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Was Peter really the first Pope?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,854 times Debate No: 49828
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I believe that Scripture clearly teaches that Peter was not the first Pope.

I believe that my opponent should have the burden of proof, since the Catholic Church is making the claim that Peter was the first pope. I will do my best to poke holes in it.

EDIT: I've received some complaints about limiting sources for this debate. You are free to use whatever source you like. Why you would want to is beyond me. The Bible is the ultimate and only authority regarding this.

Four rounds. Acceptance, Opening statements. Rebuttals. Closing arguments.

This is my first debate, so I apologize if it's not the correct format, or whatever.


I accept Con's challenge.

As per the debate rules set forth by Con, I will reserve this round solely for acceptance.

Welcome to DDO! Let's have a good debate, and Good Luck.
Debate Round No. 1


This is a complicated issue, and space does not allow for a comprehensive discussion. I am relying on a single source, from which I will copy and paste portions of, along with my own arguments. These will be indicated by brackets [...]. You can refer to this website for more information.

[Before I give you the conclusive historical evidence in part 2, I would first like to first give a brief Bible study on Matthew 16:18-19. This is the passage which Catholics use to prove Peter was the first Pope and that the Catholic Church was founded upon Peter as the rock. They do not have any other scriptural verses to back up that claim apart from these verses.

Certainly they use these verses as their strongest argument. If we can demonstrate and prove that these verses are not discussing the establishment of Peter as the Pope, but discussing the foundation of the Church, their foundation probably comes crashing down.]

Part 1: The Context Of Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus Said "Who Do Men Say That I Am"?

[The context of these verses lies in the question Jesus asked the apostles. He asked "who do men say that I am". The Church cannot be built upon wrong doctrine about Jesus. Jesus cannot be just a good man or a prophet or anything other than "the Christ, the Son of the Living God". He is the rock of our salvation and those who confess Him are built upon that rock. This is exactly what Peter confessed regarding the question of who Jesus is.

Peter being the very first to confess that truth (revealed by our Father) became the first to be built upon that rock. The name Jesus gave Peter was Petros which (in Greek) means stone or small stone. "and upon this rock" (petra, meaning massive rock, which is obviously Jesus referring to himself). Literally, Jesus is saying "you are Peter (a little stone) and upon me (the massive Rock) I will build my church.

Those who are built upon the Rock (JESUS) become the church that cannot be shaken and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Book of Revelation has a verse which says "they overcome by the word of their testimony". Our testimony is that Jesus is the Christ, the redeemer, the Son Of God, the lamb of God. The Church is built upon Jesus with the "good" confession.

Rom 10:9 says "if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. All believers (including the apostles) first need to make confession and believe in their hearts. It is not just an intellectual acceptance of Jesus, but a revelation to the heart which produces an oratory response like Peter's.]

As you can clearly see, The ROCK [petra] that Jesus says he will build His church on, is Jesus Christ. Peter [Petros] was built upon that rock, as were the other Deciples and every other believer.

Loosing and Binding

[Regarding the loosing and binding in verse 19. If we compare Matthew 16:19 with Matthew 18:15-19 Jesus says the same thing about loosing and binding. In Matthew 19 Jesus is talking to all the Apostles and in relation to discipline in the church. He states
that if 2 people agree (not just Peter) ie 2 or more of the Apostles agree regarding discipline.

So (to be consistent with Mat 18 which is not so difficult to understand) Matthew 16:19 is probably referring to all the Apostles, not just to Peter. To prove this, let's look at this more closely.

Apparently, the original manuscripts indicate the "you" in verse 19 is plural. So verse 19 cannot have Jesus just speaking to Peter, but speaking to the twelve, whilst in verse 18 He was talking to Peter.

This means that the keys of the kingdom were to all the apostles and are keys to the door of the kingdom.

Jesus said I AM the door. Revelation 3:7-8 says "These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut"

Jesus was saying to all the Apostles that they had the keys (plural, not just one key and not just for Peter) to the kingdom.

Once they open the door multitudes can enter the kingdom through the door (Jesus). This became evident on the Day of Pentecost onwards.

The keys could also be considered as keys of authority over spiritual forces of wickedness. Jesus said "all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me". Jesus then authorises the Apostles to also have authority to bring people into the kingdom and disciple them.

Clearly the whole church (if they are agreed) has authority through prayer and intercession. "knock and the door shall be opened unto you". The keys are keys of prayer because it says that what is loosed on Earth (obviously through prayer) will be loosed in Heaven. Jesus told us to pray "your kingdom come, your Will be done on EARTH as it is in Heaven". Through these keys the Church can bring heaven into peoples souls, NOW on EARTH.]

In summary, the Church was built upon Peters belief that Jesus was the Son of God. The Apostles were the first to be built upon that rock. And the entire Church is built on their teachings, which they received directly from Christ. It is a united Church, which acknowledges that Christ is the Son of God, that stands against the gates of hell. Not a single man. And not Peter.

Part 2 Historical Evidence To Prove that Peter was not the first Pope

[This section was taken (by permission) from the following link:
Peter is the most important figure in Roman Catholicism because the Vatican claims unbroken succession in Popes, with Peter as the first Pope. Research proves this cannot be true, plus we demonstrate that Catholicism simply teaches ancient Paganism with Christian names.
The keys in the above picture are supposed to represent the "keys of the kingdom" that was given to Peter in Matthew 16:19. According to Roman Catholicism, these keys represent all authority in heaven and in Earth, and she (Catholicism), as the "rightful possessor" through the passing of those keys, has all authority. Pope Gregory VII (the "only pope to canonize himself") drew up a Dictatus (list) of twenty- seven theses outlining his powers as "Peter’s vicar, Prince of the Apostles and Chief Shepherd".
Pope Gregory VII claimed the Pope had the following eight (8) powers:

1). The Pope can be judged by no one on earth.
2). The Roman church has never erred, nor can it err until the end of time.
3). The Pope alone can depose bishops.
4). He alone is entitled to imperial insignia.
5). He can dethrone emperors and kings and absolve their subjects from allegiance.
6). All princes are obliged to kiss his feet.
7). His legates, even when not priests, have precedence over all bishops.
8). A rightly elected Pope is, without question, a saint, made so by the merits of Peter" (Vicars of Christ: the Dark Side of the Papacy, DeRosa, 58).]

Nowhere does scripture reveal that these "keys of the kingdom" are "passed on" to anyone, or that the Apostle Peter had any such power over "emperors and kings". Nonetheless, according to Catholic tradition, Apostle Peter reigned as pope in Rome for 25 years (42 to 67 A.D.); from that point on, the keys were "passed" from one pope to another in what they claim is an unbroken line of "apostolic succession". What is this apostolic succession? Is it an unbroken line from Peter to John Paul II? The truth is that the Roman church knows the list of popes is not genuine. It has been changed many times.

On Jan.18, 1947, a dispatch came from Vatican City which said:
"...the Vatican's new official directory has dropped six popes from its old list. It placed two others in doubt, as possible anti-popes and listed as a true pope one who had not been included until now... Information was changed on 74 popes. The changes ranged from corrections in the dates of their pontificate to the assertion that one of them, Pope Dono II, who was listed as pontiff for three months in the year 973, never really existed..."

"In one book that was presented to Pope Pius XII, the third and fifth popes, Cleto a Roman, and Anacleto, an Athenian, were combined as one and the same person. Felix II, who was listed as a saint and as a pope from 363 to 365 is removed from the list as an anti-pope...Christoforo, 903 to 904; Alexander V, who claimed to be pope from 409 to 410, and John XXIII, from 1410 to 1415, were also dropped from the list of popes, while the legitimacy of Gregory VI, 1044 to 1047, was placed in doubt...Boniface VI, who was not in the old list, is put down as the legitimate pontiff for a few days in April 896. Possibility was admitted that Dioscoro was pope for 22 days in September and October 530, and that Leo VIII was pontiff from 963 to 965. Both were omitted from the list until now." (Secrets of Romanism, Zachello, 48-49)

It is obvious with just a short study of papal history that there are serious gaps in the so-called "unbroken line". In 1409, a Council was convoked in Pisa, where they elected Alexander V to usurp the two popes, Gregory XII and Benedict XIII, (who were already reigning), on the grounds they were "heretics and schismatics".

Can you imagine how the people must have felt when they woke up to the news that there was now a third pope! Can you imagine their further consternation when they were told that the Roman Catholic Church needed this third pope because the two currently reigning were frauds? This little bit of history alone should be enough to debunk the lie that the Roman Catholic Church is infallible and cannot err until the End of Time!

There is much more I can say about this, but I'm out of room. You can read more about this at the website. Thank you. I now turn the soap box over to my opponent.


I thank Con for his opening arguments. While I won't do any direct rebuttals of the arguments in his Opening Statement, I will obviously be using much of the same material.

Within the Bible

The most obvious place to begin this discussion is Matthew 16:16-19

(16) Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
(17) And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
(18) And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(19) And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. [1]

Now unfortunately in English we lose the word play that was going on because Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic with the Apostles. [2] So in Aramaic verse 18 would have read:

And I say to thee: That thou art Kepha; and upon this kepha I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Now to understand the significance of this passage we must look at what happens first in this sentence. God in the person of Jesus Christ renames Simon to Peter. God rarely renames people, and it always has great meaning.

In Genesis 17:5 God renames Abram (meaning high father) to Abraham (father of a multitude)
In Genesis 17:15 God renames Abraham's wife Sarai (my princess) to Sarah (mother of nations)
In Genesis 32:28 God renames Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (having power with God)

The Jews refer to themselves as the Nation of Israel and children of Abraham. Now we have Jesus who just renamed Simon to Peter (Kepha). And in the next sentence he says that he will build his church on this rock (kepha).

Now we can look at verse 19:

And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Here we see keys and binding and loosing. Now to 21st century people we can understand this in a pr
etty straight forward manner. However if we were 1st century Jews it would have a profoundly deeper meaning . Jesus is a king in the Line of David and thus the Davidic Kingdom is a prefigurement of the Heavenly Kingdom of God. In Isaiah 22:20-24:

“Then it will come about in that day, That I will summon My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, And I will clothe him with your tunic And tie your sash securely about him. I will entrust him with your authority, And he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, When he opens no one will shut, When he shuts no one will open. “I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, And he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house. “So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from bowls to all the jars. [3]

In the Davidic kingdom there were ministers and there was a Prime Minister or Steward who had all of the authority of the king save the crown. He was given the key and the authority to open and shut in the king's name with all the authority of the king. Also Eliakim, the Steward, was "like a peg in a firm place" which is just like a solid rock upon which Jesus would build his church.

From this we can see that Eliakim was a father to the people. The word Pope is derived from the Latin word papa and Greek word pappas which is a child's word for father. [4]

Finally we can look at verse 17. Jesus tells Peter, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven." We can see from this that God has transmitted a truth to Peter so that he could speak the truth. Is this not exactly what the Catholic Church claims when it says the Pope speaks infallibly in certain circumstances?

So we can see that from these verses in Matthew that Peter is given a new title and given a new unique authority. If we are with Peter's Church we know that we are with the Church that Christ established.

Clement of Rome

In 95 or 96 AD Pope Clement I wrote a letter to the Church in Corinth after they appealed to the Church in Rome for guidance in resolving a dispute. [5] Now at this time the Apostle John was still alive on the Island of Patmos. What is curious is that Patmos is significantly closer to Corinth than Rome. And one of the 12 disciples was still living on Patmos at the time. If there was no special authority with the church in Rome it would have been far more logical to go to the last surviving Apostle for guidance. Yet the people of Corinth wrote to Rome for guidance. This letter they received back from Pope Clement was so highly regarded that it was being read along with Scriptures c. 170AD [6]

Thus it is apparent that the Early Church had great reverence for the Church in Rome and considered it to be an authority that could be appealed to for resolution of conflict and doctrine.

Church Fathers

Let's look at what some of the Church Fathers (post Apostolic bishops wrote):

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say, ] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every church should agree with this church, on account of its pre-eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. - St. Irenaeus - 180AD [7]

The blessed Peter, the chosen, the pre-eminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Saviour paid the tribute (Matthew 17:27), quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? "Behold, we have left all and have followed you." [Matt 19:27; Mark 10:28] - St. Clement of Alexandria - 190AD

I now inquire into your opinion, to see whence you usurp this right for the Church. Do you presume, because the Lord said to Peter, "On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19a) or 'whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19b) that the power of binding and loosing has thereby been handed onto you, that is to every church akin to Peter? What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? - Tertullian - 200 AD [7]

Peter, the Rock of the faith, whom Christ our Lord called blessed, the teacher of the Church, the first disciple, he who has the keys of the kingdom. - Hikppolytus - 225 AD [7]

Peter, likewise, on whom the Church was founded by the good pleasure of the Lord, lays it down in his epistle… - Origen - 230 AD [7]

The Lord says to Peter: "I say to you," He says, "that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19) And again He says to him after His resurrection: "Feed my sheep." (John 21:17) On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can still be confident that he is in the Church? - St. Cyprian - 246 AD [7]

The Bible

What is interesting is that there is no Bible without the Catholic Church. The books that were considered to be scripture were determined to be divine scripture by the Catholic Church. There were 3 criteria that the writings had to meet: [8]

1) Frequency of Use
2) Apostolic Authority
3) In Conformity with the Apostolic Tradition

Thus con will be relying upon the authority of the Catholic Church to deny the validity of the Pope. An interesting conundrum for Con to say the least.

I look forward to presenting a rebuttal to Con's arguments in Round 3.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your opening argument. Now for the fun part. rebuttals.

My first problem with what you wrote, is your claim that we should use Aramaic to interpret the New testament. This just isn't done. (1) The New Testament was written in Greek, to an audience that spoke and thought in Greek. I believe that any Biblical scholar would agree with me. I submit that my argument about [Petra] and [Petros] stands. Regardless of what language Jesus was speaking, His WORDS were recorded in GREEK. This is what we shall use.

So when we read what Jesus said in the Greek, we see that He named Peter [Petros] a stone or small rock. And upon this rock [Petra] Massive stone, I will build My Church. Jesus words are clear. He will build His Church on HIMSELF [Petra]. Jesus is our rock [Petra] and our salvation.

Catholics claim that Rome is the center of Christianity, and that Peter was it's first Pope. (2) Consider these facts.

The True Church Of God Originated In Jerusalem--not Rome:

God’s true Church officially started on the day of Pentecost—an ancient pre-Christian Holy Day, which God first gave to Israel through Moses (Leviticus 23 15-22)--when 3000 Jews from all nations were converted there. Read Acts 2 in the New Testament. It was not a Roman event. "Salvation is of the Jews", Jesus confirmed (John 4:22).

The True Church Has An Israelite Not a Gentile Foundation:

The Church was a fulfillment of Joel the Jewish prophet's prediction in Joel 2:28-29, (and so confirmed by Jesus and Peter in Acts 1:6-8 & 2:14-21). The Church is "built upon the foundation of the [12 Israelite] apostles and [Hebrew] prophets, Jesus Christ [born a Jew] himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:21).

Peter's Mission Was Primarily To Israelites:

The Apostle Peter's mission was primarily to "the Circumcised", that is, to Israelites. First to the Jews, and then to the ‘lost’ other 10 dispersed Tribes of Israel beyond Jewish borders. (Matthew 15:21-24; 10:1-7). After King Solomon, the nation split in two and was separately deported from the Promised Land. From about 721 BC, 10 of the 12 Tribes were taken captive to Assyria, and the world lost sight of them, but not God and his ministers. Later the House of Judah—consisting of Jews, Benjamites and some Levites--was taken captive to Babylon. A minority of about 50,000 of them returned 70 years later and resettled in the Promised Land (See Nehemiah 7). But there were many other Israelites worldwide (James 1:1). That’s where the other Apostles went who are hardly heard of after Jesus returned to Heaven. They were fulfilling the global mission he gave them (Matthew 28:18-20). As the senior Apostle, God did have Peter open the early ministry to the Gentiles, (Acts 15:7-11), but it was not his primary nor long-term mission.

The True Church Is A Little Flock--Not The Largest Organization In History:

Jesus predicted his small Church would not reach all the [many] cities of Israel before his Second Coming. (See Matthew 10:23; Luke 12: 32). This shows the Church to reach them is small, and that the Israelites to be reached are far more numerous than itself, or the relatively few Jews in what many recognize are the last days before Christ returns. The Roman Catholic Church is the oldest and largest organization in the world. Therefore, it can’t be the small true Church of God. Nor is its mission to preach to the lost Tribes of Israel, which it doesn’t recognize as existing today. Catholicism further fails to recognize that the Jews are the legitimate inhabitants of Jerusalem, the City of King David, whom God prophesied will be resurrected as the eternal King in Jerusalem over all the Tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 37:15-28).

Paul--Not Peter--Was The Apostle To The Gentiles (including the Romans):

Paul clearly stated "James, Peter, and John ...agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews" (Galatians 2:9 New International Version). In his capacity as chief Apostle to the Gentiles, about 28 years after the first New Testament Pentecost, Paul hurried so that he could keep Pentecost in Jerusalem—not in Rome (Acts 20:16). In the previous chapter (verse 19), Paul’s statement shows that he’d never even been to Rome at that stage.

Peter was the Apostle to the Israelites:

In older translations Galatians 2:7-9 reads that Peter was the Apostle (or one sent by God) to the circumcision, meaning to Israelites—and Paul was Apostle to the uncircumcision, meaning to the Gentiles, that is, non-Israelites. Rome was the most famous Gentile city of their day.

The Bible Nowhere Describes Peter As Pope In Rome—period!:

The Bible places Peter in Judea, Syria, Samaria, and Babylon (where many Jews remained after King Nebuchadnezzar took them captive there)--but never in Rome! Read the New Testament Bible’s entire “Book of Acts” and 1 Peter 5:13 written from Babylon (called Iraq today).

Jerusalem Was The First Headquarters Of The Church & Will Be Its Last HQ:

Nowhere in the Bible is Rome predicted to be the headquarters of the true Church of God. Jerusalem was the HQ of the original Church; will be HQ in the Messiah’s 1000-year reign; and the New Jerusalem will be God’s headquarters for all eternity (Revelation 21:9-27). Other interim headquarters of the Church are described in Revelation 2 and 3. None of them is Rome.

The list goes on. You can check my second source for more. It clearly shows how Peter could not possibly be the first Pope, and that he had never even been to Rome. Here is more on this, from the same source.

Peter Wasn't In Rome In The Early Days Of The Church:

The Apostle Paul had his "road to Damascus conversion". Note it was not a road to Rome conversion. It was sometime after Christ's resurrection and ascension to Heaven. "Then after three years I {Paul] went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days" (Galatians 1:15-18). Peter was obviously living in Jerusalem at that stage--not in Rome. "Then after fourteen [more] years, I [Paul] went up again to Jerusalem...and when James, Peter, and John...[agreed] we should go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews" (Gal 2:3,9).

So about two decades after the Church started with headquarters in Jerusalem--Peter was still there--mainly ministering to Jews and Israelites. Peter was not in Rome.

Peter Was Not Experienced In Dealing With Gentiles:

Paul said he met and publicly rebuked Peter in Antioch, for backtracking and hypocritically declining to eat with the Gentile converts in the presence of Jews. See the context of Galatians 2, and verses 11:21. There's no way Peter could have acted this way if he had been mainly ministering to Gentiles in Rome in the previous 20 years. The first major conference of the New Testament Church--held in Jerusalem, not Rome--about 49AD (17 years after it started), had the main item on its agenda the question: “Should Gentile converts be circumcised?” (Acts 15). This shows that relatively few Gentiles had been converted up to then, and Rome could not have been the center of the Church.

This copy and pasting I just did was in response to all but the last point you made. I could have refuted them individually, but there is no need. Peter was never in Rome. He was a missionary to the Jews. Not the Gentiles. It is also clear, from Scripture, that Peter was not considered to be above anyone else. If anything, he was a first among equals. And remember the dressing down Peter got from Paul. That is not how one addresses a Pope.

The Bible

What is interesting is that there is no Bible without the Catholic Church. The books that were considered to be scripture were determined to be divine scripture by the Catholic Church. There were 3 criteria that the writings had to meet: [8]

1) Frequency of Use
2) Apostolic Authority
3) In Conformity with the Apostolic Tradition

Thus con will be relying upon the authority of the Catholic Church to deny the validity of the Pope. An interesting conundrum for Con to say the least.

I find this statement ludicrous, not to mention hilarious. You are ascribing the existence of the Bible to the efforts of MAN? No Church decided what books would be in the Bible. The Old Testament was finalized before the birth of Christ. It wasn't collected in a BIG BOOK version yet, but what belonged there was already agreed upon.

Who compiled the Scriptures? Who decided what would go into it? I'll tell you who.

GOD did.

Man only recognized what God had written, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and put it together. The Catholic Church didn't decide anything. God was in control the whole time. You ascribe power and authority to the Church, and the Pope. I ascribe all power and authority to God. The Pope claims to be a substitute for God on earth. The Catholic Church claims that the Pope is our intercessor with God. The Bible states that Jesus is our intercessor with God. No one else. Peter would be turning in his grave.

All right Pro. Have at it.



Round 2 Rebuttals

Con states that Peter was the first to confess the truth about Jesus. However, this is not true. In John 1:49 Nathanael said it first (

Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”

Yet Jesus did not give Nathanael the name Peter, nor did he tell Nathanael that his proclamation was the Rock of faith. This event happened even before the wedding at Cana. Con's argument fails.

Even though con's entire premise for Jesus' statement has been discredited let's look at his Petra, Petros argument. First of all as I previously noted, when Jesus spoke to the Apostles he spoke in Aramaic. In Aramaic there is no masculine and feminine to the language, just like english. Greek however does have a masculine and feminine to it. Thus the word Rock is normatively Petra. However, Peter was not a woman, and thus it was proper for the author of Matthew to provide a masculinized versiion of Rock which is Petros.

In first century Greek Petros and Petra were synonymous with each other. The distinction between the two had been in poetry centuries earllier (

In Matthew 18:16 Jesus is talking to them as individuals and the individuals are not showing authority, but to act as witnesses:

“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.

It is in 18:17 where authority comes in:

“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

So we can clearly see that it is the Church that has the authority. As previously noted the Davidic kingdom had ministers and a royal steward. Just as the Kingdom of Christ has apostles one of whom was given pre-eminence and later referred to as Pope. Thus the church under the authority of the successors to the bishops and the Pope have the authority. Thank-you for helping me make my point with your argument.

Con argued that the "you" in "I will give to you the keys..." is plural meaning the apostles and not singular meaning Peter alone.

The greek word in Matthew 16:19 is soi ( The NAS Exhaustive Concordance lists this as a second person singular pronoun. Definition: thou. ( Thus Con is completely in error. And all further arguments he made along this line are in error as his premise was shown to be wrong.

As for part 2 of Round 2 of Con's arguments. I find it funny that he stated that the Bible is the ultimate and only authority regarding this, and then goes on to argue extra-biblically. For the most part these arguments have nothing to do with Peter being the first Pope. Debates about individual Papal writings are outside of the context of theI will pick out the relevant arguments as I am able.

Nowhere in the bible does it state that the keys are passed on (apparently Con now believes that Peter was given the keys). The historical text of the bible in Acts ends prior to the deaths of Peter and Paul under Nero. Thus we have to look to the Church Fathers for more information. As I clearly showed in the previous round through the Letter of Clement to the Church in Corinth and the writings of the Church fathers that the Bishop of Rome was given Pre-eminence.

The lists of Popes is outside the debate of whether Peter was the first Pope. Portions of history of the Church are difficult to determine based on a two thousand year historys filled with persecution, politics, an age in which everything had to be copied by hand by scribes and which through combinations of those factors combined in local agendas with official documents can create anomalies. When an exhaustive review of these documents was conducted they cleared up misconceptions. Thus at times several people claimed to be Pope. That the Church later cleared up exactly who was Pope is a different matter. Nobody is claiming that there wasn't ever politics involved in the Church, only that Peter was the first Pope.

Round 3 Rebuttal

Con argues that the New Testament was written in Greek and thus what Jesus actually said is less important than the translation into a different language of what he said. Does that make sense to anyone?

While I have already disproven that the Greek implies a differentiation the two Rocks, I will further show that Con is likely wrong on this point as well.

While the absence of an Aramaic or Hebrew copy has not been found, it must also be noted that the original Greek copies also are lost to history. Con is asuming that the latter Greek copies prove that Greek was the original language. However, this is merely an assumption and not proof. So we must look to those alive in the early Church to find out if they have any light to shed on this: (

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Against Heresies 3:1:1) - Irenaeus of Lyons 180AD

In approximately 130AD Papias, bishop of Hieropolis wrote:

"Matthew compiled the sayings [of the Lord] in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could" (Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 3:39])

In 244AD Origen wrote:

"Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language" (Commentaries on Matthew [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 6:25])

Thus there is clear evidence that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in the Hebrew language.

Con argues that the Church was established in Jerusalem not Rome, with which Catholics fully agree. Who led the Apostle's on that day?

"But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them..." (Acts 2:14)

Con argues that the Church has an Israelite Not Gentile Foundation. Catholics fully agree because Jesus and all the apostles were Jews. However gentiles were admitted and made full members.

Con argues that Peter's Mission was Primarily to the Israelites, and Paul-Not Peter Was the Apostle to the Gentiles. (Combining three arguments into one for brevity). As Paul had had some success with the gentiles upto that period of time, the Apostles asked him to continue his fruitful work in this manner and that they would continue doing what they were focused on at that time. Paul did not rush off to Rome, but was instead arrested and taken to Rome. Con acknowledges that Peter was also sent to the Gentiles, so Peter was actually sent to all of the faithful, just like the Pope is sent to all the world. Sometimes here, sometimes there.

Con argues that the True Church is a Little Flock - Not a giant organization. This is based on Jesus calling the disciples little flock. When Jesus was talking to them it was a little flock. If Jesus had intended the flock to stay little he wouldn't have told the Apostles to:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19)

Or that Paul would have said of him:

"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

Con Argues that Peter was Never in Rome. However, in 1 Peter 5:13, Peter states that he is in BABYLON with Mark:

"She who is in BABYLON, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son."

Now by this time Babylon was a sparsely poplulated area. ( However we know that in Colossians 4:10 Paul is writing imprisoned in Rome and that Mark is there with him. Babylon was a codeword for Rome. This is precisely the argument most protestants make about the Papacy from Revelations. BABYLON = Rome.

Additionally, I just quoted Iranaeus in 180 AD who recounts that Peter and Paul were Preaching in Rome. I also noted the Letter of Clement from Rome in 96AD discusses the martyrdom of both Peter and Paul in Rome. (

Thus the historical proof shows that Peter was in Rome when he died.

The Bible

In terms of determining scripture the Holy Spirit guided the early Church over many decades to reveal which scriptures were valid and which weren't. However, whom did the Holy Sprit guide? The Catholic Bishops. We accept the Bible is the Bible because those to whom the Apostles passed their authority onto declared which books were valid and which weren't. The Catholic Church was the agent the Holy Spirit worked through.

On the other hand, Con follows a bible that was altered by one one man. Martin Luther removed 7 books from the Old Testament and also wanted to remove books from the new. Where did his authority to do so come from?

Earlier Con asserted that the Church is small, however Jesus said that nobody lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead they place it on a lightstand for all to see. Likewise the Church of Christ must always be easily recognizable for people to see and find. Only the Catholic Church meets this requirement.


Con has failed to provide any evidence that Peter was not the first Pope, and has failed to refute the evidence provided in my Opening Statement.
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for your rebuttals.

I would like to begin by reminding everyone that pro has the burden of proof for this debate. In my previous argument, I showed that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews, and Paul was the Apostle to the gentiles (Rome). I also showed that Scripture does not mention Peter ever having been in Rome. Pro points to a verse that says Peter was in Babylon. He claims that Babylon is a code word for Rome. There are no contextual verses that support this claim. The Babylon Peter mentioned was where modern day Iraq exists.

My opponent also believes that he is allowed to preach a different Gospel than the one Christ gave us. I showed that Jesus said "upon this rock (Petra) I will build my Church", He was not referring to Peter (Petros). If this were the case, He would have said "Upon this rock (Petros) I will build my Church." Pro resorts to claiming that we should ignore Scripture and go by what was said in Aramaic. We do not have this conversation recorded in Aramaic. It does not exist. His argument fails.

Here's more, from a previous source I listed.

"Without any scriptural proof, Roman Catholicism has blatantly lied about the Apostle Peter"s whereabouts from 42 A.D. to 67 A.D., so as to lend some credence to their "apostolic succession". They have placed Peter in Rome reigning as a pope when the Bible paints us a totally different picture. Lorraine Boettner, in his bookRoman Catholicism, pages 121-122, dates Peter"s journey using the Bible as his only source.

"Most Bible students agree that Paul's conversion occurred in the year 37 A.D. After that he went to Arabia (Gal.1:17), and after that he went up to Jerusalem where he remained with Peter for 15 days (Gal.1:18). That brings us to the year 40 A.D. Fourteen years later he again went to Jerusalem (Gal.2:1), where he attended the Jerusalem council described in Acts 15, in which Peter also participated (vs.6).

This conference dealt primarily with the problems which arose in connection with the presentation of the Gospel in Jewish and Gentile communities. Paul and Barnabas presented their case, and were authorized by the council to continue their ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 15:22-29); and this quite clearly was the occasion on which Paul was assigned to work primarily among the Gentiles while Peter was assigned to work primarily among the Jews (Gal.2:7- 8), since this same Jerusalem council is spoken of in the immediate context (Gal.2:1-10). So this brings us to the year 54 A. D., and Peter still is in Syria, 12 years after the time that the Roman tradition says that he began his reign in Rome.

Sometime after the Jerusalem council Peter also came to Antioch, on which occasion it was necessary for Paul to reprimand him because of his conformity to Judaistic rituals (Gal.2:11- 21). And the same Roman tradition which says that Peter reigned in Rome also says that he governed the church in Antioch for 7 years before going to Rome. Hence we reach the year 61 A.D., with Peter still in Syria."

What about the other apostles? Did they acknowledge the supremacy of Peter? Did they think of Peter as "infallible concerning church doctrine"? Let us keep in mind the scripture that says we are "not to think of men above that which is written." (1Cor.4:6) Therefore, if the title of pope is not found in the scriptures, we are giving titles to men above that which is written. In Acts 15, Barnabas, Peter and Paul gave reports at the council in Jerusalem but it was James who rendered the decision - NOT PETER! If Peter were the leader, he most definitely would have rendered the final decision!

In Acts 8:14 Peter was sent by others to Samaria. Why didn't Peter do the sending if he was the pope? In Gal.2:8-10 Paul says "And when they had known the grace that was given to me, James [shouldn"t have Paul named Peter first since he is the supposed pope?] and Cephas [Peter] and John, who SEEMED TO BE PILLARS...." In 2:6 Paul said, "...those who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: GOD ACCEPTETH NO MAN"S PERSON)...." It is obvious that Paul did not care what they "seemed to be", and clearly says God doesn"t either!

In these next verses, Paul rebukes Peter, evidently not regarding his "position" in the church. He even goes so far as to say that if an angel from heaven or any of them preach any other gospel than that which has been preached, they should be accursed. But let"s carefully read Galatians 2:11-16:

"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 [condemnation, hypocrisy]. 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? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: FOR BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED." (Gal.2:11-16)

It is evident in these verses that Peter erred concerning doctrine which nullifies any argument Rome uses to justify her false doctrine of the infallibility of popes.

I could go on about this, but I think I have placed enough obstacles for pro. I have made my closing argument with Scripture alone. Let my opponent challenge the Word of God. And remember. The burden of proof is on pro.


I thank all readers who have followed the debate this far.

Rebuttals to new arguments

A) I thank Con for bringing up the fact that Paul went to visit with Peter in Jerusalem. Before beginning his ministry Paul visited with Peter in Jerusalem for 15 days. We also know that James was the head of the church in Jerusalem. So why did Paul visit with Peter and not James? Because Peter was the leader of the Church as a whole. After his conversion Paul studied for 3 years and then went to the head of the Church to be validated in his role. After this he began to spread the Gospel. Paul did not begin to spread the Gospel prior to his meeting with Peter. Thus the passage presented by con is evidence that Peter was special among the apostles.

B) If you actually read Galatians 2 you find that Peter was alone with the Gentiles in Antioch (you know preaching, eating all those things Paul did as well). Peter however suddenly acted different when the Jews were around:

"For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision." Gal 2:12

So Paul called him out on his actions. Catholics do not claim Papal impeccability, the Popes sin. Our current Pope Francis says as much:

"Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? I am a sinner" (;)

Paul did not call him out on anything he was teaching, he called Peter out on his actions.

Peter however did warn about Paul's writings "speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."

Thus it is clear that there is an oral tradition that must accompany the written traditions of the bible. It is this oral tradition that the Church through the Bishops and Popes protect and pass on.

C) Council of Jerusalem
Acts 15:7
After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

After there had been much debate Peter stands and claims authority over the Gentiles. He then proclaims judgement in this case:

But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” Acts 15:11.

After he proclaims judgement there are no more dissenting opinions.

"All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles." - Acts 15:12

Then James, as he was head of the Church in Jerusalem in which the council was being held, joins his judgement to that of Peter.

"Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles" Acts 15:19

This is the same as the President making a speech in the Senate, then the head of the senate standing up and proclaiming what the president just announced. Does that make the head of the senate more powerful than the president? Nope.

St Chrysostom 347-407 AD ( believed that James had a special authority in the Council, as bishop of Jerusalem, and because of the great veneration, which those zealous for the Jewish law had for him: but his power was certainly inferior to that of St. Peter, who was head of all. (


I will recap my arguments.

Matthew 16 - You are Peter.

I have shown that the idea of Peter being "the rock" is supported by:
- The original Aramaic words that Jesus would have spoken; (that he spoke it in Aramaic was undisputed by Con)
- The knowledge from the Church Fathers that Matthew wrote a Hebrew (Aramaic) Bible (undisputed by Con)
- The gender issues with the Greek language - masculine:Petros feminine:Petra (undisputed by Con)
- Ties to the old testament authority parallel with the keys being given to the Royal Steward (undisputed by Con)
- The fact that Nathaniel, not Peter was the first to call Jesus the son of God, yet he was not given the title of Rock. (undisputed by Con)
- The fact that "you" in I will give you the keys - was singular to Peter (undisputed by con)

I showed how the people of Corinth wrote to the church in Rome to clarify a dispute when John the last surviving Apostle was much closer to them. And in this reply from Rome the new Pope (Clement) notes the martyrdom of both Peter and Paul in Rome. (undisputed by con)

This both establishes the succession of the Papacy from Peter and the Authority of the Papacy. (undisputed by con)

Irenaeus of Lyon specifically states that Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome (undisputed by con).

All of my quotes from the Church Fathers (those in the generations directly after the apostolic age) wrote that Peter held a position of pre-eminence among the Apostles. (undisputed by con)

Biblical Scholars both Catholic and Protestant agree that when Peter says he is in "Babylon" it means that he is in Rome. ( "The word Babylon being symbolic of the corruption then prevailing in the city of the Caesars."

I have clearly shown that only the Catholic church under the authority of the Popes and bishops had the authority to confirm which books were authoritative and which weren't. (second argument never rebutted). Thus to believe in the Authority of the Bible requires that you believe in the Authority of the Catholic Church. To believe in the Authority of the Catholic Church means to believe in the Authority of the Pope.

The link to the old testament (Isaiah 22:19-24) says that the Royal Steward "will become a father" to the people. The word Pope means Father (undisputed by con).

It was also shown in my rebuttals this round that Peter had authority among the apostles, both with Paul visiting only him before beginning his preaching and at the council of Jerusalem.

I have shown both biblically and extra-biblically that Peter was the first Pope.

I thank Con for this debate. And I once again thank any and all readers who have read all the way through this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Geogeer 7 years ago
Thanks to Sojourner for taking the time to vote.
Posted by LittleBallofHATE 7 years ago
I'm taking a short break from debating. I need a good, old fashioned Gaming Binge. Just found a new game called Planetary Annihilation. How could possibly compete with that? But I'll be back.
Posted by Aceviper2011 7 years ago
Hate when people copy and paste, if you can't debate with your own mind and words, then don't debate at all. plus LittleBallofHate I see you like debating religion, Evolution, global warming, death penalty, so if you would like to debate me make a challenge. but rules are no copy and paste heck I will debate you something like proving evolution is in the bible disproving the creator god. or death penalty should stay banned, or global warming is happening. something. its up to you. but all I ask is for a non copy and paste debate. minds and knowledge is key
Posted by LittleBallofHATE 7 years ago
Well. Like I said, this is my first debate. I'm learning. My closing arguments will be my own. You can judge me on that.
Posted by Technition 7 years ago
It would be easy not to plagiarize, and still sum everything up. What you have is like someone else's work debating for you. If I wanted to be a troll too I'd probably copy and paste my arguments too that are long and formatted for the website I got them from, like with long spaces between the paragraphs lol
Posted by LittleBallofHATE 7 years ago
If I had to type all of that, my 72 hours would run out before I finished.
Posted by Technition 7 years ago
When a debate becomes a, "Who can copy and paste the most stuff competition," lol
Posted by Geogeer 7 years ago
No prob. I take these things in stride.
Posted by LittleBallofHATE 7 years ago
I feel an apology is required here. At the end of my rebuttal, I used the word You, instead of the Catholic Church, I felt you might take that as a personal attack. That was not my intent. Still not sure why I did that. I'm blaming it on hunger. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next round. Good luck.
Posted by LittleBallofHATE 7 years ago
I believe you meant to say challenging.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sojourner 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Admittedly I have a certain bias, but I honestly tried to evaluate this debate on the merits of the argumentation. Although I did not like the cutting and pasting performed by Con, I am giving all voting categories a tie except for who made more convincing arguments. For me, it came down to the three arguments: Petros vs. Petras, loosing and binding, and keys. In round 3 Pro provided ample support for his position on all three subjects which Con dropped in round 4.

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