Is the Pope the leader of the Church that Jesus founded?

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Bob_K

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Can someone help? This is a small part of a letter someone has written. What is a valid Catholic response to this particular claim?

Is the Pope the leader of the Church that Jesus founded?

No. Jesus is the leader of the Church; there is no need for a Pope.

Ephesians 5:22-24
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Mat 28:18
18And coming up Jesus talked with them, saying, All authority in Heaven and on earth was given to Me.

1 Corinthians 1:12-13
12One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas (Peter)”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
 
And did Jesus stick around to run the Church?

No, he left the keys to the prime minister until He returns.
 
This kind of attack is what G.K. Chesterton would call “biblically illiterate heckling.” Read Isiah 22:20-23 and compare these verses with Matthew 16:18-19. Then study everything you can about the primacy of Peter as revealed in scripture. There are numersous books and articles available to help with this. You can find tracts and articles at catholic.com or jamesakin.com that can help in the details or pick up a copy of the book Jesus, Peter, and the Keys.
 
Jesus IS the leader/head of the Church, though invisible, so to speak. The Pope is the visible head of the Church.

Christ arranged for us to have a Pope (visible leader on earth), and so we do. In Matt. 16:18-19 “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

The texts quoted do not disprove the Papacy. The quotes are all true, but just because Jesus is head of the Church and has all authority doesn’t mean that He did not delegate this authority to others, or desire that one be His Vicar on earth.

We follow Christ, and Christ speaks through His Church, which includes the Pope.
 
Matthew 16:18-19: *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." *
**
**
Jesus Christ is turing over the keys of the Church to St. Peter, the first pope…
 
I have been reading a book titled “Four Witnesses” by Rod Bennett. It begins with an account of the conversion of Clement of Rome, who was converted through the preaching of St. Peter. In this book the author goes to great lengths to refute any doubt about the authenticity of Peter being the Bishop of Rome. Coupled with the answers above, it’s pretty clear that Jesus intended for Peter to be the leader of His church here on earth. I would highly recommend getting and reading a copy of this book. The book also explains something of the succession of Peter after his death - all very interesting stuff.
Another point of interest is Pat Madrid’s “Where Is That in the Bible?” In defense of the Primacy of Peter, he explains that Peter is chief among the apostles. It’s hard to refute when Peter is mentioned 195 times. St. John comes in at number 2 as the next most mentioned apostle, being mentioned only 29 times.
In order to establish the Papacy we must first establish the Primacy of Peter and move on from there. The two books I’ve mentioned will go a long way (if not all the way) in establishing Peter as the first Bishop of Rome, and the succession of Bishops that continues through today.
In Charitable Love - Brian the “Irishman😉
 
Dave Armstrong has an excellent Biblical basis for this as well, in his book A Biblical Defence of Catholicism, which can be ordered in paperback or .doc format. His site is ic.net/~erasmus/RAZINDEX.HTM.
 
(Note: There is mention of some guy named ‘whistler’ in here, because most of this I posted on another message board previously…I saved some of my posts on my comp).

Peter is the Rock of that passage. Now like I said in an earlier post, Christ is the ultimate foundation of the Church…but there are other secondary and derivative foundations other than Christ as this verse proves:
Ephesians 2:19-20
19 So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone.

Christ is the ultimate foundation, but the apostles and prophets can also be considered a secondary foundation of the Church (the first layers if you will…like in the book of Revelation where the New Jerusalem has 12 layers of wall representing the 12 apostles).

Furthermore, in this specific passage that we are considering, Jesus is seen as the builder, not the building itself (…I will build…). Peter is to be the visible foundation of the Church after Christ was gone…a visible point of unity. His job would be to keep the Church united, to preach the Gospel, and with his fellow apostles, ensure that sound doctrine and proper discipline was kept.

Let’s look at the passage:
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19 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.


Who or what is the subject of verses 17 to 19? It is Peter. This should be quite clear, for Jesus starts his proclamation with “Blessed art though, Simon…” and then addresses Peter directly “and you are Peter…” and then continues to use the singular pronoun ‘you’ (it is singular in the Greek, check it out for yourself…he is not addressing the apostles as a whole, he is addressing Peter specifically). Peter is the subject. The name Peter means rock, and would appear as Kepha in the Aramaic (the language Jesus would probably have been speaking at the time), which was a very unusual name in that era, used only as a title or name, before this instance, when referring to God Himself in the Old Testament. Jesus clearly establishes who the Rock is (in this particular passage…like I said, Jesus is the ultimate rock of our faith) by directly telling Peter that he is rock. “You are Kepha and on this Kepha I will build my Church.” Peter is Kepha, and on Kepha Jesus would build His Church. (In the actual Gospel it is written in Greek, not Aramaic, but like I said, Jesus was probably speaking Aramaic, and there is only one word for rock in that language, Kepha). You can not go a few verses above and try to apply that subject to ‘this rock’ when Jesus has identified Peter as rock just a few words before…why did Jesus proclaim Peter rock and immediately thereafter state that He would build His church on ‘this rock’? It would make far more sense, if Peter is not the rock, for Jesus to simply say “I will build my Church on this rock”, but He did not…he clearly emphasized that Peter is Rock. There are many essays and such that do a wonderful job of defending this position…Catholics, and also many Protestants and Orthodox scholars agree that the language of this passage demands that Peter is the rock (again, a secondary and derivative foundation or layer ultimately supported by Christ…just how the apostles and prophets as a whole are the foundation of the Church, as the Bible clearly states, yet Christ is the chief cornerstone).
Dave Armstrong, in A Biblical Defence of Catholicism (Chapter Ten) says this:
  • It has often been argued to the contrary that Jesus called Peter petros (literally, “stone”), not petra (the word for “rock” in the passage), so that the “rock” wasn’t Peter, but this is simply explained by the necessity for a proper male name in Greek to be in the masculine gender. In Aramaic, however (the language Jesus spoke), the name kepha would have been used for both “rock” and “Peter.” Matthew could just as easily have used another Greek word for “stone,” lithos, in contrast to “rock,” but this would have distorted the unmistakable word-play of the passage, which is the whole point!*
    (© Copyright 2001, Dave Armstrong)
 
After this Jesus continues to use the singular you pronoun (so He is addressing Peter alone) and makes the following pronouncements:
*“ 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.”*It is true, like Whistler said, that Jesus also gives this binding and loosing authority to the other apostles, but Protestants are missing three important points when they point this out:
  1. Jesus specifically gives this authority to Peter, using the singular pronoun, while he gives the authority to the other apostles in a more general fashion (plural you) (this makes perfect sense to Catholics, as the bishops, as the successors of the apostles, also have teaching and disciplinary authority, but it is subservient to the head bishop, the Successor of Peter).
  2. Jesus gave Peter alone the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
  3. Jesus gave this authority of binding and loosing to Peter first before he did to any of the other apostles.
    Now, binding and loosing is rabbinical terminology which referred to their authority to teach and impose disciplines. Jesus gave this binding and loosing authority (which the Pharisees and the like currently had…see Matthew 23:1-3, where Jesus commands His disciples to obey the Pharisees for they sit on the chair of Moses) to Peter, first of all, and then to the apostles, secondly, for the New Covenant. This authority, as I argued in earlier posts, and which can be further supported by what we see in the writings of the Church Fathers, starting in the early second, and perhaps even late first, centuries (follow my links in the earlier posts) was passed on to the bishops. This binding and loosing authority is recognized by God, for Jesus said “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (emphasis added)…so it is our Christian duty to obey the successors of the apostles (and especially the successor of their chief, Peter).
    Of binding and loosing, Marvin Vincent writes:
    *No other terms were in more constant use in Rabbinic canon-law than those of binding and loosing. They represented the legislative and judicial powers of the Rabbinic office. These powers Christ now transferred, . . . in their reality, to his apostles; the first, here, to Peter, as their representative, the second, after his resurrection, to the church (John 20:23) . . . *
    (Word Studies in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 (orig. 1887), 4 vols., vol. 1, 96, as quoted in A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, Dave Armstrong).
The Keys to the Kingdom do not simply mean that Peter was the first to open up the Kingdom (by preaching the Gospel) to the Jews and to the Gentiles. That interpretation ignores the historical and Biblical context of what the ‘keys’ of a kingdom represented. In Biblical times, the term ‘the keys’ represented the authority of that kingdom. Kings would delegate authority to a steward or prime minister. To be given the keys (metaphorically) is to be given authority over that kingdom under the King. (This does not mean that Jesus was going to leave the Church solely in the hands of Peter and his successors…they would simply be the subordinate steward/governor/prime minister under the King that would directly govern the affairs of the Kingdom on earth and serve as a point of visible unity…like the other apostles did in a subordinate way).
 
This concept can be seen in the Old Testament in the following passage:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
and I will cloth him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a throne of glory to his father’s house.”

(Isa. 22:20-23, ASV, emphasis added).
Notice the clear parallels. Compare:
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
to what Jesus told Peter:
*“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.”*Again we see that possessing the keys of something represents authority in this verse:
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth: (Rev. 3:7, ASV).
Here Christ possesses the key of David…but as we see in Matthew, He delegated some of this authority to Peter.
Keys of a Kingdom, in the ancient Middle East, always meant authority over that kingdom…we can not interpret the Bible outside the historical, Biblical, and cultural context.

Here’s another important Petrine passage:
15 So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

(Matt. 21:15-17 ASV).
Jesus tells Peter to ‘feed my sheep’ three times, and asks Peter if he loves the Lord more than the other disciples. Jesus wanted Peter to feed even the other apostles.

There are many more verses that support Peter’s primacy throughout the New Testament. For this I recommend you all to ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ112.HTM and scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html.

For more material defending that Peter was the head of the Church on earth, under Christ please see (several of these include quotes from the Church Fathers supporting the primacy of the Roman bishop).
catholicoutlook.com/pope.html (This sites section on the papacy…includes a number of links).

The Authority of the Pope: Part I catholic.com/library/Authority_of_the_Pope_Part_1.asp

The Authority of the Pope: Part II
catholic.com/library/Authority_of_the_Pope_Part_2.asp

Origins of Peter as Pope
catholic.com/library/Origins_of_Peter_as_Pope.asp

Papal Infallibility
catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp

Peter the Rock
catholic.com/library/Peter_the_Rock.asp

Peter’s Roman Residency
catholic.com/library/Peter_Roman_Residency.asp

Was Peter in Rome?
catholic.com/library/Was_Peter_in_Rome.asp

Peter’s Successors
catholic.com/library/Peter_Successors.asp

(I’d like to thank Catholic Answers and Dave Armstrong in particular, for educating me on this subject).
 
“Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

If this does not mean what the Catholic Church says it means, Protestants have to figure out what it does mean. After all, Jesus is addressing Peter alone. Such a stunning metaphor must have serious implications for the Church. What are those implications if not what the Church says they are?

I have never heard a Protestant interpret this passage. They just leave it alone … like poison.

Has anyone in this thread knowledge of the standard Protestant explanation for this passage?
 
They contend Jesus is referring to himself as the rock, and Peter is nobody special.This is because they don’t want to see Peter as head of the Apostles or the Church ,and their tendency to take verses in isolation and not see the Gospel as an organic whole.
 
question
If Peter is succeeded by another before the last apostle who walked with the LORD has died,does that make the last Apostle alive second in rank behind
the Bishop of Rome?
 
LEOSIXTUS XX:
question
If Peter is succeeded by another before the last apostle who walked with the LORD has died,does that make the last Apostle alive second in rank behind
the Bishop of Rome?
God has different roles for different people.

Pope St Clement( 4th Pope) wrote his letter to the Corinthians while the Apostle John was still alive in 96AD.
 
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cmom:
And did Jesus stick around to run the Church?

No, he left the keys to the prime minister until He returns.
The pope is a servant of satan.
 
Ignoring PMC’c ignorant and unproductive response, here’s some more food for thought (I don’t remember where Ilearned this, so sorry to the author):

Remember that it was Jesus who gave Simon the name Kepha (Peter), which means “Rock.” (John 1, 35-42).

Throughout the Bible, the renaming of someone was to make a claim on that person. God named Adam and made His claim on him. Adam named the animals and claimed dominion over them. But Adam could not claim himself because he belonged to God. It is for this same reason that the angel told Mary to name her son Jesus; Jesus was God’s own Son, therefore God would give the name. When God called Abram for his role of leadership, God renamed him Abraham. In a likewise manner, Jesus gave Simon a new name, to show that He had chosen him.

The Jews had very specific meanings for the names they would choose. “Yahweh” means “He who Is.” “John” means “Yahweh is gracious.” “Jesus” means “Yahweh is salvation.” The word Yahweh was used in many names given to the Jews so that a name like “Yahweh is my Rock” (Yah-sur) should have been a natural name for a Jew. The Jews were very descriptive in their names. Though many figures of the Old Testament acted in a rock-like manner, in that they were a source of firmness and safety for others, none were ever named “rock.” This name never came about, because it was a name reserved for God alone. Until the time Jesus gave Simon the name of Peter, no man had ever been called “rock.”

The Apostles were pious Jews whose minds were formed with the words of the Psalms, which were heard at home as well as in the synagogue. The Psalms were very clear on the point that God was the Rock, the only Rock, and this is why He was the only One called “Rock” (sur). This is throughout the Old Testament; Deut 32, 4; 2 Kings 22, 2; Almost all of the Psalms, and especially Ps 17, 32, which says “…what rock is there but our God?”

Jesus, having a complete knowledge of such things, knew that the name rock was reserved for God, and therefore called Simon the Hebrew word kepha which means the same thing as sur (rock). If Jesus had called Simon “sur”, the Apostles, being pious Jews would have been uneasy, sensing a slightly blasphemous sound to it. However, naming him “kepha”, Jesus spared the disciples this discomfort, while they would still certainly sense the similarity of the two almost synonymous words. Jesus’ choice of the word “Kepha” left Simon what he was, a mere man, while at the same time elevating him.

It is also worth pointing out that Simon, even though he was renamed rock (Peter), was referred to as Simon son of Jonah, even by Jesus, to show that while Jesus was visibly present, He alone was the Rock. After the Ascension though, Simon was almost exclusively, if not always, called Peter because with Christ no longer visibly present, there was no contradiction. Peter, while not equal to Christ, assumed the visible role of foundation for Jesus’ Church.

The word rock is referring to Peter’s function, not Peter’s character. Peter was not rock-like in his character, in fact Peter even denied Jesus three times during His bitter passion. It was the function of Peter that would be rock-like. Jesus established Peter as the means of building His Church. Peter was to become the stability of the Church, as the highest authority within the Church on earth.
 
A bit more food for thought:

It is also noteworthy where the appointing of Peter by Christ took place. Matt 16, 13 says “…having come into the district of Caesarea Phillippi…” This is significant. When we read the Gospels, we can see that Jesus was fond of choosing appropriate backdrops for His words. Jacob’s well set the scene for Jesus’ words about the living waters only He could give (John 4, 4-15). The feast of Tabernacles, with its torches, heard the declaration by Jesus that He is the light of the world (John 8, 12). Jesus called a child to Him and then told the adults that unless they become like little children they would not enter the Kingdom of God (Matt 9, 37-38).

Jesus planned the most effective ways to make Himself understood, which many times were with the use of visual scenes. He likewise chose a massive wall of rock for the backdrop of His making Simon the rock on which He would build His Church.

Caesarea Phillippi was a one hundred foot tall wall of rock, as is explained by Stanley Jaki (The author of a book called “And on this Rock”). At the face of the rock was a cavern with a relatively small entrance. The cave was used by the members of Pan’s Cult for pagan rituals which often included bloody sacrifices and orgies. At the top of this rock wall was a marble temple erected in honor of Herod. This location was also the source of the Jordan River.

This was the Backdrop of those famous words to Peter. Here they stood on ground of solid rock, certainly a stable foundation, on which was built a church (temple). Here was the mouth to an evil cave, which might be perceived as the “Gates of Hell”. And here was the source of the Jordan River, the source of the waters of Jesus’ Baptism, a rite by which the power of Satan is broken, (which we will discuss later). It was at this location that Jesus told Peter that he was the rock on which Jesus would build His church, and that evil would not overcome it. Given His history of having chosen appropriate backdrops, it makes sense that Jesus meant for this backdrop to be of particular significance.
 
posted by twf
Here’s another important Petrine passage:
15 So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

(Matt. 21:15-17 ASV).
Jesus tells Peter to ‘feed my sheep’ three times, and asks Peter if he loves the Lord more than the other disciples. Jesus wanted Peter to feed even the other apostles.
Actually, read it again. It does not say feed my sheep three times! It says feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep. 3 different things. The lambs represent the lay people, the sheep represent the apostles. Peter was told to tend the sheep. Who tends Sheep? A shepherd. Who is the Good Sherherd? Jesus. Here is another example of Christ giving Peter the name or role that Christ had. Peter is renamed Rock. God is Rock. Peter is given the job of Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
 
Jesus Christ established His kingdom on earth when he came. He is the King. In ancient Middle East kingdoms, the king had a prime minister who was given authority to run the kingdom, acting with the king’s own authority. This prime minister held the “keys of the kingdom,” which represented the king’s authority (See Isaiah 22:20-23). That is why Peter and the other Apostles understood exactly what Christ meant when he gave Peter the “keys.” He was making Peter the prime minister of His new kingdom on earth. Peter’s successor is the Pope, who is the prime minister of Christ’s kingdom on earth–the Catholic Church. He holds the keys, which means he acts with the authority of Christ to run His church. Christ is still the head, and the Pope is the prime minister.

Now to show that the Pope is the successor of Peter, all you have to do is look at the list of popes. We know every one and the years they served. There is no break.
 
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