Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1951

Was Peter Or Paul The Pope?

Floyd Embree, Artesia, New Mexico

I have a little pamphlet entitled, "Thou Art the Rock." It was written by Richard Ginder, a priest in the Catholic Church, and his aim is to prove that Peter was the first pope in Rome.

The main argument that he uses is the fact that Peter's name is mentioned more than 190 times in the gospels and the book of acts, but that the one next used in order of frequency was that of the apostle John, which was used 29 times, a difference of 161 times! Therefore, Peter was the first pope in Rome!

But let us look at the Apostle Paul. He was not married so far as we have record and Peter was, but the pope can't marry. Paul said, "For I reckon that I am not one whit behind the chiefest apostles," (II Cor. 11:5) and it was Paul who "withstood Peter to the face because he stood condemned." (Gal. 2:11) We have no record of Peter ever being in Rome, but we know that Paul was there. It was Peter that would not allow Cornelius to fall down and worship him, but said, "Stand up, for I myself also am a man." (Acts 10:26) He didn't tell Cornelius to kiss his big toe before he could be allowed in his sacred presence.

But Mr. Ginder reasons that Peter was pope because he was mentioned 161 times more than was John. Now, let us use his method of reasoning for a moment. Paul was mentioned 186 times in the Gospels and Acts, but Andrew was only mentioned 12 times; a difference of 172 times, therefore, Paul was the first pope in Rome and not Peter! Some reasoning... No?