conduct on that
occasion is irreconcilable with his infallibility as to
discipline; Paul's conduct is irreconcilable with Peter's alleged
supremacy; and the whole scene, though perfectly plain, is so
inconvenient to Roman and Romanizing views, that it has been
variously distorted by patristic and Jesuit commentators, even
into a theatrical farce gotten up by the apostles for the more
effectual refutation of the Judaizers!

4. That, while the greatest of popes, from Leo I down to Leo XIII
never cease to speak of their authority over all the bishops and
all the churches, Peter, in his speeches in the Acts, never does
so. And his Epistles, far from assuming any superiority over his
"fellow-elders" and over "the clergy" (by which he means the
Christian people), breathe the spirit of the sincerest humility
and contain a prophetic warning against the besetting sins of the
papacy, filthy avarice and lordly ambition (1 Pet.5:1-3). Love of
money and love of power are twin-sisters, and either of them is
"a root of all evil."

It is certainly very significant that the weaknesses even more
than the virtues of the natural Peter - his boldness and
presumption, his dread of the cross, his love for secular glory,
his carnal zeal, his use of the sword, his sleepiness in
Gethsemane - are faithfully reproduced in the history of the
papacy; while the addresses and epistles of the converted and
inspired Peter contain the most emphatic protest against the
hierarchical pretensions and worldly vices of the papacy, and
enjoin truly evangelical principles - the general priesthood and
royalty of believers, apostolic poverty before the rich temple,
obedience to God rather than man, yet with proper regard for the
civil authorities, honorable marriage, condemnation of mental
reservation in Ananias and Sapphira, and of simony in Simon
Magus, liberal appreciation of heathen piety in Cornelius,
opposition to the yoke of legal bondage, salvation in no other
name but that of Jesus Christ.
...................

To be continued


I have given you the full and deep truth of the matter, indeed
the plain truth - on the subject of "Church Government" as
opposed to the Roman Catholic church government, which sad to say
was adopted by the late Herbert W. Armstrong in his latter life
time as he dictatorially led his Worldwide Church of God, that
still today (2011) has split-off groups who have as yet, NOT
admitted and REPENTED of the errors of Herbert Armstrong,
especially the error of "church government" - Keith Hunt


  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help