For some reason, I was thinking about the structure of the New Testament Church after the ascension of the Savior. What is clear is that Peter is the Chief Apostle and the one left in charge by Christ.  By LDS theology, Peter held the Keys of the Kingdom as “President of the Church” although two LDS Church Presidents, David O. McKay and Spencer W. Kimball, likened his position more as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. But who succeed Peter after his death?

And as a second thought, what of all the doctrine taught by Paul? Did he have the authority to declare Church doctrine?

Peter’s death is not recorded in the New Testament and any information is not terribly reliable.  He is thought to have died in Rome and is buried at the Vatican.  According to the Catholic Church, the Pope that follows Peter as the leader is Linus, The Bishop of Rome, who may or may not be the person mentioned 2 Timothy 4:21. However, no credible evidence exists that the Office of Bishop of Rome has anything to do with the Holy Apostleship.  It is therefore, unclear, who, if anyone succeed Peters as the Head of the Church with the Keys of the Priesthood.

The Apostle Paul was certainly among the most prolific New Testament writers with 13 of the epistles attributed to him included in the canon of the New Testament. We also know that he was a “second generation” Apostle, having had a vision of the Savior, but not having ever been in His earthly presence.

So Christ’s teachings Paul received were basically transmitted second hand from the Apostles who knew Christ personally.

In Paul’s writings, he declared doctrine on these important issues:

a.      Men and Women must be redeemed from the fall.

b.      Justification by Faith, no longer following the Law of Moses

c.       Salvation by Grace, through the Atonement of Christ

d.      We become new creatures in Christ, our nature changed.

e.      Gifts of the Spirit

f.        Jesus Christ transcends all things

And many others.

The question is this:

Was Paul’s teaching established doctrine taught by Christ and/or authorized by the Chief Apostle after Christ’s death, or was he proclaiming new doctrine, never before taught?  And if he was doing the latter, did he possess the authority to do so?

The Christian world, including the LDS, rely very, very heavily of the writings of Paul for much of its doctrinal justification, so it is important to know whether Paul was acting under authority or just preaching his own ideas.

What do you think?