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Peter's Denial: A Research Request


maklelan

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I've been assigned to write a paper about the denial of Peter. Specifically, I've been asked to research the interpretation of the denial in LDS history. In 1971 President Kimball mentioned that it is possible that Peter was commended or told to deny him. I'm looking for any other authority or scholar in the church who ever made a similar claim prior to President Kimball. Does anyone have any information about this? Thanks in advance.

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"Peter, my brother." Is a great talk, but that may have been the one you were looking at.

PacMan

Yeah, I have that one. What I'm trying to do is see if Pres. Kimball got this idea from someone else in the church, from outside the church, or if he came up with it on his own.

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I've been assigned to write a paper about the denial of Peter. Specifically, I've been asked to research the interpretation of the denial in LDS history. In 1971 President Kimball mentioned that it is possible that Peter was commended or told to deny him. I'm looking for any other authority or scholar in the church who ever made a similar claim prior to President Kimball. Does anyone have any information about this? Thanks in advance.

I have never heard of this (that Peter was told to deny Christ.) I do not think Pres. Kimball actually said that in that manner. The only thing I could find is the following quote:
(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,, Pg.470-472)

"Peter exemplifies faithful, fearless leadership. Some time ago a newspaper in a distant town carried an Easter Sunday religious editorial by a minister who stated that the presiding authority of the early-day church fell because of self-confidence, indecision, evil companions, failure to pray, lack of humility, and fear of man....

As I read this, my blood began to boil....

Then I opened my New Testament. I could find no such character as this modern minister described. Instead, I found a man who had grown perfect through his experiences and sufferings -- a man with vision, a man of revelations, a man fully trusted by his Lord Jesus Christ.

When Christ chose this fisherman for his first and chief apostle, he was taking no chances. He picked a diamond in the rough -- a diamond that would need to be cut, trimmed, and polished by correction, chastisement, and trials -- but nevertheless a diamond of real quality. The Savior knew this apostle could be trusted to receive the keys of the kingdom, the sealing and the loosing power. Like other humans, Peter might make some errors in his developing process, but he would be solid, trustworthy, and dependable as a leader of the kingdom of God....

Much of the criticism of Simon Peter is centered in his denial of his acquaintance with the Master. This has been labeled "cowardice."

Are we sure of his motive in that recorded denial? He had already given up his occupation and placed all worldly goods upon the altar for the cause. If we admit that he was cowardly and denied the Lord through timidity, we can still find a great lesson. Has anyone more completely overcome mortal selfishness and weakness? Has anyone repented more sincerely? Peter has been accused of being harsh, indiscreet, impetuous, and fearful. If all these were true, then we still ask, Has any man ever more completely triumphed over his weaknesses?

Could he have felt that circumstances justified expediency?...

Could there still have been some lack of understanding concerning the total unfolding of the plan?...

Could it have been confusion and frustration that caused Peter's denial?...

The Savior had walked calmly from Gethsemane's garden, seemingly resigned to the inevitable sacrifice of himself. Simon had courageously manifested his willingness to alone fight the great mob to protect his Master. At the risk of death he had struck the contemptible Malchus and sliced off his ear. But this act of bravery and personal disregard was stopped by the Lord. Could it be that in these last hours Peter realized that he should stop protecting his Lord, that the Crucifixion was inevitable, and that regardless of all his acts, the Lord was moving toward his destiny? I do not know. I only know that this apostle was brave and fearless....

I do not pretend to know what Peter's mental reactions were nor what compelled him to say what he did that terrible night. But in light of his proven bravery, courage, great devotion, and limitless love for the Master, could we not give him the benefit of the doubt and at least forgive him as his Savior seems to have done so fully? Almost immediately Christ elevated him to the highest position in his church and endowed him with the complete keys of that kingdom....

Peter was a man of faith. He healed the sick by their merely passing through his shadow. Prison walls could not hold him. Because of him, the dead came back to life. He walked upon the water.... Let him who would scoff at Peter's momentary wavering try such a feat himself....

He accepted threats, beatings, and calumny. He defied those who condemned his Lord....

When his work was done, his testimony borne, his witness delivered, his numbered days run out, Satan who had long desired him was now permitted to take him in martyrdom. His testimony came from his dying lips....

The apostle lives. The weak things of the world confounded the wise. Millions have read his testimony. His powerful witness has stirred multitudes. Through the countless ages of eternity, he will live and extend his influence over the children of this earth. With his brethren, the Twelve, he will judge the nations." ("Peter, My Brother," BYU (7/13/71) (greatness of Peter)

As for where he "got the idea" I am not sure what idea you mean. If you mean that Peter was not a coward but a great Apostle of the Lord, I suppose that is believed by all of the brethren and members of the Church. You might check James E. Talmage in his book "Jesus the Christ" or Bruce R. McConkie's Mortal Messiah Series to see what they have to say about Peter.
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I have never heard of this (that Peter was told to deny Christ.) I do not think Pres. Kimball actually said that in that manner.

He implies it, and Bruce C. Hafen later brings it up to show that it is possible that Peter could have been told to deny Christ. Andrew Skinner and some other BYU faculty have written papers arguing in favor of that interpretation.

The only thing I could find is the following quote:As for where he "got the idea" I am not sure what idea you mean.

I'm wondering if he was reading some commentary or talking to some GA and was told of this possibility, or if he was thinking about it and thought it might be possible.

If you mean that Peter was not a coward but a great Apostle of the Lord, I suppose that is believed by all of the brethren and members of the Church. You might check James E. Talmage in his book "Jesus the Christ" or Bruce R. McConkie's Mortal Messiah Series to see what they have to say about Peter.

I've looked at both of them, but what I'm looking for is a source relatively contemporary to Pres. Kimball who makes the same argument.

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Have you tried that search engine for general conferences and who said what concerning what verse? So just type in Matt X verse Y and see who said what concerning it. If Pres. Kimball got it from someone then it might be there or if not you can rule out General Conference and look for other sources.

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I don't see any point in Peter being told to deny Christ. Abandoning him, perhaps. In the days prior to the crucifixion, it's fairly clear that Jesus discussed it and it was probably clear to the apostles why He had to die. I've always thought the story reflected the frailties of men and their ability to grow beyond them.

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I think it is utterly and incredibly fascinating to see the biases that come into play with various different leaders in early Christianity, not to even mention today's church. For instance, while President Kimball saw Peter as exemplifying "fearless leadership," others, such as Jeffrey Butz, who has researched this seriously, has noted that Peter is always shown in the scriptures as waffling. He was weak, and rather wishy washy on many notes and in many circumstances, a real woos, as it were. Butz's book is James, the Brother of Jesus," (2006)

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I had heard this particular interpretation many years ago but I don't know the original source. Talmadge does not give it this interpretation but cites Peter's bitter tears as a sign of repentance and contrition following the third denial. Matthew 26 records "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the **** crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." It does not sound like Christ was instructing him to deny him but prophesying that he would and I think it was an important lesson for Peter.

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Perhaps we should wait for revelation on this matter (the nature of Peter's character) instead of jumping to conclusions or trying to extract this from the meager historical record that we now hold.

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Based on the records we have, we see an LDS Apostle praise Peter, and a Christian Lutheran minister show how Peter waffled many times. It appears to me that each understands the record differently. That's not a crime, that's the essence of being human...... :P

So far as I see it, no one is judging, but rather assessing, and coming up with likely scenarios of what supposedlt went on. Robert Eisenman is even rougher on Peter than Butz is, to be sure! But he has a lot of historical records he uses which President Kimball apparently never knew about. That's the essence of the scholarship on the scriptures, always updating, furthering our understanding with further light and knowledge, etc.

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I don't see any point in Peter being told to deny Christ. Abandoning him, perhaps.

Because if Peter had acknowledged his involvement with Christ, they may have killed him too, thus frustrating the plan for Peter to be the head of the Church. Jesus knew all, and knew it was not Peter's time to die.

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For instance, while President Kimball saw Peter as exemplifying "fearless leadership," others, such as Jeffrey Butz, who has researched this seriously, has noted that Peter is always shown in the scriptures as waffling.

I'll listen to Kimball over this Butz guy any day...

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"And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the **** crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." It does not sound like Christ was instructing him to deny him but prophesying that he would and I think it was an important lesson for Peter.

I highly doubt Peter 'forgot' what Christ had just told him, but rather it came to his rememberance under such traumatic circumstances. I would say he wept bitterly because of the whole situation, not necessarily out of guilt. I imagine Abraham would have wept bitterly had he actually killed Isaac...yet he was commanded to do so.

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Mastermahan:

I'll listen to Kimball over this Butz guy any day...

I'll pursue greater light and knowledge wherever it is to be had in God's universe, and from whomsoever God inspires to share their own light and knowledge.

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When it comes to Peter and his weaknesses, I often heard it said that he might have had ADHD. He's a little impulsive, loses focus, but he sees things differently from the average person and maybe God saw that as a big plus. Like how many of the other apostles walked on water?

Was Golden Kimball a loser of an apostle?

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