Why did the Church move?


This document discusses the move of the early Church from Jerusalem to Rome. Currently this is a mere excerpt form a much larger document by David Macdonald of Catholic Bridge (see citation below). I will expand this document as time allows.

Why did the Church move to Rome from Jerusalem?

Peter, who was given the keys, died in Rome and that's where his successors were. Meanwhile in Jerusalem in 70 AD a great persecution made the Church almost completely inactive there until about 130 AD. Just as the Old Testament is full of foreshadows of the New Testament, Catholics believe the Bible is clear that the New Jerusalem of the Book of Revelation is not the historic city of Jerusalem. After the death of Jesus, the Old Testament prophesies about Jerusalem were clearly understood as a reference to God's people rather than the historic city of Jerusalem. This paved the way for the move to Rome.

Jesus wanted the Gospel preached through all the world. If there had no been persecutions in Jerusalem it is questionable how far the Gospel would have traveled. The persecutions forced the apostles outward. We see in the book of Acts a powerful movement to establish the Church in Rome. That is where the book of Acts finishes. St. Luke states, “This is how we finally came to Rome” (Acts 28:14). Some Evangelicals think the Book of Acts ends too abruptly. They fail to see that the establishment of the Early Church in Rome was the goal and Luke ends his book when this is accomplished.

There is no biblical evidence of a power struggle between St. James (the Bishop of Jerusalem) and St. Peter.

“Simon, Simon! Remember Satan has asked for you (Greek plural-“you all”), to sift you all like wheat. But I have prayed for you (Greek singular-“you alone”) that your faith may never fail. You in turn must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

Peter oversaw the grafting in of the Samaritans, and then the Gentiles. This could have wrecked the faith, but under Peter's guidance the Church went along with it, because he was their leader. Jesus said "make disciples of all peoples" (Mat 28:19) and that could best be accomplished through the communications centre of the world, which was Rome.

From a clearly practical standpoint, I can't possibly imagine how the Church could have succeeded with the Pope in Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been in a constant state of turmoil, and has been conquered many times. Jerusalem was under Islamic rule for many of centuries since the time of Christ. I can imagine the fate of the seat of Christ under Islamic Rule. It would have been a disaster. I think God knew what he was doing when he moved the seat of the Church away from that hotbed.


This document uses material by David Macdonald [1]. Used under the Fair Use statutes of United States Copyright law. For Scholarly use.