This is me thinking out loud. The prominence of Peter in the New Testament is striking, but it does not mean what the modern RCC says it means. So what does it mean? I’m not sure. The famous passage from Matthew 16 says:
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
It looks to me like Jesus is addressing Peter, not everyone. Peter features prominently in the Gospels and the early part of Acts. He is given a lot of attention. His post-Resurrection restoration by Jesus is portrayed at length. Why? Why the focus on him?
- Peter was flawed, he was not infallible, he made mistakes.
- He was not in charge of the church in Jerusalem.
- Paul says Jesus appeared to him first of all.
- A party in Corinth claimed to be of him.
- He led the church in the earliest days.
- Peter was the rock, the leader of the early Church, but it was leadership in council, a conciliar model. He was not even first among equals, but one of perhaps a triad of leaders.
- I believe that he did go to Rome.
- The NT cannot possibly lay obedience to the See of Rome on believers as a necessity.
- Jesus built the church on Peter in some sense.
- The gates of hell did not prevail in some sense.