Endtime Prophecy Net - Article By The WordWeaver

   Lies and Deceptions
   of the Roman Catholic Church
   Part 1

Endtime Prophecy Net - Article By The WordWeaver


               

Copyright 1994 - 2014 Endtime Prophecy Net

Authored By  :

Published On : April 1, 2010

Last Updated : April 1, 2010

False Roman Catholic Doctrines: The One True Faith? Was Peter
The First Pope?, The "Acts Of Peter" And Peter's Crucifixion,
Christ Died Once For All Men, "Acts Of Peter" A False Gospel,
No Scriptural Evidence That Peter Ever Went To Rome, Fall Of
Babylon, Did Peter Visit Babylon?, Paul Rebukes The Galatian
Brethren, Become All Things To All Men In Order To Save Some
Of Them, Paul Goes To Jerusalem, Peter Travels To Antioch,
Paul Rebukes Peter, Paul Was Apostle To The Gentiles While
Peter Was The Apostle To The Jews, Roman Catholic Church Did
Not Exist During First Century, First Century Home Churches,
True Christian Church Is Not A Physical Place Or Building,
Spiritual Body Of Christ Is True Church And Household Of God,
Jesus Chose Three Men To Lead His Church: Peter James & John,
Origin And Meaning Of Apostle Peter's Aramaic Name: Cephas




Being as I live in an area of the world which is dominated by
the Roman Catholic Church, every now and then, I will engage
in a conversation with a Roman Catholic. When this happens,
invariably, the conversation will turn towards the erroneous
Roman Catholic-held doctrines which boastfully claim, among
other things, that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church
which was established by Jesus Christ, that the Apostle Peter
was the first pope of said Church, and that Roman Catholicism
is -- according to Roman Catholic beliefs -- "the one true
faith". In their quest to convince us non-Catholics of these
misguided beliefs, they will point to a few Bible verses that
are found in the New Testament. One of these Scriptures is
Matthew 16:18, which reads as follows:

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon
this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18, KJV

The traditional Roman Catholic interpretation of this verse
is that Christ is saying that the Apostle Peter is the rock;
and that with this pronouncement, Jesus is also establishing
Peter as the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. But is
this really what the Lord is telling us in that verse, or is
it possible that common Roman Catholics have been purposely
misled by their church's hierarchy in the Vatican?

Another verse of Scripture which was recently shared with me
by a Roman Catholic is the following, written by the Apostle
Paul:

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest
to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of
the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
1 Timothy 3:15, KJV

According to the person who wrote to me, the previous verse
proves that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church that was
established by Christ, and that it is the Church to whom He
gave authority in the world. If you were to ask any devoted
Roman Catholic, they will indeed tell you, and quite proudly
so, that the Roman Catholic Church is "the pillar and ground
of the truth". Whenever the pontiff in Rome makes any kind of
pronouncement, it is viewed by dedicated Roman Catholics as
coming directly from the Mouth of God; after all, the pope is
the "Vicar of Christ" -- or at least so they say. So again I
ask: Is this truly what the previous verse means?

Hopefully, after you have read this series, and examined the
Biblical evidence which I will be presenting in it, you will
be able to arrive at your own informed, and Biblically-sound,
conclusions.

Let's begin our examination with a look at the Apostle Peter.
While I have already written an article about Peter entitled
"Peter: Faith Tried In The Fire", let us just take a brief
look at the manner of his death. The commonly-held belief is
that after years of faithfully serving the Lord, the Apostle
Peter was crucified upside down on a Roman cross outside of
the city of Rome. While it appears later in other works, the
original source of this questionable doctrine is the closing
chapters of a non-Biblical apocryphal work known as the "Acts
of Peter". I have a copy of it, and I have read it; and to be
honest, like so many other apocryphal and pseudepigraphical
works that I have read, I seriously doubt that it is Divinely
Inspired because some of its contents clearly contradicts the
accepted Canon -- that is, the Bible -- and is quite strange.

To give you an idea of what I am talking about, consider that
according to this manuscript, the reason why Peter was killed
was because, as a result of his alleged evangelism in Rome,
some of the Roman women were coming to the Christian faith,
and no longer desiring to have sexual relations. In one case,
there was a certain Roman prefect by the name of Agrippa who
had four concubines. After hearing Peter preach, these four
women wanted to remain chaste, and so they refused to engage
in sex with Agrippa. Meanwhile, there was another Roman who
was a friend of Caesar by the name of Albinus, who had a wife
named Xanthippe. Similar to the four concubines, she too had
heard Peter preach, and as a result, she no longer desired to
have sexual relations with her husband. Enraged, Agrippa and
Albinus conspired together to have Peter killed.

So according to the story, Peter is apprehended and led away
to be crucified. Prior to actually being hung on the cross,
Peter gives the gathered crowd a long, flowery speech. Then,
while he is actually hanging on the cross upside down, Peter
gives yet another speech before finally dying, which doesn't
sound like anything that you will find him saying in the New
Testament. The crucifixion was executed without the consent
or knowledge of Nero. Upon learning of Peter's crucifixion,
Nero becomes very angry with Agrippa because, according to
the manuscript "he desired to punish him [Peter] more sorely
and with greater torment, because Peter had made disciples of
certain of them that served him, and had caused them to
depart from him".

Now, if the previous paragraphs sound strange to you, allow
me to share one more section of the "Acts Of Peter" with you.
It states that initially, Peter was going to flee from Rome
in order to save his life; however, before he could escape,
"Jesus" appeared to him and told him to go back and get up on
that cross:

----- Begin Quote -----

"And as he went forth of the city, he saw the Lord entering
into Rome. And when he saw him, he said: Lord, whither goest
thou thus (or here)? And the Lord said unto him: I go into
Rome to be crucified. And Peter said unto him: Lord, art thou
(being) crucified again? He said unto him: Yea, Peter, I am
(being) crucified again. And Peter came to himself: and
having beheld the Lord ascending up into heaven, he returned
to Rome, rejoicing, and glorifying the Lord, for that he
said: I am being crucified: the which was about to befall
Peter."

----- End Quote -----

Now, tell me folks; do you honestly believe that any of the
previous paragraphs that I just shared with you are inspired
by God? Does it sound like the inspired Word of God that you
are familiar with in the KJV? Are you able to recognize the
glaring Scriptural contradiction that is found in that last
paragraph alone? If not, let me give you a little help:

"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no
more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he
died, he died unto sin ONCE: but in that he liveth, he
liveth unto God."
Romans 6:9-10, KJV

"But this man, [Jesus] because he continueth ever, hath an
unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save
them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high
priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate
from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth
not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice,
first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this
he did ONCE, when he offered up himself."
Hebrews 7:24-27, KJV

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come,
by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with
hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the
blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in
ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption
for us."
Hebrews 9:11-12, KJV

"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with
hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor
yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest
entereth into the holy place every year with blood of
others; For then must he often have suffered since the
foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the
world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
himself . . . So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins
of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear
the second time without sin unto salvation."
Hebrews 9:24-26, 28 KJV

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of
the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all."
Hebrews 10:10, KJV

"For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for
the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to
death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"
1 Peter 3:18, KJV

As you can clearly see, the real Word of God, the inspired
Word of God, tells us that Jesus died for our sins one time,
and He is not going to do it again. Please notice the very
last verse. Even the real Apostle Peter tells us this; yet
in the "Acts Of Peter", we see another very strange-sounding
"Peter", as well as another "Jesus" who appears to be willing
to be crucified again. Thus, by studying the real Word of God,
we can quickly determine that the "Acts Of Peter" is a false
gospel which preaches another Jesus. Now consider the warning
of the Apostle Paul:

"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have
not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have
not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted,
ye might well bear with him."
2 Corinthians 11:4, KJV

That word "bear" is derived from the Greek word "anechomai",
which means to hold one's self erect and firm, to sustain,
to bear, or to endure. So I believe that what Paul is saying
there is that if someone should come to us preaching a false
gospel and another Jesus, we should stand firm against them.

The reason why I shared the previous story with you from the
"Acts Of Peter" is to emphasize a very important point, and
that is this: As I briefly mentioned a moment ago, the "Acts
Of Peter" is the oldest known manuscript where Peter's alleged
crucifixion in Rome is recorded. At later dates, other writers
also mentioned it, or referred to it, but this is believed to
be the oldest source. That being the case, we must assume that
this apocryphal work must be where the story originated. As I
said, personally, I don't accept this as the inspired Word of
God for a moment; and yet millions of Roman Catholics around
the world, and even some non-Catholics, have bought into this
story, and believe that it is true. Personally, I find this
fact alarming, and it makes me wonder exactly how many other
Roman Catholic doctrines find their origin in such uninspired
strange and doubtful works. That is my point.

Based upon the following verses which can be found near the
end of the Gospel of John, it appears that there may be some
truth to the belief that Peter was crucified; but that this
occurred in Rome, and in the manner described in the "Acts Of
Peter" is questionable, because there is absolutely no record
of it anywhere in the accepted Canon of the Scriptures:

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou
girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but
when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands,
and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou
wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he
should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith
unto him, Follow me."
John 21:18-19, KJV

The act of the Apostle Peter stretching forth his hands, and
being carried somewhere against his will, does suggest that
Jesus may be saying that Peter would be crucified in his old
age. However, it is precisely because of these verses, that I
have a difficult time reconciling the Roman Catholic doctrine
which claims that Peter went to Rome where he became the very
first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Are we to believe
then that the Romans actually murdered their very first pope?
Granted, murderous plots were a rather common occurrence in
ancient Rome; nevertheless, in my view, something seems very
wrong with this picture. Both accounts cannot be true. Either
Peter died a martyr as a humble servant and an Apostle of the
Lord, following Jesus' own example of self-sacrifice, or else
he became the powerful, popular pope and bishop of Rome, of
Roman Catholic myth. As Jesus stated in the Gospel of Luke:

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever
will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV

The Apostle Peter not only bore his symbolic cross in life,
as is evidenced by the persecutions that he and his fellow
Apostles endured in the Book of Acts, but apparently in death
as well.

As I've pointed out before, this Roman Catholic doctrine that
claims that Peter went to Rome finds absolutely no support in
the Scriptures. According to the Bible, all indications are
that Peter's travels remained primarily within the borders of
Israel. In fact, Peter -- together with the Apostles James
and John -- guided the Early Christian Church from Jerusalem,
and not from Rome. To my knowledge, there are only two places
in the Scriptures which suggest that Peter ever physically
left Israel. One of these is found at the very end of Peter's
first Epistle where he writes:

"The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you,
saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son."
1 Peter 5:13, KJV

The impression given here is that the Apostle Peter may have
possibly made an apostolic visit to the Christian Church that
had been established in the ancient city of Babylon. By this
time, however, Babylon would have no longer been the grand
metropolis that had been established by the Babylonian kings,
and later by the Persians and Greeks as well. Accordingly,
the Greek lexicon states the following concerning the demise
of Babylon:

----- Begin Quote -----

Cyrus had formerly captured it, but Darius Hystaspis threw
down its gates and walls, and Xerxes destroyed the temple of
Belis. At length the city was reduced to almost solitude, the
population having been drawn off by the neighbouring Seleucia,
built on the Tigris by Seleucus Nicanor.

----- End Quote -----

As I explain in a number of other articles, the fall of the
city of Babylon was a fulfillment of some of the prophecies
of the ancient Israelite Prophets, and was due to the fact
that the Babylonians, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar,
invaded, captured and destroyed Jerusalem. This included the
complete destruction of the temple of Solomon, as well as the
theft of all of the holy golden objects which had been in it.

Returning to the topic at hand, in their desperate attempt to
prove that Peter went to the city of Rome where he allegedly
became the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church, there are
those Roman Catholics who claim that Peter's use of the name
Babylon in the previous verse is a coded reference, and that
in reality, he was writing from Rome. Again, allow me to make
it clear that there is absolutely no Scriptural evidence to
support this belief. The idea that Peter is referring to the
city of Rome is speculation at best; and our Christian faith
is not based on questionable conjectures and speculations; it
is based on the actual record that we find in the Scriptures.

Another possibility is that Peter may not have been writing
from Babylon. If we consider that Jerusalem was the spiritual
and physical hub of the First Century Christian Church, and
that communications, materials and Disciples flowed through
it all the time, it may be that Peter was merely conveying a
message from the Christian Church at Babylon, to the brethren
he was addressing in his Epistle. While this is a personal
speculation on my part, I do believe that it does have some
merit. However, for me personally, the issue of where Peter
was writing from is not really important. What is important,
is the contents of his Epistle.

The second piece of Scriptural evidence which points to the
Apostle Peter temporarily leaving Jerusalem is found in the
Apostle Paul's Epistle to the brethren at Galatia. Galatia
was a province of Asia Minor. The Apostle Paul himself was
from Cilicia, which was another province of Asia Minor. In
our modern day, Asia Minor is known as Turkey.

As I explain in other articles, in this Epistle, the Apostle
Paul delivers a rather stern rebuke to the Christian brethren
in Galatia, due to certain disturbing events which transpired
after Paul had established a new Church there. These events
centered around the fact that Paul had stirred up considerable
controversy amongst the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem, due
to the fact that as he traveled throughout that part of the
Mediterranean region, he preached that circumcision was not
necessary for Salvation. In contrast to the stern, Law-bound
Jewish Disciples in Jerusalem, Paul was also considerably
more liberal regarding what he ate, as well as more lax when
it came to other Jewish customs. The reason why Paul adopted
this evangelical approach, as he explains in his Epistles,
was so that he could win more souls to Christ, as we see by
these verses:

"For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself
servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the
Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them
that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain
them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as
without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law
to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To
the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am
made all things to all men, that I might by all means save
some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be
partaker thereof with you."
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, KJV

At any rate, in the first and second chapters of the Epistle,
Paul briefly relates the story of his conversion, and how he
was at first held at arms length by the leadership of the
Early Church, which resided in Jerusalem. After three years,
Paul finally went to Jerusalem, where he stayed with Peter
for fifteen days. Paul then relates that at least fourteen
years later, when the dispute regarding circumcision arose,
he again went to Jerusalem in order to sort out the problem;
at which time he states that James, Cephas and John -- who
were viewed as the Elders in Jerusalem -- extended the hand
of fellowship to Paul. Paul relates that it is sometime after
these events that the Apostle Peter went to visit him in the
city of Antioch, which was the capital of Syria, founded by
Seleucus Nicanor -- one of Alexander the Great's four top
generals -- in 300 B.C.

It is during this visit by Peter that the situation explodes.
Paul publicly rebukes Peter due to Peter's clear hypocrisy,
and Paul's long-time traveling companion -- Barnabas -- ends
up abandoning Paul over this same issue, as we see here:

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the
face, because he was to be blamed. For 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. And the other Jews dissembled
likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried
away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they
walked not 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?"
Galatians 2:11-14, KJV

It is interesting to note that Peter's first Epistle, where
Babylon is mentioned, was in fact addressed to the Galatians,
and other brethren who dwelt in the provinces of Asia Minor,
as we see here:

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers
scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and
Bithynia,"
1 Peter 1:1, KJV

As I said a moment ago, other than these two occurrences in
the Scriptures, I am not aware of any other evidence in the
New Testament which points to Peter having left Israel all
that often, and most certainly never having gone to Rome in
order to supposedly claim his title as the first pope of the
Roman Catholic Church. Furthermore, in my mind, I can't think
of any reason for Peter to have done this. As I have already
stated, and as you will see even more clearly in a moment,
Jerusalem was both the physical and the spiritual hub of the
First Century Christian Church. Finally, the Scriptures also
emphasize that Peter was the Apostle to the Circumcision --
that is, the Apostle to the Jews -- while Paul was chosen by
God as the Apostle to the Uncircumcision -- that is, to the
heathen, or the Gentiles. It is for this reason that Paul was
destined by God to eventually travel to Rome, where he would
be a great witness, and ultimately surrender his life for the
Lord, while Peter was not. For example, Paul writes:

"But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the
uncircumcision was committed unto me, as 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:) And when James, Cephas,
and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace 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."
Galatians 2:7-9, KJV

One other overwhelming fact which makes this Roman Catholic
claim of Peter going to Rome to become the first pope of the
Roman Catholic Church so baseless, and so ludicrous, is that
the Roman Catholic Church did not even exist during the First
Century. As I point out in such articles as "Where Are The
First Century Churches?", a physical so-called "Christian"
empire consisting of church buildings, grand cathedrals, and
amassed power and wealth was totally nonexistent during the
time of the first Apostles. Let us not forget that our faith
was still young, weak and just beginning to get its bearings.
It is so evident in the Bible that the First Century Apostles
and Disciples met in the fields, as well as in the homes of
people who had been won to the Christian faith. Home-based
churches were the only ones in existence at the time. Equally
important is the fact that the True Church is not a physical
place or building; it is the Body of Believers who can meet
and worship wherever and whenever it happens to be the most
convenient. Consider these verses:

"As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into
every house, and haling men and women committed them to
prison."
Acts 8:3, KJV

"Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my
wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto
Christ."
Romans 16:5, KJV

"The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla
salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in
their house."
1 Corinthians 16:19, KJV

"Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and
the church which is in his house."
Colossians 4:15, KJV

"And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier,
and to the church in thy house:"
Philemon 1:2, KJV

"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you,
but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from
house to house,"
Acts 20:20, KJV

In light of the fact that the Roman Catholic Church wasn't
even in existence during the First Century, we must question
how it is that certain Roman Catholics can point to a verse
like 1 Timothy 3:15 -- which I shared earlier, and which was
written during the latter half of the First Century -- and
make the claim that it establishes the existence of, as well
as the authority of, the Roman Catholic Church. It is simply
impossible. You cannot attribute a verse to an entity which
did not even exist at the time. So to reiterate a point, it
is totally impossible for Peter to have been the pope of an
entity which had not yet come into existence.

In examining a few other verses, we can also determine that
in 1 Timothy 3:15, the phrase "house of God" is not referring
to a physical building, church or worldly church hierarchy as
some Roman Catholics believe; it is in fact referring to the
spiritual Body of Christ, and its members, who make up the
household, or family, of God. Again, consider the following
verses:

"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 2:5, KJV

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but
fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:19, KJV

But this is not the only problem with this claim of the Roman
Catholic Church. It is also important to point out that in
choosing the leadership of the Early Church who would carry
on the work which He had begun, Jesus selected three men and
not one -- Peter, James and John -- as we clearly see by the
following verses:

"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his
brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,"
Matthew 17:1, KJV

"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane,
and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and
pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of
Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy."
Matthew 26:36-37, KJV

"And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James,
and John the brother of James."
Mark 5:37, KJV

"And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James,
and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by
themselves: and he was transfigured before them."
Mark 9:2, KJV

"And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he
saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And
he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be
sore amazed, and to be very heavy;"
Mark 14:32-33, KJV

"And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go
in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the
mother of the maiden."
Luke 8:51, KJV

"And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars,
perceived the grace 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."
Galatians 2:9, KJV

Please note that in that last verse, "Cephas" is the Aramaic
name that Jesus gave to the Apostle Peter, as we see here:

"And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he
said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called
Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone."
John 1:42, KJV

The Aramaic name "Cephas" is used to refer to Peter a total
of six times in the New Testament. In addition to the above
occurrence, the Apostle Paul uses it five times in two of his
Epistles. While Cephas means "stone", and may possibly lead
some of you to believe that it validates the Roman Catholic
claim that Peter is the rock of whom Jesus was referring, as
we continue our examination of the Scriptures, you will see
that there is a substantial amount of Scriptural evidence
which actually proves otherwise.

Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

   




               

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