Those who have placed their faith in Christ, as Peter did, are the church.
This flies right smack into the face of reality, and could have been a joke had not the author sounded so serious.
Could we assume that EVERYONE, okay, let’s not use everyone, but MAJORITY. Could we assume that majority of “Protestantism’s” 33,000 denominations “have placed their faith in Christ?
Yes, you’d probably say.
Now I ask you: didn’t Jesus say that his Church would be marked by unity—one Lord. one Faith, one Baptism (Eph 4:3-6; John 10:16)?
Could you, with a straight face, say that “Protestantism’s” wrangling tower of Babel 33,000 denominations display this unity? Some favor water baptism, others Spirit baptism only. Some accept infant baptism, others adult baptism only. Some accept divorce with remarrying, others do not. Some accept abortion others do not. Some accept same-sex marriage, some do not.
Petros, means a small stone (John 1:42). Jesus used a play on words here with petra (“on this rock”) which means a foundation boulder, as in Matthew 7:24, 25 when He described the rock upon which the wise man builds his house.
CatholicCredit: Karl Keating)
As Greek scholars—even non-Catholic ones—admit, the words petros and petra were synonyms in first century Greek. They meant “small stone” and “large rock” in some ancient Greek poetry, centuries before the time of Christ, but that distinction had disappeared from the language by the time Matthew’s Gospel was rendered in Greek. The difference in meaning can only be found in Attic Greek, but the New Testament was written in Koine Greek—an entirely different dialect. In Koine Greek, “petros” and “petra” simply meant “rock.” If Jesus had wanted to call Simon a small stone, the Greek “lithos” would have been used.
In addition, the New Testament makes it abundantly clear that Christ is both the foundation (Acts 4:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 3:11) and the head (Ephesians 5:23) of the church.
Catholics believe, perhaps much more than you do, that Christ is both the foundation and the head of the Church. But unlike you, Catholics do not suffer from an all too common “Protestant”
malady: the “either-or” dichotomy: either it’s Jesus or it’s not. Somehow, “Protestants” couldn’t believe that, as in this case, Jesus is the foundation and the head, but, while remaining as the foundation and the head, might have delegated this responsibility to Peter, which is what happened as Mt 16:19 and Isaiah 22 clearly shows.
THE POWER OF THE KEYS
Mt 16:19 “I will give to thee [SINGULAR] the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Doubting Protestants could always check the Greek original.
It’s NOT TRUE, however, what the Protestants claim that Jesus gave the other Apostles the same Power of the Keys to the other Apostles. That’s baloney:
(1) In the first place, NOWHERE in Scripture does Jesus give a similar power to the Apostles as Mt 18:18 and Jn 20:23 show the giving of the power and binding to BOTH Peter and the other Apostles. I dare Protestants to show even just one passage in the Bible that shows Jesus giving the Power of the Keys to ANY OTHER.
(2) In the second place, Mt. 16:19 is quite clear: “I will give to thee [SINGULAR] the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Doubting Protestants could always check the Greek original.
(3) And finally, the Keys, as Isaiah 22 and Rev 1:18 clearly show, is the hallmark of AUTHORITY.
You will hear Protestants pooh-pooh the “keys to the kingdom” as a symbolic statement of Peter preaching the Gospel for the first time with an international kingdom. One Protestant would even claim that Peter’s preaching to the “international” audience at Pentecost fulfills once for all the Biblical injunction for the Apostles to preach the kingdom to all the ends of the earth, that this responsibility was fulfilled when Peter, through his sermon to devout Jews from all nations at Pentecost, opened the kingdom of God to the listeners when he preached salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Silly. I mean, would any Protestant in his right mind claim that? And what about the billions of human beings who would come after the Pentecost crowd would have died, would they be deprived of the benefits the Power of the Keys bring, just because they have not been fortunate enough to have been born when Peter was around?
The Protestants pooh-poohing the Power of the Keys as the phrase means among Catholics could very well be well-founded, EXCEPT that there’s this entire chapter in Scripture—Isaiah 22 – which Jesus definitely knew about, and which he probably used so that the meaning of the “keys of heaven and earth” may not be lost to future human beings.
Let’s go deeper into Isaiah 22 (Credit: Scott Hahn). In v.19 it says “I [referring to the King] will thrust you [referring to the previous chamberlain of the royal household] from your office and you will be cast down from your station and on that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah [the new chamberlain of the royal household], and I will clothe him with your robe and will bind your girdle on him and will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; and I will place on his shoulder they key of the House of David. He shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open. He will become a throne of honor to his father’s house.”
Now, what’s going on here? Hezekiah was, at the time, the king over Israel. He was the son of David, hundreds of years after David had died. He was in the line of David and also he was ruler over the House of David. Now all kings in the ancient world had, as kings and queens have these days, cabinet officers. Now among cabinet ministers, there is one who’s chief, sort of a Prime Minister. Hezekiah, as king, had, as his “Prime Minister” before Shebna, who proved unworthy. So Shebna was expelled, and his departure left his office vacant. Hezekiah had Eliakim fill the vacated post.
Now, Eliakim is a minister in the royal cabinet, but now he is being promoted to the “Prime Minister’s” position. Proof? He is given what other ministers were not given: they keys of the kingdom, the key to the House of David.
When Jesus is giving to Peter the keys of the kingdom, Jesus gives Peter the Prime Minister’s office.
Take this up with ANY Protestant, and he will pooh-pooh Isaiah 22. “Does Isaiah 22 mention the name of Peter?” one asked, in a very silly manner which betrays his fear that Isaiah 22 might be showing him the truth, Imagine, this Protestant has no qualms using Eph 6:1-12 to reference Eph 3:8-10, yet he absolutely refuses to even consider the possibility that Mt 18:18 might reference Isaiah 22. And this should be a lesson to gullible Catholics who are thinking of converting: no matter how knowledgeable your Protestant teacher is, he is not in any position to teach, for the simple reason that he is NOT in possession of the truth. It’s as simple as that.
So, Jesus’ words here are best interpreted as a simple play on words in that a boulder-like truth came from the mouth of one who was called a small stone. And Christ Himself is called the “chief cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:6, 7).
The chief cornerstone of any building was that upon which the building was anchored. If Christ declared Himself to be the cornerstone, how could Peter be the rock upon which the church was built?
It is more likely that the believers, of which Peter is one, are the stones which make up the church, anchored upon the Cornerstone, “and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).
Similar questions as the preceding.
Even if Peter is the rock in Matthew 16:18, this is meaningless in giving the Roman Catholic Church any authority.
I have given the verse-by-verse in an earlier post on where the Church gets her authority.
Scripture nowhere records Peter being in Rome.
In fact, there is. Holy Scripture contains a passage which supports Peter being in Rome. 1 Peter 5:13 says “The Church which is at Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does my son Mark. “Babylon” is code for Rome, much as the fish symbol (icthos) was used as sort of shibboleth, a recognition signal. Why would Peter resort to code words? Acts 18:2 describes how the Roman emperor Claudius (A.D. 41- 54) ordered all Jews to leave Rome, necessitating secrecy.
And come to think of it, just GRANTING that Peter was never in Rome, does that automatically and by itself DISPROVE the papacy? Granting for the sake of argument that Peter was never to Rome, couldn’t he still have been the first Pope, since one of his successors could have been the first holder of that office to settle there?
Scripture nowhere describes Peter as being supreme over the other apostles.
If by that you mean a verse which says “Jesus said to Peter, ‘Peter you have supremacy over all the other Apostles,’” well, NO.
But then, consider:
(a) Peter’s words are the first recorded in the Upper Room before the Pentecost (Acts 1:15-22).
(b) Peter is the first to speak (and only one to speak as recorded), the first one to preach the Gospel (Acts 2:14—36).
(c) Peter alone interpreted Psalms in the decision to let the position vacated by Judas be filled by a replacement, Matthias. Acts 1:20 “Let his bishopric someone else take,” Peter decided without calling for a vote or even a discussion.
(d) It was Peter who, without consulting anyone, made the decision to baptize the Gentile Cornelius and his household on the basis of Peter’s vision at Joppa. Isn’t it presumptuous or even reckless and irresponsible for Peter to make that strategic decision alone if he were not the boss?
(e) It was Peter who made the decision at the Council of Jerusalem that grace, not works of law, is required for salvation. The claim by Protestants that it was James, not Peter who made the decision from James’ statement “It is MY judgment” is clutching at straws.
First, it is only in Protestant bibles that the statement is rendered “It is MY judgment,” implying authority. The Catholic Vulgate renders it “Propter quod ego iudico. . .” which is rendered in the Catholic RSV Bible as “Therefore my judgment is. . .” which suggests James giving his concurrence, which just happens to coincide with Peter’s.
Let you, readers, decide, which of the two views—the Protestants’ or the Catholics’—is closer to the intention of Luke.
Readers are invited to check out for themselves Acts15:6-29:
“The apostles and elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And AFTER THERE HAD BEEN MUCH DEBATE, Peter rose and said to them, Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.
“AND ALL THE ASSEMBLY KEPT SILENCE. . .”
One has to have a good idea of the trouble the division caused – on whether Gentile Christians have to be circumcised to be Christians. One has to understand the vehemence of the Jewish hardliners associated with James, himself a very much-respected apostle being Jesus’ cousin and bishop of Jerusalem, citing as they must have the covenant God made with Abraham (cf Gen 17) and the notion that the Law, once made, is for all times.
Yet when Peter spoke, debate stopped, and the decision was promulgated ON THE SPOT (Acts 15:13-29).
Even the Council of Jerusalem itself is proof that in the early Church is a hierarchy AND A PROCEDURE which everyone, even Paul and Barnabas, followed.
One has to know the “situation on the ground” then. The persecution of Christians following Stephen’s death actually hastened the spread of Christianity to the Gentiles. The Jewish Christians who fled Jerusalem settled in Gentile country, and there preached not only to fellow evacuee Jews but to Gentiles as well. In the process, many Gentiles were converted, raising the grisly prospect among Jewish Christians of a horde of uncircumcised Gentile Christians far outnumbering the Jewish Christians.
So parties of Jewish Christians called “Judaizers” went around Galatia and Antioch, then places where Paul taught, telling the Gentile Christians just the opposite of what Paul taught, which, take note, is what the Council of Jerusalem also decided: grace, not works of Law, is what’s required for salvation.
Paul and Barnabas took this matter up with the Jewish Christians, but they couldn’t resolve the matter among themselves. So guess what they did? Precisely what Mt 18:15-18 says: TAKE IT TO THE CHURCH.
(f) Even the Rebuke, which Protestants with barely concealed glee use to discredit the primacy of Peter, actually works to affirm Peter’s primacy.
Readers will know more in Gal 2:11, but in Antioch, as earlier narrated, Peter started avoiding sitting at tables with Gentile Christians every time the Judaizers were around. This infuriated Paul, as Peter’s strange behavior belie his pronouncements at the Council of Jerusalem years earlier. And what would the other Christians think: that the decision has now been reversed? Indeed, isn’t Barnabas avoiding sitting at table with the Gentile Christians every time the Judaizers were around a foretaste of the damage Peter’s ambivalence could cause?
So Paul “withstood Peter to his face.”
Now Protestants could barely hide their glee: isn’t this abundantly enough to cast doubt on Peter’s alleged leadership of the Church? If Peter’s boss, how can an underling REBUKE him?
Rather than show Peter’s subordinate status, the Rebuke actually shows Peter’s headship.
Had an ordinary person done what Peter did, would it have caused Paul to react the way he did? Most likely not. But Peter? That seemingly innocent move, coming as it does from the head of the Church could signal a strategic shift. That’s why Paul is correct in calling Peter’s attention to his error.
(g) Barnabas is Paul’s bosom body. It was Barnabas who brought Paul to the Apostles, Barnabas who was Paul’s partner in his journeys, Barnabas who picked up the almost lifeless body of Paul who was lynched by the crowd who earlier lionized Paul as a god for making a lame man walk.
Yet it was the same Barnabas who, when Peter started avoiding sitting at tables with Gentile Jews every time Judaizers were around, almost by reflex avoided sitting at table with Gentile Christians too.
Now, why EVER would Barnabas do that? Note that Barnabas was a highly respected man in the early Church. Articulate and yet of the most gentle and mild character (he was called “Son of Consolation” for the way he would always sympathize with others, consoling them). If put on a stage together with Peter, people would likely readily choose Barnabas. Why then, did Barnabas by reflex chose to side with Peter, not Paul? The answer is simple: Peter was boss.
The New Testament does not describe Peter as being the “all authoritative leader” of the early Christian church.
Peter was not the first pope, and Peter did not start the Roman Catholic Church.
The origin of the Catholic Church is not in the teachings of Peter or any other apostle. If Peter truly was the founder of the Roman Catholic Church, it would be in full agreement with what Peter taught (Acts chapter 2, 1 Peter, 2 Peter).