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Was Peter The Head Of Christ's Church?


Theophilus

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Catholic Guy tries to argue for the "primacy" of Peter in the Bible, the alleged doctrine supporting the idea of the Papacy, and the idea that LDS borrow to support their Prophet, and "quorums" (eg. first presidency, quorum of the 12, etc.)

Peter's name occurs first in all lists of apostles (see Mt 10:2; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13). Matthew even calls him "the first" (10:2). (Judas Iscariot is invariably mentioned last.)

And this is relevant exactly why?

When you have a list of 12 apostles, you have to list someone's name "first". Does that mean that whenever someone has a "list" of people, the first one must automatically be the "leader"?! Ridiculous!

Peter is almost without exception named first whenever he appears with anyone else. In one example to the contrary, Galatians 2:9, where he is listed after James and before John, he is clearly preeminent in the entire context [see, for example, 1:18-19; 2:7-8]

Thank you for admitting that he wasn't always named "first".

So much for your point.

So much for "Petrine primacy".

Peter alone among the apostles receives a new name, "Rock," solemnly conferred (Jn 1:42; Mt 16:18).

"Solemnly"?!

Where do you find that in the Bible?

One thing about names. People have found that when everyone is given the same name, things get confusing. A preferred characteristic about names is that everyone is given a different one, so people can be distinguished from others. So it's hardly any surprise (or worthy of any significance, IMO) that no one else was named "Rock" after that name was alrady given.

As to who the True Rock actually is, I would hope everyone realizes that the True Rock of Christianity, the firm foundation, the foundation of stone, is none else than Christ Jesus Himself:

1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason Simon Peter was given the name, "Rock", was because God gave him the faith to proclaim that Christ was the Rock (Matt. 16:18), or does that make too much sense?

Likewise, Peter is regarded by Jesus as the chief shepherd after himself (Jn 21:15-17), singularly by name, and over the universal Church, even though others have a similar but subordinate role (Acts 20:28; 1 Pt 5:2).

Um, no.

Catholics seem to predictably forget Peter's thrice denial of Christ (not something one wishes to remember if one thinks Peter the alleged "head" of the church!). The reason for Christ's three-fold "feed my sheep/lambs" at the end of John, was not some alleged "elevation" of Peter above the others, but simply a reconciliation for his three-fold denial. Far from "elevating" Peter, it simply brings him back up to the same level as the rest of the apostles (which he previously wasn't, since he thrice rejected Christ,while none of the others did).

Peter alone among the apostles is mentioned by name as having been prayed for by Jesus Christ in order that his "faith fail not" (Lk 22:32).

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

You are appealing to absence, here.

Other apostles may (or may not) have prayed for Christ. It is self-serving for you to make claims about what we have not been told.

Indeed, a lot of these so-called "evidences" are what James White refers to as the "Peter syndrome", which is basically trying to interpret any and all references to "Peter" as some sort of reference to an imaginary "papacy" or "primacy".

Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

I say, "Sometimes Peter is just Peter."

Peter alone among the apostles is exhorted by Jesus to "strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:32).

Again, how do you know that Jesus didn't exhort the rest with the same thing?

You are appealing to silence here (a logical fallacy).

Peter first confesses Christ's divinity (Mt 16:16).

I'm not aware of anywhere in the Bible where you get a special prize for being "first".

Peter alone is told that he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation (Mt 16:17).

And you know the others weren't told this as well, exactly how?

Peter is regarded by the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) as the leader and spokesman of Christianity.

I see "Peter and John" mentioned together.

Peter is certainly "a" "leader and spokesman of Christianity".

Nowhere does it say that he is "the" only leader and spokesman.

Paul is elsewhere the "leader and spokesman of Christianity".

Is he the pope too?

Christ teaches from Peter's boat, and the miraculous catch of fish follows (Lk 5:1-11): perhaps a metaphor for the pope as a "fisher of men" (Mt 4:19).

Peter was a fisherman.

Of course he had a boat.

That makes him a pope?

Does Benedict XVI have a boat?

Peter was the first apostle to set out for, and enter, the empty tomb (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:6).

Peter was the "first" to do many things.

It wasn't because he was the "leader".

It was because he was impetuous, and headstrong.

And that's why he got into trouble so often.

Peter alone casts himself into the sea to come to Jesus (Jn 21:7).

Impetuous, and foolish.

Not a "leader".

Peter takes the lead in calling for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:22).

Impetuous.

Peter's shadow works miracles (Acts 5:15).

Acts 5:15 says no such thing, of course (Not even in the Catholic NAB).

Cornelius is told by an angel to seek out Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1- 6).

And Saul was told to seek out Ananias (not Peter).

The whole Church (strongly implied) prays for Peter "without ceasing" when he is imprisoned (Acts 12:5).

"implied"?

I love how proofs are dependent on assumptions and "implied"s.

Peter presides over and opens the first council of Christianity, and lays down principles afterward accepted by it (Acts 15:7-11).

According to my reading, James had a more active, and authoritative role in the Council. Peter was simply headstrong (as usual), and so was the first to start offering his opinion.

Peter (presumably) takes the lead in the first recorded mass baptism (Acts 2:41).

"presumably"? "implied'?

Let me know when you have some actual evidence.

Paul went to Jerusalem specifically to see Peter for 15 days at the beginning of his ministry (Gal 1:18), and was commissioned by Peter, James and John (Gal 2:9) to preach to the Gentiles.

I think you need to re-read Gal. 1.

Paul worked in his ministry for three years before even thinking of going to Jerusalem to talk with the apostles. And there is absolutely no mention of "was commissed by Peter".

They were given fellowship, and it was from "James, Kephas, and John", so Peter wasn't even mentioned first here!

Peter acts, by strong implication, as the chief bishop/shepherd of the Church (1 Pt 5:1), since he exhorts all the other bishops, or "elders."

There's that "implied" word, again.

Simply an admission that you're reading your own beliefs into the text (eisegesis).

1Pe 5:1 So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.

Peter considered himself simply "a fellow presbyter". He never claimed he was "chief bishop/shepherd".

Peter corrects those who misuse Paul's writings (2 Pt 3:15-16).

And Paul rebuked Peter in public (Gal. 2:14ff).

What's your point?

Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome, according to most scholars, as its bishop, and as the universal bishop (pope) of the early Church.

No.

There was no "universal bishop (pope)" in the early church.

I realize that you are simply repeating RCC teaching, but it can't stand up to an objective study of church history.

Theophilus

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I realize that you are simply repeating RCC teaching,

but it can't stand up to an objective study of church history.

Theophilus

There never was a church established.

The ecclesia of Jesus is all Israel, (by heritage or by adoption, it matters not).

Uncle Dale

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What are you talking about Uncle Dale. There wasn't any Israel. It's all a lie perpetuated by the West. :P

Edited to add: I just found it humorous to find a thread on a Mormon message board arguing against the Catholic doctrine of primacy for Peter. Sorry if my humor is out of place.

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While I agree with Theophilus that many of the arguments sometimes given for Petrine authority are rather superious, Theophilus' counter-arguments somehow missed the one crucial one:

"I will give you [Peter, singular Greek "you"] the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.â? (Mt 16:19) (The Latin version of this is inscribes around the dome of St. Peter's.) This is a clear delegation of some time of unique power to Peter alone. One can debate the nature of that authority, but it is hard to deny that Christ gave Peter some type of unique power.

PS As for Peter denying Christ, one would do well to remember the old joke:

Q. Why did Peter deny Christ?

A. Because he healed his mother-in-law.

PPS By the way, Theophilus, you seem to quote James White rather frequently; are you James White?

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Nah. Jesus never retired, but He did finally ascend into heaven. Though of course Christ is always at the head of the Church, apparently He decided to give His chief apostle the "keys to the kingdom" to lead to the Church as his delegate.

In Catholicism, Benedict XVI has those keys. In Mormonism, Gordon B. Hinckley.

The idea that Christ did not elect people to lead the Church by giving them the keys to the kingdom was a heresy that arose during the reformation.

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While I agree with Theophilus that many of the arguments sometimes given for Petrine authority are rather superious, Theophilus' counter-arguments somehow missed the one crucial one:

I would disagree, of course.

But I understand why you might think so, since you didn't see my reply in the other thread, where I already responded to this.

"I will give you [Peter, singular Greek "you"] the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.â? (Mt 16:19) (The Latin version of this is inscribes around the dome of St. Peter's.) This is a clear delegation of some time of unique power to Peter alone.

It's hardly evidence of any alleged "unique" power, since Christ gave the same authority to the rest of the Twelve in Matt. 18, and Paul speaks of the same power given to the church in 2 Cor. 2:10.

However, one understandably realizes why RCC's (and LDS, for that matter) quote Matt. 16 far more often than the latter two Scriptures.

PPS By the way, Theophilus, you seem to quote James White rather frequently; are you James White?

No, but thank you for the compliment.

James is a friend of mine, and just happens to write excellent material on the topics we tend to discuss.

Would you rather I quoted Spurgeon, or Edwards, or Owen, or Gill, or Sproul?

Just remember, Bill, I hope that at least you would realize that there is no inherent "authority" when one is quoted, it is simply a matter of academic honesty in properly citing the author of a quote or concept. The authority comes from the issues and assertions themselves, not from the author (the latter being the logical fallacy of "appeal to authority").

Theophilus

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What are you talking about Uncle Dale. There wasn't any Israel. It's all a lie perpetuated by the West. :P

That makes it even simpler.

Ever read the Narnia tales?

UD

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Christ gave the same authority to the rest of the Twelve in Matt. 18, and Paul speaks of the same power given to the church in 2 Cor. 2:10.

Actually, neither of these passages talk about keys to the kingdom of heaven.

Just remember, Bill, I hope that at least you would realize that there is no inherent "authority" when one is quoted, it is simply a matter of academic honesty in properly citing the author of a quote or concept. The authority comes from the issues and assertions themselves, not from the author (the latter being the logical fallacy of "appeal to authority").

Nothing I said would indicate otherwise.

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Theophilus,

And this is relevant exactly why?

Is it relevant that when their was a dispute that Paul went to Peter and it was Peter who rose up during the council after the disputing? I would say Peter was the "leader".

Acts.15

[6] And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

[7] And when there had been much disputing, [b[Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

So it's hardly any surprise (or worthy of any significance, IMO) that no one else was named "Rock" after that name was alrady given.

Is it significant that Peter is the only apostle that was given the keys of the kingdom? I think this is significant.

Matt.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.

Catholics seem to predictably forget Peter's thrice denial of Christ

Are you forgetting that Peter is only one of the Apostles that Jesus says to "Feed my sheep"?

John.21

[17] He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Paul is elsewhere the "leader and spokesman of Christianity".

Paul went to Peter when their was a dispute.

I realize that you are simply repeating RCC teaching, but it can't stand up to an objective study of church history.

The Church Fathers recognized that Jesus made Peter the rock on which he would build his Church, this gave Peter a special primacy. (see link below):

The Authority of the Pope: Part I

http://www.catholic.com/library/Authority_...Pope_Part_1.asp

The Church Fathers understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter (see link below);

Origins of Peter as Pope

http://www.catholic.com/library/Origins_of_Peter_as_Pope.asp

Peter was made the foundation of the Church. The early Church Fathers recognized it gave him a special place or primacy among the apostles.

Peter's Primacy

http://www.catholic.com/library/Peter_Primacy.asp

Theophilus,

It's hardly evidence of any alleged "unique" power, since Christ gave the same authority to the rest of the Twelve in Matt. 18, and Paul speaks of the same power given to the church in 2 Cor. 2:10.

The evidence is who holds the "unique" power or keys. Peter holds the keys. Peter was instituted as shepherd of the whole flock. Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter. Peter was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The "power of the keys" designates the authority to govern the Church. The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles.

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Yup. Thinking about proving to me the sun doesn't exist? Well, since the word "sun" is a human construction, and God is supposedly the maker of the sun, and...

Zeta-"gotta love philosophy" Flux

You're wiser than you appear to be at first take.

Uncle "and yer little dog too" Dale

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You're wiser than you appear to be at first take.

Uncle "and yer little dog too" Dale

It was my old avatar. A picture of me with a pumpkin on my head, and a phatasm swirling around it (true picture!) just doesn't give the same sense of understanding, maturity, compassion, and depth that clouds with the sun shining through does. Plus it works wonders on my complexion.

Zeta-"risking death-by-moderator" Flux

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It was my old avatar. A picture of me with a pumpkin on my head, and a phatasm swirling around it (true picture!) just doesn't give the same sense of understanding, maturity, compassion, and depth that clouds with the sun shining through does. Plus it works wonders on my complexion.

Zeta-"risking death-by-moderator" Flux

When C. S. Lewis' witch tries to make the children dis-believe the "true world"

above her dismal caverns, they come to the realization that just their ability

to conceive of such a world of sunlight, trees, birds and mountains is BETTER

than what the witch and her sophistry have to offer.

So it is with Jesus and his Gospel. If somebody can disprove the Church, then

so much the better. If somebody disproves there ever was a Jesus, then the

teachings -- the sayings -- the parables -- the wisdom -- the compassion-- all remain.

And, like Lewis' Narnia kids, folks like myself just naturally reach for the light,

instead of the drug-fumes of the semi-darkness, out of sight of the "real" world.

Uncle "hmmm... sounds a bit like a Cheech & Chong movie scene, eh?" Dale

I think its possible that James was the prophet of the Church while Peter was the

head of the 12. Just like in the LDS Church today where there are two presidents.

(GT logion 12) The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that you will depart from us.

Who is to be our leader?"Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to

James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."

(GT logion 13a) Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to someone and tell me

whom I am like." Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a righteous angel."

Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher." Thomas said to him,

"Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like." ...

Uncle Dale

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1- At the Tomb, didn't John arrive first, but then wait at the entrance of the Tomb, and let Peter go in first?

2- If the Early Church Fathers got Peter's role wrong, can the compilers of the Bible (who believed the same "error") be any more trusted to have chosen the right Gospels and Epistles :P ?

Del

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You've gotta love it when Catholics and Mormons are on the same side of the argument.

I think it's significant that it was Peter who addressed the early Christians when they were deciding who would replace Judas Iscariot in the Twelve.

Paul, though he was the chief minister to the Gentiles, recognized Peter's authority. He said, "And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision" (Galatians 2:9). Of course Paul rebuked Peter for acting wrongly when Peter came to Antioch, but that doesn't diminish Peter's authority in any way.

The book of Acts and Paul's epistles make it clear that the Twelve Apostles were at the head of the Church, and also that Peter was at the head of the Apostles. Either that, or Peter was just Matthew's, Mark's, Luke's, John's, and Paul's favorite.

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Either that, or Peter was just Matthew's, Mark's, Luke's, John's, and Paul's favorite.

Certainly Matthew's favorite. Compare the appearances and words of Peter in Matthew

with those recorded for him in the remainder of the Christian Bible. Matthew's Greek

gospel was perhaps based upon an Aramaic original, written especially to preserve the

oral traditions of the old Jewish Jesus-followers who held Peter in the highest regard.

I've already quoted part of logion 13 from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas. For those who

go back to Peter's "good confession" in Matthew, for their ideas about churchly authority,

it may be enlightening for them to place that pericope as recorded in Thomas, Mark and

Matthew side-by-side, and in doing so, look carefully at the similarities as well as the

DIFFERENCES in those three "Who do people say that I am?" accounts.

Uncle Dale

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Theophilus,

The ECF's never taught that Peter was the first "pope", or "head of the church", or anything else of the sort.

The ECF's taught Peter was "the first among the disciples", "the first of the apostles", "the priacy is given to Peter" (see link below):

http://www.staycatholic.com/ecf_primacy_of_rome.htm

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 grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? "Behold, we have left all and have followed you" [Matt. 19:2 7, Mark 10:28] (Who is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3-5 [A.D. 200]).

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]).

Cyprian

With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the Chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source" (Epistle to Cornelius [bishop of Rome] 59:14 [A.D. 252]).

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 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 [A.D. 251]).

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Theophilus wrote:

>>Maybe, just maybe, the reason Simon Peter was given the name, "Rock", was because God gave him the faith to proclaim that Christ was the Rock (Matt. 16:18), or does that make too much sense?>>

One of the greatest Protestant NT scholars of the 20th century had this say:

Whom does Jesus mean when he says that upon the rock the new people of God will be built? The question could seem superfluous were it not that the really self-evident reference to the person of Peter has been contested, and often is still contested, from the Protestant as well as from the Catholic side.

The solution of the Reformers, that the rock is only the faith of Peter, does not satisfy. In the first place, this explanation stands or falls with the very questionable connection of the words with the narrative framework, and we have seen that precisely in this story there is little concern with the faith of Peter, which here is anything but exemplary. But in addition to this, the text offers no real support for this interpretation. Rather, the parallelism of the two statements: â??you are rock, and upon this rock I will buildâ?¦â? shows that the second rock refers to nothing different from the first oneâ?¦all Protestant interpretations that seek in one way or another to explain away the reference to Peter seem to me unsatisfactory. No, the fact remains that when Jesus says that he will build his ekklesia upon this rock, he really means the person of Simon. (Oscar Cullman, Peter: Disciple-Apostle-Martyr, English ed., 1953, pp. 206, 207.)

Grace and peace,

David

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Dear David,

A couple of questions. Do you agree with this "Protestant NT scholars" analysis of this passage? From the Greek, are petros and petra really talking about the same "rock"? Do you believe that the usual LDS exegesis of the rock being "revelation given to the prophet" is incorrect? (At the very least, it satisfies this scholar's point about fitting the context.)

Thanks,

Zeta-Flux

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I'd like to put my two cents in. What Jesus calls Peter initially is cephas, "Jhn 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. Cephas here is a play on words since Jesus is using Peter's actual Hebrew name, Cephas (again, rock) to bring out the larger term and meaning, Petros or petra, i.e. rock. Later Jeuss again makes reference to this name when instructs Peter. Jesus was referring not to Peter, but to himself as the rock. Peter was the pebble, Jesus was the rock. The Greek uses a demonstrative pronoun, 'taute' which means 'this very' and refers to the actual rock on which the church is built. Hence, 'You are Peter, and on taute petra,' this very rock, 'I will build My Church.'

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Hence, 'You are Peter, and on taute petra,' this very rock, 'I will build My Church.'

Any thoughts on why this is missing from Mark?

UD

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