Skip to comments.Is "The Rock" of Matthew 16:18 St. Peter? Or His Confession of Faith? [Ecumenical]
Posted on 10/13/2013 1:45:58 PM PDT by NYer
One of the most hotly-contested passages in Catholic-Protestant dialogues is the “Upon This Rock” passage in Matthew 16:18. After the Apostle Simon confesses faith in Jesus as the Messiah (the Christ), Jesus says to him “And I tell you, you are Peter, [Petros] and on this rock [petra] I will build my church, and the powers of death [Hades] shall not prevail against it.” So is Jesus founding His Church upon Peter, the first pope, as Catholics say? Or is He just saying that the Church will be built off of those who confess faith in Jesus as the Christ, as many Protestants claim?
The Protestant website GotQuestions? does a good job of presenting the basic argument on both sides:
The debate rages over whether “the rock” on which Christ will build His church is Peter, or Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). In all honesty, there is no way for us to be 100% sure which view is correct. The grammatical construction allows for either view. The first view is that Jesus was declaring that Peter would be the “rock” on which He would build His church. Jesus appears to be using a play on words. “You are Peter (petros) and on this rock (petra) I will build my church.” Since Peter’s name means rock, and Jesus is going to build His church on a rock – it appears that Christ is linking the two together. God used Peter greatly in the foundation of the church. It was Peter who first proclaimed the Gospel on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-47). Peter was also the first to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). In a sense, Peter was the rock “foundation” of the church.
Peter Paul Rubens, Delivery of the Keys (1616)
I’ve previously presented the case for the Catholic interpretation before, but that’s not what I’m going to do today. In this post, I want to show why the popular Protestant interpretation doesn't work.The other popular interpretation of the rock is that Jesus was referring not to Peter, but to Peter’s confession of faith in verse 16: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus had never explicitly taught Peter and the other disciples the fullness of His identity, and He recognized that God had sovereignly opened Peter’s eyes and revealed to him who Jesus really was. His confession of Christ as Messiah poured forth from him, a heart-felt declaration of Peter’s personal faith in Jesus. It is this personal faith in Christ which is the hallmark of the true Christian. Those who have placed their faith in Christ, as Peter did, are the church.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare′a Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli′jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 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-Jona! 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 powers of death 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.”In the span of just three of those verses, Jesus addresses Peter personally ten times. Yet under the Protestant interpretation, we’re supposed to believe that this passage wasn’t meant to apply to Peter personally. It’s allegedly addressed to any Christian making such a profession like the one that Peter makes: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
This passage is fantastic. We hear a series of proclamations of the faith:
And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Mathis Gothart Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece (1516)
(detail - John the Baptist)The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Beth-sa′ida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathan′a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathan′a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathan′a-el coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathan′a-el said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathan′a-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Another sign that the Lord is choosing Peter personally is the fact that he changed his name. His name was Simon. But then Jesus suddenly declared that his name was Peter. And Peter it was, from that time forward.
It’s not the first time that God changed someone’s name as a sign that they were specially chosen to lead His people.
When He led Abram out of his homeland and into Israel and made His Covenant with him, he changed his name to Abraham.
When he chose Jacob as the leader of His people in the third generation, he named him Israel.
When He chose Saul to be his Apostle to the Gentiles, he changed his name to Paul.
Of course Peter himself says (referring to Jesus as the rock and remarking on the priesthood of all believers):
1 Peter 2
4 As you come to him, the living Stonerejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.[b]
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,[c]
A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.[d]
They stumble because they disobey the messagewhich is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Gods special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Its not the first time that God changed someones name as a sign that they were specially chosen...
I’m with you on this one.
except the article shows that Peter’s name was changed in John chapter 1
I am a protestant but I have never heard protestants doubting that St. Peter was the Rock. There are plenty of protestant churches named after St. Peter. The issue is whether the Pope is the only rightful and infallible successor to St. Peter.
-— . The issue is whether the Pope is the only rightful and infallible successor to St. Peter. -—
See tag line.
I am not a Catholic and so my views may be a little weighted against the Papacy/Peter argument. As I look at the verses under scrutiny here I see it a little different than some.
I do believe that Jesus chose Peter, the rock to be the leader, the head of the church on earth after The Lord left the earth but I also believe that Christ was lecturing Peter on how he was to run the church. The “This” that Christ was going to build His church was not Peter but the knowledge or faith in Christ.
Christ just got done telling Peter that Peter only knew that Christ was The Son of God because His Father made it known to him. Every person who becomes a follower of Christ and is Baptized into a church must also know just like Peter that Christ is Lord. To me the scripture we are talking about says that The Lord is basing His Church on the Knowledge that Christ is the Son of God and that Peter was to use this means of his receiving that information to run the church in Christ’s absence.
If you don’t know Christ is Lord then I’m not sure anything else matters. If you do know it you must wonder how it is that you know it. The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us. If you don’t have the revealed truth that Jesus is Lord how in the world can you Have His church. Once God has revealed this wonderful truth to you, THEN you are on the right track at least heading in the right direction.
Jesus: You are Peter (petros in original Greek - small rock - common name Peter) and upon this rock (petra - large rock - Peter’s statement of faith) I will build my church.
Jesus: You are Peter (petros in original Greek - small rock - common name Peter) and upon this rock (petra - large rock - Peters statement of faith) I will build my church.
That is how I see it also.
“I am a protestant but I have never heard protestants doubting that St. Peter was the Rock.”
Of more significance, there are no accounts of Peter ever going to Rome.
It seems that Paul understood that Christ was referring to himself as the rock. Makes perfect sense too considering other passages such as Matthew 7:
24 Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it wont collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesnt obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.
If we build our foundation on Christ, the rock, we'll be solid. IF we build our foundation upon any man...even Peter...we're building on shifting sand.
And Yashua as well. There is no account of Yashua ever went to Rome. The Rock where the Vatican is.
Numbers 13:16 When Moses changed Hoshea(salvation) Name
to Yah'shua(Joshua = YHvH is my salvation) or Jesus in English.
I published this study on FreeRepublic about the "Rock" over ten years ago.
Do the writings of the "church fathers" trump or impugn the Holy Word of G-d ?
Matthew. 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my church,shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
One method of Hermeneutical understanding of Matthew 16:18
is to do a word study of all the scriptures which were then known
as the Holy Word of G-d when Yah'shua spoke these words.
This will allow one to understand that all of the Holy Word of G-d
was inspired by YHvH; the whole counsel of G-d.
The only conclusion that one can come to unless you are
predisposed to believe in man's tradition over the Holy Word of G-d
is that Yah'shua was speaking of himself as the "Rock "
Peter himself refers to Yah'shua as the "rock" in
Genesis 49:24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed
[Or archers will attack...will shoot...will remain...will stay] supple,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
Deuteronomy 32:3 I will proclaim the name of YHvH. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock , his works are perfect, and all his ways are
just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32:15 ..... He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Saviour.
Deuteronomy 32:30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten
thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless
YHvH had given them up?
Deuteronomy 32:31 For their rock is not like our Rock , as even our enemies concede
Deuteronomy 32:32 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness.
1 Samuel 2:2 "There is no-one holy [Or no Holy One] like YHvH;
there is no-one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
2 Samuel 22:2 He said: "YHvH is my Rock , my fortress and my deliverer;
2 Samuel 22:3 my God is my Rock , in whom I take refuge, my shield and the
horn [Horn here symbolises strength.] of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my saviour from violent men you save me.
2 Samuel 22:32 For who is God besides YHvH? And who is the Rock except our God?
2 Samuel 22:47 "YHvH lives! Praise be to my Rock ! Exalted be God, the Rock , my Saviour!
2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:
'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
Psalm 18:31 For who is God besides YHvH? And who is the Rock except our God?
Psalm 18:46 YHvH lives! Praise be to my Rock ! Exalted be God my Saviour!
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 42:9 I say to God my Rock , "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
Psalm 78:35 They remembered that God was their Rock , that God Most High was their Redeemer.
Psalm 89:26 He will call out to me, `You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Saviour.'
Psalm 92:15 ..... "YHvH is upright; he is my Rock , and there is no wickedness in him."
Psalm 95:1 Come, let us sing for joy to YHvH; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Psalm 144:1 Praise be to YHvH my Rock , who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
Habakkuk 1:12 Oh YHvH, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy
One, we will not die. Oh YHvH, you have appointed them to
execute judgment; O Rock , you have ordained them to punish.
1 Peter 2:1-10NAsbU 1 Peter 2:It is patently clear from the Holy Word of G-d
1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
3 if you have tasted the kindness of YHvH.
4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For this is contained in Scripture: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,"
8 and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word,
and to this doom they were also appointed.
9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION,
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY,
but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
that the NAME "Rock" is a NAME that describes YHvH,
the creator of the universe.
To assign YHvH's NAME to a mere mortal,
a created being, seeks to impugn and
deny the Holy Word of G-d.
It also grieves the Holy Spirit.
One item so many forget. God wanted the scripture written the way it was for the specific purpose of showing the two different "rocks" Jesus had in mind.
Therefore, folks' opinions about Aramaic and Greek do not matter. God wanted it to be written with Peter as Petros and his faith as Petra to make a point.
Also, wasn't James, the half brother of Jesus, the leader of the Jerusalem church?
If you stick around this thread long enough you will see just that.
There is a group of around 10 or so that will come out of the woodwork making quite a few bizarre comments.
Pull up a chair get some popcorn, soda, maybe even some milk duds and enjoy the show.
Greek and Aramaic translations, please. Thank you.
That difference in meaning doesnt really exist in the Greek spoken at the time of Christ. But in any case, as John 1:43 shows, Jesus named Peter Cephas in Aramaic, which is the exact same word as Rock. In Aramaic its Cephas and cephas; literally translating that to Greek would give you Petra and petra, which is a problem, since Petra is feminine, and cant be used as a mans name. So St. Matthew renders it as the male Petros instead.
Best answer yet.
One must always consider the ‘typological’ when reflecting upon Scripture & Miracles etc.
Best answer yet.
One must always consider the ‘typological’ when reflecting upon Scripture & Miracles etc.
Through the laying on of hands, the "Chair of Peter" has been passed down for 2000 years. Here is the list, from Wikipedia, an independent source.
If you take a verse out of context and tortureshalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
it sufficiently. it will yield to one's eisegesis.
Please show me the scriptural passage where Jesus orders his words to be recorded in a specific language for future generations.
Reluctant to speak on this because I thought the Roman church acknowledged its errors at VaticanII. Excuse spelling but Tellhard de Jardine’s beliefs were pretty much accepted and Protestant dogma as a consequence. The priest was removed from being in the middle between G-d and man. Indeed the rites for treatment of the host have withered and congregants now can take the bread and pass the cup.
Peter’s name means rock but.... that whole ship has sailed.
Its interesting to me that all scripture refers to God as the Rock and one even declaring that God knows of no other Rock yet in one small verse the RCC has declared that Peter is the Rock the church is built on.
Can you smell what The Rock is cookin'?
Totally agree, that is why I posted this thread. Again, the topic is God choosing Simon to lead His Church. Your comment was scripturally unrelated since Moses was NOT G-D.
Pax et Bonum
Small verse? Show me another one from Scripture where Jesus singles out one individual and .... to cite the author ...
In the span of just three of those verses, Jesus addresses Peter personally ten times.
There is NOTHING small about that verse.
Can I ask which to which Church you are referring? The Kingdom, Messianic Church, or the Church the Body of Christ?
From where did you copy and paste this and why isn’t in a readable format?
Even Roman Catholic scholars admit that a Roman papal primacy was unheard of for the first three centuries of the Christian church. This so-called "Chair of Peter", if it existed at all back then, would have been one of a succession of carrying on the truths as taught by Jesus and as revealed to Paul and the others as told in the New Testament epistles and gospels. The ONLY reason why Roman Catholics insist that Peter was the first Pope, and base that on the sole verse of Matthew 16:18, is because they consider their church as the ONLY true church established by Jesus Christ.
It doesn't matter that, through the ages many errors have developed within the church of Rome, they are ignored or brushed off as insignificant because of the promise they deem was made to Peter and by default ALL those who came after him. There is a haughty and exclusive elitism that gets justified because of this ONE falsely interpreted verse. IF Peter was the "rock" Jesus meant rather than Jesus being the rock and faith in Him the foundation of the Body of Christ, then there is NO Scriptural proof that this role could be passed down from Peter and those he may have laid hands upon and they laid hands upon ad infinitum. The Apostles and disciples of Jesus were personally endowed by Christ with the establishment of the ministry of the church and they handed down the rule of the faith not some mystical "gift" that automatically conferred a special power. This was their understanding from the start and it became perverted as the centuries passed into this exclusivity we see today by the Roman Catholic Church.
Matthew 16:18 I also moreover to you say That you are Peter and on this the rock I will build my church and [the]gates of hades not will prevail against it.
Jesus didnt say on this rock, He said on this the rock. Now what does the rest of scripture say is the rock? Its God in every instance.
Deut. 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
2 Sam. 22:2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; 3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
Psalm 18:31, "And who is a rock, except our God."
Isaiah 44:8, "Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none."
Rom. 9:33, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
1 Cor. 3:11, "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ,"
1 Cor. 10:4, "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock (petras) which followed them; and the rock (petra) was Christ."
Scripture is pretty clear who the rock is. Even St Augustine made a statement.
St Augustine wrote: For on this very account the Lord said, On this rock will I build my Church, because Peter had said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. On this rock, therefore, He said, which you have confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself also built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus (Augustine, Tractate 124, 5).
Then this interesting tid bit hidden away in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
424 Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church. "To preach. . . the unsearchable riches of Christ"
Catholics tell us all the time how the church is built on Peter but the RCC itself says its on the confession of Peter.
Are you sure you want to disagree with both scripture and what the RCC has in its Catechism?
"According to the GRACE of God which is GIVEN UNTO ME, as a wise MASTERBUILDER, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For OTHER FOUNDATION can NO MAN LAY than that IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST."1 Cor. 3:10,11.
Do you see what Paul is saying here? He says HE is the masterbuilder and has laid the foundation of grace, given to him by God. He goes on to say that NO MAN can lay any other foundation, the foundation being JESUS CHRIST. NOT PETER. So "the Rock" of Matt. 16:18 cannot POSSIBLY be Peter. It MUST be Jesus Christ.
424 Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.9 "To preach. . . the unsearchable riches of Christ"
The Ante-Nicene Development of Papal Primacy
Written by I. Shawn McElhinney
St. Peters precise whereabouts between the Council of Jerusalem (approx. 48-49 AD) and his death in Rome are pretty much unknown. Tradition tells us that he did visit many of the church communities and eventually settled in Rome. The precise date of the latter is uncertain although it is likely that he was settled in Rome by the early 60s. His first epistle is generally dated from the period of 60-64 AD and the term “the church which is at Babylon” (1 Pet. 5:14) is generally considered to be a code word referring to the church at Rome. The evidence that St. Peter died in Rome is ample enough that even the late controversialist Dr. George Salmon agreed with this much of Romes claims. If the early consensus for St. Peter dying as a martyr in Rome was deemed insufficient as a fact of history, then “there are few things in the history of the early Church, which it would be possible to demonstrate”. Modern scholarship as well as recent archeological discoveries have fortified this tradition. It is true after the first few centuries that some legend and embellishment was added to the mix; however the essence of the Roman claim of Primacy was (and is) not based on these later additions. This claim has been based upon the Prince of the Apostles (Peter) and the Churchs greatest missionary (Paul) dying as martyrs in Rome (the former by crucifixion and the latter by decapitation) during the reign of Emperor Nero.
The lack of any evidence for the papacy in the mid-first century is by no means problematic, as there is a lack of evidence for a Christian presence in Rome during that same period. The Christians of this period (many of whom had known the Apostles) possibly did not record facts and dates because of a belief that there would not be a posterity to record them for. If there was little information in Christian quarters at this time being circulated the absence of any non-Christian references to a Christian presence in Rome in the mid-first century should not be a surprise. The persecutions of Nero had decimated the Christian population in Rome drastically. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (circa 93 AD) in writing about the condemnation of Jesus by Pilate spoke of the “tribe of Christians” as “even now not extinct” (Antiquities xviii 3.3). These words hardly indicate a numerical Christian presence in Rome at the time. The first non-Christian evidences of a Christian presence are spoken about in Rome starting around the late first century. This is also the same period from which the first traces of the Roman Church and its priority among the other Christian communities are to be found. It is in this light that the first evidences of the Primacy of the Roman See needs to be taken into account if we are to properly trace out its development.
The papacy undeniably has undergone development historically. In this section though we will look at the papacy from how it manifested itself in the pre-Nicaea period. This is being done to aid in properly understanding the later developments of papal authority by assessing the seeds of what would later be called papal jurisdiction and (by implication) papal infallibility. The Primacy of the Roman See is a well-established fact of Church history that was even attested to by Orthodox scholars Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff and Fr. Alexander Schmemann. They did not concede everything on the matter that the Catholic Church claims of course. However, it is important to notice how what they do say is perfectly consistent with the development of doctrine paradigm. This is concerning the Catholic doctrine of primacy of the Roman See as well as Rome being the final court of appeal in the early Church. In discussing the topic of St. Peters Primacy, we will start with Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff. Fr Afanassieff was a professor of canon law and church history at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. The quotations from him and Fr. Alexander Schmemann were taken from an Orthodox source titled The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church (edited by JohnMeyendorff):
As we study the problem of primacy in general, and especially the primacy of Rome, we must not be ruled by polemical motives: the problem is to be solved to satisfy ourselves and Orthodox theology. The solution of the problem is urgent, since Orthodox theology has not yet built up any systematic doctrine on Church government. And although we have a doctrine concerning Ecumenical Councils as organs of government in the Church, we shall see presently that our doctrine is not enough to refute the Catholic doctrine of primacy...
The epistle is couched in very measured terms, in the form of an exhortation; but at the same time it clearly shows that the Church of Rome was aware of the decisive weight, in the Church of Corinth’s eyes, that must attach to its witness about the events in Corinth. So the Church of Rome, at the end of the first century, exhibits a marked sense of its own priority, in point of witness about events in other churches. Note also that the Roman Church did not feel obliged to make a case, however argued, to justify its authoritative pronouncements on what we should now call the internal concerns of other churches... Apparently Rome had no doubt that its priority would be accepted without argument. 
In speaking of the Epistle of Clement, the mid twentieth century non-Catholic scholar T.G. Jallands work The Church and the Papacy will be referenced:
It might not be unreasonable to infer [from a passage in 1 Clement 63] that the Roman church was already conscious of some degree of external responsibility, such as does not appear to have been realized by the geographically neighbouring churches of Thessalonica or Philippi If it is true to say of the Roman intervention that the authority is implicit, it being left to subsequent generations to make explicit the reasons which prompted an instinctive action (Lowell Clark, First Epistle of Clement pg. 20), we are still left with the question as to the source from which the instinct itself was derived. Instincts are usually traceable to habits of past generations. Was the source in this case merely the habituation of the Roman people to the government of others: or was it not rather, as the whole tone of the epistle would suggest, some custom which could claim a sanction apostolic or even Dominical in origen? 
The earliest records we have speak of the Roman Church (as opposed to the Roman Bishop personally) exercising a unique function or authority. Some have claimed that the reason for this was because there was “no monarchial episcopate” in Rome until the mid to late second century. As records from the earliest period are scarce, it should not surprise us that the evidences of Roman intervention in the earliest period are not abundant as this does nothing to tell against the Primacy of the Roman Bishop. While the congregations in various parts were poor, scattered, and persecuted, it should not surprise us that the Church, rather than the bishop, would be the object of respectful allusion. After all, the power of the bishop derived from his position. When converts were few (which seems to have been the case from the time of the fall of Jerusalem until the early second century) the local church was more of a distinct unit. And perhaps most importantly, in the earliest period the “bishop himself would with the greatest likelihood be living in some obscurity due to his exposed position in time of persecution” (Msr. Knox: Essentials of Spiritual Unity).
These are all points that seem to be conveniently overlooked by those who employ the “mutually destructive mentality” approach spoken of earlier. (This is most notable with Reformed Protestants and the really polemical of the Anglican and Orthodox apologists.) The reason this approach is mutually destructive is because the Roman Church was explicitly exercising its authority with an increasing frequency long before the Canon of Scripture was settled and long before there were any Ecumenical Councils. If the first century of Church history in any way tells against the papacy, than the first four centuries tell against the Canon of Scripture since the matter was still being disputed in some areas until the early fifth century synod of Carthage in 418. The historian Sir Nicholas Cheetham had the following to say about Pope Clements Epistle (from his study A History of the Popes):
Clement asserted the primacy of the Roman church in no uncertain tones when he rebuked the Christians of Corinth for lapsing into dissidence and schism. The Epistle chiding them for their quarrels and usually attributed to him has the authentic papal ring, both authoritative and paternal. 
St. Clements Epistle is the earliest source we have that witnesses to the priority of the Roman church. However, it is perhaps the witness of St. Ignatius of Antioch, which is of even greater importance as it was the first direct evidence from an outside source and an Eastern one at that. St. Ignatius of Antioch is an important link in the chain of establishing the priority of the Roman Church in antiquity. According to some of the early Fathers (including the church historian Eusebius of Caesaria), St. Ignatius was the second successor to the See of Antioch (succeeding St. Evodius) and was appointed by the Apostle Peter himself. Later on he was a coworker or disciple of the Apostle John. Fr. Afanassieff made the following observations about his Epistle to the Romans written about 15 years after St. Pope Clements Letter to the Corinthians:
We find the first direct evidence about the priority of the Roman Church in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch. Speaking of the Church of Rome, Ignatius uses the phrase ‘which presides’ in two passages...The Roman Church ‘presides’ in love, that is, in the concord based on love between all the local churches. The term ‘which presides’ [Greek given] needs no discussion; used in the masculine it means the bishop, for he, as head of the local church, sits in the ‘first place’ at the eucharistic assembly, that is, in the central seat. He is truly the president of his church...
[Ignatius] pictured the local churches grouped, as it were, in a eucharistic assembly, with every church in its special place, and the church of Rome in the chair, sitting in the ‘first place.’ So, says Ignatius, the Church of Rome indeed has the priority in the whole company of churches united by concord...In his period no other church laid claim to the role, which belonged to the Church of Rome. 
Dr. Ludwig Ott also expounded upon this position in his book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:
The doctrine of the primacy of the Roman Bishops, like other Church teachings and instructions, has gone through a development. Thus the establishment of the Primacy recorded in the Gospels has been gradually more clearly recognized and its implications developed. Clear recognition of the consciousness of the Primacy of the Roman Bishops, and of the recognition of the Primacy by the other churches appear at the end of the 1st century St. Ignatius elevated the Roman community over all the communities using in his epistle a solemn form of address. Twice he says of it that it is the presiding community, which expresses a relationship of superiority and inferiority. 
The Protestant scholar Dr. Adolph Harnack also confirmed this position:
Ignatius is our first external witness in regard to the Roman Church. After making allowances for exaggeration of language in his letter to the Romans, it remains clear that Ignatius assigns a de facto primacy to the Roman Church among its sister churches and that he knew of an energetic and habitual activity of this church in protecting and instructing other churches. 
Taking into account the phenomenon of development, the notion of primacy needs to be established first. The Church of Rome enjoyed a Primacy over the other Churches from the earliest period for which we have records with indications that this priority was not an innovation. Dr. Harnack claimed that “The Roman Church from the end of the first century possessed a de facto primacy in Christendom” (Mission und Ausbreitung pg. 398). When even a liberal Protestant scholar such as Dr. Harnack makes such a concession as this, it is clearly an issue that is beyond dispute. Thus, having established the seed of the doctrine, let us now briefly trace its development.
St. Irenaeus of Lyons gave the Roman claim to primacy its strongest early endorsement. St. Irenaeus was an Asian bishop and disciple of St. Polycarp (the latter was a younger contemporary of St. Ignatius of Antioch and a disciple of the Apostle John). According to the historian Sir Nicholas Cheetham:
Irenaeus, another Smyrniot who had accompanied Polycarp on his mission to Rome and subsequently became bishop of Lyons in the years following the savage persecutions of Christians in that city, produced a slashing denunciation of the heretics in five books. Although himself an Asiatic, he asserted the primacy of Rome over the other churches
Irenaeus defined what was to become the Roman claim of centralism
it was there [Rome] that all the traditions and experiences of the church were gathered, examined, and reconciled. Stability in doctrine and practice came from Rome, which opposed its steadying influence to unsettling currents from the East, to Greek intellectualism, and the emotionalism of Asia. Only Rome could impose unity on a universal church. 
Protestant scholar John Lawsons work The Biblical Theology of St. Irenaeus had this to say about the Bishop of Lyons and his view of the Roman church and its primacy:
[W]hat church can compare with Rome? She is the life-work of the two greatest Apostles, known of all and knowing all, she is a supreme witness to the unified voice of the Church. If it is necessary for each and all to consent to the voice of the whole Church, how necessary is it for all to consent to Rome? To S. Irenaeus Rome was most certainly an authority none must question, as she cannot be imagined as ever in error. The word infallible to some extent begs the question, for the use of it imports into the discussion the results of later definition. It is nevertheless a word which is difficult to do without. With this proviso we may say that Irenaeus regarded Rome as the very corner-stone and typification of a whole structure of ecclesiastical infallibility. 
For additional testimony, the Protestant scholar Dr. T. G. Jalland will again be referenced (courtesy of B.C. Butler). It is important to note that from the earliest records we have (late first century to early second century) there was a noticeable degree of traffic to Rome by a whole host of different personages. These people were both orthodox and heterodox. They traveled the roads of the Empire in no small degree to presumably present their philosophies to Rome for approval. This trend only increased throughout the subsequent centuries. Dr. Jalland raises some questions that bear reflecting upon concerning this unmistakable (and interesting) trend:
How can we explain this second century drang nach Rom? May there not have been, common to [the orthodox and the heterodox alike], that in some way or another, the Roman see had an inherent right to pronounce an opinion on their doctrine, and moreover their decision, i.e. whether favourable or adverse, would seriously affect the prospects of success in obtaining for their teaching general acceptance by the Church at large?. . . If the attitude of the Roman see was unfavourable . . . the teacher responsible for the condemned doctrine . . . usually stayed on in Rome . . . and in extreme cases managed to procure the election of a rival bishop of Rome. . . Thus, in a negative no less then in a positive direction there are strong indicators that de facto if not de jure the Roman see was being treated as the universal referee and its doctrine as the norm. 
Fr. Afanassieff made the following notations about the famous passages of Irenaeus work (in speaking of St. Irenaeus of Lyons work Against All Heresies, where he refers to the priority of the Roman Church). The notations confirm the observations of Dr. Lawson and Dr. Jalland about the role of the Roman See as being pre-eminent from the earliest of times:
This passage in Irenaeus [from Against Heresies 3:4:1] illuminates the meaning of his remarks about the Church of Rome: if there are disputes in a local church, that church should have recourse to the Roman Church, for there is contained the Tradition which is preserved by all the churches.
Rome’s vocation [in the pre-Nicene period] consisted in playing the part of arbiter, settling contentious issues by witnessing to the truth or falsity of whatever doctrine was put before them. Rome was truly the center where all converged if they wanted their doctrine to be accepted by the conscience of the Church. They could not count upon success except on one condition — that the Church of Rome had received their doctrine — and refusal from Rome predetermined the attitude the other churches would adopt. There are numerous cases of this recourse to Rome... 
We see the development of a doctrine in its early stages precisely as we would expect to see them if the doctrine of Roman Primacy was legitimate. Like all doctrines, it would develop only from the cauldron of controversy when challenged. The challenges would come either by loyal sons confused as to the exact scope of the endowment (St. Cyprian comes to mind here) or by heretics who explicitly or implicitly denied it. Shortly after Irenaeus wrote the passages spoken of by Fr. Afanassieff (within 10-20 years in fact) there was an incident where his theology would be put to the test involving not a doctrinal matter but one of discipline. In framing the subject, Eusebius of Caesarias Church History will be cited on the matter (Book V Chapter 24):
But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him
“Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith
For those greater than I have said ‘We ought to obey God rather than man’.” He then writes of all the bishops who were present with him and thought as he did
Thereupon Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops. AND THEY BESOUGHT HIM TO CONSIDER THE THINGS OF PEACE, AND OF NEIGHBORLY UNITY AND LOVE. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor. Among them was Irenaeus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom. 
It is interesting that the authority Pope Victor is assuming here is not what is being questioned but instead it is his use of it. In appealing to Pope Victor, notice the approach used by Bishop Polycrates. He appealed to a tradition [custom] of the East for the manner in which they celebrated the Easter feast. In doing this Bishop Polycrates was not claiming to be making an appeal here to his own authority ala what Protestants to varying degrees do today. It is also interesting that Bishop Polycrates referenced Acts 5:29 in this dispute which was what Peter and the Apostles said to the High Priest when they were questioned by him before the entire Sanhedren. There is a strong possibility that Polycrates was drawing a parallel between Pope Victor I and the Jewish High Priest. It is also worth noting the words of St. Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyons who mediated between the two parties here and notice how he approached this dispute in speaking to Pope St. Victor on the matter:
Among these were the presbyters before Soter, who presided over the church which thou now rulest. We mean Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Xystus NONE WERE EVER CAST OUT ON ACCOUNT OF THIS FORM; but the presbyters before thee who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it. And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter But though matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the administration of the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect. And they parted from each other in peace, both those who observed, and those who did not, maintaining the peace of the whole church. 
Sir Nicholas Cheetham noted that from the beginning of his reign “Victor was chiefly concerned with asserting the growing authority of Rome in matters of doctrine and discipline” (A History of the Popes, pg. 12). Perhaps the most interesting take on this matter is from the liberal Protestant scholar Dr. Adolph Harnack who made the following observations on the matter:
[Victor] ventured by an edict (one might say a pre-emptory edict) with reference to the arrangement of ecclesiastical feasts to proclaim the rule of the Roman practice as a general rule of the Church and to announce that any local church would be excluded as heretical from the fellowship of the one Church, if it did not adopt the Roman arrangement. How could Victor have ventured upon such an edict (still less to put it into actual effect, even if he had the strength to do so) unless it was established and recognized that in the decisive question of faith it was eminently the function of the Roman church to determine the conditions of the “common unity”? How could Victor have made such an unheard-of demand to the independent local churches, unless, as Bishop of Rome, he had been recognized as the guardian of the “common unity”? 
In a footnote Harnack added “Irenaeus too seems to object not to Victors behaviour as such, but his behaviour in this instance”. What should be rather obvious now is that there were no recorded claims by anyone that the Bishop of Rome did not have the authority to act in the manner that he did. No evidence can be brought up in these or any other recorded instances where the prerogatives of Rome were questioned. If the jurisdictional primacy of Rome had been an innovation then someone would have opposed it, as the Fathers were not slow in doing with innovations in the Church when they cropped up from time to time. However, the Primacy of Rome and the claims of its bishops was no secret or innovation. If it was, then not one single patristic opponent of the decisions of Rome ever claimed that Rome lacked the authority to render the decisive judgment on matters of doctrine or discipline. This is significant, because there were Fathers who had both doctrinal and disciplinary disputes with the Roman See from time to time - including some of its staunchest supporters (such as Irenaeus and Cyprian). To again cite the work of Sir Nicholas Cheetham on the period of the late second and early third centuries:
The government of the church in Rome had been monarchial, as opposed to collective, since its earliest days. Whether or not the famous Tu es Petris text (Matthew xvi. 18) was in fact introduced into the Gospel during the third century, the tradition of Peter and Paul was radiating from its Roman centre with increasing strength. 
Another interesting element that applies to the subject of Roman primacy and jurisdiction was the actions of the then-Montanist heretic Tertullian (this was a few years after the latters fall). Shortly after Pope Callistus I released a decree lessening the penance burdens on those guilty of serious sins, the African heretic had a few choice words to say about the incident. He mockingly referred to Pope St. Callistus (r. 217-222) as “the Pontifex Maximus issuing a pre-emptory edict” to grant a “largesse”. (These terms were associated with the Roman Emperor and his official acts.) It would seem that Tertullian by the biting sarcasm used in De Pudicitia (c. 220 AD) was noticing in the actions undertaken by Pope Callistus a form of authority being assumed over the whole Church. Why else would he (by this time a Montanist in Africa) even care what the Bishop of Rome said or did unless the actions of the Pope were ones which had far ranging consequences??? Dr. Harnack applies a very interesting interpretation of the evidence, which is worth considering:
Callistus was the first who emphasized the consequences [of the supposition that Paul and Peter founded the church at Rome]. If Tertullian names him scornfully pontifex maximus, episcopus episcoporum, benedictus papa, and apostolicus, these [appellations] are so many allusions to the fact that Callistus has already claimed a primacy for himself, or rather that he has annexed to his person as bishop the primacy which the Roman church possessed From the motivation, in so far as Callistus appealed (for the first time in history) to Matt. xvi. 18ff to justify his action; and from Tertullians opposition, for Tertullian treats this edict not as directed locally to Rome, but one which is pregnant with consequences for all of Christendom. 
Romes judgment that a doctrine or practice was acceptable or that it was unacceptable seems to be something that even non-Catholics on other continents (Tertullian was in Africa) took into serious consideration. This trend started from the period of the late second-early third century (and quite possibly even earlier then that). However, it should be pointed out that Dr. Harnacks assertions that Pope St. Callistus I was the first to explicitly use the argument about Romes foundation upon Peter and Paul cannot be proven. (B.C. Butler felt that Victor might have been the first.) Nor can it be proven that Callistus was the first to base the Roman claim on Matt. 16:16ff. To claim that this is the case is to argue from silence, which is an ineffective way of establishing an argument. For that matter, it cannot be proven that Callistus even based his decision on the Petrine promise (though it seems probable that he did). Be that as it may, Victor and Callistus (and later Pope St. Stephen I) all appear to have acted as if they had authority over their fellow bishops, even those that were quite a ways from them geographically. Victors actions were directed towards the Asian churches while the actions of Callistus and Stephen met with opposition from Africa. If not for a form of Apostolic authority, what could they have based their claims to authority upon and why was the claim of authority itself not challenged??? Catholic author Stephen Ray summed it up quite tersely when he noted that “[I]f the jurisdictional primacy of Rome had been a matter of self-aggrandizement, someone would have opposed it as they opposed other innovations and heresies in the Church. The silence is profound” (Upon This Rock pgs. 12-13 as cited in the authors essay The Tinkling Cymbal of Mr. Critic circa. 2000).
In every case, it was the prudence of the Bishop or his use of the authority he was claiming that was called into question but not the validity of the claims themselves. St. Irenaeus of Lyons it is clear had no problems with the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome. His problem was with what he felt was Pope Victor I being too dictatorial in the application of his authority over the churches in matters of discipline. Tertullian at the time of his disagreements with Pope Callistus was no longer a member of the Church; so his is more of a “hostile witness” if you will. It is nevertheless significant in pointing out the importance that non-Catholics attached to the pronouncements of the Roman Church from as far back as the early third century. Like St. Irenaeus, St. Cyprian it is quite clear had no problem with the Bishop of Rome exercising a wide span of authority. In the case of St. Cyprian he had urged Pope Stephen (before falling out of favour with him) to send to Gaul, excommunicate the Bishop of Arles, and supply a successor (cf. Epistle 68, 3). So it seems that Bishop Cyprians problems were not with Pope Stephen exercising a wide span of authority (as Arles was in France about fiven hundred miles from Rome) but only when the Bishop of Rome opposed his (Cyprians) positions. However, before the controversy with Stephen (and even afterwards) Cyprian is still an effective witness, both in a positive as well as in a negative way, of the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome. In speaking of St. Cyprian of Carthage, Fr. Afanassieff makes the following observations, which bear noting:
According to Cyprian, every bishop occupies Peter’s throne (the Bishop of Rome among others) but the See of Peter is Peter’s throne -par excellence-. The Bishop of Rome is the direct heir of Peter, whereas the others are heirs only indirectly, and sometimes only by the mediation of Rome. Hence Cyprian’s insistence that the Church of Rome is the root and matrix of the Catholic Church [Ecclesiae catholicae matricem et radicem]. The subject is treated in so many of Cyprian’s passages that there is no doubt: to him, the See of Rome was -ecclesia principalis unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est- [the Principal Church from which the unity of the priesthood/episcopacy has its rise]. 
St. Cyprian says almost the exact same thing in his own words when speaking of the temerity of the Novatian schismatics of his time to appeal to the Church of Rome as this interpretation of Fr. Afanassieffs. It is further interesting to note what Cyprian himself stated about the faith of the Church of Rome and how it factors into what the Church of Rome has always claimed for herself:
After such things as these, moreover, they still dare—a false bishop having been appointed for them by, heretics—to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access. 
How could faithlessness have no access to the Church of Rome??? It is a rather strange statement unless it referred somehow to the Church of Rome having some sort of special function in the church. The decisions of Rome predetermining the attitudes and actions of the other churches is evidence of a form of universal jurisdiction being utilized a long time before Nicaea. This is even admitted by the renowned Orthodox scholar Fr. Alexander Schmemann (albeit by implication). The following quote is from the book Primacy of Peter again this time on the topic of universal primacy. Fr. Alexander Schmemann was dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary for over twenty years where he taught church history and liturgical theology. His observations are very revealing and (this author has found in dialogues with Orthodox apologists) to be one hundred percent on the money as far as how Orthodox controversialists view the primacy of Rome:
Finally we come to the highest and ultimate form of primacy: universal primacy. An age-long anti-Roman prejudice has led some Orthodox canonists simply to deny the existence of such primacy in the past or the need for it in the present. But an objective study of the canonical tradition cannot fail to establish beyond any doubt that, along with local ‘centers of agreement’ or primacies, the Church has also known a universal primacy...
It is impossible to deny that, even before the appearance of local primacies, the Church from the first days of her existence possessed an ecumenical center of unity and agreement. In the apostolic and the Judaeo-Christian period, it was the Church of Jerusalem, and later the Church of Rome — “presiding in agape,” according to St. Ignatius of Antioch. This formula and the definition of the universal primacy contained in it have been aptly analyzed by Fr. Afanassieff and we need not repeat his argument here. Neither can we quote here all the testimonies of the Fathers and the Councils unanimously acknowledging Rome as the senior church and the center of ecumenical agreement.
IT IS ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF BIASED POLEMICS THAT ONE CAN IGNORE THESE TESTIMONIES, THEIR CONSENSUS AND SIGNIFICANCE. It has happened, however, that if Roman historians and theologians have always interpreted this evidence in juridical terms, thus falsifying its real meaning, their Orthodox opponents have systematically belittled the evidence itself. Orthodox theology is still awaiting a truly Orthodox evaluation of universal primacy in the first millennium of church history — AN EVALUATION FREE FROM POLEMICAL OR APOLOGETIC EXAGGERATIONS. 
It is certainly possible (and most likely probable) that there are multiple ways of interpreting the evidences that are complementary of one another in some form or another. However, interpreting the evidence in a juridical manner is not necessarily a falsification of the real meaning of universal primacy. (Though in and of itself such an analysis would be an incomplete one.) That Orthodox apologists belittle the evidence is an understatement but this admission by a renowned Orthodox scholar such as Fr. Schmemann is significant. The foundation and underlying logic for this universal primacy was explained in the following manner by Russian Orthodox convert Vladimir Soloviev:
All Orthodox Christians are agreed that the apostolic power of binding and loosing was not conferred upon the Twelve as private individuals or in the sense of a temporary privilege, but that it is the genuine source and origin of a perpetual priestly authority which has descended from the Apostles to their successors in the hierarchy, the bishops and priests of the Universal Church. But if this is true, then neither can the two former attributes connected particularly with St. Peter in a still more solemn and significant manner be individual or accidental prerogatives; the less so, in that it was with the first of these prerogatives that our Lord expressly connected the permanence and stability of His Church in its future struggle against the powers of evil.
If the power of binding and loosing conferred on the Apostles is not a mere metaphor nor a purely personal and temporary attribute, if it is on the contrary the actual living germ of a universal permanent institution comprising the Church’s whole existence, how can St. Peter’s own special prerogatives, announced in such explicit and solemn terms, be regarded as barren metaphors or as personal and transitory privileges? Ought not they also to refer to some fundamental and permanent institution, of which the historic personality of Simon Bar-Jona is but the outstanding and typical representative? The God-Man did not establish ephemeral institutions. In His chosen disciples He saw, through and beyond all that was mortal and individual, the enduring principles and types of His work. What He said to the college of the Apostles included the whole priestly order, the teaching Church in its entirety. The sublime words which He addressed to Peter alone created in the person of this one Apostle the undivided sovereign authority possessed by the Universal Church throughout the whole of its life and development in future ages.
The fact that Christ did not see fit to make the formal foundation of His Church and the guarantee of its permanence dependent on the common authority of all the Apostles (for He did not say to the apostolic college: “On you I will build My Church”) surely goes to show that our Lord did not regard the episcopal and priestly order, represented by the Apostles in common, as sufficient in itself to form the impregnable foundation of the Universal Church in her inevitable struggle against the gates of hell. In founding His visible Church Jesus was thinking primarily of the struggle against evil and in order to ensure for His creation that unity which is strength, He crowned the hierarchy with a single, central institution, absolutely indivisible and independent, possessing in its own right the fullness of authority and of promise: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. 
While no one would deny that this function was not as explicit in apostolic times as it would be later, the passage from Matthew is a prophecy of future events. While there is an ample NT cumulative witness to the primacy of the Apostle Peter among the original twelve, it was not as much to the Apostles as to those who would succeed them that this promise was made. As long as there were Apostles around or disciples of the Apostles, such a function would for the most part not be needed. However, the further away from Apostolic times the Church developed, the greater the need for this stability would be. As needed it would manifest itself albeit not without “growing pains” if you will as the climate of the Church became gradually acclimated to a greater frequency of such interventions. We have traced out a few of the significant steps in the growth of this function already through the mid third century. For those who pin all of the Churchs problems on Constantine, this is still over sixty years from the time of Constantines Edict and about seventy-five years before the General Council of Nicaea. However, it was not only to those of the Church and its dissenters who begin becoming more and more aware of this function in an explicit sense.
It is also significant that over sixty years before Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire that the secular authorities in Rome were concerned about the power of the Roman Church. St. Cyprian of Carthage in the mid-third century praised the courage of Pope Cornelius in “sitting fearless at Rome in the bishops chair” during the persecutions of the pagan Emperor Decius (r. 249-251). According to Cyprian (writing from Africa) Decius was “issuing unbridled threats against Gods bishops, and was much less angered to hear that a rival of his imperial power was appearing then that of a bishop of God was being set up at Rome” (Epistle 51,9). Likewise in the 270s, a dispute between bickering parties at Antioch for what would appear to be the episcopal residence and cathedral of the See of Antioch cropped up and this dispute was referred to the Emperor for judgment. This was at a time when the persecutions had ceased and the Emperor was one reasonably favourable to the Christians and the laws against the Christians were not being enforced. The Emperor (Aurelian) in pronouncing judgment assigned possession “to those to whom the bishops of Italy and the city of the Romans should write”. The Church historian Eusebius from Caesaria (in the East) believed that this move by the Emperor was “very right” (Church History, Book VII).
In short, the evidence of the authority in the Church of the Roman See was even known to the secular leaders of Rome by the-mid third century (if not earlier). It also appears that Romes presiding bishop was seen to be analogous within the Church to the position that the Emperor had in the temporal sphere. This writer doubts that our Orthodox brethren would claim that the Emperor merely had a “primacy of honour but not jurisdiction” throughout the Roman Empire right. Considering that the Lord Himself stated that “whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the slave of all” (Mark 10:44), this whole idea of “primacy of honour” seems to go against the explicit words of Our Lord Himself.
[This essay was excerpted from a longer work Christian Unity and the Role of Authority (c. 2001)]
 Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff: “The Primacy of Peter” Ch. 4, pg. 92 (c. 1992)
 Dr. T.G. Jalland: “The Church and the Papacy” (c. 1944) cited in The Church and Infallibility by B.C. Butler pgs. 129-130 (c. 1954)
 Sir Nicholas Cheetham: “A History of the Popes” Ch. 1, pg. 9 (c. 1992)
 Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff: “The Primacy of Peter” Ch. 4, pgs. 125-126 (c. 1992)
 Dr. Ludwig Ott: “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”, pg. 283 (c. 1960)
 Dr. Adolph Harnack: “Dogmengeschichte”, 4th ed., p. 486 (c. 1904) cited in B.C. Butlers The Church and Infallibility pg. 140 (c. 1954)
 Sir Nicholas Cheetham: “A History of the Popes” Ch. 1, pgs. 11-12 (c. 1992)
 Dr. John Lawson: “The Biblical Theology of Saint Irenaeus” (c. 1948) cited in The Church and Infallibility by B.C. Butler pgs. 136-137 (c. 1954)
 Dr. T.G. Jalland: “The Church and the Papacy” (c. 1944) as cited in B.C. Butlers The Church and Infallibility pgs. 132-133 (c. 1954)
 Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff: “The Primacy of Peter” Ch. 4, pgs. 126-127 (c. 1992)
 Eusebius of Caesarea: “Church History” Book V Ch. 24 (320 AD)
 Eusebius of Caesarea: “Church History” Book V Ch. 24 (320 AD)
 Dr. Adolph Harnack: “Dogmengeschichte”, 4th ed., pp. 489f (c. 1904) cited in B.C. Butlers The Church and Infallibility pg. 140 (c. 1954)
 Sir Nicholas Cheetham: “A History of the Popes” Ch. 1, pgs. 12-13 (c. 1992)
 Dr. Adolph Harnack: “Dogmengeschichte”, 4th ed., pp. 492 (c. 1904) cited in B.C. Butlers The Church and Infallibility pg. 143 (c. 1954)
 Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff: “The Primacy of Peter” Ch. 4, pgs. 126-127 (c. 1992)
 St. Cyprian: To Cornelius, Epistle 54/59:14 (A.D. 252), in ANF, V:344*
 Fr. Alexander Schmemann: “The Primacy of Peter” Ch. 5, pgs 163-164 (c. 1992)
 Vladimir Soloviev: “Russia and the Universal Church”, pgs 86-87 (c. 1889)
The citations from Orthodox scholars Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff and Fr. Alexander Schmemann were taken from the compilation “The Primacy of Peter : Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church” edited by John Meyendorff - St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (c. 1992)
The citations from B.C. Butler were taken from his book “The Church and Infallibility: A Reply to the Abridged Salmon”, Sheed and Ward New York, 1954
The citations of Sir Nicholas Cheetham were taken from his book “A History of the Popes” from Dorsett Press (c. 1992)
The citations of the Church Fathers that were not taken from Jurgens work which are marked with a * symbol were obtained at Joe Gallegos’ Corunum Apologetics web-site which specializes in Patristic studies: http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/contents.htm
The citation from Ludwig Ott was taken from the theology manual “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” Tan Publishing, Fourth Ed. (c. 1960)
The citations from Eusebius of Caesarias multi-volume series “Church History” were taken from book 5 of the series located at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250105.htm
The citations from Vladimir Soloviev were taken from his book “Russia and the Universal Church” - a substantial portion of which is available at the following link: http://praiseofglory.com/solovievrock.htm
There was only one church - the Catholic Church.
...then it would HAVE to be built on PAUL, not Peter, according to God’s Word.
Speaking of the Pope he sold his HOG aka Harley
That ought to easy enough; let's ask a CATHOLIC!!!
As regards the oft-quoted Mt. 16:18, note the bishops promise in the profession of faith of Vatican 1,
Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txs/firstvc.htm
Yet as the Dominican cardinal and Catholic theologian Yves Congar O.P. states,
Unanimous patristic consent as a reliable locus theologicus is classical in Catholic theology; it has often been declared such by the magisterium and its value in scriptural interpretation has been especially stressed. Application of the principle is difficult, at least at a certain level. In regard to individual texts of Scripture total patristic consensus is rare...One example: the interpretation of Peters confession in Matthew 16:16-18. Except at Rome, this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy; they worked out an exegesis at the level of their own ecclesiological thought, more anthropological and spiritual than juridical. Yves M.-J. Congar, O.P., p. 71
And Catholic archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick (1806-1896), while yet seeking to support Peter as the rock, stated that,
If we are bound to follow the majority of the fathers in this thing, then we are bound to hold for certain that by the rock should be understood the faith professed by Peter, not Peter professing the faith. Speech of archbishop Kenkick, p. 109; An inside view of the vatican council, edited by Leonard Woolsey Bacon.
Your own CCC allows the interpretation that, On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ build his Church, (pt. 1, sec. 2, cp. 2, para. 424), for some of the ancients (for what their opinion is worth) provided for this or other interpretations.
Ambrosiaster [who elsewhere upholds Peter as being the chief apostle to whom the Lord had entrusted the care of the Church, but not superior to Paul as an apostle except in time], Eph. 2:20:
Wherefore the Lord says to Peter: 'Upon this rock I shall build my Church,' that is, upon this confession of the catholic faith I shall establish the faithful in life. Ambrosiaster, Commentaries on GalatiansPhilemon, Eph. 2:20; Gerald L. Bray, p. 42
"Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer. John Rotelle, O.S.A., Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine , © 1993 New City Press, Sermons, Vol III/6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327
Upon this rock, said the Lord, I will build my Church. Upon this confession, upon this that you said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,' I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer her (Mt. 16:18). John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993) Sermons, Volume III/7, Sermon 236A.3, p. 48.
For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, 'On this rock will I build my Church,' because Peter had said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. The Church, therefore, which is founded in Christ received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in the person of Peter, that is to say, the power of binding and loosing sins. For what the Church is essentially in Christ, such representatively is Peter in the rock (petra); and in this representation Christ is to be understood as the Rock, Peter as the Church. Augustine Tractate CXXIV; Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series, Volume VII Tractate CXXIV (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf107.iii.cxxv.html)
And Peter, one speaking for the rest of them, one for all, said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:15-16)...And I tell you: you are Peter; because I am the rock, you are Rocky, Peter-I mean, rock doesn't come from Rocky, but Rocky from rock, just as Christ doesn't come from Christian, but Christian from Christ; and upon this rock I will build my Church (Mt 16:17-18); not upon Peter, or Rocky, which is what you are, but upon the rock which you have confessed. I will build my Church though; I will build you, because in this answer of yours you represent the Church. John Rotelle, O.S.A. Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993), Sermons, Volume III/7, Sermon 270.2, p. 289
Peter had already said to him, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' He had already heard, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not conquer her' (Mt 16:16-18)...Christ himself was the rock, while Peter, Rocky, was only named from the rock. That's why the rock rose again, to make Peter solid and strong; because Peter would have perished, if the rock hadn't lived. John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993) Sermons, Volume III/7, Sermon 244.1, p. 95
...because on this rock, he said, I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not overcome it (Mt. 16:18). Now the rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). Was it Paul that was crucified for you? Hold on to these texts, love these texts, repeat them in a fraternal and peaceful manner. John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1995), Sermons, Volume III/10, Sermon 358.5, p. 193
Augustine, Psalm LXI:
Let us call to mind the Gospel: 'Upon this Rock I will build My Church.' Therefore She crieth from the ends of the earth, whom He hath willed to build upon a Rock. But in order that the Church might be builded upon the Rock, who was made the Rock? Hear Paul saying: 'But the Rock was Christ.' On Him therefore builded we have been. Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VIII, Saint Augustin, Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm LXI.3, p. 249. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf108.ii.LXI.html)
Augustine, in Retractions,
In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: 'On him as on a rock the Church was built.'...But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,' that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven.' For, 'Thou art Peter' and not 'Thou art the rock' was said to him. But 'the rock was Christ,' in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable. The Fathers of the Church (Washington D.C., Catholic University, 1968), Saint Augustine, The Retractations Chapter 20.1:.
Basil of Seleucia, Oratio 25:
'You are Christ, Son of the living God.'...Now Christ called this confession a rock, and he named the one who confessed it 'Peter,' perceiving the appellation which was suitable to the author of this confession. For this is the solemn rock of religion, this the basis of salvation, this the wall of faith and the foundation of truth: 'For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' To whom be glory and power forever. Oratio XXV.4, M.P.G., Vol. 85, Col. 296-297.
Bede, Matthaei Evangelium Expositio, 3:
You are Peter and on this rock from which you have taken your name, that is, on myself, I will build my Church, upon that perfection of faith which you confessed I will build my Church by whose society of confession should anyone deviate although in himself he seems to do great things he does not belong to the building of my Church...Metaphorically it is said to him on this rock, that is, the Saviour which you confessed, the Church is to be built, who granted participation to the faithful confessor of his name. 80Homily 23, M.P.L., Vol. 94, Col. 260. Cited by Karlfried Froehlich, Formen, Footnote #204, p. 156 [unable to verify by me].
Cassiodorus, Psalm 45.5:
'It will not be moved' is said about the Church to which alone that promise has been given: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' For the Church cannot be moved because it is known to have been founded on that most solid rock, namely, Christ the Lord. Expositions in the Psalms, Volume 1; Volume 51, Psalm 45.5, p. 455
Chrysostom (John) [who affirmed Peter was a rock, but here not the rock in Mt. 16:18]:
Therefore He added this, 'And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; that is, on the faith of his confession. Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily LIIl; Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.LII.html)
Cyril of Alexandria:
When [Peter] wisely and blamelessly confessed his faith to Jesus saying, 'You are Christ, Son of the living God,' Jesus said to divine Peter: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.' Now by the word 'rock', Jesus indicated, I think, the immoveable faith of the disciple.. Cyril Commentary on Isaiah 4.2.
Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII):
For a rock is every disciple of Christ of whom those drank who drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, 1 Corinthians 10:4 and upon every such rock is built every word of the church, and the polity in accordance with it; for in each of the perfect, who have the combination of words and deeds and thoughts which fill up the blessedness, is the church built by God.'
For all bear the surname rock who are the imitators of Christ, that is, of the spiritual rock which followed those who are being saved, that they may drink from it the spiritual draught. But these bear the surname of rock just as Christ does. But also as members of Christ deriving their surname from Him they are called Christians, and from the rock, Peters. Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII), sect. 10,11 ( http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101612.htm)
Hilary of Potier, On the Trinity (Book II): Thus our one immovable foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, is the confession from Peter's mouth, Thou art the Son of the living God. On it we can base an answer to every objection with which perverted ingenuity or embittered treachery may assail the truth."-- (Hilary of Potier, On the Trinity (Book II), para 23; Philip Schaff, editor, The Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers Series 2, Vol 9.
It is Peter.
And the church was launched on the shoulders of Peter.
That, however, does not mean it was to stay forever on the shoulders of Peter. In fact, we learn even in the New Testament that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles.
And at the end of John’s life, we see those churches founded by Paul on the shoulders of the Apostle John, the apostle to whom the earliest fathers appear to be connected.
Infallibility was given to Peter and His successors. One doesn’t need Scripture alone to prove this. We have the early understanding in the years after the death of Christ by what Christ meant to be His teaching authority. The very texts that were chosen as Scripture- the Bible was by the early Church Fathers. The various heresies at the time that denied the divinity of Christ was repudiated by the Church. The blood of its martyrs, the Catholic Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist, the sacraments of Confessions etc date back to the early Church. There cannot be more than one teaching authority just as Christ taught ONE truth, we must for the ages have ONE Church that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.
I Corinthians 3:10: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
I Corinthians 3:11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
This foundation that Christ laid was given unto a wise masterbuilder, the Apostle Paul for all Jews and gentiles following the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Peter writes further by the revelation of God:
II Peter 3:15: And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
II Peter 3:16: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
So what do people do with respect to II Peter 3:15, 3:16?
Christ is the Rock and the foundation - and Christ raise up the Apostle Paul after the resurrection (Acts 9), and Peter writes II Peter 3:15,16. So if Peter is writing from authority, and Paul also writing from authority, in which Paul has received the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. We then must acknowledge that the apostle Paul did write unto you the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 14:37, I Thess 4:2); all these sound doctrines came directly from the Lord Jesus Christ (resurrected).
I Corinthians 14:37: If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
I Thessalonians 4:2: For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
If someone fights against these, as Peter so revealed, then they also fight against God and His Words in the entire Bible, but especially in God's epistles - which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
The Apostle and disciple Peter did give a perfect witness of Messiah (Christ) and Peter is the 'rock' of that faith. And Peter was faithful in his ministry to the Jews (circumcision), as Paul was faithful in his ministry to the Gentiles (uncircumcision):
Galatians 2:7: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
Galatians 2:8: For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:
When you cut and paste, you have to take the time to make paragraphs...Else no one will read it, as I didn’t...
Exactly...Peter was a little rock but a rock nonetheless...The church however was built upon the boulder, Jesus Christ...That's why the distinction...
While Peter may have had some authority over the 12, both Peter and Paul acknowledged that Jesus was the 'big' rock...
After the resurrection while God showed Peter that Gentiles could be included into righteousness, Jesus then chose Paul, not Peter to reveal the church...
If there was a human rock who the church would have been built upon, it would have been Paul but they both clearly let us know that Jesus Christ is the rock...
And other interpretation than that can be dumped into the round file...