The answer to that is “no.” This view is based on the belief that the Apostle Peter was “the first Pope” and that the “church is founded on him.” The verse that Roman Catholics use to support their view is Matthew 16:18 where Jesus said to Peter, “And I also say that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” On the surface it looks like Peter may indeed be “the ROCK upon which the church is built” but as we examine the context in which this verse is found we learn that Jesus Christ is the rock and not Peter. Let’s read the verses leading up to this statement:

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (verses 13-17). 

The context makes it plain that Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” is the ROCK upon which the church is founded. In other words, the ROCK is the Person of Jesus Christ. Do we have other scriptures to support this view? Yes, we do. Ephesians 2:20 says of the church, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF BEING THE CHIEF CORNER STONE.” In 1st Corinthians 3:11 we read, “For no other FOUNDATION can anyone lay than that which is laid, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST.” This makes it crystal-clear that the church, which is being built by Jesus Christ, is founded upon JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. The very moment faith springs up in a sinner’s heart and he/she confesses that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God,” they become part of the church (the only “church” that Scripture speaks of). In Acts chapter 2 we have the “birthday of the church” (on the day of Pentecost) and the last verse declares, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” I will add one more passage to show that Jesus Christ is the Rock (the “chief cornerstone”) and that the sinner who believes in Him is BUILT UPON HIM. “Coming to Him as to a living STONE, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are BUILT UP A SPIRITUAL HOUSE, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a CHIEF CORNERSTONE, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame’” (1st Peter 2:4-7).

If we lay hold of this truth that every sinner who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God becomes a member of the true and only church, we can’t accept the view that the Roman Catholic church was founded by Jesus Christ. As we have seen, they base their view on a false premise (that Peter is “the Rock” upon which the church is built). Besides that, we have seen that the moment a sinner is saved through faith in Jesus Christ they are “added to the church.” The Roman Catholic church denies this, and they teach the very opposite. They teach that you must “join their ‘church’ first and then you can be saved.” Their view of salvation is based on WORKS all the way through, starting with BAPTISM and CONFIRMATION and continuing on with CONFESSION (of sins to a mere man), participating in THE MASS, praying the ROSARY, receiving PENANCE when you sin, and at the end of your life one must receive a priest’s LAST RITES (where he prays for you to commend you to God shortly before you die). I will add that it doesn’t stop there, for after one passes off this scene, he/she goes to a place called PURGATORY to suffer for sins in order to be “purged” (cleansed from those sins). All of this is a blatant denial of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (see John 19:30 with Hebrews 1:3; 10:12 & 14). (477.5)  (DO)