“Upon this Rock”: Avoiding the False Dilemma of the Protestant and Roman Churches

March 3rd, 2013 Post by

Recently a Protestant friend of mine asked my opinion about a written conversation he had with a Roman Catholic convert. In the conversation the convert explained that, for him, the most convincing point of Roman Catholic doctrine was the doctrine of Petrine succession. My Protestant friend didn’t really know how to respond. I shared with him the problems with arguing for Petrine succession from Scripture, and I think it’s worth sharing my response with you here.

Things Jesus Never Said - Peter

For those not familiar with this Catholic doctrine, it essentially states that according to Matthew 16 and other biblical passages we can see that Peter — and Peter alone — was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven to decide whom he will let into and heaven and whom he will not. According to church tradition, Peter was later the bishop at Rome. The claim of Petrine succession, then, is that whoever subsequently occupies Peter’s office in Rome possesses the keys to the kingdom. I’m sure you can see where this is going: the pope is the current occupant of Peter’s office at Rome and he alone possesses the keys to the kingdom.

Here’s the relevant passage from Matthew 16:

He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Many Protestants, desiring to avoid the Roman Catholic interpretation of this text, deny that the church is built in any way upon Peter or that Peter was given the keys to the kingdom.

There are predominately two ways that Protestants try to get around saying that Christ gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. (1) They claim that “this rock” on which Christ will build his church is not Peter, but Peter’s confession that “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (2) They claim that when Christ says “this rock” he is pointing to himself as if he was saying, “You are Peter, but on this rock, that is myself, I will build my church.” In support of this interpretation they often cite 1 Corinthians 3:10, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” In my experience, Protestants tend to focus only on the confession and are eager to get Peter out of the picture while Romanists tend to focus on Peter and want to ignore the confession revealed from heaven.

Neither of these approaches are quite right. They set up a false dilemma: that if the church is built on Peter, it can’t be built on his confession/built on Christ or vice versa. They emphasize one in exclusion of the other, and here’s where Lutheranism once again, offers a third way.

In response to the Roman Catholic interpretation, it isn’t Peter per se on whom Christ builds his church, it’s built on Peter who makes this confession, and, as we will see, it isn’t built on one apostle. It’s built on all of the apostles because Peter isn’t alone in making this confession. The church ceases to be built on the person the moment he abandons a biblical confession about Christ. Building a church on a fallen person is only as good as the truth he confesses. For the Roman church to separate the man from the confession is just as problematic as Protestants who separate the confession from the man. The keys are not given to a confession, but neither are they given to a single apostle who decides his own confession. They are given to apostles who make this confession. The keys are not given to words, they are given to faithful confessors. The apostles are made to be the people upon whom the church can be built only through a true confession about Christ, and this true confession is a confession revealed from the Father. Thus, the church is built on people who make an orthodox confession which has been revealed by the Father. So we should simply reject any false dichotomy that expects us to choose between the church being built on either Peter or a true confession. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and.

We don’t get anything like a doctrine of Petrine succession from Matthew 16. Matthew doesn’t even give an assist to the doctrine, for there’s simply nothing about the keys being tied to Peter’s office or an ongoing passing-down of the keys to the kingdom.

Additionally, we can see from other texts, that Christ doesn’t give the keys of the kingdom to Peter alone — he also gives them to the rest of the disciples and to the church itself. Let’s look at Matthew 18 and John 20.

In Matthew 18, Jesus gives his disciples commands for dealing with those who have sinned against them. After earlier attempts to make peace have been rebuffed, one is to “tell it to the church” (18:17). If this person will not heed the church, the church is to expel them from the congregation. Then Christ speaks to all of the disciples the exact words he spoke concerning Peter in Matthew 16: “Truly, I say to you [plural], whatever you [plural] bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you [plural] loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (18:18). Peter isn’t the sole possessor of the keys to the kingdom because, as Jesus says, “If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (18:19).

From Matthew 18, it is clear that the succession of possessing the keys to the kingdom is tied to the enduring church, not the enduring bishopric of Peter.

This is Melanchthon’s argument in his “Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope”.

23] In all these passages Peter is the representative of the entire assembly of apostles [and does not speak for himself alone, but for all the apostles], as appears from the text itself. For Christ asks not Peter alone, but says: Whom do ye say that I am? And what is here said [to Peter alone] in the singular number: I will give unto thee the keys; and whatsoever thou shalt bind, etc., is elsewhere expressed [to their entire number], in the plural Matt. 18:18: Whatsoever ye shall bind, etc. And in John 20:23: Whosesoever sins ye remit, etc. These words testify that the keys are given alike to all the apostles and that all the apostles are alike sent forth [to preach].

24] In addition to this, it is necessary to acknowledge that the keys belong not to the person of one particular man, but to the Church, as many most clear and firm arguments testify. For Christ, speaking concerning the keys adds, Matt. 18:19: If two or three of you shall agree on earth, etc. Therefore he grants the keys principally and immediately to the Church, just as also for this reason the Church has principally the right of calling. [For just as the promise of the Gospel belongs certainly and immediately to the entire Church, so the keys belong immediately to the entire Church, because the keys are nothing else than the office whereby this promise is communicated to every one who desires it, just as it is actually manifest that the Church has the power to ordain ministers of the Church. And Christ speaks in these words: Whatsoever ye shall bind, etc., and indicates to whom He has given the keys, namely, to the Church: Where two or three are gathered together in My name. Likewise Christ gives supreme and final jurisdiction to the Church, when He says: Tell it unto the Church.]

Furthermore, in John 20:23, Jesus reiterates that he has given all of the apostles the keys to the kingdom. Notice again the plural second person pronouns: ” If you [plural] forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you [plural] withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Christ nowhere ties the authority to forgive sins to one man’s chair of an office.

Aside from the biblical evidence, our Catholic convert claimed that Petrine succession “was demonstrated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when the Council Fathers, upon reading the Bishop of Rome’s, Pope Leo, Tome on the two natures of Christ, exclaimed, ‘Peter has spoken through Leo.'”

I presume that he’s giving his best evidence from church history for Petrine succession. Apparently, the best of the early evidence is a vague reference from nearly four-hundred years after Peter’s death. This is an enormously weak case for such a vital doctrine for Catholic authority. I can’t see how anyone can hang his hat on this kind of evidence.

Yet, in spite of the lack of evidence for Petrine succession I can see the appeal that the doctrine would hold for a Catholic convert who came from Evangelicalism. I think he is reacting to something that is a real problem in evangelical and reformed circles: no one is exercising the authority of the keys to the kingdom. There is a right exercise of this authority, but the catholic church narrowly restricts it to the pope, while the evangelical/reformed church abandons it altogether. By contrast, in the Lutheran church, there is a pronouncing of absolution by the pastor for sin upon confession. He is one who is called and ordained by Christ’s church, and thus he has the authority to pronounce Christ’s forgiveness.

When Evangelicals and the Reformed reject the right use of the office of the keys, it pushes others toward the appealing-but-false doctrine of Petrine Succession. The best way forward is for Protestants to adopt a better understanding of the office of the keys such as the one laid out by Martin Luther in the Smalcald Articles.


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  1. Mrs. Hume
    March 3rd, 2013 at 15:43 | #1

    Also, wasn’t there a long long long time in church history where there were the bishops over the various areas and none of them thought the bishop of Rome was boss? So, if none of the bishops or theologians of the church ever had the idea that Peter himself was the single authority, then it had to be, uh, asserted later. That alone weakens the argument. Why wouldn’t the original apostles and their immediate successors have observed and attested this petrine rule if it were generally understood by them?

    Correct me if I am mistaken. This is just my understanding. I could be missing some facts regarding statements made by bishops of the early churches.

  2. Carl Vehse
    March 3rd, 2013 at 16:06 | #2

    This is Luther’s argument in his “Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope”.

    Well actually, Melanchthon’s “Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope,” but Luther would agree, based on his Smalcald Articles.

    From 1998, in an excellent discussion of the pastor and the congregation given by then Missouri District President James Kalthoff, in his “The Pastor: God’s Servant for God’s People”, from Church and Ministry: The Collected Papers of The 150th Anniversary Theological Convocation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (edited by Jerald C. Joerz and Paul T. McCain, 1998, pp. 123-161):

    “The Office of the Keys is entrusted to pastors for ‘public’ administration of them. But every Christian, as a priest of God, may use the Keys in private by sharing the Gospel with unbelievers and by absolving a brother or sister who confesses sin to them. This clearly is the teaching of Scripture and the Confessions In our day, we occasionally hear of controversy brought on by some pastors who are insisting that the work of the Great Commission of Matthew 28, that of ‘making disciples of all nations,’ was only given to the apostles and that therefore lay persons should not assume this responsibility belongs also to them. Or that only pastors may carry out the Great Commission.”

  3. Carol Broome
    March 3rd, 2013 at 16:10 | #3

    It’s ahistorical also. No reasonable read of the history of the papacy can conclude that it is continuous. Not with several popes jockeying for position at once, at various points.

  4. Carl Vehse
    March 3rd, 2013 at 16:37 | #4

    @Carol Broome #3: “Not with several popes jockeying for position at once, at various points.”

    And don’t forget “Pope Joan.” ;-)

  5. March 3rd, 2013 at 17:43 | #5

    “The keys are not given to a confession, but neither are they given to a single apostle who decides his own confession. They are given to apostles who make this confession.” Excellent! Even the Eastern Orthodox who believe in ‘apostolic succession’ will point out that it is succession of apostolic doctrine which is faithfully confessed which is key.

  6. March 3rd, 2013 at 18:39 | #6

    I’d like to point out that the lack of absolution in the Protestant church can be tied back to the lack of confession. Very rarely if ever do you see confession in the evangelical world. Oh, people will talk about it, but the practice itself, corporately or personally, is seldom seen, if ever. And then, if you talk about absolution, you’ll get “That’s Roman Catholic!” or “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

    One of the things that was so amazing when we attended our first real Lutheran service was the confession and absolution. My wife and I were floored by it; confession of sins by the whole congregation!?! We were used to the beginning of each service being “Let’s get excited about the things of God!!”

    Best. Change. Ever. :D

  7. Pastor John Fraiser
    March 3rd, 2013 at 19:47 | #7

    @Carl Vehse #2

    Yes, Melanchthon. My slip up. I’ve edited in the post. Thank you for catching it.

  8. March 3rd, 2013 at 22:07 | #8

    Pastor, you may appreciate this quote from St. Augustine from The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers (Preservation Press, a Roman Catholic Publishing House) for the Feast of Pentecost:

    “But whom do you say that I am? And Peter as the leader of the others, one speaking for all of them, said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mt. xvi).This he said perfectly; most truly. Rightly did such an answer deserve to hear: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood has not revealed it to thee, but My Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee, because thou hast said this to me; thou hast spoken: now listen; thou hast confessed: receive in turn a blessing. Therefore: And I say to thee: Thou art Peter: because I am the Rock, thou art Peter; for the Rock is not from Peter, but Peter is from the Rock; because Christ is not from Christian, but Christian is from Christ. Arid upon this rock I will build My Church: not upon Peter (non supra Petruin) who thou art, but upon the Rock (sed supra petrain) Whom thou hast confessed. I will build My church: I will build thee, who in this answer are in yourself the figure of the Church.”

  9. Rev. McCall
    March 4th, 2013 at 09:15 | #9

    Interesting thought here (at least to me! :-) ) What is the cause of people’s desire to become R.C.? Could the Petrine succession in part be appealing because of its objectivity? In other words, as many on here have stated, most of Protestantism and Evangelicalism lacks objectivity when it comes to justification, forgiveness, and the means of grace. Petrine succession and the R.C. church may be seen as appealing because it gives that objectivity. Here is a man, appointed by Christ to forgive sins, and I know it is valid because I can trace it all the way back through history to Christ Himself. If a search for objectivity and cetainty are the underlying causes behind people wanting to convert to R.C. for its Petrine succession, then it would seem we as Lutheran have a much better answer. Say for instance a right understanding of the Office of Ministry and the means of grace, the kind of Scriptural view the Lutheran church teaches. :-)

  10. March 4th, 2013 at 09:56 | #10

    Rev. McCall :Interesting thought here (at least to me! ) What is the cause of people’s desire to become R.C.? Could the Petrine succession in part be appealing because of its objectivity? In other words, as many on here have stated, most of Protestantism and Evangelicalism lacks objectivity when it comes to justification, forgiveness, and the means of grace. Petrine succession and the R.C. church may be seen as appealing because it gives that objectivity. Here is a man, appointed by Christ to forgive sins, and I know it is valid because I can trace it all the way back through history to Christ Himself. If a search for objectivity and cetainty are the underlying causes behind people wanting to convert to R.C. for its Petrine succession, then it would seem we as Lutheran have a much better answer. Say for instance a right understanding of the Office of Ministry and the means of grace, the kind of Scriptural view the Lutheran church teaches.

    Another reason for running to Rome (or “swimming the Tiber” as it’s often called) is the structure and aesthetics, which is also used as a reason for people to go to the Orthodox church as well. It’s interesting to hear the conversion story of a former charismatic/pentecostal wrapped up in CoWo run to Rome because of the (correctly) perceived bankrupcy in the anti-traditional sect of evangelicalism. Of course, the problem is that they’re jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire with regard to that aspect, as they go from no tradition to an erroneously elevated understanding of tradition.

  11. Pastor John Fraiser
    March 4th, 2013 at 11:00 | #11

    @Pr. Mark Schroeder #8
    Mark, this is a wonderful quote. I’ve seen it before, but I am glad you brought it to the discussion. It makes it abundantly clear that such a seminal and stalwart figure as Augustine did not regard Peter’s office as the rock upon which the church is built. If, by the time of Augustine, the church isn’t on board with your claims to be the church’s authority, you’re just making it up.

  12. RomGabe
    March 4th, 2013 at 22:48 | #12

    Excellent distinction of approaches to Matthew 16:18-19. I had never seen the RCC (Roman-Catholic Church) vs. Protestant arguments in that light. Thank you.

    If I am not mistaken, the RCC Catechism looks at Matthew 16 text thru 3 lenses. It explains that the text refers to 3 things: 1) Peter’s apostelship & apostolic succession 2) Christ being the rock, 3) Statement of Faith.

  13. RomGabe
    March 5th, 2013 at 13:10 | #13

    Oh boy, the “Protestant Preacher” cartoon is soooo true. In a conversation with my dear mother, asking her what she things of holy Gospel of John 20:23, Matthew 18:18 (in parallel with John 16:19) and if her “church/pastor offer forgiveness ?” her reply was
    a Protestant classic response “yes, the pastor talks about forgiveness.”

    Talk about speaking past the issue/being on a parallel track.

  14. Chuck Braun
    March 6th, 2013 at 16:53 | #14

    I’m a former (Bible-believing, but still Arminian) Methodist who first learned about monergism from 1980’s house-church fundies with whom I was affiliated, then moving to ELCA by mistake (Thought the word “evangelical” meant it was theologically conservative), and finally to the LCMS. And while corporate confession is part of Methodist liturgical worship, they never had the pastor pronouncing absolution as a called and ordained representative of Jesus Christ. I nonetheless have been catechized to the fact that Jesus did bestow the Apostles with the right and duty to forgive or retain sins, and I would never think of a Divine Service not having Confession and Absolution.

    I also have gone to private Confession and Absolution, and relish the fact that I can actually confess my sin out loud to my pastor. But I still believe that I may confess my sins directly to the Lord and that He can directly absolve me as well. Maybe I don’t quite grasp the concept of the “priesthood of all believers”, but am I wrong to believe this?

  15. Don Gretel
    March 7th, 2013 at 14:47 | #15

    ????? = The Greek
    “That thou art my Peter (??????) ,” is saying, Peter is a stone or building block of the church being established by Jesus Christ. John 1:42 confirms this, “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 (??????).” Paul says in, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.” In addition the other apostles were also included in this authority to preach the Gospels, Galatians 2:9, “And when James, Cephas, 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.” So the bottom line is that Peter and the other apostles are building stones but as scripture says, Christ is the rock. (1 Corinthians 10:4)

    Based upon extensive Bible study, I want to present a different and I am sure controversial interpretation on Matthew and John. To be clear, my intent is in no way meant to be disrespectful of the MS, ELS and WELS teachings or the BOC. If anyone can provide scriptural proof of error, I would be pleased to review it in light of the position presented below. On the other hand the second last paragraph demonstrates it is accepted by some Lutherans and in my opinion it is Bible truth.
    Matthew 16:18-19— from KJV Greek , “And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens. And whatever thou shalt bind on the earth shall be as having been bound in the heavens; and whatever thou shalt loose on the earth shall be as having been loosed in the heavens.” Before these verses can be correctly understood, a distinction must be made between the “church” (v. 18) and the kingdom of the heavens (v. 19). The Church appears to be representative of the body of believers here on earth while the kingdom of the heavens (Pl.) is made up of both the earthly and heavenly realms. The Greek indicates that those things which are conclusively decided by God in the kingdom of heaven, having been so decided upon, are emulated by the Church on earth. Matthew 16:19, 18:18 and John 20:23 are all interrelated; Martin Luther’s translation also has the future perfect passive in Matthew 16:19, “shall have been bound.”
    • Martin Luther’s Small Catechism explains the authority and use of the “Keys”; however, Martin Luther did not write this section of the Catechism so this teaching used by many Lutheran churches is giving Luther credit for something he did not say, “The three questions of Office of the Keys are not by Luther. The second and third questions are taken from the Nuernberger Kinderpredigten of 1533, and this first is still of later origin.”)
    • The “Keys” are the Gospels and they authorize a believers or the churches on earth to announce or proclaim the Gospel message. Accordingly, as they shut or open the door to anything that should be believed or rejected in the church on earth, it must be in agreement with what God has already ordained in heaven (Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 above). God granted no authority for man to forgive sins as God has the ultimate authority to do so. Mark 2:7; Mark 2:10; Matthew 9:6 and Luke 5:24 make very clear statements about Christ being the only one on earth who can forgive sins. Secondly, every sin is a sin against God; therefore, man is authorized and encouraged to forgive sins in accordance with Luke 17:3, but man is not authorized to forgive sins against God. The Roman Catholic Church uses John 20:23 as man’s authority and it appears the early Lutheran Church adopted this teaching.
    • The “Keys” open the door to salvation through the Gospel, and close the door to salvation by believer’s or churches that recognize man’s rejection of the Gospel message as a matter of church discipline. The” Keys” explained in Greek are God’s authority for man to preach the gospels that open and close doors to salvation. “Binding” is the law, “loosing” is the gospel message of absolution to the sinner who repents, is quickened in spirit through the Holy Spirit working through the word and believes through the power of God (2 Cor. 4:6).
    • Look closely at John 20:23. Jesus himself is present with his apostles (v.19). In verse 20 Jesus showed them his hands to prove his resurrection (V.17). Verse 21, “as my Father hath sent me, even so sends you.” (KJV) The Father sent Jesus to preach so Jesus is saying he intends on the same for the apostles, see Luke 24:46-47. Verse22, Jesus himself breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. This is the same power used when breath was blown into man at creation, Genesis 2:7 and Jesus was breathing new life into his apostles to prepare them, strengthen their discernment and empower them on their mission to preach the law and the gospel. The full power of the Holy Spirit came as Pentecost in Acts. Verse 23, carries the Greek perfect tense making it clear that the apostles were authorized to announce the terms of forgiveness. This is demonstrated by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:37-38. Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:37-38 did not himself forgive the sins of those who crucified Christ, but offered the Gospel message regarding repentance, baptism and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins that the crowd received in verse 41. Using the Pentecost experience, look at Acts 2:47. It says the Lord added, not the apostles. This is a good example of using the “Keys” Jesus gave to Peter and the apostles in Matthew 16:19.
    The Greek perfect tense expresses the continuance of completed actions, or it implies a past action and affirms the existing result. According to my study, this definition is pretty much unanimous among all Greek grammarians. The apostles in every case of scripture considered and treated as forgiven only those whom Christ had already forgiven. There is no evidence in scripture of an apostle or prophet forgiving sins. Now if you consider what Jesus said in Mark 2:10, it would be a contradiction of scripture for man to forgive sins without Christ first forgiving them, and we know scripture has no contradictions.

    The NIV Lutheran Concordia Self Study Bible (Robert G. Hoerber) page 1647 has this note at the bottom explaining John 20:23. Lit. “Those whose sins you might forgive have already been forgiven; those whose sins you do not forgive have not been forgiven. “ God does not forgive people’s sins because we do. Rather , those who proclaim the gospel are in effect forgiving or not forgiving sins, depending on whether the hearers believe in Jesus Christ or not. So basically this confirms what I have stated above. In effect, this becomes a matter of church discipline on who and who should not be part of the priesthood of believers within a church body.
    Can we conclude that today’s church has the same level of authority as Jesus gave to his apostles who could perform miracles, lay hands giving the Holy Spirit, etc.? The apostles talked with God, he breathed the Holy Spirit on them and empowered them. No apostles forgave sins, they only pointed people to Christ. The “Keys” authorize the church to preach the means that leads to forgiveness, but is given no authority to actually grant final judgment. 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.

  16. November 24th, 2013 at 01:56 | #16

    You leave out interestingly that Jesus changed Peter’s name only, and this name happened to mean ”rock”. Matthew 18 is interesting as Jesus says that the multiple witnesses are more sufficient, but let us not forget that these are under conditions where one does not admitt their wrong. Uhm ala Luther, it just so happens that the Church convened in response to Luther, not only the Pope… The pope does use advisors… John 20:23 is about forgiving sins, and all priest do this. So this is all easily answered. We know of two name changes, Peter and Paul’s both went from Jewish names (Old Covenant) to the New covenant, i.e. Universal, universal names signified by their Roman orgin, not aramiac– I invite you also to think about how God uses individual men throughout the old testament to withhold the covenants, Moses, Abraham…. Should one think that God has changed? Putting the whole bible, old and new, into context and it is more apparent that God chooses a ‘pope’ a voice of Truth for His people. Lastly, it is wise, because as it is said, Luther took away one Pope for millions…. St.Aug by the way is summarized to say ”Rome has spoke, the case is closed.” … JND Kelly, an ANGLICAN even asserts: According to him [St. Augustine], the Church is the realm of Christ, His mystical body and His bride, the mother of Christians [Ep 34:3; Serm 22:9]. There is no salvation apart from it; schismatics can have the faith and sacraments….but cannot put them to a profitable use since the Holy Spirit is only bestowed in the Church [De bapt 4:24; 7:87; Serm ad Caes 6]….It goes without saying that Augustine identifies the Church with the universal Catholic Church of his day, with its hierarchy and sacraments, and with its centre at Rome….By the middle of the fifth century the Roman church had established, de jure as well as de facto, a position of primacy in the West, and the papal claims to supremacy over all bishops of Christendom had been formulated in precise terms….The student tracing the history of the times, particularly of the Arian, Donatist, Pelagian and Christological controversies, cannot fail to be impressed by the skill and persistence with which the Holy See [of Rome] was continually advancing and consolidating its claims. Since its occupant was accepted as the successor of St. Peter, and prince of the apostles, it was easy to draw the inference that the unique authority which Rome in fact enjoyed, and which the popes saw concentrated in their persons and their office, was no more than the fulfilment of the divine plan.” (Kelly, page 412, 413, 417)

  17. Don Gretel
    November 28th, 2013 at 10:20 | #17

    MJ Cropper –
    First – Jesus did not change Peter’s name as I explained in my first paragraph. You need to reread John 1:42, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, Galatians 2:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:4. It is all explained above, you apparently just do not see it and that could be because of what is says in 1 Corinthians 19-21 and 1 Corinthians 3:19. Peter is a “stone” and Jesus is the “Rock.”
    Second – When I made my explanation shown above, I used only Bible scripture because the Bible is the inspired word of God. Everything you explained was based upon what man says and that is explained in the Bible and known as “man’s doctrines.” The Roman Catholic Church proves via its website that it teaches “man’s doctrines” and that is going to lead it to what the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:6-10.
    Third – You and many other Roman Catholics fail to recognize that the Old Testament laws were written expressly for the Jews and this can be proven in Romans 2:14-15. and Hebrews 8:6-13.
    Forth – Your statement, “Putting the whole bible, old and new, into context and it is more apparent that God chooses a ‘pope’ a voice of Truth for His people.” Man is described in the Bible in many verses, and it all leads to the same conclusion – man is sinful from birth, Psalm 51:5, ” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, Jeremiah 17:9, man is like a filty rag, Isaiah 64:6, man thinks he knows God on his own, Proverbs 4:12, no man is righteous, Romans 3:10-18 and man is dead in his sins, Ephesians 2:1-3. These are only samples of how God views man so your Pope is just one of all of us, but yes chosen by God for a purpose, but that purpose is hidden to us and belongs to the foreknowledge of God alone, Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
    Fifth – Your statement, ” There is no salvation apart from it; schismatics can have the faith and sacraments….but cannot put them to a profitable use since the Holy Spirit is only bestowed in the Church [De bapt 4:24; 7:87; Serm ad Caes 6]….” The Holy Spirit is present when one reads or hears the scriptures and God enables a quickening, Romans 8:16, 8:23, 8:26, Ephesians 1:17-19, 2 Corinthians 4:6, etc. It is God alone who quickens the ability for us to believe, example 1 Philippians 1:29. Faith is a gift of God, not a Semi-Pelagian decision as taught by the Roman Catholic Church, Ephesians 2:8.
    Sixth – Your statement, ” The student tracing the history of the times, particularly of the Arian, Donatist, Pelagian and Christological controversies, cannot fail to be impressed by the skill and persistence with which the Holy See [of Rome] was continually advancing and consolidating its claims.” Let me use just one example to prove how evil the history of Popes’ really is, Pope Steven Vll dug up his predecessor Pope Formosus (891-6) when he had been dead for over nine months. In what became known as the Cadaveric Synod, he dressed the stinking corpse in full pontificals, placed him on the throne and proceeded to interrogate him. He charged him with becoming a Pope under false pretenses, etc. Pope Stephen made all his acts invalid, especially his ordinations. After being found guilty, Pope Formosus was condemned as an Ant-Pope stripped with the two fingers removed that he had given apostolic blessing with and his body thrown into the Tiber River (but recovered and reburied). Stephen himself was soon strangled. Next Pope Sergius lll (904-11) once more exhumed Pope Formosus body after ten years and had him condemned again. He then had Formosus beheaded and had three more fingers removed before once again throwing him into the Tiber. (look up the history yourself as it is all documented)
    This is just an example of how evil Popes have been historically and even proven in the Tudors TV series based upon the Borgias. Most all of the Popes were womanizers and power hungry capable of most any type of evil. The Popes claims to be the Vicar of Christ and infallible. All these claims were dogmas proclaimed by Popes in office who made false claims and people bought into them over time.
    Seventh – Peter was never the first Pope of Rome as nowhere is his name even mentioned by the Apostle Paul when he spent time in Rome. This is again man’s doctrines and false teachings.

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