Is the Pope the Vicar of Christ’ based on Matthew 16?

Explanation on why the Pope is not the Vicar of Christ as Catholic Dogma presupposes in Matthew 16:1-18

Petrine doctrine is the theory of papal primacy. In Matthew 16:15-18, Jesus gave Peter unique authority (Keys) and apparently elevated him as the Rock (Petras), allegedly to establish the church of Rome, which is fallacious. Satan wants to usurp Christ’s authority in the guise of papal infallibility.


Petrine Theory:

  • Jesus gave Peter primacy among the apostles.
    [No, Jesus commended Peter, not accord primacy or authority over the other apostles.]
  • “Keys of Kingdom” were handed to establish the church.
    [The “Key” is the “Gospel,” a privilege of all believers. Peter opened the door for the Jews.]
  • Peter is the Rock (Petras) that the Catholic church built upon.
    [No, Jesus is the Rock (Petros); the church of Christ are all Believers]


1. Why did Jesus commend Peter?

Matthew 16:1-12 | “Earthly minds”

The Pharisees and Sadducees tested Jesus with a trick question. He rebuked them for their “earthly minds.” In verses 5-12, Jesus warns against “the yeast.” They thought Jesus was talking about bread. He rebuked the apostles for their “ignorant minds.”

Matthew 16:13-14 | “Spiritual mind”

Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Everyone gave the wrong answer except Peter. He alone (Saint Peter) had the ‘spiritual mind’ to understand spiritual things.

Jesus commended Peter, not elevate Him over Paul or the rest of the apostles. The “Keys of the Kingdom” handed to him was a privilege; it was not delegated authority nor a foundation for the church.

Matthew 16:15-17 | The Great confession

  • Peter’s role in the early mission was critical, which does not mean he is more effective than Paul or anyone else.
  • Jesus first asked this question to all His disciples (Matthew 16:13). Peter got it right. If Paul were part of Jesus’ earlier mission, he would also answer correctly.
  • Jesus commended Peter for knowing who He is, based on revelation from God, not from men.

Jesus commended Peter, not elevate Him.

16 And Simon Peter answered, ” Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Paul and Peter

  • Paul and Peter were critical in establishing the early churches.
  • After Paul’s conversion, he proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God. (Acts 9:20).
  • Paul was the most accomplished apostle, but he joined the ministry after Jesus’ resurrection. Indeed, Jesus would have commended Paul in front of the other apostles just as he did to Peter.

Petra and Petro

  • Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter (Petros)
  • Jesus is the “big rock,” the Rock of all ages. “On this rock” refers to a smaller rock (Petra).
  • The verse does not imply Peter’s primacy in founding a church. The other Apostles, like Paul, Bartholomew, Andrew, Mark, and John, also established churches.

Jesus will build the church, not Peter.

18 And I also say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this Rock (Petra; πέτρᾳ), I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

“The gates of hell shall not prevail”

  • The gates of hell (which is death) will NOT prevail.
  • Jesus foretold His resurrection in verse 21. Although Jesus died, death did NOT prevail. He resurrected.
  • Peter established some of the first churches, including Rome (with Paul). It became corrupted—but the gates of Hell did NOT prevail. God purged Catholicism through the Reformation in 1517.
  • Then came a split among Protestants. God continues to purify His church—Satan will NOT prevail.

Although Jesus died, death did not prevail.

“…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


2. Peter’s “Keys of Heaven” opened three doors

Jesus gave Peter the “keys of heaven” because of his pivotal role in establishing the first Jerusalem church and other cities. Peter “opened” the door to three groups:

  • Peter first preached the Gospel to the Jewish people. He “opened the door” for the Jews. (Acts 2)
  • Peter was instrumental in introducing the Gospel to the Samaritans. Peter “opened the door” for them. (Acts 8)
  • Peter brought the Gospel to Rome (through an influential centurion). Peter “unlocked the door” for the Gentiles. (Acts 10)

Peter “unlocked the door” for the Gentiles.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The “Key of David”

  • In Revelation 3:7, Jesus calls the keys of heaven “Key of David.” (Isaiah 22:22, referring to Jesus’ Davidic line)
  • The “Key of David” is the Gospel. When we receive it, it can never be taken. Hence no man can shut. (John 6:37-40)
  • “Key” in the Bible is a badge of authority used to open or shut doors (Luke 11:52). Peter used it to open the door for the Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles.

Binding and loosing

  • In Matthew 18:18, Jesus says the exact phrase of “binding-loosing,” addressed to His disciples.
  • These are expressions. A privilege of Believers and those expanding God’s Kingdom—not just Peter.

3. Jesus is the Rock

The lies of the enemy infiltrate politics, schools, and of course, the religious faith. No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Neither does the Vatican represents the body of Christ, nor does Peter or any apostle ever be the vicar of Christ, nor does Peter or Paul have primacy over other apostles. Jesus alone is the Rock and foundation in all of Christendom (Isaiah 28:16).

Jesus alone is the Rock and foundation.

1 Corinthians 10:4
All drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

A vicar of Christ would be infallible

The papacy is full of errors; how can they be the vicar of Christ? Scripture does not teach apostolic succession, indulgence, Mary Co-Redemptrix, and papal infallibility, along with numerous tradition that is deeply sacrilegious.

Jesus called Peter “Satan,” calling out his sinful nature, for he was deceived by Satan (Matthew 16:21). No one deserves to be the vicar of Christ. That is the role of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Vicar of Jesus

Who will build the church of Jesus?

Jesus referred to the church as “the body of Christ” who will build and expand His ministry on earth. The church of Jesus comprised all Believers whom the apostles called “Saints.” These are anyone who belongs to Jesus, adopted to God’s kingdom by faith. (1 Cor. 12:27)

Ephesians 4:16
the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Why Martin Luther protested.
The pagan origin of the papacy.
Rise of Roman Catholicism.

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