“…Priscilla…Aquila…Epaenetus…Mary…Andronicus…Junia…Amplias…Urbanus…Stachys…Apelles…Aristobulus…Herodion…Narcissus…Tryphena…Tryphosa…Persis…Rufus…Asyncritus…Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes…Philologus…Julia, Nereus…and Olympas…” (Romans 16:3-15).
According to some, the apostle Peter ruled the church worldwide as Pope from the city of Rome. This claim is factually and historically incorrect in several ways. Consider this one: Where’s Peter?
As Paul closes out his epistle to the Romans, he sends his greetings to several people whose paths he had crossed heretofore. Read through those twenty-six names of Romans 16:3-15 again. Peter is missing. Supposedly the most important person in the church—its Pontiff—and he is not mentioned!
(Another important thing to note is that there is no mention of Peter in any of the four epistles Paul wrote several years later while imprisoned in Rome. In the “prison epistles” of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon he mentions Aristarchus, Mark, Justus. Epaphras, Luke, and Demas but never Peter.)
Why? The simplest and clearest reason for Paul’s omission of Peter—plus the need in Rome for spiritual gifts imparted by an apostle (Romans 1:11; Acts 8:14-18)—is that Peter was not in Rome and had never been.
If Peter never lived in Rome, the whole fiction about the papacy is crushed beneath the weight of historical fact.
So, the haunting and devastating question remains: Where’s Peter?