Credo in Unum Deum

I Believe in One God

The Papacy as seen from the Bible- briefly. Pt. 1

This is merely a quick rundown of some of the Biblical evidence for the papacy, bolstered by some pertinent historical data. Matt. 16:16-19 is the classical text.  What does it say? NIV:

16. Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17. Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, 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 bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

I don’t like the NIV, but I guess most folks use it and the translation isn’t bad here so… a.) Simon singularly receives a revelation.  b.) Simon’s name is changed to Peter, which means “rock”.  c.) Jesus says that upon this rock He will build His Church and promises it indefectibility, that it will not fail, Satan cannot overcome it.  d.) Jesus promises to give Peter the keys to the Kingdom; his bindings and loosings shall have been bound and loosed in Heaven.Jesus says that he will build His Church upon this rock.

I hate it when some guy who doesn’t know Greek starts busting out what the Greek says in the 38th declension coupled with the 4th conjugation of the active-passive participle of the future past verb, but that being said, the Greek word for “this” can be translated, and often is because, according to the real Greek Geeks, tautee is a demonstrative adjective, as even this or this very.  (See  KJV of Acts 13:33; I Cor. 7:20; II Cor. 8:6; 9:4-5.)  This would seem to require that the petra of verse 18 is the same as the Petros of verse 18.  That is, they are identifiable.  It is out of the question that the petra is the confession or Christ Himself.  Further John 2:42 makes it clear that the changing of Peter’s name was not linked to his confession per se, since when Jesus first meets Peter in this account He just says “you’ll be called Peter”.

So with this understanding, it is more than proper to read v. 18, “You are Rock, and upon this same (or this very) rock I will build my Church.  Finally, my study in this area has pointed out that when petra is used symbolically, it is always used of something concrete.  Thus, Christ is my rock, God is my rock.  It is not used of an abstract thing, like faith or propositions.  Likewise, the symbolism or analogy of foundation is always used in terms of a really existing concrete thing.  Our foundation is Christ, the prophets and apostles are our foundation, the Church is the foundation of the truth.

I suppose all I am doing here is agreeing with most Protestant scholars and (I hope) all Catholic scholars.  The big next step is to show that after Peter died that there was a continued primacy of his successor.  I guess that is for part 2.


March 10, 2008 - Posted by | Catholicism, Controversial, Protestantism, Religion

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