No one in their right mind would say that in the first say 500-600 years of the Church's history there was any papacy like the one we have today. It is not just a doctrine that developed but one that morphed into something the early Church would find unrecognizable -- as proven by the Eastern rejection of the papacy to this day. I say this as one who would find a single voice speaking for Christendom to be of a great help and aid in our world today. The reality is that Francis is not that voice and the papacy was invented from passages that the rest of the apostles would have hardly recognized as having to do with anything like the modern day papacy.
As we Lutherans approach the anniversary of the shot heard round the world, we would do well that the papacy was not so much rejected by Lutherans as simply not found in Scripture or the earliest of Christian history. We have no doubt that Rome finds the papacy behind every passage but it is a curiously invented exegesis that begs the wrong question. The rock of the Church is Christ. Christ is the rock on which the Church is built. Calling Peter a pebble is not taking anything away from him. He would have said he is a small stone and Christ the rock and foundation of the faith and the Church that bears His name. The miracle here is not that Jesus went looking for a big stone on which to build His Church and found it in Peter but that, as Peter himself says, He builds up His Church as a living temple with living stones. Peter, yes, of course, but not only or exclusively Peter. Every apostle ends up with the authority granted first to Peter in Matthew 16 and while Peter may have had the gumption (or gall) to speak up for them all, they were granted equal authority for the work Christ set them apart to do. The Easter evening ordination in John 20 did not single out Peter at all but Jesus spoke the Spirit to them all and they were all set apart or ordained for their apostolic ministry rooted in the Office of the Keys. All pastors share in this office and its authority conferred upon them in their ordination.
While it is wise and good to have a hierarchy of administration practicing ecclesiastical oversight, this is an authority the Church grants and not one of a papal office or an episcopal office that holds all the powers while pastors or priests have but a few. This does not diminish the necessary and essential episcopal oversight of doctrine and practice nor does it make those who hold that office any more an administrator or less a pastor or priest of the Church. The difference is not in office but in jurisdiction. Those who label ordination or such jurisdictional distinctions mere apostolic custom have a rude and arrogant way of looking at what the apostles did.
Lets be real here. Peter was inspired to make his bold confession and everyone who says Jesus is Lord is likewise inspired by the same Spirit. Reason, deduction, or intellectual pursuit cannot lead to such faith but only the Spirit can. The Spirit working through the means of grace does just that. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10). We do not need an infallible office but we surely need a Scripture which cannot betray us and one that is efficacious and will always accomplish God's purpose in speaking it. If we have that, we have enough. Popes do not fix problems; they create them. An authoritative Scripture is not a pope by another name but God doing what God has promised He would do. Our problem is that we simply are not sure that is enough and we continue to have an inflated view of both our reason and our office. In our attempts to ennoble the humble office, we miss the whole point. It never was simply about Peter but about every Christian in whom the Holy Spirit prompts faith and the faithful confession. Every time that happens small stones are made into strong rocks not by the might of the man but the power of the Spirit. It is a miracle that God works through a man like Peter but no less a miracle is God working through you and me. The miracle does not lie in an office with guarantees of truth but a Word that will never let us down and will, by the power of the Spirit, lead us to and keep us in the faith.