For if these two are regarded as part of the strong foundation of much of the Christian teachings, are we following them rightly or wrongly? Because the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church was founded on Peter, If I am not a Roman Catholic, am I taking Peter wrongly?
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Peter and Paul were not members of any denomination. There were no such things in Bible times. Even the Catholic church was not started for several hundred years. Jesus said He would build His church, and on Pentecost (in Acts two when the church was started) Peter told people what to do to be part of it. The same thing is required of us today. Nothing has changed except what man had done to pervert the doctrines taught in the Bible. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt 16:18). (Acts 2:47) "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' (Verse 41) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.... (Verse 47) And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:37-47)." Jesus said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." (Matt 15:13). No denomination is more than just a few hundred years old. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body." (Eph 1:22-23). "There is one body...." (Eph 4:4). The church is called several things in the Bible: Body (Eph1:22-23), House of God (I Tim 3:15), Temple (Eph 2:21), Kingdom (Col 1:13), Church of God (I Cor 1:2) and Church of Christ (Rom 16:1). These are all descriptive terms or phrases. These terms and phrases describe the organization consisting of Christians. It is the organization to which the Lord adds one when he or she is saved. Don't you imagine the Apostles Paul and Peter were very cautious about strictly adhering to the doctrine of Christ, and avoiding the traditions and doctrines of men?
Both Peter and Paul were born and raised Jews, as was Jesus Himself. However, once they received the Holy Spirit, they became Christians as believers in Jesus Christ. Sadly, most Jews could not let go of their hope in the Law and within 30 years after the death of Christ, Christianity was mostly a Gentile faith. That the Roman Catholic Church erroneously ascribes to Peter a special position in Christianity does not make you not a Christian. In Peter's own words, Matt 16:16, it is and always will be, faith in Christ that makes you a Christian, regardless of what you think of Peter. The debate about the RCC building its dogma of apostolic succession upon Peter himself rather than his profession of who and what Jesus is has been bantered around here quite a bit. No Catholic is NOT going to believe that Peter was the first "pope, (in of out itself a non-biblical title for anyone but God) and no Protestant is ever going to be convinced that Jesus was speaking of Peter rather than his profession of faith, "on THIS rock, I will build my church..." not "on you, Peter..." So you decide for yourself how important Peter is to you. What's important is the doctrine both he and Paul taught and not on who or what Peter was.
When a Christian answers this question they most normally mean what denomination instead of what religion because they have never bothered to learn and apply the proper definition of these terms. The majority of the answers you have received here show that most people responding have either acknowledged this short coming in the majority of their brothers and sisters and have responded accordingly so that they can be understood by the greatest number of readers, or they are among those who make this grave error. The simple answer to your question is that Paul and Peter were both Christian and both (especially Paul) worked hard to counter the denominational spirit that was already hard at work trying to cause separation in the body of Christ. Several chapters of 1 Corinthians address this matter directly. These include chapters 2, 3 where he defines such denominationalism as proof of spiritual immaturity and worldliness. He then goes on to define the maturity of apostleship which should be the goal of every believer, then addresses specific forms of spiritual immaturity and sin found in this church in the following chapters. Paul then goes on to explain the rights (and responsibilities) of the apostle (there are no rights without responsibility (this is something humans and their organizations, including the church, often forget) and self-discipline to follow the law of God is the greatest responsibility as defined by Paul). Paul then corrects certain other matters that are being misinterpreted by this church. Finally in chapter 12 Paul begins explaining the proper role of denominationalism in his discussion of the parts of the body of Christ. Paul takes this analogy a long ways and hints at some things he never actually says, but which I often teach. This may be unwise of me, but I am not yet ready to admit that. Paul tells us that the extremities of the body maintain their connection to the Head (Jesus) through the rest of the body. A possible part of what makes my teaching unwise is based upon 1 Corinthians 12:15-17. It is possible to say that by removing ourselves from the body of Christ, as many denominations do, it does not mean we cease to be a part of the body. However, following Paul's analogy we see that by separating ourselves from the rest of the body we lose our connection to Jesus. I only apply this to denominations, not to individuals. Paul's analogy applies both to individuals and to the organizations we call the church. The actual church of Jesus is not an organization of man, and our membership in that organization depends only on our relationship with Jesus, not with a relationship with any human organization. It is possible that a denomination does not cease to be a part of the body of Christ when it denies that all other denominations are the body of Christ, as many do (this was a common teaching of the denomination where I received my formal training), but anything that removes itself from the body also removes its connection to the head (Jesus) which is the source of life for the body parts. It ceases to be of use to the body (and the head) and to be controlled by the head. Therefore I teach that any denomination that teaches that it is the only true church proves that it is not Christian at all. As Paul teaches the body has need of all its parts. Every portion is necessary and every other portion is in some way incapacitated when another portion is cut off or otherwise disabled. It is true that the other senses and other body parts can step up and become even more useful as a result, but it is not right or even healthy that they become overworked doing the work of the portion that has become useless to the body. Paul and Peter were Christian; they were not Jewish, which had become a religion of man, only worshiping God with their lips, not their heart (Isa 29:13), nor Buddhist, nor Hindu nor any other. Yet Jesus said, I have sheep in many folds. His body is also in these folds.
Personally, I am yet to hear of any one religious sect claim Paul was a member. However, his teachings is a basis for many of the various denominations. But scripture clearly stipulates Paul was an ardent Christian critically committed to Christ and His will. By his teachings, you can envisage a man who looked only to Jesus for all He did. For he had given up much for the sake of Christ. He never even regarded his status as a Hebrew, neither did he take anymore his vast knowledge of the law to be anything of value (Philippians 3:7-8). To him, Jesus was all he had ever needed. On this account therefore, Paul ascribed to no religious sect. For if the Roman Catholic Church which is said to be the original branch of Christianity would claim Paul was a Roman Catholic, when we examine the teachings of Paul, do they rhyme with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? By calling it the Roman Catholic Church, it gives a strong notion that it originated from Rome. Does the Church of Christ originate from Rome? When Jesus was ascending to Heaven, He commanded the disciples never to leave Jerusalem. It was equally in Jerusalem in the upper room that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, with Mary mother of Jesus inclusive (Acts chapters 1 & 2). So, if there is anything to be called the earthly headquarters of the Church, it should have been Jerusalem. What about Peter? Much of my submission is going to be centered on Peter, for it is said the Roman Catholic Church is founded on him. For it is said that the institution of papacy began with Peter. On this account, we want to determine the the truth in this basing on the correctness of the claims made by the Catholic Church, one of which is; the infallibility of the pope, by this, we want to ask two questions; Was Peter infallible as is claimed the pope is? Can a human claim infallibility? Background It is claimed that Matthew 16:18 is the foundation of the papacy. It is said that when Jesus said Peter was a rock on whom Jesus would build the Church and the gates of Hades would never overcome it, He (Jesus) was founding the institution of the papacy on Peter. But if we examine the preceding conversation between Jesus and the Disciples, you realize that Jesus' statement stemmed from the earlier question which had been paused by Jesus and Peter happened to have answered it well. So when Jesus said you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it, it was not to be an attribute to the person of Peter, for it was on the idea of having had the proper revelation of who exactly Jesus is. Meaning, it is not supposed to be exclusive to Peter as a person, it is to everyone who gets the proper revelation of who exactly Jesus is. For the Church is strongly founded on Jesus being the Son of the living God. Whoever gets to know this, he/she automatically becomes a strong foundation upon which the Church is built. Jesus said Peter hadn't gotten the revelation by himself. It was by God. For Jesus is the cornerstone (Matt 21:42), (Psalms 118:22), (Acts 4:11). Was Peter infallible as is claimed the pope is? Peter was not infallible as the one who is said to be his successor claims to be. For on many occasions, Peter fell short of the required standards (all humans do). For in the very chapter of Matthew 16:23, Peter had contrasted with Jesus when Jesus talked of His death and resurrection. Peter denied Jesus three times (John 18:15-27), (Luke 54:60). For Peter was never to escape the human instinct by himself. Equally so, we see Paul castigating Peter over Peter's shaky stand about the gentiles' status and thereby being corrected by Paul (Galatians 2:11-14). If Peter is the foundation of the papacy and we see Peter being corrected, can the pope equally be corrected? Would the infallibility still be? NO HUMAN IS INFALLIBLE! On the account of the above, Paul and Peter belonged to no religious sect. They were simply Christians. CHRIST
"What religion was Paul and Peter?" Both Peter and Paul were Jewish, and both remained Torah observant Jews even after coming to faith in Jesus Christ. The scriptural evidence in the New Testament narrative overwhelmingly proves this. Even after coming to faith in Jesus Christ, Peter led the early Church in observing Shavuot (the "Feast of Weeks" or "Pentecost"; Ex 34:22) in the Temple (Acts 2:1, 46). Moreover, as a Torah observant Jewish believer in Jesus Christ, Peter continued to participate in Temple worship daily (Acts 3:1) and to observe Jewish dietary law (Acts 10:14). Likewise, there is preponderance of evidence proving that Paul remained Jewish after his "conversion" on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). Even after coming to faith in Jesus, Paul continued to self-identify as a Jew and a Pharisee (Acts 21:39; 22:3; 23:6). Moreover, he instructed Jews coming to faith in Jesus to REMAIN Jewish (1Cor 7:17-20), even circumcising Timothy (who was also considered Jewish under Jewish law) himself. (Acts 16:3). Reinforcing that same point, James (brother of Christ) reported that tens of thousands of Jesus' followers REMAINED Jews “zealous for for the Torah” (Acts 21:20). James even asked Paul to publicly demonstrate that he remained a Torah observant Jew by completing his Nazarite vow (Acts 18:18; 21:21-26)—a process which included presenting a sin offering (Nu 6:14) in the Temple. "...Are we following them rightly or wrongly?" That's a much trickier question, and the answer is likely different for Jewish believers than it is for gentile believers.
When Jesus started His ministry on earth, He did not start a new rival religion to the established church of the day (Judaism). He still attended the Temple services on Sabbath like any other Jew. He observed all the requirements that every male Jew in Judaism was expected to fulfil. Mat 17:24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax[i] came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?” 25 He said, “Yes, he does.” Even the Pharisees could not fault Him on that. We do not hear Him telling His listeners to leave the synagogue worship system. His disciples also did not abandon their Judaism religion when they followed Him. They would attend Temple services on Sabbath just like any ordinary Jew. Peter in particular was part of the inner circle with Jesus but still held fast to the Judaistic religious conviction. When Jesus died on the cross as the once for all sacrifice Peter understood that the dispensation had changed. Those services in the temple which foretold the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross had now been fulfilled and Christ the High Priest was now ministering for humanity in heaven. To Peter this was a seamless transition from temple animal sacrifices to believing that Christ had fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. What is interesting is that long after the ascension of Christ to heaven, we see Peter still attending the Synagogue services! See Acts 3 v 1-6. To me it is clear that Peter and Company did not view Judaism as a different religion as we view denominations today. Rather he saw it as a growth of the existing religion. Of course this went on until they were persecuted and kicked out of Jerusalem. Christianity should not be viewed as a different religion from Judaism, but rather as the development and growth of Judaism. The disciples did not leave the Judaistic religious set up of synagogues because they wanted to form a breakaway church, but rather because they were being persecuted. That is how the present day Christian Church set up came about. Paul was a Pharisee, and part of the Jewish religious set up. He was also persecuted out of that system, he left reluctantly and planted many churches in Asia Minor before his death. Reading through the writings of all the disciples it is clear that they base their Theology from the Old Testament and Judaism and then growing from there to Christ. In short I want to answer the question by saying that Peter and Paul were born into Judaism. The religious system of the day as established by God was Judaism until Christ died on the cross. A correct understanding of scripture by the religious leadership of the day would have led them to believe in Christ. John 5:39 “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.” If they had correctly understood the scriptures, there would have been a seamless transition from their religious practices to the modern dispensation. However, because they refused to accept Christ they remained in that old set up to this day. Those that accepted the new dispensation were persecuted until they left and formed a new movement which was then aptly named Christians because they spoke so much about Christ. I however want to make it very clear that at the time there were no denominations. It was just one mass movement of Christians. It is then debatable that we can say that the founding Christians were Catholic or whatever. What is important to me is that we all agree that we should follow in their footsteps. Let us say to ourselves that Christ did not die in vain. Let us endeavour to spread the good news far and wide and bring more people in.
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