infallible man had made more blunders in a twenty minutes of conversation than any person he had ever met. Dr. Fairbairn facetiously defines infallibility, as ?inability to detect errors even where they are most manifest.? He speaks of? the folly of the men who think they hold God in their custody, and distribute him to whomsoever they will.? The Pope of Rome can no more trace his official descent from Peter than Alexander the Great could trace his personal descent from Jupiter.
Thirdly, there is no conclusive evidence that Peter ever was at Rome, much less that he was bishop of Rome.
Clement of Rome refers to Peter as a martyr but he makes no claim for Rome as the place of his martyrdom. The tradition that Peter preached at Rome and founded a church there dates back only to Dionysius of Corinth and Ireneus of Lyons, who did not write earlier than the eighth decade of the second century or more than a hundred years after Peter?s death. Professor Lepsius of Jena submitted the Roman tradition to a searching examination and came to the conclusion that Peter was never in Italy.
A. Hodge, in Princetoniana, 129 ? ?Three unproved assumptions are that Peter was primate, that Peter was bishop of Rome, that Peter was primate and bishop of Rome. The last is not unimportant because Clement, for instance, might have succeeded to the bishopric of Rome without the primacy, as Queen Victoria came to the crown of England but not to that of Hanover. Or, to come nearer home, Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States and husband of Mrs. Grant. Mr. Hayes succeeded him but not in both capacities!?
On the question whether Peter founded the Roman Church, see Meyer, Com. on Romans, transl., vol. 1:23 ? ?Paul followed the principle of not interfering with another apostle?s field of labor. Hence, Peter could not have been laboring at Rome at the time when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans from Ephesus; cf. <441921>Acts 19:21; <451520>Romans 15:20; <471016>2 Corinthians 10:16.? Meyer thinks Peter was martyred at Rome but that he did not found the Roman church, of which the origin is unknown. ?The Epistle to the Romans.? he says, ?since Peter cannot have labored at Rome before it was written, is a fact destructive of the historical basis of the Papacy? (p. 28). See also Elliott, Hore Apocalyptice, 3:560.
Fourthly, there is no evidence that he really did so appoint the bishops of Rome as his successors.
Denney, Studies in Theology, 191 ? ?The church was first the company of those united to Christ and living in Christ, then it became a society
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