Was Peter In Rome, And Bishop Of The Church At Rome? -- By: E. Goodrich Smith

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 015:59 (Jul 1858)
Article: Was Peter In Rome, And Bishop Of The Church At Rome?
Author: E. Goodrich Smith

Was Peter In Rome, And Bishop Of The Church At Rome?1

E. Goodrich Smith

§ 1. Introductions

The Romish bishops maintain that they have been constituted by God for the supreme rule of the church; that Christ the Lord has appointed them his vicegerents on earth, and that they ought to govern the church in his stead.

But as there is no declaration, and nowhere any mention

in the Holy Scriptures of a transmission of such a dignity and power to the Romish “bishops, they have therefore attempted to establish it in the following way: — “Christ, beyond all doubt, gave to Peter the primacy above all the apostles, and appointed him to be the supreme head of the church.2 This power and dignity of his, Peter has transmitted to the Romish bishops as his successors and his heirs in the Romish see.”

Thus the question is now to be regarded as thrown over to the domain of tradition, and proceeds on the supposition that Peter was a bishop, and indeed the first bishop, of Rome. As the pretended primacy was given to Peter the apostle, he must first be a bishop before he could have bishops for his successors, and make them heirs of his primacy.

Let us now hear what is brought forward from tradition to establish this transmission. It is said: “Until a. d. 37, Peter stood at the head of the church that was forming at Jerusalem and in the region around. But in that year he left Jerusalem and went to Antioch, where he founded a church, and for seven years presided over it as a bishop. After this period, and in the second year of the reign of Claudius, a. d. 42, he journeyed to Rome, where he vanquished Simon Magus, preached the gospel, founded a church, and placed himself at the head of it as its bishop. As such he continued till a. d. 50, when Claudius banished the Jews from Rome. Peter was then obliged to flee, and he betook himself to Palestine and Jerusalem, where in a. 33. 51, he held and presided over the first council on the occasion of the controversy respecting the circumcision of the Gentile Christians. Thence he went to Antioch. During this time the emperor Claudius died, and Peter now returned through Asia Minor, where he founded numerous churches, and across Sicily and Lower Italy to Rome, which he reached under Nero’s reign, and re-occupied his see. From Rome he made many apostolic journeys into the countries of the West: to

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