Monday, December 13, 2010

Lucia Argument :Peter is the Rock upon which Christ built His Church

I've moved a conversation on whether Peter is the Rock that Christ build His Church from Story of the attack on the attack on the Baghdad Church to this thread.



Kris K has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Hey Fletch (3:47 pm),

I regard myself first and foremost as a biblical Christian - denomination/church is secondary, and the measure of any church I attend is how closely it adheres to God's word the Bible (KJV IMHO).

When Christ said "upon this rock (Christ Himself; who is the chief cornerstone) I will build my church", He was speaking of all those who come to Him in faith and believe on Him alone for salvation. The church of Christ is the body of all true believers - it is no particular church/denomination.

I know Roman Catholics are told that Peter is the rock, but I believe the scriptures are clear that Christ alone is the Rock; the chief cornerstone which the builders rejected.

Peter hiself admits Christ is this chief corner stone:

1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.


Peter was most assuredly NOT talking of himself.

Posted by Kris K to New Zealand Conservative at 4:17 PM, December 11, 2010

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I.M Fletcher has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

I'm sorry Kris, but I believe Jesus was referring to Peter when he called him "Rock". But not only that - he said he was giving Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, not to Himself, giving Peter the power to bind and lose, to forgive sins on Earth.

I've asked this before Kris, but when do you think they authority of the first church ends? The Early Church Fathers all believed in the authority of Peter and the Church.

Some of the greatest Protestant scholars of all time admit that Jesus means Peter is the Rock. Scott Hahn points them out -


One of the top Evangelical, non-Catholic scholars in America, Professor Donald Carson of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in his book, God With Us, Themes from Matthew says, "Jesus was simply using a pun to say that Peter is the rock on which Jesus would build His Church." Now Dr. Carson is no Catholic Apologist. He would try to set up arguments against the Catholic faith, I'm sure; but he's sincere and, I think, also respectable as a scholar in insisting upon the obvious evidence in the conclusions.

One of the greatest Protestant Biblical scholars of the century supports this -- W. F. Albright, in his Anchor Bible Commentary on Matthew. I opened it up. I was surprised to see, "Peter as the Rock will be the foundation of the future community, the church. Jesus here uses Aramaic and so only the Aramaic word which would serve His purpose. In view of the background in verse 19, one must dismiss as confessional interpretation any attempt to see this rock as the faith or the confession of Peter." In other words, Professor Albright is admitting as a Protestant that there is a bias in Protestant anti- Catholic interpreters who try to make Jesus' reference to the rock point only to Peter's faith or confession. "To deny the pre-eminent position of Peter," Albright says, "among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence. The interest in Peter's failures and vacillations does not detract from this pre- eminence, rather it emphasizes it. Had Peter been a lesser figure, his behavior would have been of far less consequence. Precisely because Peter is pre-eminent and is the foundation stone of the Church that his mistakes are in a sense so important, but his mistakes never correspond to his teachings as the Prince of the Apostles." We will see."

One of the greatest reformed Biblical scholars of this century, Herman Liderboss, a European scholar, in his Matthew commentary says, "The slight difference between these two words, petra and petros, has no special importance. The most likely explanation for the change from petros, Peter, masculine, to petra is that petra was the normal word for rock, because the feminine ending of this noun made it unsuitable as a man's name; however, Simon was not called Petra but Petros. There is no good reason to think that Jesus switched from petros to petra to show that He was not speaking of the man Peter but of his confession as the foundation of the Church. The words "on this rock," petra, indeed, refer to Peter. Because of the revelation he had received and the confession it had motivated in him, Peter was appointed by Jesus to lay the foundation of the future Church."


Posted by I.M Fletcher to New Zealand Conservative at 5:27 PM, December 11, 2010 

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I.M Fletcher has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Hahn also quotes martin Luther, when he says

In fact, I found this quotation in Martin Luther from 1530, years after he had left the Church, "Why are you searching heavenward in search of my keys? Do you not understand, Jesus said, 'I gave them to Peter. They are indeed the keys of heaven, but they are not found in heaven for I left them on earth.'" This is Jesus talking, "'Peter's mouth is my mouth, his tongue is my key case, his keys are my keys. They are an office.'" Luther even saw it, "'They are a power, a command given by God through Christ to all of Christendom for the retaining and remitting of the sins of men.'" The only thing that Luther won't admit is that there was succession after Peter died, which is exactly what the keys denote, given their Old Testament background.

It should also be noted that Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in January 1521, yet he writes after that -

"Accordingly, we concede to the papacy that they sit in the true Church, possessing the office instituted by Christ and inherited from the apostles, to teach, baptize, administer the sacrament, absolve, ordain, etc., "
Sermon for the Sunday after Christ’s Ascension; John 15:26-16:4 (2nd sermon), page 265, paragraph 28.
(1522)


And

"We concede -- as we must -- that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] say is true: that the papacy has God's word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?"
Sermon on the gospel of St. John, chaps. 14 - 16 (1537), in vol. 24 of LUTHER'S WORKS,
St. Louis, Mo., Concordia, 1961, 304



Posted by I.M Fletcher to New Zealand Conservative at 5:35 PM, December 11, 2010 


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Kris K has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Fletch (5:27 & 5:35),

While I could also quote you many scholars who disagree with your quoted scholars - Matthew Henry, for instance - I prefer to keep to God's word.

Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Here's a little hint on how to understand the difference between the "thees" and "thous" in the KJV:
"Thou" = you (individual)
"Thee" = you (plural)

Now lets go verse by verse:
[13] Christ is addressing ALL the disciples, not just Peter, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" So we have clearly established that "Christ" is the subject at hand.
[14 - 16] Peter happens to answer, perhaps because he was the more outspoken.
[17] "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona" - to Peter
"for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." - to ALL the disciples.
[18] "And I say also unto thee" - to ALL the disciples.
"That thou art Peter" - because Peter answered.
"and upon this rock I will build my church" - the MAIN subject at hand: Christ Himself; the chief corner stone [see 1 Peter 2:6-8 which I quoted earlier].
[19] "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" - to ALL the disciples.
"and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." - to each individual disciple.

Of course verse 19 is speaking to ALL true disciples of Christ, and was not just limited to the Apostles or the disciples at that time.
The "keys" are symbolic of spiritual power given to ALL true followers of Christ; those who are His body, His church. This spiritual power is delegated to those entrusted with the gospel of salvation - once again ALL true followers of Christ (His body, His church) are to share the gospel. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that opens the kingdom of heaven to those who receive Christ and entrust Him alone for their salvation.

If you're going to convince me otherwise, Fletch, you need to use the scriptures ALONE and your own reasoning - as I just have above.

Posted by Kris K to New Zealand Conservative at 6:31 PM, December 11, 2010 



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I.M Fletcher has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Kris, sorry but I don't by that AT ALL. Thou and thee are simply old versions of I and Me.


The difference between "thee" and "thou" is easy as pie. The word "thee" is the object of the sentence/question/exclaimation/etc. and the word "thou" is the subject. Have a look at this, it makes things easy to remember.

Subject: 1st/2nd person singular
I/thou

Object: 1st/2nd person singular
me/thee

Possesive adjective: 1st/2nd person singular
my/thy

Possesive pronoun: 1st/2nd person singular
mine/thine

Reflexive pronoun: 1st/2nd person singular
myself/thyself


I simply must disagree with you that the "keys" are symbolic of all power given to believers. I doubt that there are many theologians who believe that.

If what you say is true, then any Bible believer has the "keys" and is therefore able to forgive sins. Lets look at the NIV translation -

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

This is pretty obviously directed to Peter alone - especially the keys. Later on, in John 20 in scripture, Jesus also gives power to the Apostles to forgive sin -


On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Compose
Are you saying that this applies to all Christians today? The ability to forgive sin? How can that be? The only institution that DARES to suggest they have the authority (through the sacrament of reconciliation - not by their own power) is the Catholic Church.

So, I believe you are plain WRONG in that regard.

Posted by I.M Fletcher to New Zealand Conservative at 8:13 PM, December 11, 2010


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I.M Fletcher has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

ps, also, logically, you assertion that Thou means Jesus is addressing Peter, and Thee is addressing ll the disciples simply doesn't stack up.

Let's look at one of the verses you use as your argument -

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Ok, 'so blessed are you Simon Barjona' - fair enough so far; he's talking to Peter - 'for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father...'.

Well - the whole point of these verses is that the Father revealed Jesus' real identity to Peter - not the other disciples - they didn't know and it was Peter who spoke up with the answer.
So how can "thee" be referring to all the disciples when it's obvious the answer had not been revealed to them and Jesus is talking to Peter alone?

Just sensible.



Posted by I.M Fletcher to New Zealand Conservative at 8:26 PM, December 11, 2010


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I.M Fletcher has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

ps, also, logically, your assertion that 'Thou' means Jesus is addressing Peter, and 'Thee' is addressing all the disciples simply doesn't stack up.

Let's look at one of the verses you use as your argument -

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Ok, 'so blessed are you Simon Barjona' - fair enough so far; he's talking to Peter - 'for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father...'.

Well - the whole point of these verses is that the Father revealed Jesus' real identity to Peter - not the other disciples - they didn't know and it was Peter who spoke up with the answer.
So how can "thee" be referring to all the disciples when it's obvious the answer had not been revealed to them and Jesus is talking to Peter alone?

Just logical.

Posted by I.M Fletcher to New Zealand Conservative at 8:29 PM, December 11, 2010

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Kris K has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Fletch 8:13 pm Dec 11,

On reflection, I'll give you the "thee" and "thou" argument, but NOT that Christ was addressing Peter only rather than all the disciples present. He only replies initially to Peter because it was Peter who answered the question, He then goes back to addressing the group. Remember He started speaking to the group - Mat 16:13 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"

But I want to stick with the issue of whether it is in fact Christ who is the Rock.
Lets go to the Greek for Matt 16:18.

Mat 16:18 And1161 I say also2504, 3004 unto thee,4671 That3754 thou4771 art1488 Peter,4074 and2532 upon1909 this5026 rock4073 I will build3618 my3450 church;1577 and2532 the gates4439 of hell86 shall not3756 prevail against2729 it.846

I have left the Strong's Numbers showing.
Lets look at "Peter,4074", followed by "rock4073".

"Peter,4074":
G4074
?e´t???
Petros
pet'-ros
Apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than G3037); as a name, Petrus, an apostle: - Peter, rock. Compare G2786.

"rock4073":
G4073
pe´t?a
petra
pet'-ra
Feminine of the same as G4074; a (mass of) rock (literally or figuratively): - rock.

Now Peter is from the Greek "Petros" - a piece of rock, and is distinct from "Petra" - a large mass of Rock. These two things are NOT the same, just as "Peter,4074" and "rock4073" are not the same.

Of course Peter makes this clear later when he said:
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And2532 a stone3037 of stumbling,4348 and2532 a rock4073 of offense,4625 even to them which3739 stumble4350 at the3588 word,3056 being disobedient:544 whereunto1519, 3739 also2532 they were appointed.5087

Once again the "chief corner stone" is Christ (not Peter), and this same stone is the "rock4073" (petra) which we have already established is NOT Peter (4074 Petros).

Paul also confirm that this "rock4073" is in fact Christ:
1Co 10:4 And2532 did all3956 drink4095 the3588 same846 spiritual4152 drink:4188 for1063 they drank4095 of1537 that spiritual4152 Rock4073 that followed190 them: and1161 that Rock4073 was2258 Christ.5547

How much clearer do you want it? - "... for they drank of that spiritual Rock4073 that followed them: and that Rock4073 was Christ."
Clearly, it is Christ who is the Rock (4073 Petra).


Posted by Kris K to New Zealand Conservative at 5:59 PM, December 12, 2010 


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I.M Fletcher has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Kris, that is because you're looking at the Greek and not the Aramaic that Jesus and the disciples spoke.

Scott Hahn explains -


I discovered that all the evidence points to the fact that Peter is the "rock."

Now you might say, "That's as plain as the nose on your face. What's the excitement of that discovery?" Well, non-Catholics frequently claim that it's Peter's faith that Jesus is speaking of, or Peter's confession that Jesus is speaking of when He says, "this rock." Or other Protestants object and say, "No, Jesus says, 'And you are petros.'" You are petros, you are rock, and on this petra, the Greek word for large rock, "I will build my Church." So some Protestants object to the Catholic view and say, "What Jesus is really saying is. 'You're a little pebble and on this rock, namely Christ, the Rock, (1 Corinthians, 10:4 and so on) I will build my Church.'"

Now the closer I studied the more I realized that those positions were untenable, simply untenable. And I'm going to share in a few minutes the fact that most conservative anti-Catholic Protestant scholars today will admit that readily and candidly. The more I dug, the more I found that the evidence pointed to the fact that Jesus was speaking of Peter. Peter is the Rock. Peter just said, "You are the Christos," so Jesus says, "You are the Petros." There is a little parallelism there. "You are the Son of the Living God" and "You are the son of Jonah, Simon Bar-Jonah; you are the Petros."

Now people could say, "Wait a second. There is a distinction in the Greek language between petros," Peter's name and petra. Petros can mean stone, whereas petra can often mean "big rock." The problem with that is two-fold. First of all, Jesus probably didn't speak Greek when He was with the disciples. I mean that is held by 99.9 percent of all scholars. It's overwhelmingly unlikely that Jesus in His normal conversations spoke Greek. What's almost certain is that He spoke Aramaic and in the Aramaic there is only one word that could possibly be used and Kouman and other scholars have pointed to the fact that if Jesus spoke Aramaic, He only could have said, "You are Cephus, and on this Cephus I build my Church." So given our knowledge of the Aramaic language, there is no possibility for Jesus to have made the distinction between "little stone" and "big rock." The Aramaic language doesn't allow it.

Well, somebody could say, "The Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to use two different words. Well, that's true, because "petra" is the word in Greek that is normally used for "large rock," but - I should say petra is the Greek word that means "large rock" but it's in the feminine form. In other words, the gender of this Greek word, petra, large rock, is feminine. You do not apply a feminine form of the word in order to name a male. You adopt it by giving the masculine form. In other words what Matthew was doing, guided by the Holy Spirit, is something that was rather obvious and practically necessary. That was to take the Greek from Jesus' saying and start by saying, "I will build my Church on this massive stone, this 'petra' in the feminine but then to show that Peter gets the name, "Rock" in its proper masculine form.

You wouldn't name him Josephine or Rockina or, you know, something like that. You give him the masculine form of the word. I should also add that there is absolutely no archeological evidence from antiquity for anybody having been named Peter before Simon. In other words, Jesus was taking a word that had never been used as far as all the many records we have are concerned, never was used to designate an individual person and Jesus gives that name, gives that word to Simon.


Good try though :)

Posted by I.M Fletcher to New Zealand Conservative at 7:33 PM, December 12, 2010


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Kris K has left a new comment on your post "The story of the attack on the Baghdad Church":

Fletcher 7:33 PM, December 12, 2010

Kris, that is because you're looking at the Greek and not the Aramaic that Jesus and the disciples spoke.

Scott Hahn explains


I think your mate Mr Hahn is grabbing at straws, and is being dishonest not to mention totally inconsistent in his reasoning, if you can call it that. The Holy Spirit preserved the New Testament in the Greek, and God made this distinction between "petros" and "petra" for a reason - that reason is that Peter is NOT the Rock (petra), but Christ is.

You try and wriggle your way out by saying that "petra" is feminine and therefore can't refer to Peter, a male, and hence "petros" is used instead. Good try, but no cigar. Lets look again at what Paul said in 1 Cor 10:4.

Paul also confirms that this "Rock; petra 4073" is in fact Christ:
1Co 10:4 And2532 did all3956 drink4095 the3588 same846 spiritual4152 drink:4188 for1063 they drank4095 of1537 that spiritual4152 Rock4073 that followed190 them: and1161 that Rock4073 was2258 Christ.5547

Why wasn't "Petra - Rock 4073" replaced with "petros" as well - I mean Christ was just as much a man as was Peter? This is where your argument for replacing "petra" with "petros" to avoid using the feminine form of 'rock' for Peter falls down ENTIRELY. If you would use this 'logic' *cough* for Peter you must also use it for Christ.

And just looking at tha plain english - how do you get around the fact that Paul said, "and that Rock was Christ."? Just using common sense there is ONLY one Rock, and that Rock is Christ.

The clear testimony of scripture is that Christ is the rock (petra) in the New Testament, not to mention numerous references in the OT that God is referred to as the Rock - 2Sa 22:47 "The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation."

Whenever "Rock; 4073 petra" is used in the NT it is alway in direct reference to Christ alone (yes, the feminine form), and whenever "Peter; 4074 petros" is used it is always for Peter alone.

You try and force ONE verse to say something which is ENTIRELY inconsistent with the rest of scripture, with the Greek, and even with rational argument.

Of course, as a Roman Catholic you HAVE to to try and prop up the whole "Peter was the first pope" false argument. Scripture warns -

Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Mat 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Hmmm, "one is your Master", "one is your Father", "one mediator between God and men", and ONE Rock - namely the Lord Jesus Christ - do we see a theme here? Christ/God doesn't like competition for His titles/roles. Roman Catholic attempts to make your pope the "Holy Father", your earthly "master", "mediator between God and men", and Peter (RC's first pope) the "rock" in place of Christ are all BLASPHEMOUS claims. Peter must grieve in heaven when he sees how the RC church assigns that which is Christ's alone to him.

I trust you seriously consider the above, Fletch (and others) - the implications are eternal ...

Posted by Kris K to New Zealand Conservative at 12:25 PM, December 13, 2010

34 comment(s):

I.M Fletcher said...

Kris, Peter being the rock upon which Christ says he will build his Church has nothing to do with Christ being the rock, or the stumbling block, or the cornerstone, or the house build on rock not sand. They are different things.

And by the way, who was it that put together the Bible which you claim is your only authority? It was the Catholic Church - you're happy enough to let the Church choose which books should or should not be in the Bible.

And what about the Early Church Fathers? I urge you to read their writings, and you will see it is obvious that Peter and the Papacy had the last word of authority.

What do you think that Jesus giving the "keys to the Kingdom" to Peter means then? You may argue over whether Peter means rock or not (which it does) but it is undeniable that Jesus gave Peter authority, not only in this instance, but when he exhorted Peter alone three times to "feed my lambs, tend my sheep". Who are Jesus' sheep and who is Jesus? Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the sheep are his followers. In exhorting Peter to "tend my lambs" that makes Peter the shepherd on earth now, since Jesus is ascending to Heaven.

Again, it doesn't take much logic or commonsense to see that Jesus commissioned Peter as the leader, giving him powers to "loose" and "bind" on earth and to forgive sin. Your explanation that this "losing and binding" applies to all Christians does not follow. As a Christian do you believe that you yourself can loose and bind, or forgive sin in Jesus' name?

There are over 30,000 Christian churches in the US alone, all believing slightly different things - which one did Jesus establish?

Also, again, you obviously believe in the authority of the First Church, the disciples etc - when does this end, for you? After the last disciple that has personally seen Jesus dies? I believe the authority is passed on, just as Judas Iscariot was replaced with Matthias.

I.M Fletcher said...

ps, Dave Armstrong also points out here that a great majority of Bible scholars (and the examples he uses are mostly Protestant) believe that Peter is the Rock spoken of in that verse in Matthew -

For example -


The great Protestant Greek scholar Marvin Vincent was among those who took the traditional view:
The word refers neither to Christ as a rock, distinguished from Simon, a stone, nor to Peter's confession, but to Peter himself, . . . The reference of petra to Christ is forced and unnatural. The obvious reference of the word is to Peter. The emphatic this naturally refers to the nearest antecedent; and besides, the metaphor is thus weakened, since Christ appears here, not as the foundation, but as the architect: "On this rock will I build." Again, Christ is the great foundation, the chief cornerstone, but the New Testament writers recognize no impropriety in applying to the members of Christ's church certain terms which are applied to him. For instance, Peter himself (1 Peter 2:4), calls Christ a living stone, and in ver. 5, addresses the church as living stones . . .

Equally untenable is the explanation which refers petra to Simon's confession. Both the play upon the words and the natural reading of the passage are against it, and besides, it does not conform to the fact, since the church is built, not on confessions, but on confessors - living men . . . . . .

The reference to Simon himself is confirmed by the actual relation of Peter to the early church . . . See Acts 1:15; 2:14,37; 3:2; 4:8; 5:15,29; 9:34,40; 10:25-6; Galatians 1:18.

Muerk said...

I.M. You may as well give up. IMHO there is no point debating this stuff with sola scriptura protestants. Why? Because sola scriptura makes no sense whatsoever. Who wrote the Scriptures of the New Testament? The Church. Who determined which books would be Scripture? The Church.

Yet suddenly after over a thousand years Christians are supposed to ignore the Church and her Sacraments, the teachings of the Early Church Fathers and now each individual is better of making Christianity up on his own without the Real Presence of the Eucharist? Yeah... No. I don't think so.

Now as to whether the Eastern Churches or the Western Churches are right, at least both have the valid seven Sacraments and I believe that eventually East and West will be reconciled. Protestants OTOH have made so many new innovations to Christianity that it's not going to happen.

Kris K said...

Fletch,
I know you are big on the early church fathers, so lets have a look at what some of them said on the issue regarding "Christ being the Rock". Dave Hunt covers this well and cites these early sources:

[Dave Hunt states, "A Woman Rides the Beast", Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1994, p. 146-148]:

The Testimony of the Church Fathers [Part 1]

How did the so-called Church Fathers (the leaders up to the time of Pope Gregory the Great, who died in 604) intepret this passage? [Matthew 16:18; John 21:17] It so happens that in this regard they are unanimously in agreement with the Protestant position. Not one of them interprets this passage as Catholics are taught to understand it today.

To be in agreement with the unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers, a Catholic would have to reject the dogma that Peter was the first pope, that he was infallible, and that he passed his authority on to successors. Devout Catholic historian von Dollinger reminds us of the undeniable facts:

"Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages in the Gospels (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter's succesors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these texts, yet not one of them whose commentaries we possess - Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas - has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter!

Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church as the office given to Peter to be transmitted to his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter's confession of faith in Christ; often both together."

In other words, contrary to what the average Catholic has been told, the so-called Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church stood unanimously against the current Catholic interpretation. And it is a devout Roman Catholic authority on Church history, one who loves his Church, who points out these facts.

Kris K said...

[Part 2 - continues from Part 1]
Other Catholic historians agree with von Dollinger. Peter de Rosa, also a devout Catholic, just as ably punctures the balloon of papal supremacy and an unbroken line of succession back to Peter:

"It may jolt them [Catholics] to hear that the great Fathers of the church saw no connection between it [Matthew 16:18] and the pope. Not one of them applies 'Thou art Peter' to anyone but Peter. One after another they analyse it: Cyprian, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine. They are not exactly Protestants.

Not one of them calls the bishop of Rome a Rock or applies to him specifically the promise of the Keys. This is as staggering to Catholics as if they were to find no mention in the Fathers of the Holy Spirit or the resurrection of the dead....

For the Fathers, it is Peter's faith - or the Lord in Whom Peter has faith - which is called the Rock, not Peter. All the Councils of the church from Nicaea in the fourth century to Constance in the fifteenth agree that Christ Himself is the only foundation of the church, that is, the Rock on which the church rests.

...not one of the Fathers speaks of a transference of power from Peter to those who succeed him... There is no hint of an abiding Petrine office.

So the early church did not look on Peter as Bishop of Rome, nor, therefore, did it think that each Bishop of Rome succeeded Peter... The gospels did not create the papacy; the papacy, once in being, leaned for support on the gospels [though it wasn't there]."

That the popes for centuries relied upon fraudulent documents (The Donation of Constantine and the False Decretals) to justify their pomp and power even after their exposure as deliberate counterfeits betrays how little these 'vicars of Christ' cared for truth. It also tells us that in those days the popes didn't rely for justification of their papal authority upon Matthew 16:18 and alleged apostolic succession from Peter, or they would not have needed false documents to authenticate their position. Such an application of 'thou art Peter' was invented much later.

Kris K said...

Who Is the Rock [Part 3 continues from Part 2]

The truth of the matter does not depend upon a disputable interpretatin of a few verses but upon the totality of Scripture. God Himself is clearly described as the unvailing "Rock" of our salvation throughout the entire Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:3, 4; Psalm 62:1,2; etc.). In fact, the Bible declares that God is the only Rock: 'For Who is God saved [except] our God?' (Psalm 18:3).

The New Testament makes it equally clear that Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which the church is built and that He, being God and one with the Father, is therefore the only Rock. The rock upon which the 'wise man built his house' was not Peter but Christ and His teachings (Matthew 7:24-29). Peter himself points out that Christ is the'chief cornerstone' upon which the church is built (1 Peter 2:6-8) and quotes an Old Testament passage to that effect.

Paul likewise calls Christ 'the chief cornerstone' of the church and declares that the church is also 'built upon the foundation of [all] the apostles and prophets' (Ephesians 2:20). That statement clearly denies to Peter any special position in the Church's foundation."

Lucia Maria said...

The Church Fathers on Peter as the Rock:

Clement of Alexandria

"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly g.asped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]" (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]).

Tertullian

"For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]" (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

The Letter of Clement to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).

Lucia Maria said...

Origen

"[I]f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

"The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish. Let no man despair of his own salvation. Peter, the first and foremost of the apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly" (Catechetical Lectures 2:19 [A.D. 350]).

"[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there—he that carries about the keys of heaven [Matt. 16:19]" (ibid., 6:14).

"In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis [Acts 9:32–34]" (ibid., 17:27).

Lucia Maria said...

Ephraim the Syrian

"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

Ambrose of Milan

"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . .’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

Jerome

"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord" (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).

Lucia Maria said...

Augustine

"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).

"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is ‘I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christ’s enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415]).

"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).

Source: Peter's Primacy

Lucia Maria said...

Augustine


"[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

Source (and for more fathers' comments) : Apostolic Succession

Lucia Maria said...

Kris,

As demonstrated above, Dave Hunt lies.

Kris K said...

Lucia,

[Part 1a]

Here are some quotes from some of those church 'fathers' Dave Hunt listed:
Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary*, Augustine*, Cyril*, Theodoret*,

others: Jerome*

2) [Theodoret* Bishop of Cyr [Cyrus] (396-466)

Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953), Volume III, Theodoret, Epistle 146, To John the Economus, p. 318]:

"Let no one then foolishly suppose that the Christ is any other than the only begotten Son. Let us not imagine ourselves wiser than the gift of the Spirit. Let us hear the words of the great Peter, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Let us hear the Lord Christ confirming this confession, for 'On this rock,' He says, 'I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' Wherefore too the wise Paul, most excellent master builder of the churches, fixed no other foundation than this. 'I,' he says, 'as a wise master builder have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' How then can they think of any other foundation, when they are bidden not to fix a foundation, but to build on that which is laid? The divine writer recognises Christ as the foundation, and glories in this title..."

3) [Hilary* of Poitiers (ca. 315-367/368)

(On The Trinity, Book VI, 36, 37). ]:

"And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built. But the perceptive faculties of flesh and blood cannot attain to the recognition and confession of this truth. It is a mystery, Divinely revealed, that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. This faith it is which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. This is the faith which has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever this faith shall have loosed or bound on earth shall be loosed or bound in heaven. (...) The very reason why he is blessed is that he confessed the Son of God. This is the Father's revelation, this the foundation of the Church, this the assurance of her permanence. Hence has she the keys of the kingdom of heaven, hence judgment in heaven and judgment on earth."

[Hilary of Poitiers cont.

On The Trinity, Book II, 23). (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), [cf. Book VI.20]:

"Thus our one immovable foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, is the confession from Peter's mouth, Thou art the Son of the living God."

Kris K said...

[Part 1b]

4) [Augustine* of Hippo (354-430) (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VI, St. Augustin, Sermon XXVI, 1-3, pp. 340-341).]:

"But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered, 'Thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God.' One for many gave the answer, Unity in many. Then said the Lord to him, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.' Then He added, 'and I say unto thee.' As if He had said, 'Because thou hast said unto Me, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God;" I also say unto thee, "Thou art Peter." ' For before he was called Simon. Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. 'Therefore,' he saith, 'Thou art Peter; and upon this Rock' which Thou hast confessed, upon this rock which Thou hast acknowledged, saying, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;' that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, 'will I build My Church.' I will build thee upon Myself, not Myself upon Thee. For men who wished to be built upon men, said, 'I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas,' who is Peter. But others who did not wish to built upon Peter, but upon the Rock, said, 'But I am of Christ.' And when the Apostle Paul ascertained that he was chosen, and Christ despised, he said, 'Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?' And, as not in the name of Paul, so neither in the name of Peter; but in the name of Christ: that Peter might be built upon the Rock, not the Rock upon Peter. This same Peter therefore who had been by the Rock pronounced 'blessed,' bearing the figure of the Church...."

5) [Jerome* (ca. 347-419)

(Commentary on Matthew, 7.25, M.P.L., Vol. 26, Col. 51.) ]:

"The one foundation which the apostolic architect laid is our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon this stable and firm foundation, which has itself been laid on solid ground, the Church of Christ is built...For the Church was founded upon a rock...upon this rock the Lord established his Church; and the apostle Peter received his name from this rock (Mt. 16.18)."

Kris K said...

[Part 1c]

6) [Cyril* of Alexandria (died 444)

(Commentary on Isaiah, IV, 2, M.P.G., Vol. 70, Col. 940). John Damascene (ca. 645-749 )]:

"But why do we say that they are 'foundations of the earth'? For Christ is the foundation and unshakable base of all things Christ who restrains and holds together all things, that they may be very firm. Upon him also we all are built, a spiritual household, put together by the Holy Spirit into a holy temple in which he himself dwells; for by our faith he lives in our hearts. But the next foundations, those nearer to us, can be understood to be the apostles and evangelists, those eyewitnesses and ministers of the word who have arisen for the strengthening of the faith. For when we recognize that their own traditions must be followed, we serve a faith which is true and does not deviate from Christ. For when he wisely and blamelessly confessed his faith to Jesus saying, 'You are Christ, Son of the living God,' Jesus said to divine Peter: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.' Now by the word 'rock', Jesus indicated, I think, the immoveable faith of the disciple. Likewise, the psalmist says: 'Its foundations are the holy mountains.' Very truly should the holy apostles and evangelists be compared to holy mountains for their understanding was laid down like a foundation for posterity, so that those who had been caught in their nets would not fall into a false faith."

[Cyril of Alexandria, cont.

(Homily on the Transfiguration, M.P.G., Vol. 96, Col. 554-555).]:

"This is that firm and immovable faith upon which, as upon the rock whose surname you bear, the Church is founded. Against this the gates of hell, the mouths of heretics, the machines of demons for they will attack will not prevail. They will take up arms but they will not conquer."

1) [Pope John Paul II

http://home.att.net/~kguin/books3.html#anchor51660 ]:

"Every time you wear these palliums, remember, dear brothers, that as pastors we are called to safeguard the purity of the Gospel and the unity of the Church of Christ, founded on the 'rock' of Peter's faith."


Hmmm, even a recent Pope seems confused - perhaps he temporarily misplaced the company manual ...

Kris K said...

Lucia,

As demonstrated above, someone's lying, or changing their stories half way through to suit, or simply making it up as they go along - and I don't think it's Dave Hunt.

I.M Fletcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I.M Fletcher said...

Kris, have read through your quotes, but I find it hard to read into them what you are inferring - that Peter was not the rock upon as called so by Jesus.

In Lucia's quotes, on the other hand, it is very very obvious what is being said.

eg, Tertullian

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

There is also mention of succession by the Fathers - or handing on of the Papacy - of Peter and Paul's authority.

Irenaeus -

"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).

Likewise, Lucia's rather stern quotation from Cyprian -

If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

I don't think it can be anymore clear.

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Fletch.

Kris, thank you as well! I love these sorts of conversations, for even though they may get heated (yes, we all seem restrained in writing) I find them incredibly beneficial.

Over the last couple of days, I have read the chapter on the Crusades against the Waldenses from the book The Waldensian Way to God (using this search. I confess, I am shocked at the brutality unleashed against these people, by Papal decree no less. While I still maintain that the Crusades were "in the main" against Islam, these side-Crusades are disturbing, to say the least.

And then I found in my research on Dave Hunt, this wonderful conversation between him and the Catholic Answers's guy. Really worth listening to, and I can see why so many listen to Hunt, he is very compelling, even thought he's wrong.

On the new version of same website is another conversation by a man who converted from Baptist Christianity (at the time of recording, he had only been Catholic for 3 years). However, in that time he had travelled to Caesarea Philippi to see for himself the massive rock that Jesus took His Disciples to in order to make the pronouncement that Peter was the Rock. You really must listen to this.

What prompted this comment, however, was your list of "proofs", which lead me to investigate the one attributed to the commentary of Jerome on Matthew. I have found that the translation is very recent, and that it is available as a book on Amazon.

I've copied the following for Andrei; he'll know what it means (I hope):

*
10.2 Now these are the names of the twelves apostles. The list of apostles is recorded, so that those who beyond these are going to be false apostles may be excluded.

10.2 First, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother. It belonged to him who searches into the secrets of the heart to distrubute the order of the apostles and the merit of each one. Simon is the first one to be recorded. He was surnamed Peter to distinguish him from another Simon who is called the Cananean, from the village of Cana of Galilee, where the Lord turned water into wine. He also names James [the son] of Zebedee, because there follows another James, [the son] of Alpaeus. He is grouping teams and pairs of apostles. He joins Peter and Andrew, brothers not so much in the flesh as in the spirit [...]

*

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the bit that you've quoted, Kris, as the Surprise Me feature didn't surprise me enough with taking me to the section I actually wanted to go to.

Looks like I'll have to get the book.

I.M Fletcher said...

Lucia, there's also a archive of Early Church Fathers HERE and HERE that I haven't dug into.

Whew, looks like a lot of reading there. I see Jerome commentaries in the 2nd link, but not on Matthew.

I.M Fletcher said...

Here are some quotes by Jerome of DavidMacD's site


St. Jerome (393 A.D.):

"Christ is not alone in being the Rock, for He granted to the Apostle Peter that he should be called 'Rock'. " (Jerome, Comm. on Jerimias 3:65).

"For what has Paul to do with Aristotle? Or Peter to do with Plato? For as the latter (Plato) was prince of philosophers, so was the former (Peter) prince of Apostles: on him the Lord's Church was firmly founded, and neither rushing flood nor storm can shake it." (Jerome, Against the Pelagians 1:14a).

"'But,' you [Jovinian] will say, 'it was on Peter that the Church was founded' [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division." (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark on Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

I.M Fletcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I.M Fletcher said...

From that last link I gave, David also says on hi site -


Mark Bonocore writes: It is true that some of the Church fathers do speak of Christ or of Peter's confession as "the Rock" of Matt 16:18. However,
all of these same Church fathers also speak of Peter himself as the Rock. This was not an either-or proposition for our ancient Christian forefathers, but a "both-and" proposition. What the Church has always believed is that Christ Himself is the only TRUE Rock of the Church. But, in Matt 16:18, Peter (because of his Divinely inspired confession) was made the VICARIOUS Rock of the Church -the focal point of Church unity and sound, orthodox doctrine in Christ's own physical absence. A parallel dynamic can be seen in John 21:15-19,. where Christ makes Peter the primary shepherd of His flock, telling Him to "feed my lambs" and "tend ("rule" in the original Greek) my sheep." Jesus could "feed" and "tend/ rule" His own sheep. Clearly, He can, since He is God and since He is always the Church's TRUE Good Shepherd. But, Jesus commands Peter to do it IN A VICARIOUS SENSE --that is, to lead the Church and govern it with sound teaching and unity in Christ's PHYSICAL absence. Thus, there is only one TRUE Shepherd (Jesus Christ), and one primary VICARIOUS Shepherd to unify the entire flock (St. Peter). Likewise, there is only one TRUE Rock (the Lord Himself) and one Christ-appointed VICARIOUS Rock --that is, St. Peter, who was commissioned with this ministry in Matt 16:18-19 and then reaffirmed in this same ministry in Luke 22:31-32 and John 21:15-19.

Kris K said...

Lucia 2:17 pm [Dec 15],

Perhaps we may get heated because these things are important, and the implications for those who are wrong are dire; perhaps eternally so. I think because we are well mannered individuals we resist the temptation to be rude, or attack the individual rather than the issue at hand (as is the want of other commentators on other blogs when they disagree).

And while I may be perceived as attacking the Roman Catholic church and the papacy for its various stances, it is nothing personal on the individual level. Much like the discussion between Dave Hunt and the Catholic Answers guy (your link above, Lucia), my motivation is because I love Catholics (as Dave also stated) and desire for them to receive biblical salvation (as I understand it and as I believe the Bible makes clear).

And I appreciate you actually considering what Dave Hunt said in the discussion - he made many good points IMO, whereas I felt the Catholic guy was floundering some of the time, and that he interjected more than was perhaps necessary. No doubt you saw the discussion in a different light.

And thanyou, too, for acknowledging "the Crusades against the Waldenses" and that this was at the behest of the then pope. While I agree that perhaps God used the RC crusades to quell the Muslim invasion of Europe, etc, I am interested in whether you perceive it was God's will to persecute the Waldenses et al for simply rejecting Roman Catholic doctrine? Of course this attacks the very idea of papal infallibility as I would understand it.

If this is still the current thinking within Rome then people like me, who reject much of RC doctrine, would also be possibly subject to such persecution/execution, as the Waldenses were, were Rome ever to return to the dominance it held at the time of the RC crusades and inquisition. Once again if the then pope was 'correct' in persecuting such individuals at that time, and that he was infallible (in your view), and the present/recent popes have not renounced such persecutions, then isn't there a very real chance that people regarded as heretics (by the RC church) could once again be exposed to such persecution/torture/execution in the future?

I'm interested on your thoughts on this - you too, Fletch.

Kris K said...

Fletch 3:43 pm [Dec 15],

You quoted:
"Mark Bonocore writes: It is true that some of the Church fathers do speak of Christ or of Peter's confession as "the Rock" of Matt 16:18. However, all of these same Church fathers also speak of Peter himself as the Rock. This was not an either-or proposition for our ancient Christian forefathers, but a "both-and" proposition. What the Church has always believed is that Christ Himself is the only TRUE Rock of the Church."

Thankyou for that admission at least.
My understanding is that Christ is the Rock (petra), and while Peter (petros) may be a smaller stone/rock this is distinct from Christ as "the Rock". In fact we are told that ALL the apostles/disciples form part of the foundation, just as all those who come to Christ are also part of this foundation (lively stones). But wherever we feature in the foundation, we are ALL (including Peter) anchored by Christ; the chief cornerstone. I believe the scriptures make no special distinction between Peter and the other apostles/disciples in this sense - they are ALL (along with the prophets) simply part of the foundation built upon Christ Himself.

Certainly Paul makes no distinction here:
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

And neither does Peter himself here:
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.


And if we consider the heavenly Jerusalem, and its twelve foundations, no special mention is made of Peter by John in Revelation:
Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Another reason I believe Peter is not elevated any higher than the other apostles.

Lucia Maria said...

Kris,

And I appreciate you actually considering what Dave Hunt said in the discussion - he made many good points IMO, whereas I felt the Catholic guy was floundering some of the time, and that he interjected more than was perhaps necessary. No doubt you saw the discussion in a different light.

Well, yes, I think Karl Keating did very well, all things considering. He was in "hostile territory", having a discussion with a guy who makes a big part of his living attacking Catholics, so Dave, of course, would have his phrases and sentences down pat, while as Karl would have to respond to them. Most people would find that difficult, unless they knew beforehand what was going to be said.

There is another audio file on that same site that has a full-on debate between the same two men. They both start with 20 minutes to lay down their respective cases (Dave Hunt goes first), and then they get 10 minute rebuttals. I haven't listened to the rebuttals yet. Here's the full audio page and the direct link to the debate.

I'm really hoping that you have or will listen to that other audio file link I've posted. Here it is again. It's a discussion with Steve Ray, who is a convert from your type of Christian background, who talks about going to visit the actual rock where Jesus told Peter he was the Rock. Plus, a bit of his own journey in that respect.

... I am interested in whether you perceive it was God's will to persecute the Waldenses et al for simply rejecting Roman Catholic doctrine? Of course this attacks the very idea of papal infallibility as I would understand it.

I don't think it is ever God's will that evil should come about, but He will allow it to occur. From my reading of the book I mentioned, the writer (who is not Catholic) admitted that the Crusade was an aberration, and that how the Waldenses were treated was horrendously wrong. Once the Crusade was unleashed, the Crusaders were far more interested in blood and loot than they were in the souls of the heretics.

While this doesn't put the pope of the time in a good light, papal infallibility doesn't mean that the pope is always going to make the best decisions and do the right thing. All it means is that as the leader of the Church, he cannot introduce heresy into the teachings of the Church. Infallibility extends only to teachings on faith and morals - even if the man himself is a real scoundrel, as some have most definitely been.

I certainly hope that this sort of thing will not happen again. Evil men will justify themselves in all sorts of ways, using their religion as an excuse for their behaviour. That will never go away, until the end of time. However, I think the days of the popes being temporal rulers are over. A good thing, IMO, lets them focus on their real job.

I.M Fletcher said...

Thanks for that audio link Lucia. My folks have satellite and can get the Catholic TV station EWTN which has The Journey Home on every Sunday morning (our time). It really is worth getting (the only cost is the satellite dish and install etc - there is no subscription fee for tuning in to the station, plus you can tune into other Christian stations like GodTV etc).

Lucia Maria said...

Fletch,

You're welcome. There's so much good stuff out there, it's hard to listen to it all. I've got hours and hours of Spiritual Combat audio that I went through a couple of years ago that I'd love to go back over. As EWTN, it's on the list!

Matthew said...

Part 1

Hi,

having read through all of this conversation and joining it somewhat late (been meaning to read it for while now), it has got me thinking about it again. And a new perspective hitme.

Conclusion first then see my line of thinking. I would still have to say that Christ is the rock that is referred to in "and upon this rock". However, I am prepared to also see that the early church fathers believed otherwise (although there seem to be a few quotes from Kris K that don't follow that line) and also that Jesus did give Peter the keys [of the kingdom of heaven] with certain authority as specified in v.19. I am also prepared to see that Peter did have a special place as the head of the church (following on from v.19 as well as Acts, John 21 and other places). While I am not Catholic, I do think that it is a strength that it has one earthly head who has authority whose intention is to keep the church on the right doctrinal path (among other things).

Back to the text itself. Avoiding a discussion on Sola Scriptura (let's leave that for another day), I always prefer Scripture to interpret itself and try as well as I can not to bring my own presuppositions. Direct Greek transliteration:

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and gates of Hades not will have power over it

First, I acknowledge that Jesus spoke in Aramaic. However, unfortunately, we can't know the exact, and I mean exact, words he used. So I can't see why Scott Hahn would actually know what Jesus said. He can't and never will this side of heaven. He can in fact draw on some logic so suggest what Jesus actually said, but I know, that Scott would never actually say "I am 100% certain that I have it word for word in Aramaic correct." That leaves us with the Greek text as the only authoritative text we can rely on. While Scott's points are good, we can't rely on them to omuch because of this uncertainty. We, in the 21st centry have been left with the [Greek] Scriptures, and those are the ones we must use. Both God, and the church, chose not to leave us with Jesus' aramaic verbal record; that we muct accept.

Matthew said...

Part 2

Jesus said, in the Greek, "you are Peter, and upon this rock...". In its basic plain sense, Jesus uses "Peter" to refer to Peter and "this rock" to refer to something else. If he had meant Peter, then we would have said "and upon you". Even if you don't agree with my statement, I hope you can see that I am not trying to 'draw a long bow'.

My sense is that Catholics correctly think that Protestants go after the "upon this rock" to try and preempt Peter's leading role in the Early church. The truth, as is almost always the case with Scripture, is that we (neither Protestants nor Catholics) can't make it fit our own prejudicies. The Bible does say that, however much Prostestants like me don't like this reality, Jesus designated Peter as having a crucial role in building the church. (My sense is that Jesus wanted a head of the Earthly church, being the apostles and prophets with Peter as a special mention, as a real structure that would prevent the church from becoming heretical.) So it seems to me that as soon as I start saying that "upon this rock" refers to Christ and the confession of Peter's that "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" that I am then going to go the whole nine yards and say that Peter has no special role (anymore than any other follower of Christ) in leading the church. But no, after saying that "this rock" is Christ, I believe that Jesus has given the keys to Peter, and those keys are no ordinary keys, because they are the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore the role that Jesus gave Peter in John is also valid. Why do I say this? Well not because of my interpretation, but because Scripture says so "And I will give you the keys..." That can't really be interpreted any other way.

Look at it this way: suppose hypothetically that you conceded that "this rock" was Christ and Peter's confession, but that Peter still had significant authority conferred by the keys of the kingdom of heaven (including the Apostolic succession) as well as being told directly by Jesus to look after the sheep, and further that Peter and the apostolic succession had authority over my life as a follower of Jesus Christ (there are other Scriptures that lend weight to this authority granted); then what has the Catholic church lost? Christ is hardly an inferior replacement of Peter. Peter, the apostles and their successors (including their preeminent head) still have the responsibility and authority granted directly by Christ over all Christians. In many ways I wish we had one church, whose head had authority and was reliable in enforcing (not against people's will of course) the doctrines of the church in accordance with Scripture. In that sense I wish the Catholic church would believe that Christ is the foundation, and not become concerned that everything else vanishes. Also, we shouldn't say that God can't be both the foundation and the architect. Who are we to limit God unless he expressely says we can in this context?

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I.M Fletcher said...

Matthew, thankyou for your thoughtful replies. I'm not an expert on all of this, but, some thoughts....

Hmmm, when you say that we can't know 100% exactly what Jesus said, I have to disagree with that. In fact, I think it is a strange thing for a Protestant to say, whose main authority is the Bible. If we can't know what Jesus really said, then what can we be sure of?

I think it is safe to say that we do know though. The first Gospels were written 50 - 70 AD not that long after Jesus' death when some of the disciples or at least those that knew them were still alive and remembered what Jesus said.

Also, I do not believe that God would allow error to be introduced into the Bible; I believe that those who wrote were given that Grace by the Holy Spirit.

Stan Williams has a good article HERE about how the Bible cannot possibly interpret itself.

As far as Peter being the Rock, I do not think this takes away from Christ at all. It is like the Governor General in New Zealand who represents the Queen in her absence. His representing her does not take away any authority from her.

Also, regarding 'Rock', for me, I read it in it's simplest most obvious way. The name 'Peter' actually means 'Rock'. There is no record of anyone having been called this before Jesus gave him that name. So Jesus is saying, in effect, "You are rock, and on this rock I will build my church".

It's just so obvious to me, and doesn't require the contortions that some Protestants have to go through in order to make it mean what they want it to.

Matthew said...

Hi and thank you I.M Fletcher (hope that doesn't sounds too formal!).

Hmmm, when you say that we can't know 100% exactly what Jesus said, I have to disagree with that.

Oh sure, maybe nuances get lost in writing. Of course I believe that we know exactly what Jesus said. It's right there in front of us in the Scriptures. What I meant is that Scott Hahn is supposing he knows exactly what Jesus said in Aramaic, when in fact, through the wisdom of the Spirit, the Scriptures have been given to us in Greek, not Aramaic. The Greek text (and there are various texts, but they largely agree) is the one where we know exactly what Jesus said, not the Aramaic. On such a crucial interpretation of upon this rock this is important.

I read Stan's article and I would have to agree with him. Unfortunately I am not sure that the Catholic church has down through history always followed what he has opined in their actions. And therin lies the issue: I do think that the Catholic church has laregely correct doctrine, but unfortunately their actions have not always complied with their correct beliefs [as originally stated during the direct eyewitness to Jesus and his disciples/apostles]. Hence we had the Reformation and the Counter-reformation and one side no longer believes the other side and neither side is willing to let go: very human weaknesses come into the situation. But this topic is getting away from the original discussion.

I think we need to be careful regarding the analogy of human institutions like the Queen & Governor General and I understand you're not trying to argue the analogy is an excellent 100% comparison either.

The name 'Peter' actually means 'Rock'. There is no record of anyone having been called this before Jesus gave him that name.

But this is where the whole debate lies. Shall we just simply restate Scripture:

"you are Peter, and upon you Peter I will build my church"

or

"you are the Rock and upon the Rock I will build my chuch".

the Scripture does not say that. The Scripture, not me, says "Peter" (and yes that is the first time that this word has been created, and yes we should have a discussion about where that word came from. It seems to me that the Church, or the Body of Christ was a new creation , so giving an apostle a significant, even an apostolic role does require a new name. God did the same to Abram, although the anlogy is limited.) and "this rock", or in Greek, Petros and Petra. That is the record and that is what we have received. I won't put Petros where Petra is or Petra where Petros is.

Can't we all just give more than we think is fair and then be re-united?

Lucia Maria said...

Kris said, 1) [Pope John Paul II

http://home.att.net/~kguin/books3.html#anchor51660 ]:

"Every time you wear these palliums, remember, dear brothers, that as pastors we are called to safeguard the purity of the Gospel and the unity of the Church of Christ, founded on the 'rock' of Peter's faith."

Hmmm, even a recent Pope seems confused - perhaps he temporarily misplaced the company manual ...


Here's the "company manual", The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

424. "Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'[Mt 16:16 .] On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.[Cf. Mt 16:18; St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4 3: PL 54,150 - 152; 51,1: PL 54, 309B; 62, 2: PL 54, 350-351; 83, 3: PL 54, 431-432.] 'To preach. . . the unsearchable riches of Christ'[Eph 3:8.]"

552. "Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve;[Cf Mk 3:16 ; Mk 9:2; Lk 24:34 ; 1 Cor 15:5.] Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Our Lord then declared to him: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.'[Mt 16:18 .] Christ, the 'living Stone',[1 Pet 2:4.] thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.[Cf. Lk 22:32 .]"


No confusion there. It's not one or the other (Peter or his faith), it's both.

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