Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« Getting Confirmation About Confirmation | Main | Noah's Ark? »

April 25, 2004

Comments

John O.

Hello brother. Just a short comment on the Pope becoming Islam. Of course he could be converted to Islam. The same way you or I could be. The reason is that he is no different than either of us in any way. He is just a man who needs Jesus Christ and salvation to have any hope of going to heaven.. thanks and God bless you.

jure

Jimmy (or anyone)!

Can you tell me, where to find the exegesis of Matthew 16:19 from the pen of the Father who has it most articulated, or is most responsible for the understanding that Peter is the rock.

Thank you for your help

Rotten Orange

Dear jure

While no one else gives better references, take a look at this, this, this; and also this.

I hope it's better than nothing.

John

Regarding Petros vs. Petra...
I also heard that if taken in Aramaic, which is what Jesus most likely spoke in... Rock and pebble are both "Kephas" However in Greek, Petros is male and Petra is female..so it would be grammatically incorrect, and possibly insulting if Kephas was translated as Petra instead of Petros. -- Which further shows how they were interchangeable based on context/inflection.

DG

The problem with using the argument of Armaic is that in Greek there are 2 different words used, that of petra and petros. The further problem with the argument of saying it would only be proper for Petros to be used creates and or begs the question: why didn't Matthew make it quite simply you are petros and on this petros I will build my church??

If the words petra and petros are so interchangeable then why use both. Make it clear to everyone that Petros(peter) is the same Petros(peter) the church is built or founded upon. So then Matthew 16 would say you are petros and on this petros I will build my church.

One additional problem with the use of the word church is that the Greek word is Ekklesia which from a Christian sense means an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting. We typically think of church as a building but in fact Jesus wasn't saying he was building a physical structure, HE was building or founding a body of believers which would be based on the confession that Peter just made. If Jesus says who do you say that I am, to which Peter says you are the Messiah, to which Jesus responds on this rock I will build/found a body of believers, then it only makes sense that it's not who peter is that the body of believers is founded upon, it's what peter just said.

q-bert

Hi DG,
Jimmy already addresses this when he says:

"Greek is an inflected (not "reflexive") language, which means that the forms of nouns change based on the function a word is performing in a sentence."

The form changed because now its function was to refer to Church (petra) as opposed to Peter (petros).

Like in spanish if you were referring to a shirt (feminine) you'd say "Camisa roja". But, if (for some odd reason you had a red cat) you wouldn't say "gato roja"... you'd say "gato rojo". Cat is a masculine noun.

SDG

If Jesus says who do you say that I am, to which Peter says you are the Messiah, to which Jesus responds on this rock I will build/found a body of believers, then it only makes sense that it's not who peter is that the body of believers is founded upon, it's what peter just said.

If the conversation happened the way you reported, you might have a case, but you've skipped about half of Jesus' declaration in order to get the reading you want.

Consider Jesus' response structurally:

A. Blessed are you, Simon son of John;
A1. for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
A2. but my Father in heaven.

B. And I say to you that you are Rock;
B1. and on this rock I will build my Church,
B2. and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

C. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven;
C1. whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
C2. and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Three interrelated statements, each composed of three parts, following the same pattern -- a primary declaration (A, B, C) followed by an explanatory doublet commenting the primary declaration.

In all three cases, the primary declaration (A, B, C) is about Peter. Eliding Jesus' explanatory comments, the saying is summarized: "Blessed are you, Simon son of John ... I for my part say to you that you are Rock ... and I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven."

Likewise, the doublets explain and comment on the primary statement. Jesus is talking about Peter the whole time. "...for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you / but my Father in heaven" is a commentary on Peter's blessedness. Likewise, "...whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven / and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" is a commentary on Jesus giving Peter the keys.

In the same way, "and on this rock I will build my Church / and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" is a commentary on Jesus naming Peter "Rock." This is what it means that Peter is Rock: On this rock He will build His church, etc.

By contrast, on your reading, Jesus changes gears twice, shifting from talking about Peter to talking about something else, to talking about Peter again. "I say to you that you are Rock, and -- changing gears a bit -- upon this other rock, your confession, I will build my church... And, getting back to you, Peter, I will give you the keys of the kingdom..." Not very persuasive, which is why Protestant as well as Eastern Orthdoox biblical scholarship today acknowledges that the rock Jesus speaks of is Peter himself.

jtr

I have a question:

If this is so straight forward, how come the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants do not acknowledge Peter as the first Pope?

OldWorldSwine

If Jesus didn't want Simon being confused with the Rock of which he spoke, then I have to say that changing Simon's name to "Rock" (on the spot) didn't do a thing to clear up that confusion. "And I say to you, you are Rock... but on some *other* rock, I will build my Church... but I'm changing your name to Rock, anyhow, just because I like the sound."

????????????

The only way a person could come away from this passage thinking that Peter's *statement* was "the Rock" on which the Church would be built is if they already carried that opinion with them and projected it onto the text.

The plain meaning of the text is that Peter is the Rock. Any other interpretation requires a great deal of mental gymnastics and an imagination unencumbered by facts.

q-bert

"If this is so straight forward, how come the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants do not acknowledge Peter as the first Pope?"

Just because consensus doesn't exist doesn't mean there isn't an objective truth with respects to the matter at hand.

SDG

If this is so straight forward, how come the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants do not acknowledge Peter as the first Pope?

That Peter is the rock is pretty straightforward, and generally acknowledged by contemporary Protestant and Eastern Orthodox biblical scholarship. Put the other way round, that Peter is not the rock is at this point pretty much a red herring. What it means that Peter is the rock takes some unpacking, and is certainly not as straightforward.

AFAICT, most Orthodox acknowledge -- in some sense -- a "primacy of Peter," as well as a "primacy of Rome." Among the Orthodox there is a diversity of opinion and emphasis regarding, among other things, what Jesus intended by Peter's primacy, how or whether the primacy of the Roman Church is or is not related to the primacy of Peter, and whether the primacy of the Roman Church is a purely human custom or whether it has a place in the divine economy.

Orthodox viewpoints on this matter come in more minimalistic and more maximalistic flavors. I suspect that a meaningful formulation of Petrine primacy that is compatible with at least some threads of Orthodox thought and also consistent what is essential in Catholic thought is more conceivable than many on both sides would guess.

The Masked Chicken

Greek does not have quotation marks. The use of quotation or re-iteration as a semiote (elementary symbol or sign) to indicate that a joke has been played is quite common in humor. Ordinarily, the two different meanings are simultaneously stored within a single semiote (usually, a word) which the joke unpacks, like in the snide comment from Groucho Marx:

Why don't you bore a hole in your head and let the sap run out...

Sap(1) = sugar and sap(2) = stupidity

The two different senses can be separated by re-iteration, however, such as in the example (again, from Marx):

Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?

Jesus is telling the truth but, I suspect that he also poking a little fun at Simon so as to keep him from getting a swelled head and also because he knew that Peter would deny him, but repent (so much for being a Rock). Reading the passage with emoticons, it would read:

B. And I say to you that you are Rock;
B1. and on this "rock" :) I will build my Church,
B2. and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

The emotional content of the statement is not conveyed in the Greek in this instance (if my interpretation is correct), because the Greek form which this is taken lacked punctuation. It was the Lord's practice to take the weak and poor things of this earth and elevate them. In the first use of rock, Jesus elevated Peter; in the second, he states his true condition as poor and weak. Jesus is using the second rock, metaphorically, to refer to Peter, not his faith.

I suspect that Jesus did exactly the same thing when, after James and John wanted to call down fire on a town (Luke 9:54) he took to calling them Boanerges, which means, "sons of thunder". The word thunder is derived from a similar word in greek which means to roar.

The Chicken


The Masked Chicken

That should read:

The emotional content of the statement is not conveyed in the Greek in this instance (if my interpretation is correct), because the Greek from which this is taken lacked punctuation.

The Chicken

Elizabeth

in the second, he states his true condition as poor and weak.

So why wouldn't the (second) rock, upon which Jesus will build his church, be the poor, lowly, meek, humble, who hears and gives up everything, who "emptied himself", namely, Jesus Christ, in whom Peter abided?

As Paul said, "No one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ."

And as Jesus said, "I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock... Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock."

Or, seen another way, the rock is "the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone."

OldWorldSwine

"...if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

1 Timothy 3:15

"Christ is all, and is in all", but that does not preclude his using intermediaries like the Church or the Pope if it pleases him.

SDG

Elizabeth: Your own citations offer contrasting metaphors: On the one hand, no one can lay any other foundation than Jesus; on the other hand, the apostles and prophets are the foundation, and Jesus is the capstone. Tim provides a similar point of contrast. Matthew 16 is another: In this passage, Peter is the rock on which the church is built.

Again, this is not a controversial point of Catholic apologetics, but is commonly acknowledged by Protestant biblical scholarship.

bill912

"So why wouldn't the (second) rock, upon which Jesus will build his church, be the poor, lowly, meek, humble, who hears and gives up everything, who "emptied himself", namely, Jesus Christ, in whom Peter abided?"

See SDG's comment of 12/19/08 at 2:03PM.

Elizabeth

That "no one can lay any other foundation than Jesus" and "the apostles and prophets are the foundation and Jesus is the capstone" aren't different hands so much as of the same person, not opposed to one another. As Tim said, Christ is all in all. Jesus is the rock. Peter is rock. The apostles and prophets are rock. If there's any "intermediary" foundation, it is Jesus Christ, the rock. Christ is all in all.

Elizabeth

DG wrote:

HE was building or founding a body of believers which would be based on the confession that Peter just made.

Indeed, the Church teaches in CCC#424: "We believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.'"

it only makes sense that it's not who peter is that the body of believers is founded upon, it's what peter just said.

You seem to speak of "who Peter is" and "what Peter said" as if they pose a conflict, but Peter is Peter because of what he said. As the Church teaches, "Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church."

SDG

Indeed, the Church teaches in CCC#424: "We believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.'"

Just to clarify, this is a liturgical gloss rooted in a patristic tradition that was never pitted against Peter himself being the rock as the primary meaning of the text. Some of the same early Fathers (e.g., Augustine) who called Peter's faith the rock also acknowledged elsewhere Peter himself as the rock.

In fact, AFAIK, in commentary on Matthew 16 (as opposed to homiletical or theological free association), the rock is either usually or always identified as Peter himself, not his faith; and AFAIK it was never denied that Peter is the rock. IOW, no early Father ever said "The rock is not Peter himself, but Peter's faith." Some spoke of "the rock of Peter's faith," but when it came to explaining Matthew 16, the common understanding was the obvious and correct one: The rock Jesus is talking about is Peter himself.

And, again, this is commonly acknowledged today as the correct reading by Protestant biblical scholarship.

salubrious

Elizabeth,

A very good post. You prove my point that the Freemasons from Vatican II no longer agree with traditional Catholic teaching. Consequently, they are using the CCC as a tool to slowly migrate Catholics to a type of Protestant church.

Note: The way to boil a living frog is to slowly warm the water until he cooks. A living frog has enough sense to jump out of boiling water. Vatican II knows this otherwise the sheep would flee the sinking ship. Thus in 3 Generations the Vatican II Catholic church will be Protestant.

bill912

The above would be your basic Hobby Horse comment.

The Masked Chicken

Note: The way to boil a living frog is to slowly warm the water until he cooks. A living frog has enough sense to jump out of boiling water.

I think this old canard has been questioned. Gotta love 19th century science. How could they adjust water by .002 degrees Celsius (.0036 degrees Fahrenheit) per second. This feat would call for modern thermoregulators.

Flee, frogs! This is not a drill.

On the other hand, the Milgram Experimen has just been replicated (as reported on major news outlets). This is truly frightening, although it has nothing to do with Salubrious's point, since the very presence of rad-trad's and dissenter's arguments as well as the access to historical documents and historical witnesses keeps catholic apologists from being mere automatons, but rather, connected to a living past that has always held for the truth.

At the risk of starting something I probably don't want to, Salubrious, do you at least believe that Pope John XXIII was a valid pope? If so, was Vatican II a valid Council? If so, then why are we in the mess we are (I can think of some). Don't just criticize, explain. That is the best way to approach without antagonizing. No one here is claiming that many members of the Church are not following the teachings of the Church. That is different than saying that Vatican II went off of the rails.

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

Okay, it's 19th-century.

The Dashing-Through-the-Snow (sounds better than Hyphening-Through-the-Snow) Chicken

The Masked Chicken

...and it's Experiment.

Petros, petra...maybe they had a guy like me for a speller in the New Testament...

The Chicken

SDG

You prove my point that the Freemasons from Vatican II no longer agree with traditional Catholic teaching.

salubrious: Do you fear God?

The question goes beyond traditionalist or non-dissenting, Catholic or Protestant, Christian or non-Christian. Just because I believe the Catholic faith and reject Protestantism, that doesn't mean that any argument against Protestantism that enters into my head is honest and truthful. Even if one is in the service of the truth, that doesn't make everything one might say legitimate.

A suspect may be guilty; that doesn't mean that evidence hasn't been planted, or that eyewitnesses haven't perjured themselves. Likewise, regardless whether one is right or wrong about one's basic worldview, rash judgment and reckless speech remain real possibilities. God is no fonder of lies told on His behalf than of any other sort of lie; on the contrary, that may even make it all the worse.

Let us all consider well this dictum from Augustine: "God does not need my lie." What does this mean? Among other things, it means that just because it would be convenient for something to be true, that doesn't make it true; and just because it would be awkward if something else were true, that doesn't make it not true. Honesty compels us to acknowledge the messiness of a world that includes awkward facts and gaps in the evidence. Truthfulness compels us not to freight an argument with more significance than the argument will bear.

You say CCC 424 "proves your point" (as everything you see seems to do) that "the Freemasons from Vatican II no longer agree with traditional Catholic teaching." If so, what do the following passages from that same Catechism prove?

When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them."398 Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another."

The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head."401 This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful."402 "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."

"The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff." [880–883]

Or, "In brief: The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him. The bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter, is "head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church on earth' (CIC, can. 331)" [936].

In spite of this clear, firm affirmation of the Petrine office and the Roman succession, you declare that CCC 424 "proves your point" -- even though CCC 424 merely follows a number of early Fathers, including Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria and John Chrystostom, in picturing Jesus building the Church on the rock of Peter's faith or Peter's confession. Were they Freemasons too?

If you must be a dissident Traditionalist, be an honest one. Or, if you will not be an honest one, then be a dishonest one somewhere else.

The Masked Chicken

Something bothers me that perhaps someone can clear up. If the son of God says that God himself revealed something to you (and is therefore true), is it right to speak of that as being a confession of faith or rather a statement of approved fact? Faith points to facts, true, but there is always an element of mystery associated with the human element of their perception. On the other hand, Jesus just told Peter that what he had said was a fact, clearly and simply. Does Peter's confession of faith spoken of by Protestants rest in Peter's statement or the underlying faith that Jesus was speaking the truth about the statement?

The Chicken

salubrious

Chicken & SDG,

Quote from Wikipedia.He, Pope John XXIII, is also commemorated on 3 June by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and on 4 June by the Anglican Church of Canada.

Quote from Bible: Luke6:26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

I think it is odd that the Anglicans and Evangelical praise John XXIII. So I must conclude that Luke 6:26 applies to Pope John XXXIII. History is replete with anti-popes.

Yes, I fear God that is why I speak to the point not in sophist drivel. I find it interesting that the 'Catholic Apologists' are always busy spin-doctoring the sayings of Vatican II to appease the traditional Catholics. Why should I trust a non-ordained apologist as my teaching authority? Especially those apologists who have to couch their explanations in nuance and lengthy diatribe.

bill912

The Masked Chicken: "Don't just criticize, explain."

The response: More criticism, no explanation.

"...that is why I speak to the point..."

The point being a tired old Hobby Horse: "Vatican II--Bad! Everything since Vatican I--Bad! Every Pope from John XXIII on--Bad!"

I'm beginning to think that someone who was banned for hobby-horsing over a year ago is back.

salubrious

SDG,

You can cherry pick sections from the CCC that I will agree with. Let me give you a simple analogy. I take a glass of pure water and add some poison to it. Would you drink it? NO! The poison has made the glass of water poisonous. Similarly the filth from Vatican II has polluted and poisoned the CCC and the church. Until a true reformer comes we will be without a pope. Furthermore I have never heard Ratzinger recant any of the false doctrine that he promulgated in the 60's and 70's.

bill912

More criticism. No explanation. Same Hobby Horse.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Salubrious,

Thank you for answering the question about John XXIII I asked (all others follow from it). It was not a detailed explanation, but it was an explanation, of sorts. I am confused as to a seeming contradiction: 1) Woe to you when me speak well of you vs. 2) every man has the right to a good reputation.

Next question: what did John XXIII do to ruin his reputation? I doubt that HE cared what the Lutherans thought of him. Even some Moslems thought well of St. Francis, although they did not agree with him. Is it right to say that Pope John XXIII is not a pope simply because of what other people thought of him? Would that make St. Francis not a saint?

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

My apology, Salubrious. That should read:

I am confused as to a seeming contradiction: 1) Woe to you when men speak well of you vs. 2) every man has the right to a good reputation.

The Chicken

salubrious

Chicken,

Jesus and the Prophets all had good reputations with God, however a poor reputation with religious leaders.

Regarding St. Francis, it is true that he had a good reputation with Muslims. First he was a Saint not a Pope. Secondly, he was not responsible for the teaching body of the church, thus the comparison is not relevant.

Furthermore I think that God is permitting these anti-pope to operate to test the hearts of the truly faithful. Jesus is returning for a remnant. Shortly before His return there will be much confusion in the Church. Catholics of old stated that the Anti-Christ would come from the Catholic Church. Who better than an Anti-Pope to become the Anti-Christ.

OldWorldSwine

Q) How can you identify an anti-pope?

A) By his false teaching.

Q) How can you identify false teaching?

A) By the fact that a fringe group composed of the Truly Faithful Remnant of the church disagrees with it.

----------------

Another question;

How is it that the Gates of Hell have thus prevailed against the Magisterial teaching authority of the Church (leaving mankind with no trustworthy teaching authority), but the Holy Spirit has somehow seen fit to preserve that teaching within a self-proclaimed Remnant of the Truly Faithful that has been given no authority to teach?

There are two aspects of the magisterial authority of the Church that come to mind;

1) The Divine authority to promulgate doctrine

2) The Divine promise of protection from promulgating doctrinal error

Salubrious seems to posit some structure of the Church in which these two aspects do not dwell together, but are torn apart, so that the teaching authority of the Church no longer enjoys divine protection from error, and a body with no authority to teach claims such divine protection from error for itself.

Pardon me if I lay the burden of proof on the sedevacantists.

They say that the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI can not be harmonized with earlier magisterial teaching, while he - the Pope - would maintain that past and present magisterial teaching is all of a piece and that the Sedevacantist's understanding both of the prior teaching and current teaching is flawed.

Pardon me if I throw in with the Pope on this.

Elizabeth

Just to clarify, this is a liturgical gloss rooted in a patristic tradition that was never pitted against Peter himself being the rock as the primary meaning of the text.

"Rock is faith" and "Peter is the rock" can each be "gloss" (a deceptively attractive appearance) in the mind of the person who pits one against the other, not realizing either in its fullness and significance of one to the other. No "gear" need be shifted to realize the permanent, subsisting being of "rock", and if gears be shifted, let the shifting be seemless.

In fact, AFAIK, in commentary on Matthew 16 (as opposed to homiletical or theological free association), the rock is either usually or always identified as Peter himself, not his faith

Commenting on Matthew 16, Pope John Paul II said, "It is true that Simon is called rock after the profession of faith, and that implies a relationship between faith and the role of rock conferred on Simon. However, the roleof rock is attributed to the person of Simon, not to an act of his, however noble and pleasing to Jesus. The word 'rock' expresses a permanent, subsisting being; therefore, it applies to the person, rather than to one of his necessarily transitory acts."

In subsequent commentary, Pope John Paul II said, "The other symbol, linked to the previous one, is the 'rock'. We will therefore let St Ambrose guide our meditation with his Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke. Commenting on Peter's profession of faith at Cesarea Philippi, he that 'Christ is the Rock' and that 'Christ did not refuse to give this beautiful name to his disciple so that he too might be Peter, and find in the rock the firmness of perseverance, the steadfast solidity of the faith'. Ambrose then introduces the exhortation: 'Try hard also to be a rock. However, to do this, do not seek the rock outside yourself but within yourself. Your rock is your actions, your rock is your thoughts. On this rock your house is built, so that it may never be battered by any storm of the evil spirits. If you are a rock, you will be inside the Church because the Church is on the rock. If you are inside the Church, the gates of hell will not prevail against you' (VI, 97-99: 'Opere Esegetiche' IX/II [Exegetical Works], Milan/Rome, 1978: Saemo 12, p. 85)."

Beginning with the first extant commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Origen portrayed Peter as an exemplar representing all Christians who should be rock solid in the faith. "For rock," Origen wrote, "is every every disciple of whom those drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and upon every such rock is built every word of the church." He noted that while some people believed the Church was built on Peter, he also asked, "What would you say about John the son of thunder or each one of the Apostles? ... All bear the surname of 'rock' who are the imitators of Christ." Origen's interpretation was adopted by Jerome and became the standard interpretation by Catholic exegetes through the medieval period. Biblical commentators consistently reiterated Origen's allegorical or spiritual understanding of Scripture. Accordingly, it is said that Jesus made Simon Peter a sharer in his own capacity as foundation, as rock, and the Church shares in that as well, according to Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical on unity, citing Origen, saying it is “as if the rock and the Church were one and the same. I indeed think that this is so, and that neither against the rock upon which Christ builds His Church nor against the Church shall the gates of Hell prevail." (Origenes, Comment. in Matt., tom. xii., n. ii).

AFAIK it was never denied that Peter is the rock. IOW, no early Father ever said "The rock is not Peter himself, but Peter's faith."

That is what I'm told as well. As I have said, the statements are not opposed to one another but complementary.

Some spoke of "the rock of Peter's faith," but when it came to explaining Matthew 16, the common understanding was the obvious and correct one: The rock Jesus is talking about is Peter himself.

"The rock of Peter's faith" and "Peter is rock" are each and both obvious and correct to one who correctly understands what each and both are saying.

You prove my point that the Freemasons from Vatican II no longer agree with traditional Catholic teaching. Consequently, they are using the CCC as a tool to slowly migrate Catholics to a type of Protestant church.

You prove the point that not all understand what they read because they (you) don't read in full.

After 2,000 years, the "rock" on which the Church is founded remains ever the same: it is the faith of Peter. In the course of the centuries, the Holy Spirit has enlightened men and women of every age, vocation and social condition, to make of them the "living stones" (1 Peter 2,5) of this edifice. One faith, one "rock", one cornerstone: Christ, Redeemer of mankind. If Christ, the Rock, the living and precious stone, calls his Apostle “rock”, it means that he wants Peter, and together with him the entire Church, to be a visible sign of the one Saviour and Lord.

SDG

You can cherry pick sections from the CCC that I will agree with.

"Cherry picking" is "the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position," according to Wikipedia.

If the question before us is how Matthew 16 is understood in the CCC with respect to the constitution of the Church, the logical place to look is in the section of the CCC discussing the nature of the Church. That is where I found the five paragraphs listed above.

The one line that your case rests on, reflecting a patristic tradition which you still have not commented on, comes from the section of the CCC discussing faith in Christ.

This one line, from a section of the CCC not discussing the constitution of the Church, does not purport to definitively explain Matthew 16, nor does not falsify or invalidate the correct explanation of Matthew 16 given in the relevant section of the Catechism.

A fortiori, by any standard of fair-minded reasoning, it cannot be held to "prove your point" about Freemasons from Vatican II no longer agree[ing] with traditional Catholic teaching."

Even if you were right about Freemasons in the Church, it is clearly you who are cherry-picking your "evidence," not me. Physician, heal thyself!

It is not enough to be (or to believe yourself to be) in the right. You must also be honest with the evidence and fair to all men, including the editors of the CCC and the Catholic hierarchy that you believe to be in error.

Can you say confidently that you are sure of doing that in this combox? Is it really the case that CCC 424 "proves your point" that "the Freemasons from Vatican II no longer agree with traditional Catholic teaching"? Or is that claiming too much? Be honest!

Your poison analogy is also flawed. To begin with, taking your analogy at face value, the water you drink every day does have trace amounts of substances that would be considered "poison" in higher concentrations, such as arsenic. Arsenic in sufficient quantities is harmful and even fatal, but in trace amounts it is not only not harmful, it may even be beneficial.

Similarly, while it would certainly be poisonous and harmful to say that the rock on which Jesus built his church was not Peter, but his confession of faith, there is no harm in the homiletical picture of Jesus building his church on Peter's confession — so long as this is not pitted against the primary textual meaning of Jesus building the church on Peter himself… which is precisely what we have in the CCC, and in the early Fathers.

I think it is odd that the Anglicans and Evangelical praise John XXIII. So I must conclude that Luke 6:26 applies to Pope John XXXIII.

My first thought is that you must conclude the same of St. Thomas More, whom the Anglicans themselves recognize as a saint and who is much admired by Evangelicals. But I see that you discount the example of St. Francis by arguing that "he was not responsible for the teaching body of the church, thus the comparison is not relevant." Do you mean to say that Luke 6:26 was addressed only to members of the magisterium?

I find it interesting that the 'Catholic Apologists' are always busy spin-doctoring the sayings of Vatican II to appease the traditional Catholics.

Correction: We are always busy contextualizing sayings of Vatican II cherry-picked by traditionalist Catholics. It is a spiritual work of mercy.

Why should I trust a non-ordained apologist as my teaching authority? Especially those apologists who have to couch their explanations in nuance and lengthy diatribe.

I'm nobody's teaching authority. I appeal to your reason; it's up to you to see the light, or not. As for nuanced and lengthy diatribes, there are precedents in Catholic thought. Ever read The City of God?

The Masked Chicken

Dear Salubrious,

If John XXIII was not really pope, then either; 1) the Council that elected him was invalid, 2) John XXIII did something during his tenure than invalidated him as pope, or 3) Pope Piux XII did something to fundamentally alter the then current papacy in such a way that John XXIII could not become pope. These are the only three options I see for John XXIII not being pope. If each option fails, then John XXIII was pope when he died. Which of these options (or another one I have overlooked) do you feel has not made John XXIII pope?

Since I know something about music in the history of the Church, all I can say is that I see nothing wrong with the music portion of Sacrosanctum Concilium. It is in line with the historical teachings of the Church and prior popes. Unfortunately, we have really loony music at some Masses, today. This is not a flaw in the teaching, but a flaw in the implementation. Now, I can agree with you that many things have gone wrong that were not the Council Father's intentions, but that does not invalidate the Council. It does point to the need to clean things up.

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

More corrections...

If John XXIII were not really pope...

The Chicken

salubrious

Elizabeth,

Your post was very precise and appreciated. Nevertheless, you have forced me to speak with some of priests and bishops to get a further explanation. Basically your saying that Origen and Jerome supported a Protestant interpretation of Matt 16. If this is true then I understand why there is so much confusion in the definition of 'CHURCH'. It will take me a few days to respond to the other posters on this site.

SDG

Basically your saying that Origen and Jerome supported a Protestant interpretation of Matt 16.

It is true, as Elizabeth and others (including myself) have noted, that some early Fathers spoke of Jesus building the church on the rock of Peter's confession/faith. However, this is not and was not a "Protestant interpretation"; how could it be, when Protestantism was still a millennium in the future? It would be better to say that the Reformers (or some Reformers) adopted a Origen/Jerome approach to Matthew 16.

But even this is misleading since, as noted above, some of the same Fathers who spoke of Jesus building the church on the rock of Peter's confession/faith also acknowledged that Peter himself is the rock of which Jesus speaks in Matthew 16. As Elizabeth says, the two images were effectively treated as complementary rather than contradictory -- until the Reformation. Only then was it claimed that the rock on which Jesus built the church is not Peter, but his confession/faith.

That approach can rightly be called "a Protestant interpretation" -- and it was not held by anyone I know of in the patristic era -- nor is it the approach of the CCC, which follows the patristic tradition.

Xino

Jimmy, I have some college-level training in linguistics, and I find the assertion that "Petros" and "petra" refer to the same object to be odd at best. In languages that have "masculine" and "feminine" forms, there is nothing insulting about the feminine form. "Beard" in French is a feminine word. It seems to me that Catholic apologists are just trying to game the Internet by declaring something rather crackpot, then broadcasting it all over the place to put their crackpot assertion high on the result lists of Web search engines. Jesus himself is referred to as "petra" in several places in the NT, and Jesus could have used "petros" twice in Matt. 16:18. Frankly, Jimmy, I'm rather tired of the fact that we evangelicals have done our best to try to bury the hatchet with you Catholics, and focus our efforts on trying to win non-Christians, while you guys hit the Web with slick arguments to try to lure Protestants to Catholicism. With "non-believer" the third largest demographic in America today, I suggest that you try to bring atheists to Christ - if you're up to the challenge - rather than bringing other Christians under the dominion of the Italian Orthodox Church, which is all the Roman Church really is. (Hey, Jimmy, the OC says that they're the real Church, and the RC broke away in 1054 AD...tell me, just which "apostolic" church is the real one, anyway? It's like that movie Highlander with you people..."There can be only one!") But what do I know? I'm just an "invincibly ignorant" heretic. I'm so stupid that I think international child molesting conspiracies are incompatible with "the keys to the kingdom." What a dope I must be.

Xino

I should have added to my earlier post - The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was translated by a team of Catholic, mainline Protestant, and Orthodox scholars, with one Jewish scholar contributing. On Matthew 16:18, the version notes that "Petros" and "petra" are used for "rock." If there was some scholarly consensus that "Petros" and "petra" were equivalent, this footnote would not have been included. I can hardly imagine tepid mainline Protestant scholars, people more worried about using "gender inclusive language" than anything else, standing their ground against the Catholic team (or else, the Catholic team failing to fight for the foundational text of their faith!) if the two terms were in any conceivable way equivalent.

Nice try, Catholic Apologists. Have to do better. Of course, you can just try to flood the Internet and visit each other's Web sites 900 times a day to make sure you hit the top of the Search engines. Then you don't need to worry if what you say is true. Of course, you don't seem to worry too much about that anyway, do you? But there I go again with my invincible ignorance...although did you ever consider that maybe the reason why so few people "get" Catholic theology is because maybe it doesn't make any sense? Like maybe you're always making huge category mistakes, jumping back and forth between literal and poetic ways of speaking, and basing literal doctrines on obvious poetic metaphors? Look up "category mistake" and spend an afternoon wrapping your mind around it. Then read through any book of Catholic theology. You'll be amazed.

bill912

Jesus said: "I pray, Father, that they may be one, as You and I are One."

But what did He know?

bill912

Declaring any fact which is inconvenient to what one wishes to be true is intellectual dishonesty and sloth, but it does dig an intellectual moat around one's mind, relieving oneself of ever having to consider the possibility that one may be wrong.

bill912

Should read: Declaring any fact which is inconvenient to what one wishes to be true *as false* is intellectual dishonesty and sloth...etc.

(sigh)

Tim J.

Xino, you never addressed the actual point of Jimmy's post which was

"...that in Attic Greek there was a slight difference in meaning between the two, but in Koine Greek (the dialect of the New Testament) they were synonyms.".


Incidentally, (from Wikipedia entry on the Roman Catholic Church) "...The 2,782 sees are grouped into 23 particular rites, the largest being the Latin Rite, each with distinct traditions regarding the liturgy and the administering the sacraments. With more than one billion baptized members, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest church representing over half of all Christians and one sixth of the world's population."

Surprisingly stout numbers for (as you rant) the Italian Orthodox Church. It seems a sixth of the world's population are Italians.

I'm curious to know a little about the history and current geography of your denomination (if you claim one)... I mean, being that the RCC seems too provincial and narrow for your tastes, your church must be older, broader... more universal.

If it is not *too* much trouble, some names and dates would be nice.

We should be concerned with helping to bring all people to a deeper knowledge of the Truth, wherever they may be in their walk. We convert no one, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to continually witness to the truth.

Nice job of burying the hatchet in those two posts above, Xino...

My old grandad used to say, "Whenever someone offers to bury the hatchet, make durn sure they don't bury it in your back.".

Xino

The way I see it, Tim, Jesus said that "Narrow is the way, and few there be that find it." Such would suggest that the largest Church is automatically suspect of being a fake, if in fact there is only one "true" denomination. I'm skeptical that Catholicism even is the largest Christian tradition, because you guys count any individual who was ever baptized, regardless of whether they attend Church or even profess Catholic belief personally. Nearly the entire population of many southern and central European countries are "Catholic" by your reckoning, yet have Mass attendance of 2 or 3%. If you were to consider denominational councils, such as the World Pentecostal Fellowship, as "Churches," then I think Catholicism may already have been surpassed, if you only count active members who profess adherence to their religion's teachings. Then there is the problem of just which "apostolic" church is the right one...the Eastern Orthodox say you guys got started in 1054 A.D., and they have their apologists (Peter Gilquist, Franky Schaeffer, Frederica Matthews-Greene) out to convert us, too. Even one of your own apologists, Tom Howard, said that he just picked the Catholic Church simply because he was more ethnically compatible with it, and that he really doesn't know which Church is the real one visa-a-vis Orthodoxy and Catholicism. If your own guys don't know, then we evangelicals sure are in a pickle - here we are, being told that our relationship with Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives just aren't enough to make us real Christians or to ensure our salvation, and that we have to belong to a Church that supposedly has cred because it has a long history of sexually-abnormal men "laying hands" on each other. Then we learn that there's more than one such Church - and that only one is the real deal! Maybe we can go to the Catholic Church one week, the Russian Orthodox the next, the Coptic the third, and the Syrian-Jacobite the fourth? Maybe we can cover all of our bases? I'm not sure where we'll find any Assyrian Church of the East congregations, though...if that one is the real one, then we're really screwed. I'm lucky enough to have a Coptic church within driving distance, but that isn't an option for most evangelicals, so most of us are stuck on that one, too. Why don't you guys lay off trying to convert us and argue amongst yourselves which Church is the real one? It can be like pro wrestling - Jimmy Aiken and Scott Hahn can tag team against Peter Gilquist and Kalllistos Ware. Patrick Madrid can run in and hit Bishop Ware over the head with a chair while the crowd goes wild.

Secondly, the bit about "Attic" and "Koine" Greek in regards to gendered-tenses is NOT something that is universally agreed upon by scholars, and most Catholics talking about this topic seem to sense that their argument about the Greek is on shaky ground, and therefore they resort to talking about Aramaic and "kepha." You're trying to proclaim a false consensus that doesn't exist. Even if it were proved that petra refers to Peter, there is a long, long way to go from saying that one particular apostle was named "rock" to saying that there is a monarchical leader of the Christian Church that has the prerogative to, among other things, tell me that I've committed a mortal sin by allowing my wife to masturbate me to the point of orgasm (I hate to be crude, but you see why the rest of us aren't so eager to submit to the Papacy's dominion...having a form of personalized authority that has the right to control our very bodies and the way we relate intimately to our soul-mates debases us, our minds, and our own God-given agency in ways that are horrifying in the extreme, beyond the worst intellectual repressions of the Soviet Union or North Korea). If the Roman Catholic translators of the NRSV agree that the Petros/petra distinction is significant, then I trust them over bootstrapped Internet "apologists."

But I have no doubts that Catholic apologists will be coming out with more studies based on their new-found linguistic expertise. I bet that the Greek word for Church, which has always previously been understood as simply referring to the assembly of believers, will soon be discovered to mean something more akin to "corporation" or "royal hierarchy." I bet there will soon be arguments that "Church" correctly refers to the hierarchical ranking of a military force. Give it another few years, and you guys will be producing your own Greek lexicons that are increasingly divergent from the standard ones, and you'll be patting yourselves on the back in that triumphalist, True-Church tone you use when you talk to each other. (And you'll be aping that smarmy, false-humble tone you use when the rest of us notice and call you to task for it.)

Tim J.

"...you see why the rest of us aren't so eager to submit to the Papacy's dominion"

Well, I DO NOW! Thanks for clearing that up.

Xino

In regards to the poster to said that Jesus prayed we'll all be one:

Can you explain to me why being "one" means that we all have to belong to the Catholic Church and grovel at the feet of bishops who have proven themselves corrupt and dishonest over and over again - most recently with sexual scandals that shocked and appalled even the most cynical non-Catholics? How's this interpretation - the Church is "one" because of our common faith in Jesus. Jesus is fine with diversity in that unity, and with varying theological emphases and worship styles as long as they're Biblically-rooted; with 6 billion people on earth, having a single hierarchical institution that sets a nearly uniform style of worship and terminology for all Christians in every country seems misguided.

Your "unity" would extinguish most of the Christian traditions on this earth. The enthusiastic worship of Black and Pentecostal churches would be gone; the Biblical exposition of the Baptists would be gone; the meditations on the sovereignty of God by the Reformed would fall into silence; the devout pursuit of personal holiness and sanctification of the Nazarenes and Methodists would vanish. If the current Catholic laity are any indication of what would replace them, then I guess that all these traditions and their insights would be paved over by a laity that is largely ignorant of the Bible and spirituality beyond a slavish reliance on sacraments and a priesthood. (Note, I'm not saying that your esteem of the sacraments is an invalid form of spirituality - like other traditions, you have your own insights to contribute. But you aren't special any more than any of the others are.) As an evangelical Christian, I'm free to adapt any thing from any tradition that passes Biblical muster. In fact, I find Orthodox ideas about "theosis" to be very stimulating and I'm quite open to contemplative spirituality. You, on the other hand, have a hard time being open to the insights of "heretics" from false religions, as you see us. I see Pentecostalism exploding in Latin America and Africa, and I thank God that the Gospel is being preached even though I have some misgivings about Pentecostalism's lack of maturity. You look at the explosion of Pentecostalism and you're horrified that your own narrow tradition is being surpassed. Which of us is more "universal?"

bill912

I couldn't have made my above point any better than Xino did.

Xino

Yes, Tim, I love my wife and celebrate the great gift of love that God has given to us. Hey, unlike you Catholics, I see the Song of Solomon as being about the purity and goodness of the married life.

I'm sorry you see that as low, debased, and cynical, and see us as greedy, lecherous perverts because we don't always do it the Pope's way.

bill912

Full of Christian Charity, isn't he?

bill912

He sings the praises of mutual masturbation and calls others "perverts".

Tim J.

"...here we are, being told that... we have to belong to a Church that supposedly has cred because it has a long history of sexually-abnormal men "laying hands" on each other."

This is precisely the kind of thing that makes it nearly impossible to have a real discussion with a hide-bound anti-Catholic. You really don't have much to say on the current topic (Attic and Koine Greek, remember?) except to assert (offering no reference) that it is not "universally agreed upon by scholars" (very little IS *universally* agreed upon by scholars) and so you haul out your blunderbuss and begin firing at random, hoping to score points on the sheer volume of your accusations.

If there is no history of sexual misconduct by the clergy of *your* denomination it is only because your denomination has no history.

All *other* denominations find sexual misconduct among their clergy at about the same rate, Catholics included.

This is only one example. I'm just not going to even try to address the rest of your frantic shouting and arm-waving. Stay on topic.

Read Da Rulz (in this blog's upper left-hand column) and abide by them or get your own blog.

And why are you worried about Catholics putting their beliefs out there for people to consider? You yourself asserted that "few people" get Catholic theology because it "makes no sense". What are you afraid of?

Tim J.

"The enthusiastic worship of Black and Pentecostal churches would be gone"

There are active charismatic groups in most Catholic parishes, nowadays.

"the Biblical exposition of the Baptists would be gone..."

You mean like when they insist that "wine" means "Welch's grape juice"? Catholics were doing Biblical Exposition before there was a Bible.

You want meditation on the sovereignty of God? You want personal holiness? Pick up some biographies of Catholic saints (if you dare).

SDG

Xino:

I invite you to educate yourself about what top-notch mainstream Evangelical scholars like F. F. Bruce, D. A. Carson, W. F. Albright and R. T. France have been saying for decades about Matthew 16. (I just Googled those names and came up with this source, not a bad place to start learning.)

You appear to stake a good deal on a footnote in the NRSV. Can you please provide the text of the note, so we can see how much it makes of this "distinction"?

It's funny that you say "Why don't you guys lay off trying to convert us and argue amongst yourselves which Church is the real one?" Although the question is wrongly put on several levels (all of the apostolic Churches are real Churches, though the church of Christ in its fulness subsists in the Catholic Church), in fact the Church's main ecumenical effort is with the separated Eastern Churches. Still, Protestants are Christians too, we love you guys as well.

Finally, your predictions about the imagined future of Catholic scholarship and apologetics are as laughably wrongheaded as the rest of your post is arrogant, ignorant and contemptuous. It's a dangerous combination. I don't contradict what you say about the dangers of triumphalism -- and false humility -- among Catholics. We all fall short of the Spirit of Christ and can all benefit from reproof, even from an unwelcome source. I hope you can take reproof as well as dish it out.

In any case, I ask you to dial down your rhetoric, and step up the rigor of your arguments, if you plan to be here for awhile.

SDG

Your "unity" would extinguish most of the Christian traditions on this earth. The enthusiastic worship of Black and Pentecostal churches would be gone; the Biblical exposition of the Baptists would be gone; the meditations on the sovereignty of God by the Reformed would fall into silence; the devout pursuit of personal holiness and sanctification of the Nazarenes and Methodists would vanish.

You really don't know anything about the Catholic Church, do you?

Xino

Tim - I'm sorry you think that a husband and wife united as one-flesh by God, and given the gift of physical love that the Bible itself celebrates in an entire book devoted to the subject, can sin by not loving each other in the way the Pope proscribes. To me, that just proves how sick and perverse your religious system is, and I have to wonder about a religious power structure that sees its scope of authority extending to such things. If those aren't the kind of things Peter, your putative first Pope, had in mind in 1 Peter 5:3, then I don't know what is, because I can't imagine a single thing more personal than that. (Actually, I think your Church's sex rules are several orders of magnitude beyond what Peter was talking about here, and if Peter were alive today, he'd break down and weep over what your Church has done.) INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT DELETED

SDG

Xino:

I understand that as a creature of the post–sexual-revolution world you find incomprehensible and alien sexual ethics that previous generations of Christians in all traditions (very likely including your own grandparents, if they were Christians) had no trouble understanding.

However, your abusive, insulting attempt to crawl into bed and berate the conjugal lives of others would be better served in a career writing copy for email spam hawking manhood-enhancing products than ostensibly trying to enlighten your fellow Christians.

I am only going to say so many times that you don't know what you're talking about. Either you are capable of bracketing what you think you know and possibly learning something, or you aren't.

FYI, I moderate this blog when necessary, and we have rules about civil conduct. Do your tradition a favor and try to take the high road. Thank you.

bill912

People have to justify their immorality. Perhaps her moral teachings are the real reason for his hatred of the Church.

Tim J.

As I say, Xino, thanks for clearing that up. I now understand why you don't want to be a Catholic.

SDG

I've deleted the last couple of sentences from Xino's last email. Let's have some respect for one another's wives.

Jimmy Akin

XINO, THIS IS YOUR RULE 1 WARNING.

You've come on here, been very rude and obnoxious, and if you don't shape up immediately you will be disinvited from participation in the blog.

David B.

"your abusive, insulting attempt to crawl into bed and berate the conjugal lives of others would be better served in a career writing copy for email spam hawking manhood-enhancing products than ostensibly trying to enlighten your fellow Christians."

In don't know what Xino said, but that was one heck of a rebuttal!

Uh oh: my "False humility meter" is running low. ;-P

Mary

Can you explain to me why being "one" means that we all have to belong to the Catholic Church and grovel at the feet of bishops who have proven themselves corrupt and dishonest over and over again - most recently with sexual scandals that shocked and appalled even the most cynical non-Catholics?

You were expecting the servants to come tear out the tares? You know better: let them grow together until harvest.

Mary

The way I see it, Tim, Jesus said that "Narrow is the way, and few there be that find it." Such would suggest that the largest Church is automatically suspect of being a fake, if in fact there is only one "true" denomination

Both the wise and the foolish virgins were waiting for the bridegroom.

Mary

Your "unity" would extinguish most of the Christian traditions on this earth. The enthusiastic worship of Black and Pentecostal churches would be gone; the Biblical exposition of the Baptists would be gone; the meditations on the sovereignty of God by the Reformed would fall into silence; the devout pursuit of personal holiness and sanctification of the Nazarenes and Methodists would vanish.

What happened to "Narrow is the way, and few there be that find it"?

Matheus

Thank God I came late to the "party", but anyway the best possible contribution that could be given to the discussion is:

Ban the Troll

materfamilias

"here we are, being told that our relationship with Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives just aren't enough to make us real Christians or to ensure our salvation"

If you have run across Catholics who have said these things they are not representing the teaching of the church. The following is from the Vatican II document on Ecumenism:

"Nevertheless, all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ. They therefore have a right to be honored by the title of Christian, and are properly regarded as brothers in the Lord by the sons of the Catholic church."

I rejoice in every person I meet who loves and follows our Lord. I only discuss Catholicism with them if they begin the discussion by question or remark.

You sound very angry. I am sorry if anyone in the church has caused you to be hurt in any way. The Church is the Body of Christ, but its members are all too human. Peace be with you.

Maynard

The thesis of this post - that masculine and feminine tenses of a Greek word can be interchangeable - was a novel one to me, so I checked it out with some people who have studied Koine Greek on a graduate-school level. Akin's idea IS NOT mainstream. The opinion I got from scholars is that Koine Greek is a VERY precise language, and if Jesus said Petros/petra, he was making a very deliberate word-play. There's no flippity-floppity looseness to Koine at all. What that word-play was is probably debatable; was Jesus basically saying, "Hey, Simon, you're a rock (masculine tense because rock is Peter), and it's the rock (feminine tense because Jesus is now referring to the previous use of the word "rock" rather than Peter himself, in some abstract, weird circumlocution) that I'm going to build my new community on"? I doubt it. That just seems like a tangled mess. Jesus just would've said, "Peter, on you I build my Church."

Jesus was a guy who spoke in parables and was never straight-forward. Whatever Jesus meant, it's important that we let Scripture interpret Scripture. I don't see any real evidence that Peter led the other apostles. Matthew 18:18 also says that all the other apostles - maybe even all other Christians! - have the same power as Peter. I can't find one single passage in the whole NT that says, "Peter's the top guy." All I find are passages that can be interpreted in a zillion different ways, that Catholics choose to read their pre-determined beliefs into them. Taking it at face value, without any pre-determined agenda, it seems to me that Peter is just a representative Christian every-man in those passages, and that Jesus is talking to all of us. All of us who believe are the "rock" of the Church - the building stones of Christ's community on earth.

I also see Peter setting up a whole bunch of churches in and around Jerusalem before he ever got to Rome - and we don't have any scriptural evidence that he even got there. Sure, we've got Catholic traditions about it - but we've also got Catholic tradition about a giant named Christopher taking baby Jesus across a river, of kid Jesus turning clay birds into the real thing, etc. "Tradition" don't mean much. If there's nothing in the Bible about Peter handing off his keys to a particular city's presbyter, then obviously the guys who put the Bible together, who set the "measure" (that's what "canon" means) of Church doctrine, didn't see Peter's successor as important, then it probably isn't.

bill912

Jesus wasn't specific? Well, how convenient for those who want the Scriptures to say whatever they want them to say. One can be one's own pope!

I seem to have missed the passage in the Bible where it says I have to show you where it says in the Bible.

Mary

if Jesus said Petros/petra,

He didn't.

He spoke Aramic, not Koine.

SDG

Maynard:

Here is where I start.

1. There is a clear consensus in mainstream scripture scholarship today, including Evangelical scholarship, that when Jesus said "Upon this rock" he was referring to Peter, not to some other rock. I am not aware of any serious critical challenge to this consensus.

2. There is a similar consensus that "the keys of the kingdom" alludes to Isaiah 22:22 and the office of the chief steward of the Davidic king; thus Jesus, the Son of David, makes Peter his chief steward. The other apostles also as Jesus' stewards or ministers are collectively given the authority to bind and loose, but the keys are the mark of the chief steward, and are given only to Peter. Only Peter individually has the power to bind and loose.

3. Every major strand of NT tradition -- Synoptic, Pauline, Johannine -- ascribes some sort of primacy to Peter. To cite just a few important instances:

Peter is singled out in the earliest credal formula in the NT, the pre-Pauline resurrection formula of 1 Corinthians 15 ("he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve").

- In Galatians 1 Paul says that after receiving Jesus' call he went to Jerusalem to confer with Peter. He mentions also seeing James, but it was Peter whom he went to see.

- Peter's name appears first in every list of the apostles, and Matthew 10 specifically says "first [protos] Peter." Among the Twelve Peter is named far more often than the others in the Gospels and Acts, and we encounter such phrases as "Peter and those who were with him" and "his disciples and Peter."

- In Luke 22 Peter is told that Satan seeks to sift "you" -- plural, i.e., all of the apostles -- like wheat, but Jesus has prayed for "you" -- singular, Peter alone -- that he might turn and strengthen his brethren.

- In John 20 Peter alone receives the Good Shepherd's triple mandate to "feed my sheep."

That's where I start. What we make of this primacy, what sort of primacy it is, is where the discussion needs to go. But efforts to deny any sort of Petrine primacy are a non-starter from where I sit.

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31