Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Papacy

An excellent analysis (as always) from the He Lives blog.

It starts with a look at the importance of dealing with this issue:
"If anyone, therefore, shall say that the Blessed Peter the Apostle was not appointed the Prince of the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant, or that the same directly and immediately received from the same our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honor only, and not of true and proper jurisdiction; let him be anathema." - First Vatican Council
The Catholic Church upped the ante. This cannot be a minor issue of disagreement.

This is followed by good analysis of the Matthew 16:13-20 passage.

I particularly like the reference to Luke 22:24 ("A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.")
"Instead of acknowledging Peter's privileged position, they are debating who, in fact, is the greatest among them. If Jesus had indeed elevated Peter, it seems that the other apostle's missed the point, Peter didn't invoke it, and Christ didn’t reiterate it--even though this was surely a teaching moment."
And, of course, 1 Peter 5:1-2.

The next section is excellent analysis from Paul's writings.

A nice point on the belief that Peter was Bishop of Rome from an early date:
"if he were, then he abandoned Paul in prison, because Paul wrote that at his first trial everyone abandoned him."
The final section (and the clincher for me), is an analysis of the first council (in Jerusalem).
"It was not Peter who lead the Jerusalem council, it was James, as is seen by the imperative mode of his speech. The letter that is written does not carry the imprimatur of Peter, but of all the apostles."


TheDen said...


It's been a while since I commented and have seen this post but have been very busy and not able to comment.

I just wanted to mention some of the Catholic responses to Peter being Pope.

Matthew 16:13-20

At that moment, Jesus CHANGES Simon's name to Peter (meaning Rock). Then gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. So, the Protestant logic would be as follows:

1. Jesus changes Simon's name to Peter (Rock)

2. Not on Peter (whose name means rock) but rather Peter's confession, the "rock", Jesus will build His church.

3. Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

The above only would make sense if Jesus was talking about Peter the entire time. Now, saying this, the Church does hold that it is possible that Jesus is referring to the confession as the foundation (see Catechism #442) What it does say infallibly is that Peter was appointed the leader of the Church in Matthew 16.

Heddle makes reference to Matt 18. This is NOT the same reference as to Peter. He's referencing the Church of which Peter is the head. The key to the kingdom of heaven is the Church which is how we gain access to it. What the Church binds and loosens on earth will be bound and loosened in heaven. Peter is the head of the Church and can bind and loosen as well. A study of the Greek text in this shows a singular in Matt 16 and a plural in Matt 18.

The Luke 22:24 reference Heddle makes ignores verses 31-32 where Jesus is praying ESPECIALLY for Peter and tells Peter DIRECTLY that once he comes back to Christ, he must "strengthen his brothers." A pretty clear reference that he will be assigned in a leadership role.

Regarding 1 Peter 5:1-2, Peter has learned that leadership is not for personal gain. He has learned that leadership is to be a servant (per Luke 22: 25-26). It's to have humility. You can see this in his letters. He won't call himself the leader as Christ specifically told him his job is to serve not to be served.

In regards to Peter being in Rome. I've personally seen his tomb. I've seen the graffiti near his tomb referencing that it is Peter's bones and Christians from the 2nd century asking Peter to pray for them.

And for the clincher, note that it's Peter who spoke FIRST and then James concurs.

Note what Peter says in verse 7: "God made a choice among you, that by MY mouth the gentiles would hear the word..."

James (who is over Jerusalem) assents to Peter's statement and essentially just repeats it. It's not James who made the decision but Peter.

From a Catholic perspective, it's very evident that Peter was the first among the Apostles.

nedbrek said...

I want to take this in (at least) two directions.

I will make separate posts for each thread.