Skip to comments.The Primacy of Peter
Posted on 07/10/2005 5:27:58 AM PDT by NYer
Among Catholic doctrines, those pertaining to the papacy tend to be the most misunderstood and contested by non-catholics. The following verses show the biblical basis for Catholic teaching on the primacy of Peter, the office of the papacy being established by Christ and allusions to the doctrine of infallibility. These doctrines reached their full development in the life of the Church only after centuries of contemplation and study, in councils and through the actions of the popes. And we should never forget that since the Church is likened by Christ to a mustart seed that grows and develops organically from a speck into a large treelike plant, therefore we should not expect to see the Churchs doctrines fully developed and visible in its present form in the pages of the New Testament. What we do find in the New Testament though, is the scriptural record of Peters primacy among the Apostles and the seminal outlines of the doctrines pertaining to the papacy.
The Primacy of Peter
One compelling biblical fact that points clearly to Simon Peters primacy among the 12 Apostles and his importance and centrality to the drama of Christs earthly ministry, is that he is mentioned by name (e.g. Simon, Peter, Cephas, Kephas, etc.) 195 times in the course of the New Testament. The next most often-mentioned Apostle is St. John, who is mentioned a mere 29 times. After John, in descending order, the frequency of the other Apostles being mentioned by name trails off rapidly.
When the names of all the Apostles are listed, Peter is always first. Judas Iscariot, the Lords traitor, is always listed last (cf. Matt. 10:2-5; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-17; and Acts 1:13). Sometimes Scripture speaks simply of Simon Peter and the rest of the Apostles or Peter and his companions (cf. Luke 9:32; Mark 16:7; Acts 2:37), showing that he had a special role that represented the entire apostolic college. Often, Scripture shows Simon Peter as spokesman for the entire apostolic college, as if he were the voice of the Church (cf. Mat. 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 8:45; Luke 12:41; John 6:68-69).
It is from Simon Peters fishing boat (cf. Luke 5:3) that Christ preaches to the crowds (this is significant in light of the fact that, since very early times, the Catholic Church has been widely referred to in patristic writings and religious art as the barque [archaic English for boat] of Peter. In these episodes, Peter plays a central role in the drama as usual).
In Mark 16:7 we see that the angels single Peter out among the Apostles when they tell the Holy Women to go, tell his disciples and Peter about the Lords Resurrection.
In Luke 24:33-35 we see that the risen Christ appears to Simon Peter first, before appearing to the other Apostles.
In Acts 1:15-26 it is Peter who leads the Apostles in selecting a replacement for Judas.
In Acts 3:1-9, we see St. Peter leading the infant Christian Church forward through difficult moments after the Resurrection. He is clearly the chief of the Apostles as he preaches in Acts 2 the first post-Pentecost sermon to the crowds, performs in Acts 3 the first post-Pentecost miracle and in Acts 4, with John,m turns the tables on the Jewish Sanhedrin by putting them on trial in the very setting where they intended to intimidate the Apostles.
In Acts 10, Simon Peter receives a special revelation from God that Gentiles are to be welcomed into the Church without having to follow Jewish Kosher food restrictiions or undergo circumcision. In Acts 11, he acts in the name of the Church in welcoming the first Gentile converts to be received according to this new revelation.
In Acts 15, at the Council of Jerusalem, Peter delivers the revelation pertaining to Gentile believers that causes the disputes to cease and the room to fall silent (cf. Acts 6-12). St. James, the bishop of Jerusalem, appears in a position of leadership alongside Peter. While James delivers the pastoral, disciplinary teaching (cf. Acts 13-21), it was Peter who delivered the binding doctrinal teaching. His primacy was recognized by St. Paul (who in Antioch withstood Peter to his face over the vexing issue of his refraining to eat with Gentiles) when he describes in Galatians 1:18 how he went to see Peter to make sure his teaching was in line with Peters.
For those who constantly raise this question :-)
Great thread NYer! Thanks!
With this kind of information readily available in scripture,it is truly bewildering that so many non-Catholics and self identified catholics on both ends of the spectrum will argue against the Church's position on Peter and his Primacy.
I love that book! I have the other two, also. Can't remember the names right now and am too tired to look them up. They are equally as wonderful and concise as that one.
Bump! Think you may enjoy this.
Thanks, NYer! This is great. When I get a minute (busy day) I'm going to re-read it more carefull and memorize his main points for future FRemedial Catechism lessons... :->
Gee, I was watching the local Calvary Chapel preacher on cable a few weeks ago when he hit Matthew 16 and the keys to the kingdom. He certainly had a novel approach.
He didn't spend a lot of time on it considering the gravity of what he was proposing for belief.
I think I've seen much better arguments than this! I will say that the appropriate canonical position of the Pope is that of first in honor, the primus inter pares not simply the "primus". When a Pope is elected who teaches the The Faith in all its fullness as preserved in the Orthodox Church and lived out by the People of God, then the proper canonical order will be restored...but not before that.
Do you recall any of what he said?
What were they?
The keys are the words of Sacred Scripture and the words Jesus said to Peter apply to every ordained minister.
I believe Mr. Madrid would return to (sorry I am Catholic and cannot quote by chapter and verse) the section where "you" is used in addressing Peter and is thus thought of as individual investiture.
If I recall correctly, isn't there a second investiture after Peter when the remaining Apostles are invested?
Perhaps he focuses on the second more that the first....or perhaps very simply he has a translation that doesn't include the same wording.
In the spirit of respect for other religions I must confess that were each Christian to consider themselves corporate in the works of the "Church" (as used by Touchstone Magazine to refer to every Christian regardless of degree of Communion) the same as this minister seems to, perhaps Ut Unam Sint wouldn't be so far off.
Or at the very least there would be more amicable ecumenical relations.
Perhaps he focuses on the second more that the first....
Nope. He was reading Mt. 16:19. The keys to the kingdom.
"I think I've seen much better arguments than this!
What were they?"
In my opinion, gbcdoj is the "go to" guy on this subject. I'll leave the defense of the Latin's idea of the role of the Papacy to him! :)
Taking this discussion out one more step. Is there a similar such article which refers to tradition?
Since Catholic do take the both/and approach (yes I poached that from Grodi), any discussion would seem to merit the additional points from tradition.
Yes .... the topic includes Tradition. The book, however, is at home. I'll have to look it up this evening. ;-D
There *are* indeed to separate investitures, one to Peter singularly, and the other to the apostles collectively: An ecumenical council's unanimous decrees are also considered infallible. But they have to represent the *collective* faiths of the all of the bishops (the heirs of apostolic authority), for no two people can have divergent views and be infallible!
St. Cyprian on the Church and the Papacy
St. Athanasius, Arianism, and the Holy See
St. John Chrysostom and the Apostle Peter
St. Jerome and Rome
The Condemnation of Pelagianism Part I
The Condemnation of Pelagianism Part II
These really sum up quite well the evidence from the early Church, and the article on St. John Chrysostom also treats of the Scriptural evidence through his interpretive grid. Well worth reading.
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