Skip to comments.Study: Over Half of South Jersey's Catholics Believe That Jesus Sinned
Posted on 05/07/2012 2:39:34 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Although the sinless life of Jesus Christ is a foundational tenet of the Christian faith, a study recently released by the Diocese of Camden found that 60 percent of practicing Catholics in southern New Jersey believe Jesus sinned during his time on Earth.
"The number of Catholics who have a very flawed, a seriously flawed, understanding of who Jesus is, that's troublesome," Bishop Joseph Galante of the Diocese of Camden said during a press conference, USA Today reports. "We've got to re-focus on how we teach and inform people. Jesus is the foundation of who we are as Catholics."
The study was commissioned by the diocese with the hope that the results would help it to better evangelize the communities it serves. The study was conducted by the Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif.-based research organization, which surveyed 612 adults living in the six New Jersey counties within the diocese.
Of those surveyed, 34 percent identified themselves as Catholic, but there are some discrepancies between what the church teaches and what some of them believe.
For example, the study showed that four out of ten of these Catholics disagree with the idea that sex should be reserved solely for marriage. While 38 percent of the total residents living within the Camden Diocese agree strongly with the idea that the Bible is "totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches," only 28 percent of Catholics in the diocese believe the same.
Another major issue Galante discussed during the press conference was the high number of Catholics in his diocese who simply don't attend Mass. One-third of lapsed Catholics said they have other priorities or are too busy to attend, while others said they just aren't interested in church (27 percent).
"What intrigued me in particular was the high number of people who don't attend Mass simply because they have other priorities," said Galante.
"One of the things we need to do is emphasize that worship time can also be part of family time as well. These findings are both troubling and a challenge as we begin to deepen our evangelization efforts."
Peter Feuerherd, director of communications for the Diocese of Camden, told The Christian Post on Monday that another thing that struck him from the study was the low percentage of Catholics who invite others to church. The study found that Catholics (33 percent) were half as likely as Protestants (66 percent) to invite someone to visit their church.
"I find that the 'ask' is so important, and Catholics are not in the habit of the 'ask.' Even our parishes are not in the habit of the ask," said Feuerherd.
He also indicated that a major issue all churches have to deal with is the tendency for people to want to always be productive in the American culture. Those who don't take time off from work on the weekends are honored in our society, he says, and other "distractions" like youth sporting events and various forms of entertainment can sometimes take away from church attendance.
"I think we have lost ... the idea that whatever that Sabbath day is, it is valuable. It's important that people have it," he said.
Other interesting findings from the study:
-Of the Catholics surveyed, 38 percent favor attending church only on holidays.
-Among all of the adults surveyed, 51 percent said churches are "too involved" in opposing abortion or same-sex marriage.
-Nine out of ten (89 percent) adults said they know about the clergy abuse scandals that have occurred within the Catholic Church. Among those who are aware of the scandals, 89 percent consider it a "major issue."
-Only 18 percent of Catholics strongly agree that it is their personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others, as compared to 40 percent of Protestants and 36 percent of people who believe in non-Christian faiths.
Please identify which of my posts, if any, were considered violations of RF policy.
RE: Thats not what you meant and you know it.
I meant EXACTLY WHAT I SAID.
RE: . But I will say this. Who told you how to interpret Scripture?
Scripture ( especially the New Testament ) was written in plain Koine Greek (common ) so that common people can read it.
AS for who teaches people how to interpret scripture, why can’t one use reason, the common tools of hermeneutics, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to learn to understand it for himself? Why do we need some group of elite people in Rome to tell us what it means when the language is plain?
As for Pat Robertson or Jim Bakker, I’m glad you mentioned them. I don’t use them as a resource for me interpreting scripture either.
And unlike you, I don’t take scriptural interpretations by others (even Catholics) with a grain of salt.
I use reason, common sense, discernment and the mind that God has given me through the help of His spirit to interpret scripture. I believe God’s spirit guides individuals who are sincere in trying to understand his Word.
I disagree with you regarding the meaning of the word — church.
The Christian church can be seen in two ways: the visible and the invisible.
The visible church is comprised of all who truly claim the name of Christian and who gather together for worship and participation of the sacraments.
The members of the visible church claim the name of Christian (excluding the cults).
The visible church contains both believers and non-believers; that is, there are people in the visible church who are not really saved. Hence, Ibelieve that there are those baptized in the Catholic ( and Protestant ) church who are not really saved.
The members of the invisible Church are the actual body of believers. They are the ones who are truly regenerate and have trusted, by faith, in the true Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The true Christian is indwelt by the Lord Jesus (John 14:23) through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Christian church is figuratively said to be the body of Christ.
Rom. 12:5, “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Eph. 4:12, “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
Yes, The word “church” comes from the Greek “ekklesia” which means “gathering” or “assembly.” Therefore, the church is the gathering of the believers who come together to participate in fellowship with one another as they worship God and hear from His Word, the Bible.
The church as a whole has been equipped with people possessing different spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:5-8).
The purpose of the gifts is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” (Eph. 4:12-13).
The Christian church was founded by Jesus and He is its Head and Savior (Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23). Being in the church, the Christian is subject to the Lordship of Jesus (Eph. 5:24) through the administration of the Word of God.
The Bible does not provide a detailed method of Church government. But, it does state that there are to be elders who govern in the church. These elders are appointed by the laying on of hands (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6). They are to be able to teach sound doctrine and refute error (Titus 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:2).
Regarding Matthew 16, I don’t see it as Christ appointing Peter to be the Pope of the church. In other words, I don’t see this as Christ building His church on St. Peter.
On this passage, I stand with St. Augustine.
Augustine was a prolific writer and he has made numerous comments which relate directly to the issue of the interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16:18.
In fact, Augustine made more comments upon this passage than any other Church father.
At the end of his life, Augustine wrote his Retractations where he corrects statements in his earlier writings which he says were erroneous. One of these had to do with the interpretation of the rock in Matthew 16. At the beginning of his ministry Augustine had written that the rock was Peter.
However, very early on he later changed his position and throughout the remainder of his ministry he adopted the view that the rock was not Peter but Christ or Peters confession which pointed to the person of Christ. The following are statements from his Retractations which refer to his interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16:
“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).
Clearly Augustine is repudiating a previously held position, adopting the view that the rock was Christ and not Peter. This became his consistent position.
He does leave the interpretation open for individual readers to decide which was the more probable interpretation but it is clear what he has concluded the interpretation should be and that he believes the view that the rock is Christ is the correct one. The fact that he would even suggest that individual readers could take a different position is evidence of the fact that after four hundred years of church history there was no official authoritative Church interpretation of this passage as Vatican One has stated.
I Can’t imagine a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church today suggesting that it would be appropriate for individuals to use private interpretation and come to their own conclusion as to the proper meaning of the rock of Matthew 16.
But that is precisely what Augustine does, although he leaves us in no doubt as to what he, as a leading bishop and theologian of the Church, personally believes. And his view was not a novel interpretation, come to at the end of his life, but his consistent teaching throughout his ministry. Nor was it an interpretation that ran counter to the prevailing opinion of his day.
Augustine is at odds not only with Scripture and the Magisterium, but with nearly every other Early Church Father on this issue. That is the very reason Augustine has never been declared or recognized as being infallible.
"I believe that there are those baptized in the Catholic ( and Protestant ) church who are not really saved."
As do I because no one is permanently saved until the moment of their death.
RE: Augustine is at odds not only with Scripture and the Magisterium, but with nearly every other Early Church Father on this issue. That is the very reason Augustine has never been declared or recognized as being infallible.
Yes he was and I agree with you. But that just goes to show that your so called central magisterium is a later development. Not something that was existent during the early years of Christianity.
As for Papal Infallibility? What to say? This doctrine was defined dogmatically in the First Vatican Council of 1869-1870.
And as for Augustine being at odds with every other church father, I have to ask — REALLY?
What about the church father Eusebius?
He was born in Caesarea in Palestine around the year 263 A.D. He took the name Eusebius Pamphilus after his mentor and teacher Pamphilus.
He was consecrated bishop of Caesarea in 313 A.D. and was a participant at the Council of Nicaea. He is known as the father of ecclesiastical history for his work on the history of the Church. He has very clearly expressed his views on the meaning of the rock of Matthew 16:
“And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bear, at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of thy nostrils (Ps. 18.14)...By the foundations of the world, we shall understand the strength of Gods wisdom, by which, first, the order of the universe was established, and then, the world itself was foundeda world which will not be shaken. Yet you will not in any way err from the scope of the truth if you suppose that the world is actually the Church of God, and that its foundation is in the first place, that unspeakably solid rock on which it is founded, as Scripture says: Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and elsewhere: The rock, moreover, was Christ. For, as the Apostle indicates with these words: No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Then, too, after the Savior himself, you may rightly judge the foundations of the Church to be the words of the prophets and apostles, in accordance with the statement of the Apostle: Built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. These foundations of the world have been laid bare because the enemies of God, who once darkened the eyes of our mind, lest we gaze upon divine things, have been routed and put to flightscattered by the arrows sent from God and put to flight by the rebuke of the Lord and by the blast from his nostrils. As a result, having been saved from these enemies and having received the use of our eyes, we have seen the channels of the sea and have looked upon the foundations of the world. This has happened in our lifetime in many parts of the world”
(Commentary on the Psalms, M.P.G., Vol. 23, Col. 173, 176).
Eusebius unambiguously teaches that the rock is Christ. He correlates this interpretation with the parallel rock and foundation statements of 1 Corinthians 10:4 and 3:11. He goes on to say that there is a subsidiary foundation, from Ephesians 2:20, of the apostles and prophets, the Church also built upon them, but the cornerstone is Christ. However he interprets this to mean that the Church is to be built upon the words or teachings of the apostles and prophets as opposed to their persons. It is in this sense that it can be said that the Church is built upon Peter and the other apostles. It is clear that Christ alone is the true foundation and rock of the Church and that Eusebius sees no peculiar Petrine primacy associated with Christs statements in Matthew 16.
Papal infallibility and Magisterial Infallibility are related, but are two separate doctrines. I would be eilling to discuss either, but not interchangabily when you are seeking to make a point.
The primacy of Peter and his regognized stztus as the first Pope was not disputed by the Early Church Fathers, except when viewed in a few excerpted comments, chosen by Protestant apologists for the Protestant eye.
(1) Tertullian (c. AD 197) speaks of Peter apart from Paul as ordaining Clement as his episcopal successor (De Praescrip Haer 32).
(2) The Poem Against Marcion (c. 200 AD) states how "Peter bad Linus to take his place and sit on the chair whereon he himself had sat" (III, 80). The word "chair" (cathedra) in ecclesiastical language always means one's episcopal throne (i.e. the bishop's chair).
(3) Caius of Rome (214 AD) calls Pope Victor the thirteenth bishop of Rome after Peter (Euseb HE V, 28).
(4) Hippolytus (225 AD) counts Peter as the first Bishop of Rome (Dict Christian Biog I, 577).
(5) Cyprian (in 250) speaks of Rome as "the place of Peter" (Ep ad Anton), and as "the Chair of Peter" (Ep ad Pope Cornelius).
(6) Firmilian (257) speaks of Pope Stephen's claim to the "succession of Peter" and to the "Chair of Peter" (Ep ad Cyprian).
(7) Eusebius (314) says that Peter was "the bishop of Rome for twenty-five years" (Chron an 44), and calls Linus "first after Peter to obtain the episcopate" (Chron an 66). He also says that Victor was "the thirteenth bishop of Rome after Peter" (HE III, 4).
(8) The Council of Sardica "honors the memory of the Apostle Peter" in granting Pope Julius I the right to judge cases involving other episcopal sees under imperial Roman law (Sardica Canon IV, and Ep ad Pope Julius).
(9) Athanasius (340's) calls Rome the "Apostolic Throne" -- a reference to the Apostle Peter as the first bishop to occupy that throne (Hist Arian ad Monarch 35).
(10) Optatus (370) says that the episcopal chair of Rome was first established by Peter, "in which chair sat Peter himself." He also says how "Peter first filled the pre-eminent chair," which "is the first of the marks of the Church." (Schism Donat II, 2 and II, 3).
(11) Pope Damasus (370) speaks of the "Apostolic chair" in which "the holy Apostle sitting, taught his successors how to guide the helm of the Church" (Ep ix ad Synod, Orient ap Theodoret V, 10). Damasus also states how "The first See is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman church" and says how Rome received primacy not by the conciliar decisions of the other churches, but from the evangelic voice of the Lord, when He says, "Thou art Peter..." (Decree of Damasus 382).
(12) Ambrose (c. 390) speaks of Rome as "Peter's chair" and the Roman church where "Peter, first of the Apostles, first sat" (De Poenit I, 7-32, Exp Symb ad Initiand).
(13) Jerome (c. 390) speaks of Rome as the "chair of Peter" and the "Apostolic chair," and states that Peter held the episcopal chair for twenty-five years at Rome (Epistle 15 and se Vir Illust I, 1).
(14) Augustine (c. 400) tells us to number the bishops of Rome from the chair of Peter itself (in Ps contra Part Donat), and speaks of "the chair of the Roman church in which Peter first sat" (Contra Lit Petil).
(15) Prudentius (405) writes how in Rome there were "the two princes of the Apostles, one the Apostle of the Gentiles, the other holding the First Chair" (Hymn II in honor of St Laurent, V).
(16) Bachiarius (420) speaks of Rome as "the chair of Peter, the seat of faith" (De Fide 2).
(17) Prosper of Aquitaine (429) calls Rome "the Apostolic See" and the "Chair of the Apostle Peter" (Carm de Ingratis).
(18) The Roman legates at the Council of Ephesus (431) declare how "it is a matter doubtful to none that Peter lived and exercised judgement in his successors" and how "the holy and most blessed [Pope] Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place" (Acta Councilia, session 3, tom III, col 621).
(19) Peter Chrysologus (440) speaks of "blessed Peter living and presiding in his own see" (Ep ad Eutech).
(20) Pope Leo the Great (440) says how "the whole Church acknowledges Peter in the See of Peter (Rome)" (Serm II, 2).
(21) At the Council of Chalcedon (451), the assembled bishops respond to the teaching of Pope Leo the Great by crying out, "Peter has spoken through Leo." The sentence of the council is pronounced by the legates "in the name of Leo, the Council, and St. Peter" (Canons of Chalcedon).
(22) The Synodical Letter to Pope Leo from Chalcedon calls the Pope "the interpreter of Peter's voice."
(23) Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian III (450) speak of "the primacy of the Apostolic See (Rome), made firm on account of the merits of Peter, Chief of the Corona of Bishops" (Inter ep Leon I, Vol XI, col 637).
RE: The primacy of Peter and his regognized stztus as the first Pope was not disputed by the Early Church Fathers,
That Peter was treated with respect and deference and that he was considered a leader among the apostles is not doubted. That he has primacy among the rest of them is not something supported by scripture or by history.
Firstly let’s look at scripture. Look at Galatians Chapter 2.
Paul rebuked Peter face to face. He accused Peter of hypocrisy. I doubt Peter was surprised by this charge. But Paul pressed this error to its ultimate and most despicable rootsit was a denial of the gospel.
The gospel declares all men to be sinners, under the wrath of God and doomed to eternal punishment. The Law saves no one by law-keeping but condemns Jew and Gentile alike. When men are saved, they are saved by faith in Christ, apart from good works. The Jews can claim no merit, they can take no credit, with respect to their salvation, and thus they are no better than Gentile saints. The gospel makes equals of every saint, for the only righteousness which will get a man to heaven is Christs righteousness, received by faith, apart from works.
The Jews thought that being Jews made them better than Gentiles. They looked upon Gentiles as sinners and upon themselves as saints (2:15). They therefore thought they had the right to establish standards for the Gentiles who would be saved. And the standard they set was to be circumcised as a symbol of their commitment to keep the Law.
When Peter withdrew his fellowship from the Gentile saints and associated himself only with the Jews, he identified himself with the error they embraced and the self-righteousness in which they gloried. And in so doing, Peter functionally denied the very gospel by which he and every other Jew was saved. To be saved, Gentiles do not have to embrace Judaism with its self-righteousness through law-keeping. To be saved, Jews cannot embrace self-righteousness through law-keeping, but must trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter, the so called, primate, the pope, the disciple who was one of the three disciples most intimately associated with the Master, the one who preached the gospel so clearly and forcefully to the Jews at Pentecost and who also preached to the Gentiles at the home of Cornelius, now denies that very gospel. And he is rebuked by Paul for doing so.
How does that argue for Peter having primacy over the rest of the apostles?
Doesn’t this in fact argue for PAUL’s primacy?
But even I do not argue that at all.
It simply argues for SCRIPTURAL PRIMACY. Peter had to be rebuked because his action were JUDGED ACCORDING TO GOD’s WORD -— THE GOSPEL.
Now let’s look at the church fathers. You quoted several of them but I highly doubt if you look at the entire context of what they wrote, they intend it to mean Papal Infallibility or Roman jurisdiction over all churches everywhere.
I do not have time to look at every single one of the patriarchs you quote, but I will pick a few.
Firstly, I am most familiar with Augustine since you quoted him.
Augustine did state that Peter is the first and head of the apostles and that he holds a primacy. However he does not interpret that primacy in a Roman Catholic sense.
He believes that Peters primacy is figurative in that he represents the universal Church. Again, he explicitly states that Christ did not build his Church upon a man but on Peters confession of faith. Peter is built on Christ the rock and as a figurative representative of the Church he shows how each believer is built on Christ. In Augustines view, Peter holds a primacy or preeminence, but none of this applies to him in a jurisdictional sense, because he says that Christ did not build his Church upon a man. We can not get a clearer illustration that the fathers did indeed separate Peters confession of faith from Peters person.
In commenting on one of Augustines references to Peter and the rock, John Rotelle, the editor of the Roman Catholic series on the Sermons of Augustine, makes these observations:
There was Peter, and he hadnt yet been confirmed in the rock: That is, in Christ, as participating in his rockiness by faith. It does not mean confirmed as the rock, because Augustine never thinks of Peter as the rock. Jesus, after all, did not in fact call him the rock...but Rocky. The rock on which he would build his Church was, for Augustine, both Christ himself and Peters faith, representing the faith of the Church (emphasis mine) (John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993), Sermons, Sermon 265D.6, p. 258-259, n. 9.
Augustine does not endorse the Roman Catholic interpretation. Again and again he states that the rock is Christ, not Peter. Augustine claims no exclusive Petrine succession in the Roman bishops and no papal office.
You then quoted Cyprian (in 250).
In his treatise On the Unity of the Church Cyprian gives the following interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16:
The Lord saith unto Peter, I say unto thee, (saith He,) that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:1819). To him again, after His resurrection, He says, Feed My sheep. Upon him being one He builds His Church; and although He gives to all the Apostles an equal power, and says, As My Father sent Me, even so I send you; receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosoever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted to him, and whosoever sins ye shall retain, they shall be retained (John 20:21);yet in order to manifest unity, He has by His own authority so placed the source of the same unity, as to begin from one (A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: Parker, 1844), Cyprian, On The Unity of the Church 3-4, pp. 133-135).
Cyprian clearly says that Peter is the rock. If his comments were restricted to the above citation it would lend credence to the idea that he was a proponent of papal primacy. However Cyprians comments continue on from the statements given above. His additional statements prove conclusively that although he states that Peter is the rock he does not mean this in a proRoman sense. His view is that Peter is a symbol of unity, a figurative representative of the bishops of the Church. Cyprian viewed all the apostles as being equal with one another. He believed the words to Peter in Matthew 16 to be representative of the ordination of all Bishops so that the Church is founded, not upon one Bishop in one see, but upon all equally in collegiality. Peter, then, is a representative figure of the episcopate as a whole. His view is clearly stated in these words:
Certainly the other Apostles also were what Peter was, endued with an equal fellowship both of honour and power; but a commencement is made from unity, that the Church may be set before as one; which one Church, in the Song of Songs, doth the Holy Spirit design and name in the Person of our Lord: My dove, My spotless one, is but one; she is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her (Cant. 9:6) (A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: Parker, 1844), Cyprian, On The Unity of the Church 3, p. 133).
Our Lord whose precepts and warnings we ought to observe, determining the honour of a Bishop and the ordering of His own Church, speaks in the Gospel and says to Peter, I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Thence the ordination of Bishops, and the ordering of the Church, runs down along the course of time and line of succession, so that the Church is settled upon her Bishops; and every act of the Church is regulated by these same Prelates (A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: Parker, 1844), The Epistles of S. Cyprian, Ep. 33.1).
Cyprian, like Tertullian and Origen, states that Peter is the rock. But such a statement must be qualified. He definitely does not mean this in the same way the Church of Rome does. In his treatise, On the Unity of the Church, Cyprian teaches that Peter alone is not the rock or foundation on which the Church is built, but rather, he is an example of the principle of unity. He is representative of the Church as a whole. The entire episcopate, according to Cyprian, is the foundation, though Christ is himself the true Rock. The bishops of Rome are not endowed with divine authority to rule the Church. All of the bishops together constitute the Church and rule over their individual areas of responsibility as coequals. If Cyprian meant to say that the Church was built upon Peter and he who resists the bishop of Rome resists the Church (cutting himself off from the Church), then he completely contradicts himself, for he opposed Stephen, the bishop of Rome, in his interpretation of Matthew 16 as well as on theological and jurisdictional issues. His actions prove that his comments about Peter could not coincide with the Roman Catholic interpretation of his words. To do so is a distortion of his true meaning.
Historically there has been some confusion on the interpretation of Cyprians teaching because there are two versions of his treatise, On the Unity of the Church. In the first Cyprian speaks of the chair of Peter in which he equates the true Church with that chair. He states that there is only one Church and one chair and a primacy given to Peter. In the second, the references to a Petrine primacy are softened to give greater emphasis to the theme of unity and coequality of bishops. Most Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars now agree that Cyprian is the author of both versions. He wrote the second in order to offset a proRoman interpretation which was being attached to his words which he never intended. The episcopate is to him the principle of unity within the Church and representative of it. The chair of Peter is a figurative expression which applies to every bishop in his own see, not just the bishops of Rome. The bishop of Rome holds a primacy of honor but he does not have universal jurisdiction over the entire Church for Cyprian expressly states that all the apostles received the same authority and status as Peter and the Church is built upon all the bishops and not just Peter alone. Some object to these conclusions about Cyprian citing his statements about the chair of Peter. Roman Catholic apologists would lead us to believe that Cyprians comments refer exclusively to the bishops of Rome and that they therefore possess special authority as the successors of Peter.
I have to stop here because this post is already too long.
Suffice it to say that upon closer inspection of the quotes, THEY DO NOT ARGUE FOR PAPAL INFALLIBILITY. NEITHER DO THEY ARGUE FOR ROME’s UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION OF ALL CHURCHES.
If you are going to quote William Webster and cut and paste from Christiantruth.com you should cite them as your sources.
No pope, even St. Peter, is impeccable or can declare that 2 + 2 = 5 and make it so. That Paul rebuked Peter is not in question or that it somehow detracts from Peter's primacy or infallibility is purely a product of Protestant desires. St. Peter, like any pope was only infallible when speaking ex cathedra, because when doing so it is the Holy Spirit speaking through them.
It will probably be best stated if I can allow the most recent pope to speak for the first pope.
In recounting Jesus' first meeting with Simon, the brother of Andrew, John the Evangelist records a unique event: Jesus "looked at him and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)'" (Jn 1: 42).
It was not Jesus' practice to change his disciples' names: apart from the nickname "sons of thunder", which in specific circumstances he attributed to the sons of Zebedee (cf. Mk 3: 17) and never used again. He never gave any of his disciples a new name.
Yet, he gave one to Simon, calling him "Cephas". This name was later translated into Greek as Petros and into Latin as Petrus. And it was translated precisely because it was not only a name; it was a "mandate" that Petrus received in that way from the Lord. The new name Petrus was to recur frequently in the Gospels and ended by replacing "Simon", his original name.
This fact acquires special importance if one bears in mind that in the Old Testament, a change of name usually preceded the entrustment of a mission (cf. Gn 17: 5; 32: 28ff., etc.).
Indeed, many signs indicate Christ's desire to give Peter special prominence within the Apostolic College: in Capernaum the Teacher enters Peter's house (cf. Mk 1: 29); when the crowd becomes pressed on the shore of Lake Genesaret, seeing two boats moored there, Jesus chooses Simon's (cf. Lk 5: 3); when, on certain occasions, Jesus takes only three disciples with him, Peter is always recorded as the first of the group: as in the raising of Jairus' daughter (cf. Mk 5: 37; Lk 8: 51), in the Transfiguration (cf. Mk 9: 2; Mt 17: 1; Lk 9: 28) and during the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. Mk 14: 33; Mt 26: 37). And again: the Temple tax collectors address Peter and the Teacher pays only for himself and Peter (cf. Mt 17: 24-27); it is Peter's feet that he washes first at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 13: 6), and for Peter alone he prays that his faith will not fail so that he will be able to strengthen the other disciples in faith (cf. Lk 22: 30-31).
Moreover, Peter himself was aware of his special position: he often also spoke on behalf of the others, asking for the explanation of a difficult parable (cf. Mt 15: 15), the exact meaning of a precept (cf. Mt 18: 21) or the formal promise of a reward (cf. Mt 19: 27).
It is Peter in particular who resolves certain embarrassing situations by intervening on behalf of all. Thus, when Jesus, saddened by the misunderstanding of the crowd after the Bread of Life discourse, asks: "Will you also go away?", Peter's answer is peremptory in tone: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (cf. Jn 6: 67-69).
Equally decisive is the profession of faith which, again on behalf of the Twelve, he makes near Caesarea Philippi. To Jesus' question: "But who do you say that I am?", Peter answers: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16: 15-16). Jesus responded by pronouncing the solemn declaration that defines Peter's role in the Church once and for all: "And I tell you: you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.... I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Mt 16: 18-19).
In themselves, the three metaphors that Jesus uses are crystal clear: Peter will be the rocky foundation on which he will build the edifice of the Church; he will have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to open or close it to people as he sees fit; lastly, he will be able to bind or to loose, in the sense of establishing or prohibiting whatever he deems necessary for the life of the Church. It is always Christ's Church, not Peter's.
Thus, vivid images portray what the subsequent reflection will describe by the term: "primacy of jurisdiction".
This pre-eminent position that Jesus wanted to bestow upon Peter is also encountered after the Resurrection: Jesus charges the women to announce it especially to Peter, as distinct from the other Apostles (cf. Mk 16: 7); it is to Peter and John that Mary Magdalene runs to tell them that the stone has been rolled away from the entrance to the tomb (cf. Jn 20: 2), and John was to stand back to let Peter enter first when they arrived at the empty tomb (cf. Jn 20: 4-6).
Then, Peter was to be the first witness of an appearance of the Risen One (cf. Lk 24: 34; I Cor 15: 5). His role, decisively emphasized (cf. Jn 20: 3-10), marks the continuity between the pre-eminence he had in the group of the Apostles and the pre-eminence he would continue to have in the community born with the paschal events, as the Book of Acts testifies (cf. 1: 15-26; 2: 14-40; 3: 12-26; 4: 8-12; 5: 1-11, 29; 8: 14-17; 10; etc.).
His behaviour was considered so decisive that it prompted remarks as well as criticism (cf. Acts 11: 1-18; Gal 2: 11-14).
At the so-called Council of Jerusalem Peter played a directive role (cf. Acts 15; Gal 2: 1-10), and precisely because he was a witness of authentic faith, Paul himself recognized that he had a certain quality of "leadership" (cf. I Cor 15: 5; Gal 1: 18; 2: 7ff., etc.).
Moreover, the fact that several of the key texts that refer to Peter can be traced back to the context of the Last Supper, during which Christ conferred upon Peter the ministry of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 31ff.), shows that the ministry entrusted to Peter was one of the constitutive elements of the Church, which was born from the commemoration of the Pasch celebrated in the Eucharist.
This contextualization of the Primacy of Peter at the Last Supper, at the moment of the Institution of the Eucharist, the Lord's Pasch, also points to the ultimate meaning of this Primacy: Peter must be the custodian of communion with Christ for all time. He must guide people to communion with Christ; he must ensure that the net does not break, and consequently that universal communion endures. Only together can we be with Christ, who is Lord of all.
Thus, Peter is responsible for guaranteeing communion with Christ with the love of Christ, guiding people to fulfil this love in everyday life. Let us pray that the Primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, will always be exercised in this original sense as the Lord desired, and that its true meaning will therefore always be recognized by the brethren who are not yet in full communion with us.
Nothing in your post tells me that scripture or church history or the very early church fathers believed that the Bishop of Rome had primacy or that they had jurisdiction over all other churches.
In fact, in some instance you cite ( e.g. Jesus gave Peter a special name — Cephas ), that same argument could apply to others who were given special names as well.
Let’s look at your arguments :
Even if you say this: “Paul rebuked Peter is not in question or that it somehow detracts from Peter’s primacy”
Well, that also does nothing to show that Peter has primacy over every other apostle. What it does show is that Peter’s actions are being judged by the standard of scripture. WHICH WE ALL OUGHT TO DO EVEN WHEN WE EVALUATE CATHOLIC or PROTESTANT DOCTRINE.
As for Peter being aware of his special position, let me direct you to one scriptural passage -— I Peter 5[:1-2], I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, etc.
Look at that Peter calls himself a FELLOW ELDER, that is, equal with pastor or preacher; he does not want to rule over them, but to be equal with them, although he knows that he is an apostle.
No mention of his primacy, or his jurisdiction over all the churches.
All the other things you mentioned about Peter from scripture DOES shoe the love that Jesus showed for his disciple Peter. No true Christian questions or disputes that.
But again the question — HOW DOES THAT TRANSLATE TO PETER BEING POPE AND HOW DOES THAT TRANSLATE TO THE ROMAN CHURCH HAVING JURSIDICTION AND AUTHORITY OVER ALL OTHER CHURCHES?
All these incidents you mention — that he was one of the first witnesses to the resurrection ( ignoring the women of course ), that he played a part in the council of Jerusalem ( conveniently ignoring the final ruling of the apostle James ), that Jesus conferred on Peter the ministry of strengthening the brethren ( as if this task was not conferred on all other believers and disciples ) do nothing to show that he was the Pope.
All they show is that Christ’s followers should follow his example and similarly minister to others, with Peter and the apostles being examples.
Where do they show that he was the pope, much less infallible?
Did Peter Act Like a Pope?
Since there is no evidence that the office of Pope even existed in the early church, obviously neither Peter nor anyone else could hold the office. But let us confirm our conclusions by looking at the Bible teaching specifically about Peter to see if he acted like a Pope.
A. Peter Had No Authority above Other Apostles.
All apostles received direct guidance of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:1-4; Ephesians 3:3-5; John 16:13; 14:26.
Why would apostles need guidance from a Pope if they were guided directly by the Spirit? Paul expressly stated that his teaching was not based on anything learned from man but on direct revelation from Jesus - Galatians 1:11,12,16,17; 2:6-9,11-14.
All apostles received the power to “bind and loose.”
Some claim that Jesus, in Matthew 16:19, gave exclusively to Peter the power to bind and loose, but Matthew 18:18 shows that others also had the same power.
John 20:22,23 - All apostles had power to forgive or retain sins, but only as guided by the Holy Spirit. No apostle could originate laws but could only reveal the laws God made. They did this by revealing and preaching the gospel.
If men obey, their sins are forgiven; if not, their sins are retained - Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:36-41; etc.
The gospel was the “keys” or authority by which apostles opened the door for men to enter the church. Peter was the first to preach to Jews (Acts 2) and to Gentiles (Acts 10), but all apostles had authority to preach the gospel. No passage anywhere says the other apostles submitted to Peter’s authority.
Paul affirmed he was equal with other apostles in every way - 2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11.
All apostles were ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). If Peter had authority over all apostles, Paul would have been behind him, but Paul denies this.
There is no proof Peter had authority over other apostles, but much proof shows the others had all that Peter had.
B. Peter Did Not Fit the Pattern of Modern Popes.
Peter was a married man, but modern Popes are not permitted to marry.
Matthew 8:14 - Jesus healed the mother of Peter’s wife.
1 Corinthians 9:5 - Peter (Cephas) continued to have a wife (woman) after the church began. The footnote in the St. Joseph New Catholic Edition of the Bible adds, “There is no question of a right to marry. The Apostles had that right....” This expressly included Peter.
1 Peter 5:1-3 - Peter was an elder or bishop, and bishops were married (Titus 1:5,6; 1 Timothy 3:2).
Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 4:1-3 - Marriage is honorable for all people. That includes apostles and all church officials. To teach that certain people may not marry is a doctrine of apostasy.
Peter was never addressed by titles of exaltation such as are used to honor modern Popes.
Peter is never called “Pope,” “Chief Pastor,” “Prince of the Apostles,” “Head of the Church,” “Ruler of the Church,” “Supreme Pontiff,” etc. He called himself simply an apostle and servant (1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1) and fellow-presbyter (1 Peter 5:1).
Matthew 23:9 expressly forbids calling any man “father” as a title of religious honor. Yet the word “Pope” originally meant “Father” (Catholic Dictionary, p. 667).
C. There Is No Valid Scriptural Proof that Peter Ever Acted as Pope.
Luke 22:31,32 - Jesus prayed for Peter so he could strengthen his brethren.
Some actually claim this proves Peter was Pope.
But other people besides Peter strengthened or confirmed brethren (Acts 18:23; 14:21f; 15:32,41). Were these people all Popes too?
Jesus prayed for other apostles and disciples besides Peter (John 17:9,11,15,20). Did that make them all Popes?
The next verses in Luke 22 (v33,34) show that Jesus did not pray for Peter to exalt him as Pope, but for just the opposite reason. Jesus knew Peter was about to deny Him!
Peter took the lead in many events in Acts.
This includes the choosing of Matthias (Acts 1:15-26), preaching on Pentecost (Acts 2), healing a lame man (Acts 3,4), the death of Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5), preaching to the first Gentiles (Acts 10), etc.
Some claim this proves he was Pope .
But Paul was at least as dominant in Acts 13-28 as Peter was in Acts 1-12. Was Paul Pope too?
So, don’t get me wrong, Peter was truly an important man, just as Paul was.
In all groups some people are more outspoken than others, and this was surely Peter’s case. But none of these passages say or imply he was Pope or head of the church. The fact a man is able to speak well does not prove he has authority over others.
It is claimed Peter presided over the Jerusalem meeting about circumcision (Acts 15).
It is claimed that he spoke first and he settled the issue.
However, Paul and Barnabas were sent to the meeting to speak to the apostles and presbyters (v2) - no distinctions were made among the apostles. If Peter was the head, why doesn’t it say they went to confer with “the Pope, the apostles, and the presbyters”?
Peter did not speak first. There had been long debate before he spoke (v7). And his speech did not settle the issue.
People kept silent after he spoke only so they could listen to other speakers (v12)! The final course of action was suggested by James (v13,19ff). And the whole procedure was directed by the Holy Spirit (v28), which led all apostles as we have already shown.
It is claimed that, in lists of apostles, Peter is named first because he was Pope.
But in the following lists, he is not named first: Gal. 2:9; 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:22; John 1:44.
Does this prove the people listed before Peter had authority over him? Being first in a list does not prove one is a Pope.
The lists where Peter is named first clearly state the office to which he was appointed - like other men, he was chosen to be an apostle (Luke 6:13-16; Matt. 10:2ff). If Peter was chosen to the office of Pope, why is this never stated anywhere?
It is claimed (by you above) that Jesus gave Peter a special name because he would be Pope.
But Jesus gave a special name to James and John (Mark 3:16,17). And God gave special names to Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 17:5,15), Jacob (Gen. 32:28f), and others. Were all these people Popes too?
Be honest now. Isn’t this weak and flimsy evidence on which to base such a major doctrine? The Bible clearly identifies the work and position in the church of Jesus, apostles, bishops, etc. If the office of Pope is really the foundation of the church, why don’t we have clear Scriptural evidence for it?
Clement of Alexandria
"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly g.asped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? Behold, we have left all and have followed you [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]" (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:35 [A.D. 200]). Tertullian
"For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]" (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).
"[T]he Lord said to Peter, On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven [Matt. 16:1819]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church" (Modesty 21:910 [A.D. 220]).
The Letter of Clement to James
"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).
"[I]f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).
Cyprian of Carthage
"The Lord says to Peter: I say to you, he says, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
"The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish. Let no man despair of his own salvation. Peter, the first and foremost of the apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly" (Catechetical Lectures 2:19 [A.D. 350]).
"[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was therehe that carries about the keys of heaven [Matt. 16:19]" (ibid., 6:14).
"In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis [Acts 9:3234]" (ibid., 17:27).
Ephraim the Syrian
"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).
Ambrose of Milan
"[Christ] made answer: You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).
Pope Damasus I
"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . [Matt. 16:1819]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).
"But, you [Jovinian] will say, it was on Peter that the Church was founded [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).
"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord" (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).
Pope Innocent I
"In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope], and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged" (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).
"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).
"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christs enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415]).
"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).
Council of Ephesus
"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you . . . you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessednesses is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).
"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome] said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors" (ibid., session 3).
Pope Leo I
"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles, and from him as from the head wishes his gifts to flow to all the body, so that anyone who dares to secede from Peters solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery. He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peters solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445).
"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine [Christian] religion. . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery" (ibid., 10:23).
"Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . . [So today through the bishops] the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head" (ibid., 14:11).
Why should it matter to you who taught me scripture? I have not been throwing scripture around as though I am the last word or authority on it. We don’t even use the same Bible. Our Bible has more books than the King James version. I know I’ve opened up another can or worms, and I am not going to get into the why’s and wherefore’s of that. My point about Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker is to point out how the Bible can be interpreted to suit one’s side of a discussion, or in their case, personal gain.
RE: My point about Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker is to point out how the Bible can be interpreted to suit ones side of a discussion, or in their case, personal gain.
And my point is this -— just because there are people who pervert scripture ( and scripture itself warns us of this ) does not mean that you and I should not DILIGENTLY seek to discern, learn, use our mental capacities and pray to God to give us understanding of His word.
Jesus did promise to give us a counselor who will teach us all things — His Holy Spirit. That promise is as applicable today as it was 2000 years ago.
Therefore, there is no need to cede the ability to interpret scripture to a group of elite men sitting in a central place in Rome.
Let’s look at a few of the quotes you cut and paste for me...
[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly g.asped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? Behold, we have left all and have followed you [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]” (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:35 [A.D. 200]). Tertullian
Yes, the blessed Peter was chosen to be the first among the apostles. But what of it? Does that mean he Lords over the others and others should now cede authority to him and him alone?
Where does Tertullian tell us that?
I believe this understanding to be correct:
Tertullian explains what he means when he says that Peter is the rock on which the Church would be built:
If, because the Lord has said to Peter, Upon this rock I will build My Church, to thee have I given the keys of the heavenly kingdom; or, Whatsoever thou shalt have bound or loosed in earth, shall be bound or loosed in the heavens, you therefore presume that the power of binding and loosing has derived to you, that is, to every Church akin to Peter, what sort of man are you, subverting and wholly changing the manifest intention of the Lord, conferring (as that intention did) this (gift) personally upon Peter? On thee, He says, will I build My church; and, I will give thee the keys...and, Whatsoever thou shalt have loosed or bound...In (Peter) himself the Church was reared; that is, through (Peter) himself; (Peter) himself essayed the key; you see what key: Men of Israel, let what I say sink into your ears: Jesus the Nazarene, a man destined by God for you, and so forth. (Peter) himself, therefore, was the first to unbar, in Christs baptism, the entrance to the heavenly kingdom, in which kingdom are loosed the sins that were beforetime bound; and those which have not been loosed are bound, in accordance with true salvation...(Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951), Volume IV, Tertullian, On Modesty 21, p. 99).
When Tertullian says that Peter is the rock and the Church is built upon him he means that the Church is built through him as he preaches the gospel.
This preaching is how Tertullian explains the meaning of the keys. They are the declarative authority for the offer of forgiveness of sins through the preaching of the gospel. If men respond to the message they are loosed from their sins. If they reject it they remain bound in their sins.
In the words just preceding this quote Tertullian explicitly denies that this promise can apply to anyone but Peter and therefore he does not in any way see a Petrine primacy in this verse with successors in the bishops of Rome.
This interpretation of the use of the keys applies to instances cited by every other Patriarch who mentions it.
The keys to Gods Kingdom are the gospel message that brings one to Christ, and through Christ we receive eternal salvation. Christ is the door to the Kingdom of God. In John 10:9 (TEV), Jesus said, I am the door, whoever comes in by Me will be saved; he will come in and go out, and find pasture [spiritual food].
Christ gave the Church, through Peter, the keys that can lock and unlock a door on earth. I believe the keys are the entire gospel message preached by the Church (which does not and IS NOT limited to Rome) , so that people receive the understanding that salvation is only through accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior.
I see no reason why this should only mean to be applied to Peter alone. This argument can be similarly applied to Origen and Cyril’s writing.
Let’s continue with the other one...
RE: Clement of Rome. He has always been cited as an early pope. But what does the historical evidence show us?
Joseph F. Kelly in his The Concise Dictionary of Early Christianity (The Liturgical Press, 1992), p. 2) notes:
The word “pope” was not used exclusively of the bishop of Rome until the ninth century, and it is likely that in the earliest Roman community a college of presbyters rather than a single bishop provided the leadership.
J.N.D. Kelly likewise notes this reality:
In the late 2nd or early 3rd cent. the tradition identified Peter as the first bishop of Rome. This was a natural development once the monarchical episcopate, i.e., government of the local church by a single bishop as distinct from a group of presbyter-bishops, finally emerged in Rome in the mid-2nd cent. (p. 6).
When speaking of Linus, Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Telesphorus, and Hyginus (to A.D. 142), Kelly consistently notes the same thing: there was no monarchical episcopate in Rome at this time! Only with Hyginus does he say that the monarchical episcopate is beginning to emerge, and does so with Pius 1, 142-155 A.D.
What does this mean? Well, it’s pretty hard for there to be an exercise of “papal authority” when there is no papacy!
The primitive form of church government found in Rome is the biblical one: A PLURALITY OF ELDERS.
In fact when you read Clement’s epistle to the Corinthians, YOU SEE NO HINT, NO TRACE OF HIS CALLING HIMSELF A POPE. In fact, the letter Clement wrote indicates a plurality of elders, not a monarchical episcopate, existing in Rome at this time. Also, and very importantly, the points out that the letter remonstrating with the Corinthians is not a papal letter, but a letter from the church at Rome.
Here is how he starts his first letter to Corinth :
“THE Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth,”
Very simply, Rome and Corinth were separate churches according to the Biblical model.
The simple historical fact is that the early examples of Roman power are not of the bishop of Rome but of the church at Rome. The prestige of the bishop developed from the prestige of the church abiding at the capital of the Roman Empire. Modern Roman dogma has it backwards: the prestige of Rome does not come from having the “Successor of Peter” within her: the bishop of Rome gained his prestige because of the geographical and political location of the church itself!
BTW, please don’t quote later Popes like Innocent and Leo. These guys came MUCH LATER than the early patriarchs and by then, Rome SLOWLY developed into a hierarchical system not similar to the model of the early churches.
Dear, Seek, what you should realize is that Scripture has been interpreted very consistently regarding Sacraments, Faith and Moral for over 2000 years from the writing of the early Church Fathers and only reinforced through the ages.
The reformation was the start of much the modern interpretation and dragging up old condemned heresies regarding Scripture interpretations when it goes against this. In many cases we are in union,so this is where we should seek to start the healing process between us.
You had me until your last sentence. Jesus gave authority to Peter as the first Pope. I don’t expect you to agree. It is obvious that you don’t. You’re probably going through the Bible now trying to find a way to dispute this. But don’t expect me to give up my beliefs based on a non-Catholic’s interpretration of the scriptures. The Catholic Church has been around for more than 2000 years. It has endured its share of attacks throughout the centuries. The fact that it has always been in the crosshairs shows its resiliancy and how the devil wants to defeat Her so badly. The Catholic Church will always be around and a force to be reckoned with.
RE: Jesus gave authority to Peter as the first Pope
I wouldn’t expect you to say anything less, you’re a Roman Catholic after all. But what do you expect me to say? I agree?
I’ll say this — show me from scripture and history that this is so and maybe we can agree but not until.
RE: Youre probably going through the Bible now trying to find a way to dispute this.
Where else am I going to go to? That is after all my supreme authority for faith and practice.
RE: The Catholic Church has been around for more than 2000 years.
Again what “catholic” are you talking about? I agree that the catholic ( as in universal ) church has been around for 2000 years, but I disagree that it is only limited to the Roman Catholic church.
You use the word “cross hairs” as if someone were shooting you.... disagreement does not make one an assassin.
RE: Dear, Seek, what you should realize is that Scripture has been interpreted very consistently regarding Sacraments, Faith and Moral for over 2000 years
I will agree to a certain extent — ON THE MAIN AND ESSENTIAL ISSUES (e.g., the nature of God, Christ, His birth, death and resurrection), scripture has been consistently interpreted.
However, on the issue of ultimate authority (just one instance ), I have to disagree. There has not been uniformity in interpretation at all ( even long before the reformation ).
In post #163 above, I cited but a few examples of church fathers who do not interpret Matthew 16 as Peter being the rock that Jesus Christ was referring to ( Augustine for instance ).
Matthew 16:18. I am sure you will interpret this differently than do I, which is why I don’t get into scriptural discussions with those outside of the Church. I do not care to engage in any further conversation with you about my beliefs which you will continue to question. Like I said previously, I answer to God, not you. I don’t know why it means so much to you that you convert me. I have many people I’ve come into contact with who are non-Catholics like you who have tried and failed. I’m not going to be a notch in anyone’s belt. Good night.
There are none. I pinged you because you were pinged in the post I addressed.
“”I cited but a few examples of church fathers who do not interpret Matthew 16 as Peter being the rock that Jesus Christ was referring to ( Augustine for instance )””
Dear friend ,you need to read the conclusions of the early church fathers
Augustine Sermon 26
“In that one Apostle then, that is, Peter, in the order of Apostles first and chiefest, in whom the Church was figured, both sorts were to be represented, that is, both the strong and weak; because the Church does not exist without them both.”