Anglicans and Lutherans regarding Matthew 16:18

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. Matt 16:18

The traditional evangelical interpretation of this verse is that Jesus was speaking to Peter’s confession as the ‘rock’ which He would build His Church. While the Catholic interpretation is that Jesus is speaking of Peter as the ‘rock’. I was curious though, how do Anglicans and Lutherans usually interpret this verse?

This question came to me after reading some posts by Anglicans and Lutherans where they stated that they were Catholics and claim the same apostolic succession that we do. (Please correct me if I interpreted this wrong and this is in fact not what Anglicans and Lutherans believe or claim).

Just so this thread doesn’t turn into whether or not Anglicans and Lutherans are Catholic or whether they have valid orders, let me restate what I am asking:

How do Anglicans and Lutherans usually interpret Matt 16:18?

God bless

First, I’ll let our Anglican siblings speak for their communion.

On A.S. Lutherans do not, as a rule, have A.S. Some of the Scandinavian Lutherans have it, and can trace it. I assume Rome either considers their orders invalid, or illicit. The ELCA, as part of their full communion with the Episcopal Church, has reclaimed it through their line, Apostolicae Curae notwithstanding.
All Lutherans, as a result of the Confessions, claim the importance of A.S., though not it’s necessity for valid orders and sacraments.

As for Peter, Lutherans would say that Christ’s words were primarily directed at Peter’s statement of faith, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”. But I don’t think it can be denied that Peter holds a special place among the apostles. He seems to me to be most like us, both saint and sinner (“Get behind me Satan”, and “I do not know him”).
Christ clearly put limits on the idea of a pecking order amongst his disciples. So while Peter, along with Paul, Andrew, and some others, plays a significant role in the formation of the early Church, it is hard for us to see, in scripture, how his chair and successors in Rome have the primacy ascribed to them by the Catholic Church. First among equals? Perhaps. Western Patriarch? Definitely.

gcnuss or other Lutherans might be able to expand (or correct) what I’ve said here.

Jon

Anglicans will differ on the points.

As to apostolic succession, they generally maintain that they possess it, just as does the RCC, the Orthodox, and some other groups. That is, they do not affirm Apostolicae Curae.

As to Matt 16:18, they consider it establishes a primacy for Peter, and (usually) his successors, primus inter pares, but does not confer a universal ordinary authority on the See of Rome. But it is why, during Mass, Anglicans will mention Benedict, in praying for all faithful Catholic bishops.

GKC

Hello again Jon,

The ELCA, as part of their full communion with the Episcopal Church, has reclaimed it through their line,

Interesting. I did not know about the bold part. Is there a document which discusses how this came about and what all is entailed by it. For instance since some Eastern Catholic Churches are in full communion with Rome, Catholics can partake in Communion in these churches. Is it something along the lines of this?

As for Peter, Lutherans would say that Christ’s words were primarily directed at Peter’s statement of faith, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”.

Do you know of anything written by Luther himself about this verse?

As to Matt 16:18, they consider it establishes a primacy for Peter, and (usually) his successors, primus inter pares, but does not confer a universal ordinary authority on the See of Rome. But it is why, during Mass, Anglicans will mention Benedict, in praying for all faithful Catholic bishops.

Hello GKC, I think I know what you are saying but for those who are a little more dense (like me) are you saying that the ‘rock’ in this verse is Peter?

So going along the line of my original question; do Lutherans and Anglicans believe the Church is invisible made up of all born again believers, like our evangelical brothers and sisters would say or do they believe in a visible Church? Or is it a sort of both/and belief like what the Catholic Church teaches? I realize that saying Lutherans and Anglicans I may be implying that they are going to be in agreement about this. And I of course realize that this may, or may not, be the case. I am curious about both the Lutheran and Anglican positions even if they may not be the same.

Thanks you two. Interesting to see the Anglicans and Lutherans interpret this verse differently. Doesn’t really mean, or say, anything any which way. Just interesting.

God bless

I say Peter. Some Anglicans might say differently.

And I say, visible and invisible.

I yield to the Lutherans.

GKC

Thank you GKC. I guess this means that when I am speaking with an Anglican I will actually have to get to know what that person believes. Which of course means I cannot use generalizations. :smiley:

Thanks for making things difficult. :wink:

God bless

You are correct. Glad to help.

GKC

=Roman_Catholic;5086332]

Interesting. I did not know about the bold part. Is there a document which discusses how this came about and what all is entailed by it. For instance since some Eastern Catholic Churches are in full communion with Rome, Catholics can partake in Communion in these churches. Is it something along the lines of this?

Yes it is. The document is "Called to Common Mission"
archive.elca.org/ecumenical/fullcommunion/episcopal/ccmresources/index.html

Do you know of anything written by Luther himself about this verse?

While not Luther himself, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the pope says:

25] However, as to the declaration: Upon this rock I will build My Church, certainly the Church has not been built upon the authority of man, but upon the ministry of the confession which Peter made, in which he proclaims that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He accordingly addresses him as a minister: Upon this rock, i.e., upon this ministry. [Therefore he addresses him as a minister of this office in which this confession and doctrine is to be in operation and says: Upon this rock, i.e., this preaching and ministry.]

Just as GKC says Peter, and that other Anglicans may say differently, I say primarily the Peter’s confession of faith, but I do not discount Peter’s leading role. Other Lutherans may say different (about Peter’s role).

So going along the line of my original question; do Lutherans and Anglicans believe the Church is invisible made up of all born again believers, like our evangelical brothers and sisters would say or do they believe in a visible Church? Or is it a sort of both/and belief like what the Catholic Church teaches? I realize that saying Lutherans and Anglicans I may be implying that they are going to be in agreement about this. And I of course realize that this may, or may not, be the case. I am curious about both the Lutheran and Anglican positions even if they may not be the same.

Almost missed this part.

The Augsburg Confession says:

1] Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. 4] As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4:5-6.

So, a visable and invisable church, I would say.
Jon

My understanding is that TEC, differs from the Anglican in this. I understand that, the original Anglicans who entered the newly created US, eventually became ready and in need of bishops, the priesthood had come directly I assume from England. The bishops designate went to England, but could not be confirmed as such, since it required an allegience to the King of England. They were confirmed in Scotland which had a clear line of Apostolic succession directly from the original Roman Catholic lines. At least this is the way it was explained to me.

That the RCC doesn’t “recognize” this is not our concern, by and large. But I agree, as far as I know, they don’t.

Historically, that is how the episcopate came to the American Episcopal Church, through the Scottish Non-Jurors. Before the revolution, the colonial churches were served by the Bishop of London, and there were no bishops on this continent; ordinands went to England, or priests came here already ordained. The first bishop elect, post independence, was Samuel Seabury, who was sent England, where his inability to swear allegiance to the crown caused the bishop of London to pass. Seabury then went to Scotland, was consecrated,and returned here in 1785. So, ironically, the episcopacy in American Anglicanism doesn’t trace directly or officially to bishops in communion with the Church of England. But the Non-Jurors line was no more directly from the RCC than any Church of England lines, from 1689.

GKC

Excellent response! I agree with much of what you said here. Very good point made as well on how peter went from declaring Jesus as the Messiah and then just a couple verses later Jesus was telling him, “get behind me Satan”. It kind of showcases how Peter was an individual who usually either got it very right or dead wrong.

Having spent 27 years as an Episcopalian before converting to the Catholic Church, I saw three different interpretations of this verse. 1) that Jesus was referring to Peter’s confession, only, 2) that Jesus was referring to Peter but that was only true for the initial start-up of the church, from up to Peter’s death to the in the 16th century (the time varies with every Episcopalian/Anglican you talk to),3) that Jesus was referring to all of the apostles.

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