Apostolic Succession : Pauline Credentials
Apostolic Succession : Peter's Ministry

Apostolic Succession : Paul in Rome

...continued from Apostolic Succession : Pauline Credentials

When Paul eventually arrived in Rome some time after 60 AD, it was to have his appeal heard by Caesar. He is the only apostle recorded in the New Testament as having travelled west of Greece. Paul was greatly heartened when a group of Christian converts came to meet him as he approached the outskirts of Rome (Acts 18:15).

Paul was placed under "house arrest" for about two years while awaiting trial. During this period, visitors freely came and went and Paul wrote and received many letters (Acts 28:15-31). After he had settled in a house for which he paid, Paul requested a meeting with the leaders of the Jewish community apparently to discover their attitude towards him. The leaders assured him they knew nothing to his discredit as they had not heard from Judea. They expressed a wish to know more about Paul's "sect" as it was spoken ill of everywhere (Acts 28:21) so a meeting was arranged at which an exchange of views would take place. At no time was Peter, the apostle to the Jews, ever mentioned.

On his second visit to Rome some years later, again on trial, Paul said: "...only Luke is here with me...all forsook me" (2 Tim 4:11-16). He asks Timothy to come to him and to bring Mark with him.

If, as Roman Catholic tradition encourages, Peter was nearby, why didn't Paul on either of his two visits to Rome, make some reference to him? If Peter had established the Roman Church, why no recognition of this by Paul or the Chistian congregation in Rome? If it was Peter's mission to take the gospel to the Jews, why did the Jewish leaders of Rome have no knowledge of Peter?

In Paul's letters to and from Rome - Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, Phillipians - he mentions numerous friends and helpers; in Romans alone almost 30.

Proponents of the "Peter in Rome" tradition often assert that he is not mentioned by Paul because of some residual animosity between the pair. Paul had some years earlier in Antioch strongly disagreed with Peter, as he also had with Mark and his uncle Barnabas. Yet Paul asked Timothy to seek out Mark and bring him to Rome. These men occasionally expressed sharp disagreements, but where the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth was concerned, they buried personal differences and spoke with one voice. In fact wrangling within congregations was often a major topic of concern for them.

In the Roman setting, no mention is ever made of Peter by any person, whether directly or indirectly, for the simple reason that Peter was never there.

Stay tuned for Peter's wherabouts...

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