Monday, 30 January 2012

Who Was Peter's Successor‭?

Mark is commonly recognised as the first Evangelist, but was he Catholic?

The Official Papal View
Following one line of thought, the popes are Catholic because they are the successors of Peter the Apostle. According to the papal lineage, the second pope, Linus, received his authority as head of the Church during the first century from Peter, who is considered by the Vatican to be the first pope. The result of this line of thought is that Peter the Apostle is Catholic.

The line of popes as presented in the Vatican's Liber pontificalis (the book of the popes), starts in the first century with Peter the Apostle and continues with Linus, but does not include any of the Evangelists. The book of the popes is considered by the Catholic Church as the only authority concerning Peter's successors.

An Alternative Christian View
The Evangelists are the authors of the four versions of the Gospel and also of a number of other books in the New Testament. They are the authors of the first written translation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for they translated into Greek script his oral teachings, which were in Aramaic.

The four Evangelists professed the Faith in Jesus Christ, commonly known as the Christian Faith. They did not call themselves popes, and did not claim that Peter the Apostle was a pope. Of the four, Mark has been universally recognised by researchers of the New Testament as the first of the three synoptic Evangelists, followed in order by Matthew and Luke. The fourth Evangelist is John, Jesus' youngest disciple.

The alternative Christian view to the claim that the popes are Peter's successors is that the three synoptic Evangelists are his successors. Matthew and Luke followed the basic outlines of Mark's gospel when writing each their own respective version, and Mark wrote his gospel according to the testimony of Peter, disciple of Jesus. The Evangelist John, who, as Peter, was a direct witness of Jesus, wrote his gospel following his own memory, and therefore did not need to base his accounts on Peter's testimony.

Peter's Successor Mark and the Synoptic Gospels
The term synoptic gospels, referring to those of Mark, Matthew and Luke, indicates their correlation based on one original script, which is the gospel according to St. Mark. They follow a line of succession, as the two longer gospels, those of Matthew and Luke, each include many details not found in Mark, thus completing a cycle of information, yet using Mark's gospel as a basic outline.

Considering the succession of detail in the three synoptic gospels, and taking into account that it serves to present to all nations the spoken Word and the deeds of Jesus, the following question arises: where did Mark receive his information from? The answer is given by Peter the Apostle in person, in his first epistle 5: 13, in which he writes: "Your sister church in Babylon, also chosen by God, sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark."

According to the alternative view, not Linus, but Mark is Peter's successor, as he has been nominated by Peter to be his son. Peter did not write a gospel, but he did tell the people around him all that he knew of Jesus, having been one of his disciples. Mark was not one of Jesus' disciples, but wrote his gospel according to Peter's testimony of Jesus, as he knew Peter and was with him when he wrote his first epistle.

The result of this line of thought is that Peter the Apostle preached the Word of the Gospel, Mark wrote his words in the form of a written gospel in Greek, and Matthew and Luke each picked up on Mark's written account and built upon it, completing a synoptic line of succession of written testimony. The Evangelist John later added his own gospel towards the end of the first century.

The question remains: was Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic? The answer is, he is not even considered by the Catholic Church as Saint Peter's successor. 

  •  the first letter from Peter, Rainbow Good News Bible, The Bible   Societies/Collins.

Written by D. Alexander

Read about Saint Mark the Evangelist and the great controversy between the Apostolic Church and the popes who do not recognise St. Mark's evangelic Priesthood, having chosen to place another as Simon Peter's successor. Having excluded the Evangelist Mark from the line of apostolic succession, the Catholic Church has excluded itself from the Priesthood that is from Zion in High:

Follow up on the meaning of St. Peter's primacy from Zion the High City, where Jesus is the eternal High Priest:

Read about the High Priest Jesus, whose Mother, the Virgin Mary, may be from the priestly tribe of the Levites:

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