Heidegger: Peter was not a Pope

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Freshman
Christ instituted no imperial vicar in the rule of the church
LXII. Since the external rule of the Church is not monarchical, neither does it have a vicarious monarch. For, that which they assert, that Christ appointed Blessed Peter a vicar in his place, is vain. For, neither does Christ stand in need of a vicar, both because he is always very present with his Church in his word, the operation of grace, his Divinity, and His Spirit, and because he also does not have a vicar in his kingdom of nature. And those who are said to stand in the place of God in external political rule are not as vicars of an absent God; but they are organs, which he freely uses in the bodies of men; for he has no use for such vicars, or lords of conscience, in souls, and Christ is never absent from them. I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Mt. 28:20. For we are one body in a single Christ. One body and one Spirit. One God, one faith, etc. Eph. 4:3-6. And so much is no vicar given of Christ, who is the Husband and Head of the Church, as none is given of a head and a husband. Christ, rather, rules men by the proclaimer of his word to this degree: that one does not rule others, but many πρεσβεύουσιν ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ, are elders on behalf of Christ, in name, and discharge their office for Christ, but as though God were pleading through them, 2 Cor. 5:20. Where nevertheless men give their ears to the word in vain, except the Spirit immediately open their hearts, Act. 16:14. XX.
Therefore, neither was Peter made a vicar of Christ, possessing imperial authority
LXIII. Since, therefore, Christ established no vicar, neither did He establish Peter as such. Peter had some πλεονεκτήματα, talents, as of order, vocation, a more flagrant zeal, and a singular παρρησια, boldness: but he was by no means a Vice-king and Vice-lord of Christ: and indeed neither was he above the other Apostles in his power, of whatever sort he had. For all were sent equally by Christ. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. Jn. 20:21 For, that which they state, that Peter was sent as a prince of the Church, with an ordering for the perpetual state of the Church, and with a preceptive power; and the Apostles as extraordinary delegates, with executive power, greatly diminishes the glory of Christ, of Peter, and of the other Apostles. But Peter himself calls himself συμπρεσβύτερον, a fellow presbyter, one with the other presbyters, a Shepherd grazing flock of God, not by compulsion, but willingly, nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock, 1 Pet. 5:1-4. He greatly dashes to pieces these figments of monarchical powers by which they exert themselves, not for Peter, but for their carnal kingdom. And St. Paul, foreseeing these blasphemies, vindicated his honor and that of the other Apostles when he asserted that, indeed, he is μηδὲν ὑστερηκέναι τῶν ὑπὲρ λίαν Ἀποστόλων, in nothing less than the greatest Apostles, 2 Cor. 11:5, 12:11, & others, who, in his estimation were as columns, among whom Peter was, and he was not more excellent, Gal. 2:9; and when he deals with Peter as an equal, ibid. v. 9, and judges Peter, and thus καταγινώσκει, condemns, withstanding him to his face, ibid. v. 11. And there are many other arguments for the ίσοτιμία, equality of privilege, of the other Apostles. XXI.
Arguments for the supremacy of Peter are refuted
LXIV. The arguments for the supremacy of Peter are weak. For they dream that a vicarious Monarchy is promised to him in the words Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my Church. And I shall give to you the keys of the Kingdom of the Heaven, etc. Mt. 16:18-19, and that these are given rather and placed alongside the words Feed my sheep, Jn. 21:15-16. But Christ did not there declare Peter the rock, both because he distinguished the rock, as the thing giving the name, from Peter, as the one receiving the name, and because Peter was to be the first stone of spiritual edification, but nevertheless was not the Rock and cornerstone, since that is attributed to Christ alone, Is. 28:16. I Cor. 3:11. Both because Peter, in that hour when he denied Christ, was already Peter, but, gravely faltering and fallen, he was not the rock, and because the Rock and foundation of the Church is the one that acquired it with his blood and upholds it with the word of his power, Heb. 1:3, which cannot be said of Peter. But neither were the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven promised to Peter alone, because the thing signified by them belongs to all Apostles and pastors, Mt. 18:18. Jn. 20:23. Nor do they indicate a fullness of ecclesiastical power, because those keys given to Peter are not given as to a lord and magnate, but as to a housekeeper. Otherwise Christ abdicated his power and handed over his house and treasures to him who did not build that spiritual house. And, when the keys of Peter must be of the cross of Christ, why does the Roman εἴδωλον, logo, bear the keys of Peter on the right hand and the cross of Christ on the left? Why does it arrogate to itself, not just the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, but indeed of earthly kingdoms? Finally, neither was Peter, commanded to feed, not his sheep, but Christ’s, Jn. 21:15-16, invested with the possession of a vicarious monarchy by Christ, because Peter, without exception the better interpreter, commands fellow elders, elders, and therefore, ἰσοτίμους, those of like honor, all to feed the flock of the Lord, 1 Pet. 5:2, and because even the maidservant and the base slave can feed the son of the King, and because Peter is commanded to feed the sheep of Christ, not his own; and therefore he is as the servile shepard who dares not even take wool, except as the lord shows his favor. Neither does anything keep it from being that, in Jn 21:15, etc, only Peter is commanded to feed because only he was seen as falling away from the calling to feed, and therefore the calling was only to be restored to him. Wisely, Augustine says in in Joh. tract. 123. Three times, Christ asks Peter about his love, so that in response he repays him three denials. And indeed, neither is Peter commanded to feed sheep, the Apostles and clergymen, but he is commanded to govern lambs. For the Apostles, in the sending of Christ, are considered commissioned as shepherds, pastors, to them, not sheep. Neither had they gone on to other regions, following Peter as sheep, nor is any read to have done so, being commanded by Peter. Sheep, therefore, are more advanced Christians; lambs indicates adolescents and boys in Christ. And Peter was commanded to confirm the brothers, Luc. 22:32, not only the Apostles, but any for whom, according to the judgment of Peter himself, there is one and the same Father, 1 Pet. 1:17, and who, one with Peter, are heirs of the grace of life, ibid. 3:7. Neither to confirm as a Vice-king of Christ, because this is the calling of all who are members of the one body; but even Paul diligently performs this work of confirming Peter, Gal. 2:14. I dismiss the scraps of hierarchy, rancid and poorly gathered from some prerogatives and the practice of Peter, which they, as a rat, having observed in passing, exhibit by their evidence.


Puritan Board Junior
Though this is mentioned, and/or referenced above, Peter's self chosen title under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an apostle (1 Peter 1:1) was "fellow presbyter" (συμπρεσβύτερος - 1 Peter 5:1), not supreme pontiff.


Puritan Board Sophomore
I heard James White once say that there's no actual evidence that Peter was even a member of the Church in Rome in any case.

Is that true, or is it generally agreed that Peter was in Rome as a Presbyter at some point?

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
There are multiple ECF sources that credibly place Peter in Rome. Irenaeus was quite emphatic about it.


Puritan Board Junior
Is that true, or is it generally agreed that Peter was in Rome as a Presbyter at some point?
I think that tradition does credibly place Peter at Rome, particularly as the location of his martyrdom. But there is no proof, per the claims of Romanism, that he served there as bishop for some 25 years or so.

The anonymous early church writer, whom Erasmus designated as Ambrosiaster served as a presbyter in the Roman clergy, and he did not view Peter as the founder of the early Roman church. In fact he doesn't attribute the founding of the church in Rome to any Apostle. His testimony is as follows:

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384): “It is evident then that there were Jews living in Rome....in the time of the apostles. Some of these Jews, who had come to believe (in Christ), passed on to the Romans (the tradition) that they should acknowledge Christ and keep the law....One ought not to be angry with the Romans, but praise their faith, because without seeing any signs of miracles and without any of the apostles they came to embrace faith in Christ, though according to a Jewish rite” (ritu licet iudaico, a phrase found only in cod. K; In ep. ad Romanos, prol. 2; CSEL 81.1.5-6). Ambrosiaster speaks of the Gentile Christians of Rome, who were associated with the original Jewish converts of the Roman community. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993), pp. 30-31. See also In Epistolam Ad Romanos, Prologus, PL 17:45-46.
Full Latin text: Constat itaque temporibus apostolorum Judaeos, propterea quod sub regno Romano agerent, Romae habitasse: ex quibus hi qui crediderant, tradiderunt Romanis ut Christum profitentes, Legem servarent: Romani autem audita fama virtutum Christi, faciles ad credendum fuerunt, utpote prudentes: nec immerito prudentes, qui male inducti statim correcti sunt, et permanserunt in eo. Hi ergo ex Judaeis, ut datur intelligi, credentes Christo, non accipiebant Deum esse de Deo, putantes uni Deo adversum; quamobrem negat illos spiritualem Dei gratiam consecutos, ac per hoc confirmationem eis deesse. Hi sunt qui et Galatas subverterant, ut a traditione apostolorum recederent: quibus ideo irascitur Apostolus, quia docti bene, facile transducti fuerant. Romanis autem irasci non debuit, sed et laudare fidem illorum; quia nulla insignia virtutum videntes, nec aliquem apostolorum, susceperant fidem Christi ritu licet Judaico, in verbis potius quam in sensu; non enim expositum illis fuerat mysterium crucis Christi. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, Prologus, PL 17:45-46.