Section 2 of TPD is entitled, "The Papacy." It's a short chapter, under 1000 words. The temptation in reviewing it is is to respond at a much greater length, but for the sake of the same brevity, I'd like to focus on it as an example of assuming a Roman Catholic historical paradigm without proving it. Based on these unproven assumptions, TPD sets up another straw-man to knock down. If the papacy existed from the beginning, then logically for Protestants, "sometime between the first centuries of the Church and the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, the papacy as an office must have become corrupted, and God revoked his authority from it." TPD says that "An unbiased examination of the historical evidence, coupled with Peter’s words in his first epistle, make an overwhelming case for the first bishop of Rome being Peter and the line continuing in unbroken succession," yet the book only provides a surface-level biased interpretation of the evidence. It offers no counter-evidence to its claims, nor does it appear to function with an understanding of the difference between an interpretation of the facts and the facts themselves.
The section begins boldly stating, "The Church had a pope, a visible head, from the beginning." TPD simply assumes there was a monarchical episcopacy functioning in Rome "all the way back" without proving it. In order for any of TPD's claims to be true in this section, this fact would have to have been established from the outset. It isn't. For instance, we see this glaring factual omission in TPD's treatment of 1 Clement: "Clement begins the letter by stating that he writes from the church in Rome, strengthening the claim that this line of bishops dwelled in Rome and was begun by Peter." The letter being referred to doesn't identity its author. Rather, the letter says it's from "The Church of God which sojourneth in Rome to the Church of God which sojourneth in Corinth." There is not any sort of historical consensus that there was a monarchical episopate functioning in Rome at the time this letter was penned. Rather, this letter serves just as well as evidence that the church of Rome was led by a body of presbyters [see: Lampe, Peter. From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries Trans., Michael Steinhauser Ed., Marshall G. Johnson (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003].
TPD assumes that in 1 Peter 5:13 "Babylon" means "Rome," concluding Peter wrote from Rome, therefore he established the Roman church. Granted, TPD says "the Bible does not explicitly say 'Peter was the bishop of Rome.'" Rather for TPD, 1 Peter 5:13 is only "biblical evidence for the claim." But It's debatable whether or not "Babylon" means "Rome." 1 Peter 5:13 is the only shred of Biblical inferring evidence that TPD has proving Peter was the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The historical information given by Luke documents Peter’s ministry in Palestine and Syria. When Paul wrote to the Roman Church, there is not even a hint or allusion to Peter being its bishop. Similarly in the epistles written by Paul from Rome, any information linking Peter to Rome is absent. Here's TDP's Peter: the visible head of the Roman Catholic Church, with only one word of biblical support to prove it: the code word "Babylon." I'm reminded of Adam Clarke's old comment, "It's true that all the ancient ecclesiastical writers have ascribed to the word Babylon a mystical meaning; for though the Greek and Latin fathers commonly understood Rome, yet the Syriac and Arabic writers understood it literally, as denoting a town in the east; and if we are to be guided by opinion, an oriental writer is surely as good authority, on the present question, as a European."
TPD simply assumes Peter founded the church in Rome because he went there. On the one hand it presents evidence to prove "Peter was in Rome and established a church," and then a paragraph later states "Irenaeus spoke of the church in Rome founded by the apostles Peter and Paul." Which is it? I'll assume Mr. Rose will claim both are true. Whichever it is, the historical waters are quite murky for Rome's defenders in regard to Peter's physical presence in Rome. One tradition posits that Peter and Paul established the Roman Church in the early 40’s. Peter is said to have remained in Rome for twenty-five years, preaching the Gospel, and eventually writing the epistles of 1 and 2 Peter. Some versions of this twenty-five year period include Peter’s travels, with Rome serving as his “home base” when he wasn't on missionary trips or attending church councils. Other versions have Peter going to Rome shortly after the Jerusalem council in 49 AD, and then returning to Rome just prior to 60 AD. Yet another version has Peter going to Rome one time only: towards the end of life during Nero’s reign. It depends on which defender of Rome one is dealing with as to which version is utilized. Catholic Answers posits that "if Peter never made it to the capital, he still could have been the first pope, since one of his successors could have been the first holder of that office to settle in Rome." On the other hand, the Catholic Encyclopedia sees it as essential for Peter to be in Rome at some point: "The essential fact is that Peter died at Rome: this constitutes the historical foundation of the claim of the Bishops of Rome to the Apostolic Primacy of Peter." Yet for TPD, the reader is to trust that Mr. Rose is presenting an unbiased look at the facts. Some Protestants have looked at the same facts and have concluded that Peter may not have gone to Rome at all. Perhaps what Mr. Rose should have sought to provide is a fair accounting of differing interpretations rather than his own biased conclusions.
TPD states, "we know the names and approximate dates of all of the popes, all the way back to the first century."
The Problem of the Anti-Popes.
Another riddle of Roman Catholicism is the scandalous specter of having more than one infallible pope at the same time—a pope and an anti-pope. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says “there have been about thirty-five anti-popes in the history of the Church.” How can there be two infallible and opposing popes at the same time? Which is the true pope? Since there is no infallible list of popes or even an infallible way to determine who is the infallible pope, the system has a serious logical problem. Further, this difficulty has had several actual historical manifestations which bring into focus the whole question of an infallible pope. Geisler, N. L., and MacKenzie, R. E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: agreements and differences (p. 217). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.