Here are TEN solid, Biblical proofs that Peter was not at Rome. Mark each in your Bible and understand them well, so YOU will not be deceived. THE PRIMACY of the Roman Catholic Church depends upon one fundamental doctrine: the claim that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and the founder of the Roman Church.
The teaching of Catholic historians tells us that Simon Peter went to Rome at the same time as Simon Magus in order to thwart his evils. This was during the reign of Claudius. After successfully combating the Magus, they tell us, Peter assumed the Roman bishopric and ruled it until the Neronian persecutions of 68 A.D., during which Peter was supposed to have been crucified upside down on Vatican hill. This is the basic story and Catholic writers never shirk in attempting to defend it. Some of them say that this general account is one of the most provable of historical events.
But is it?
The fact remains, many ecclesiastical authors of the second century, Justin Martyr among them, give information completely negating Peter's supposed Roman bishopric. This is admitted by virtually all scholars — except conservative Catholics (Ency. Biblica, col. 4554). But, more important than this, the records of the True Church of God — the writings of the New Testament — absolutely refute the Roman Catholic claim.
It is time that the world gets its eyes open to the truth of this matter — the truth, which is clearly revealed in the Word of God. The Apostle Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome!
The Bible Teaching There are ten major New Testament proofs which completely disprove the claim that Peter was in Rome from the time of Claudius until Nero. These Biblical points speak for themselves and ANY ONE of them is sufficient to prove the ridiculousness of the Catholic claim. Notice what God tells us! The truth IS conclusive!
PROOF ONE: We should consider Christ's commission to Peter. This is often very embarrassing to Catholics, because Christ commissioned Peter to become chief minister to the CIRCUMCISED, not to uncircumcised Gentiles.
"The gospel of the CIRCUMCISION was unto Peter; (For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)" (Gal. 2:7-8).
Here we have it in the clearest of language. It was Paul, NOT Peter, who was commissioned to be the chief Apostle to the Gentiles. And who was it that wrote the Epistle to the ROMANS? It certainly WASN'T Peter!
"And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace [i.e., the gift or office] that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision" (Gal. 2:9).
Paul further mentioned his special office as the Gentile Apostle in II Timothy 1:11:
"Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."
PETER is NOWHERE called the Apostle to the Gentiles! This precludes him from going to Rome to become the head of a Gentile community.
PROOF TWO: Paul specifically told the Gentile Romans that HE had been chosen to be their Apostle, not Peter.
"I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable" (Rom. 15:16).
Paul had the direct charge from Christ in this matter. He even further relates in Romans 15:18 that it was Christ who had chosen him "to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed."
PAUL Established Only TRUE Church at Rome PROOF THREE: We are told by Paul himself that it was he — not Peter — who was going to officially found the Roman Church.
"I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established" (Rom. 1:11).
Amazing! The Church at Rome had not been ESTABLISHED officially even by 55 or 56 A.D. However, the Catholics would have us believe that Peter had done this some ten years before — in the reign of Claudius. What nonsense!
Of course you understand that NEITHER Peter nor Paul established the Catholic Church! But these proofs are given to illustrate that it is utterly impossible for PETER to have been in any way associated with ANY Church at Rome.
PROOF FOUR: We find Paul not only wanting to establish the Church at Rome, but he emphatically tells us that his policy was NEVER to build upon another man's foundation.
"Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, LEST I SHOULD BUILD UPON ANOTHER MAN'S FOUNDATION" (Rom. 15:20).
If Peter had "founded" the Roman Church some ten years before this statement, this represents a real affront to Peter. This statement alone is proof that Peter had never been in Rome before this time to "found" any church.
Peter Not in Rome PROOF FIVE: At the end of Paul's Epistle to the Romans he greets no fewer than 28 different individuals, but never mentions Peter once! See Romans 16 — read the whole chapter!
Remember, Paul greeted these people in 55 or 56 A.D. Why didn't he mention Peter? — Peter simply wasn't there!
PROOF SIX: Some four years after Paul wrote Romans, he was conveyed as a prisoner to Rome in order to stand trial before Caesar. When the Christian community in Rome heard of Paul's arrival, they all went to meet him.
"When THE brethren [of Rome] heard of us, they came to meet us" (Acts 28:15).
Again, there is not a single mention of Peter among them. This would have been extraordinary had Peter been in Rome, for Luke always mentions by name important Apostles in his narration of Acts. But he says nothing of Peter's meeting with Paul.
Why? Because Peter was not in Rome!
PROOF SEVEN: When Paul finally arrived at Rome, the first thing he did was to summon "the chief of the Jews together" (Acts 28:17) to whom he "expounded and testified the kingdom of God" (Verse 23).
But what is amazing is that these chief Jewish elders claimed they knew very little even about the basic teachings of Christ. All they knew was that ''as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against" (Verse 22). Then Paul began to explain to them the basic teachings of Christ on the Kingdom of God. Some believed — the majority didn't.
Now, what does all this mean? It means that if Peter, who was himself a strongly partisan Jew, had been preaching constantly in Rome for 14 long years before this time, AND WAS STILL THERE — how could these Jewish leaders have known so little about even the basic truths of Christianity? This again is clear proof Peter had not been in Rome prior to 59 A.D.
No Mention of Peter in Paul's Letters PROOF EIGHT: After the rejection of the Jewish elders, Paul remained in his own hired house for two years. During that time he wrote Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, Philemon, and to the Hebrews. And while Paul mentions others as being in Rome during that period, he nowhere mentions Peter. The obvious reason is — the Apostle to the circumcision wasn't there!
PROOF NINE: With the expiration of Paul's two year's imprisonment, he was released. But about four years later (near 65 A.D.), he was again sent back a prisoner to Rome. This time he had to appear before the throne of Caesar and was sentenced to die. Paul describes these circumstances at length in II Timothy.
In regard to his trial, notice what Paul said in II Timothy 4:16.
"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men [in Rome] forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."
This means, if we believe the Catholics, that Peter forsook Paul, for they tell us Peter was very much present at Rome during this time! Peter once denied Christ, but that was before he was converted. To believe that Peter was in Rome during Paul's trial, is untenable!
PROOF TEN: The Apostle Paul distinctly informs us that Peter was not in Rome in 65 A.D. — even though Catholics say he was. Paul said: "Only Luke is with me" (II Tim. 4:11).
The truth becomes very plain. Paul wrote TO Rome; he had been IN Rome; and at the end wrote at least six epistles FROM Rome; and not only does he NEVER mention Peter, but at the last moment says: "Only Luke is with me."
Peter, therefore, was never Bishop of Rome!
Where Was Peter? Near 45 A.D., we find Peter being cast into prison at Jerusalem (Acts 12:3, 4).
In 49 A.D., he was still in Jerusalem, this time attending the Jerusalem Council.
About 51 A.D., he was in Antioch of Syria where he got into differences with Paul because he wouldn't sit or eat with Gentiles. Strange that the "Roman bishop" would have nothing to do with Gentiles in 51 A.D.!
Later in about 66 A.D., we find him in the city of Babylon among the Jews (I Pet. 5:13). Remember that Peter was the Apostle to the CIRCUMCISED. Why was he in Babylon? Because history shows that there were as many Jews in the Mesopotamian areas in Christ's time as there were in Palestine. It is no wonder we find him in the East. Perhaps this is the reason why scholars say Peter's writings are strongly Aramaic in flavor — the type of Aramaic spoken in Babylon. Why of course! Peter was used to their eastern dialect.
At the times the Catholics believe Peter was in Rome, the Bible clearly shows he was elsewhere. The evidence is abundant and conclusive. By paying attention to God's own words, no one need be deceived. Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome!
Next Month: A "PETER" Was in Rome Two Thousand Years B.C.!