Give me more than "On this Rock..." for Apostolic Succession

Let’s get straight to it. I am Catholic, and I believe that when Jesus said to Peter 'On this Rock I will build my Church," that he started the Church and began apostolic succession. However, I want more evidence for my not-buying-it, friends. So, to all of you who are much more skilled apologiests, what other evidence do you have the The Catholic Church is THE Church? Here are some arguments I would like to consider:

-Jesus also told Peter to “Get behind me, Satan.” So, what He says at one given time does not necessarily apply to forever.

-The Catholic Church has evolved over time, more dogmas and doctrines have been added and the Creed was even established for centuries. If the Catholic Church was the original church, and it can evolve, then why can’t Protestant Churches be part of this evolution?

-The apostles did not all “report to” Peter in Rome. James was in Jerusalem, Paul was in Greece and Turkey (among other places). So, how do we know they were not appointed to lead the Church or that there was not supposed to be multiple churches?

…and whatever else you can think of!

Thanks!

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**You might find these Catholic Answers tracts helpful:
catholic.com/browse/Papacy/all/all/tract
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Yes, it does. Peter was not speaking then in union with the will of God. Jesus corrected him. Peter was always messing up (sinking in the sea, cutting off the guy’s ear, etc). Popes can be sinful and they can make personal mistakes. Remember, it was Peter who betrayed Jesus (a far more serious offense). None of that “undoes” Peter’s primacy.

-The Catholic Church has evolved over time, more dogmas and doctrines have been added and the Creed was even established for centuries. If the Catholic Church was the original church, and it can evolve, then why can’t Protestant Churches be part of this evolution?

Catholic doctrine has evolved, but never changed. It is like a baby growing into a more mature person (who will continue to grow in maturity). It’s still the same person. Protestants took Catholic doctrine and changed it. They added to it, they subtracted from it, and they changed it’s essential nature. That’s not evolution.

-The apostles did not all “report to” Peter in Rome. James was in Jerusalem, Paul was in Greece and Turkey (among other places). So, how do we know they were not appointed to lead the Church or that there was not supposed to be multiple churches?

Well, Peter was in Jerusalem at first (along with all the other Apostles). Paul did “report” to Peter and the Apostles. You may recall that the Apostles were afraid of him because of his history, but Barnabas presented Paul to them and testified to his recent conversion (Acts 9:26-27).

We see in Paul himself the model of a Bishop’s authority. There were Christian communities in many diverse places (Gaul, Rome, Corinth, Crete, etc), but it’s clear that Paul considers himself in authority over them all (and they felt likewise). Paul did not go to Corinth, establish a Christian community, and then leave them to their own devices (which is a very good thing, because they were a bunch of screw-ups, according to Paul’s scathing first Epistle to them).

Abundant: If you look to Matt. 16:21-24 you will why Jesus said to Peter " Get out of my sight, you satan" The reason why Jesus said that to Peter is that Peter took Jesus aside and said to Him “May you be spared, Master! God forbid that any such thing ever happen to you!” In reply to Jesus saying that, He" was going up to Jerusalem and suffer greatly there at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and scribes and to be put to death." Obviously, Peter did not understand what Jesus was meaning only what Jesus was saying. Peter, like the rest of the Apostles, thought that Jesus being the Missiah would somehow liberate Israel from the Romans and set up Israel as the ruler of the world in some way. Even though the Apostles were with Jesus nearly three years and were being taught by Jesus, they still did not comprehend all that Jesus was teaching them. Peter also had great love for Jesus and did not want to see anythig happen to Him and it was out of love that Peter said what he said to Jesus and Jesus rebuked him by saying what He said but it was not Peter He was really saying out to but satan who was trying to by using Peter’s love for the Lord to undermind Jesus and what Jesus came among men to do, which was the salvation of the human race.

For apostolic succession, I recommend delving into typology and the nature of a Biblical office in the OT as fulfilled in the NT. In the OT, for instance, you had the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood (e.g. Deut. 3:26, 2 Chron. 35:2) priesthood passing on occupancy of the office of priest. If you study the surrounding texts in these books, you will see the lineage of occupants for the ministerial office in question. In the NT, this concept is carried on, but the lineage does not necessarily follow physical descendancy but spiritual descendancy. Paul speaks of the office given to him (e.g. Rom. 11:13), and of course Paul as the ordainer of Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6) taught Timothy the norms for selecting someone for the “office of bishop” (e.g. 1 Tim. 3:1).

You have a verse in 2 Timothy indicating 4 generations of succession:*And what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (1 Tim. 2:2)*The generations go Paul-Timothy-faithful men-others.

The earliest ECFs also affirmed all this:*Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour. (Clement, Letter to Corinthians, #44, ca 90 A.D.)

It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and {to demonstrate} the succession of these men to our own times…hat tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also {by pointing out} the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those {faithful men} who exist everywhere. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.3, ca 180 A.D.)*

Jesus gave his stamp of approval on the teachings of scribes and Phariees who sat on the chair of Moses and then proceeded to call them blind guides, hypocrites, etc. Matthew all of Chapter 23. If God could prevent them from teaching error, could he not prevent the Popes from teaching error no matter how sinful they may be? Jesus specifically tells Peter to tend and feed his sheep John 21:15-17.

Apostolic Succession Proved from Scripture and History

Many people deny that the modern Catholic Church is the one Church Jesus promised to build (cf. Mt. 16:18-19) claiming that the doctrine of Apostolic Succession is not found in the Bible. Is this argument valid?

Let’s begin by examining the evidence contained in scripture as well as the non-scriptural writings of the earliest Christians for evidence of Apostolic Succession. The Bible contains clear indications that the Apostle Paul taught Apostolic Succession to his disciples and fellow workers, Timothy, Titus and Clement. Here are the relevant passages:

2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

In the passage above, there are four generations of believers contained in this one passage: 1. Paul himself, 2. Timothy, who was Paul’s disciple, 3. Those whom Timothy would disciple, and 4. Those to whom Timothy’s disciples would preach. Paul commanded Timothy to hand on the gospel to reliable men and further to ensure that those men would also hand on the gospel reliably.

Titus 1:5
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

In the passage above, we see that Paul was concerned with the appointing of capable leaders in the Cretan church. So in addition to his concern for the content of the message, he is concerned with the succession of the leadership, as well.

Philippians 4:3
Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

In the passage from Philippians, Paul mentions one of his fellow workers, Clement, who was ordained by the Apostle Peter and later became the fourth Bishop of Rome (after Peter, Linus, and Anacletus). Like Paul, who addressed to epistles to the Church of Corinth, Clement wrote his own letter to the Corinthians around 80 AD. In that letter, he stated:

“Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry” (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).

“We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. (ibid.)

From these two passages, we can see that Clement had witnessed his mentors, the Apostles Peter and Paul, naming men to the office of Bishop and had received instructions from them that other men should succeed those Bishops appointed by the Apostles in the event that these first Bishops should die. Thus, history records that both the Apostles and their disciples such as Clement, Timothy and Titus understood and followed the practice of appointing successors to the Apostles in the Church.

While many seem to believe that anyone with a Bible may become a “pastor” by simply gathering around himself a group of fellow believers to form a church, the Bible itself teaches that true leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ must be ordained by those who were ordained before them. This process, known as Apostolic Succession, maintains an unbroken chain of continuity from Jesus, Peter and the Apostles to the leaders of the early Church.

(cont.)

The writings of other members of the early Church supports the idea of continuing Apostolic Succession. For example, the Apostle John discipled a man known today as Polycarp of Smyrna. Polycarp, in turn, discipled a man known as Irenaeus of Lyons. Around 180 AD, Irenaeus recorded the names of the leaders of the early church beginning with Peter down to his own day; thus, we have the following from a second-century (pre-Constantinian) Christian with impeccable credentials:

“3The blessed Apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the Church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the Epistle to Timothy. To him succeeded Anencletus; and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement was chosen from the episcopate. He had seen the blessed Apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that He still heard the echoes of the preaching of the Apostles, and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the Apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded; and Alexander succeeded Evaristus. Then, sixth after the Apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telesphorus, who also was gloriously martyred. Then Hyginus; after him, Pius; and after him, Anicetus. Soter succeeded Anicetus, and now, in the twelfth place after the Apostles, the lot of the episcopate has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the Apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us.” (Against Heresies 3.3.3, [A.D. 180])

In this passage, Irenaeus traces the succession of the early Christian Church leaders from Peter down to Eleutherus in his own day—a span of approximately 120 years. Using other historical records, we can continue to trace the leadership of that same Church from Eleutherus all the way down to Pope Benedict XVI today.

The existence and leadership of this Church is well-documented and unassailable historical fact. The connection between the modern Catholic Church and the pre-Constantinian Church of Peter, James and John is undeniable.

These early eyewitness accounts together with the testimony of Sacred Scripture prove the doctrine of Apostolic Succession and the existence of the Catholic Church prior to Constantine, and they drive a stake through the heart of any argument that the New Testament churches were independent of one another and not actually local congregations of the One Church led by the local Bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter.

Kings always had an office - there is a Hebrew term for it which escapes me - it is “one who is over the household.” The Temple Authorities were removed from their office and Peter and the Apostles put in their place. Peter was “over the houshold” of the King.

And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a man as this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are; you shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:38-44)

Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, "Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: … I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eli’akim the son of Hilki’ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:15,19-22)

There are many other examples.

-Tim-

Peter – The Rock, Keeper of the Keys and Royal Steward

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)

Peter’s understanding that Jesus was the Son of God did not come from working it out on his own; God the Father infused this revelation into Peter’s mind thus imprinting His seal of approval upon the humble fisherman. In turn, Jesus recognized that Simon had already been anointed by His Father in this way, and He declared, “Blessed are you” because the Father had already blessed Simon with knowledge of the Son. Speaking in His native tongue, Aramaic, Jesus gave Simon a new name, “Kepha”, the Aramaic word that means “rock”. Jesus declared, “You are kepha, and on this kepha I will build my church.”

Although Jesus spoke Aramaic, the New Testament was written in Greek, and “Kepha” would have been translated into the Greek words for “rock” which are “petra” or “petros”. “Petra” is the feminine form of the masculine word, “petros”, and obviously, “petros” is the more suitable form for a man’s name. From “petros” we derive the English name, “Peter”. For us modern readers then, Jesus’ pronouncement reads, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church”, but we must never lose sight of the fact that in the original language used by Jesus, Simon is clearly identified as the rock upon which the Church would be built by Jesus. Jesus announced His intention to establish His Church (singular – not “churches” plural) and His choice of Peter as its leader.

What is it about Peter’s character that caused Jesus to compare him to something as solid as rock? Isn’t this the same Peter who Jesus called “Satan” just a few verses later? (cf. Mt 16:23) Isn’t this the same Peter who would deny the Lord three times after his arrest? (cf. Lk 22:34) Surely this unstable character is anything but solid rock upon which a Church could be built; yet, Jesus sees something deeper in Peter’s character, and His choice would be vindicated when Peter ultimately received a martyr’s crown via crucifixion.

Matthew also tells us that Jesus gave Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven”. In ancient times, a king might choose a second in command (known as the royal steward) who literally wore a large key as a symbol of his office and who spoke with the authority of the king. The prophet Isaiah confirms this:

"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Isaiah 22:22)

In the passage above, God is speaking, and He confirms the existence of the office, the key, and the continuation of the office despite the change of office holder. In other words, the office of the royal steward continued even when the man who held the office died or was replaced by someone else.

How does this relate to what we have learned from Matthew? In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus inherits the throne of his father, David.

Luke 1:31–33
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Thus, we know that Jesus is a king who will reign forever. Matthew tells us that that King Jesus named Peter as His royal steward and gave him the “keys to the kingdom of heaven" as the symbol of his authority to speak in His name. Since Jesus is an eternal king, the office of royal steward in His kingdom will never end. Although Peter died as a martyr (as Jesus foretold), the successors of Peter have taken his place in the eternal office of royal steward that Jesus established in His royal court.

(cont.)

In addition to the reference to a key or keys, note the following parallels:

"What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Is. 22:22)

"Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19)

Jesus was thoroughly familiar with the Old Testament scriptures, and He intentionally referenced the passage from Isaiah when He appointed Peter as His royal steward. Peter received authority from Jesus to speak in His name, and to do so faithfully, Peter must not teach error. Therefore, Peter (and his successors who are the leaders of Jesus’ Church) are protected by God from ever teaching error in matters of faith and morals. This is called “infallibility”.

Jesus reveals the infallible nature of the Church when he declares, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." What does this curious passage mean? There are two possible interpretations.

First, if God reciprocates the binding and loosing of Church on earth with an identical binding or loosing in heaven, then the binding and loosing done on earth must of necessity be free from all error. If this were not so, God would have put Himself in the impossible situation of having to affirm that which is not true whenever the Church taught error.

A second interpretation would be that the authority of the church is to carry out the will and decisions of God upon earth as they have been established in heaven. This is in perfect accord with the way Jesus instructed us to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Thus, the Church must either be prevented from teaching error in order that God may ratify its decisions in heaven or the Church must be proclaiming here below those things that are already true in heaven. Either way, the decisions and actions of the Church can be seen to be infallible with regard to matters of faith and morals. Anything less would make Jesus a liar for He also declared, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) and “I am with you always till the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

In conclusion, we have seen that Matthew has packed an incredible amount of information into one brief passage. We know that Jesus promised that He Himself would build a single Church with Peter as the rock upon which that Church would be built, that the office of head of the Church would be eternal, and that the Church itself must be protected from ever teaching error.

So 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, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory. Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” -1 Peter 5:1-5 RSVCE

In this passage Peter called himself “a fellow elder” or sympresbyteros. By calling himself a “fellow Elder” he affirms a commonality between himself and those who possess a “charge” over “the flock of God”. This is a far cry from proof of Apostolic succession, but nevertheless affirms the authority of early Church leaders as being comparable to that of an Apostle (though perhaps not the same, especially that of Peter). In Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appoint Elders to care for a church. In Acts 1:20 Peter says (referring to Judas Iscariot):

For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take. -Acts 1:20 D-R

The word for bishopric in Greek, * episkopēn*, is indeed the word we get “episcopal” from which of course refers to the bishops of the Church. If Judas (an ex…and at this point dead apostle) was a bishop, what does that say about the relationship between the apostles and the bishops? Perhaps that the apostles has episcopal authority and thus the men they appointed as leaders were successors to the apostles as leaders of the Church? Thus might there be an unbroken chain of leadership in the Church of approved leaders going all the way back to the apostles themselves?

Here are two other concepts to consider:

In John 21, Jesus tells Simon Peter, “feed my lambs…tend my flock…feed my sheep.”
The one who feeds and tends the sheep is the shepherd. Therefore, Jesus was giving his authority as shepherd to Simon Peter.

History has shown that a selection of humans doing their absolute best to interpret the Bible (Sola Scripture) can result in contradictory interpretations. Therefore, if we want to live in unity, we must submit ourselves to have a head interpreter that is granted the responsibility of being correct, and have our personal interpretations fall within the head interpreters interpretation.

Thank you for the interesting food for thought! I look forward to further discussion!

We know Judas wasn’t buying it. Thomas wasn’t buying it either, and they had evidence galore. Jesus had 1/2 His disciples leave Him over the teaching on the Eucharist and Jesus was the teacher and they walked away from Jesus saying this is hard to swallow. [Jn 6:50…] . Sad to say, there will always be a parade of “not-buying-it” folks.

Here’s something to consider. Luke 22:30-32 .
[LIST]
*]Notice Satan has already been sifting them
*]Satan entered Judas earlier and Judas left the room. Then Satan got the apostles into an argument over who was greatest among THEM. iow an argument over primacy of one of them. Jesus confirms one of THEM is the greatest. It’s the one Jesus prays for. It’s Peter
*]Jesus is the only one who can see Satan. Satan was in the upper room at the last supper, as he was at Ceserea Phillippi. Matthew 16:23 . It wasn’t till the upper room that Jesus told the apostles that Satan had permission to sift all of them. But Jesus prays especially for Peter because Peter is the one to strengthen the apostles.Luke 22:32
[/LIST]

Doctrines develope. Heresies and schisms are NOT developments. They were condemned from the get go. They aren’t from God they are from Satan

Rom 16:17 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions ( διχοστασίας ) and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,**(“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rom%2016&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-32514b”)] and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; 20 then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

That’s why we have the ECF’s to read. :slight_smile:

Matt, the protocol is that the greater person refers to himself as one of the boys while the lesser persons refer to him with respect. Thus, the Pope refers to his “brother bishops” while they call him “Your Holiness”.

Now, about Peter:

1 Peter 5:1 – Peter a “fellow elder”

Many non-Catholics try to minimize the authority of the Catholic Papacy by pointing to 1 Peter 5:1 where Peter calls himself a “fellow elder” and claiming that Peter was nothing special because he considers himself equal to all the other elders?

However, could it be possible that the fifth chapter of 1 Peter is all about humility, and that Peter is modeling the very behavior he is exhorting others to exhibit?

1 Peter 5:1-7
1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Peter’s desire was that some of the recipients of this letter might have been moved by seeing that he of all people had humbled himself by calling himself a mere “fellow elder”? Would this have inspired them to practice humility, also?

Mark 9:33-35
33They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Peter was first among the Apostles, and he viewed himself as the servant of all - a “fellow elder” - just as Jesus had taught him to do. Peter’s unwillingness to trumpet his own importance is evidence that he truly was “first” among the Twelve.

The first thing one reads in 1st Peter is that Peter is writing to Pontus, Galatia Cappadoncia, Asia, and Bithynia. There must have a reason for Peter to do this as most of the Apostles preached in those areas. As the leader of the Apostles he felt that there was some need to write what he wrote. Also in reading the Epistles nearly all of them speak of false teachers and desention among those who were converted to Christainity. If Peter was not the leader of the Apostles then why write what he wrote? It seems to me that the reason Peter wrote was to strengten his brethren in those areas where there was teachings that were not from the Apostles and to encourage those in whom the Apostles made disciples to carry on the Gosple they gave while they(the Apostles) preached the Good News elsewhere. I think this Epistle is a strong point in seeing Peter as leader of the whole Church and not just the Church in Rome and areas around it.

You know, if there is no apostolic succession, or the continuing authority of the Church…then how is one to know the truth or determine the truth…or how is this passage from 1john4 to be relevant today:

Then from 1John 4… Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world……………6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

I am a cradle Catholic with 12 years of Catholic education thanks to my parents. Here are my thoughts on your questions. There is a great book by Stephen Ray called Upon this Rock that gives excellent evidence from Sacred Scripture as well as Sacred Tradition for plenty of support to answer much of what you ask and didn’t think to ask. I would ask this question of your friends, “what other church was there at the time?” The Jewish church lost its authority before the Catholic church was created. We see this in scripture after Jesus’ death on the cross when the Moses seat is damaged and the veil is torn and then decades later the temple is destroyed so it can’t be the Jewish church for she lost her authority. Muslims don’t follow Jesus so that can’t be it. Protestant church didn’t exist at the time. There is no evidence of any other church that still exists today as being founded by Jesus with his authority and Holy Spirit’s guidance to truth. Have your non-Catholic friends prove it. They won’t be able to with truth. They’ll have to manufacture and lie to try and refute it.

The Catholic Church wasn’t started in Matthew 16 when Jesus gives the keys of the kingdom to Peter thought that is the reference for its hierarchy and structure as notice Jesus says, “I WILL build my church.” He had to die, rise from the dead and ascend to his Father before he could build his Church. He began his church on Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles and some woman (including the Virgin Mary) nine days after his Ascension in the upper room.

Your Point:
-Jesus also told Peter to “Get behind me, Satan.” So, what He says at one given time does not necessarily apply to forever.

My response:
The “get behind me Satan” from Jesus to Peter quote demonstrates how we as humans do not always do God’s will but rather Satan’s. This doesn’t diminish Peter’s authority but rather glorifies God in that He can use sinful, weak men to build His everlasting Church on earth with weak, sinful people. In my opinion this is a weak area for anyone to attack as there is no religion on the planet nor is there any type of religious community, church, gathering etc. that would be any different as we all sin. Our faith is in Jesus and his promise that the Holy Spirit would lead his church to truth and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. That’s why I don’t switch churches when I hear of some horrible thing a Catholic priest, pope, bishop says, thinks, or does. I am not bound to follow such behavior and accept that these religious leaders will be under heavy attack by the devil and they sin. I pray for their strength and holiness instead.

Continued from previous post.

Your Point:
-The Catholic Church has evolved over time, more dogmas and doctrines have been added and the Creed was even established for centuries. If the Catholic Church was the original church, and it can evolve, then why can’t Protestant Churches be part of this evolution?

My Reponse:
The Catholic Church can be likened to a living organism through the mystery of Christ being unified with her. Thus, in the early days as in Acts 2 through the first few centuries we see like a baby growing in the womb a Church that starts very small like we humans did. The DNA of the single cell human in the womb is the same DNA as the baby, the child, the teenager, the adult, the old person yet we see changes and development in its understanding of truth. The history of the Church shows this similar growing organism as the Holy Spirit guides her to truth just as Jesus promised. It is very much worth mentioning that what the Catholic Church teaches as truth never contradicts the bible. Rather, her interpretation of the Sacred Scripture through the Magesterium, is supported and compliments her Sacred Tradition. What we do today at its core is what was done in the early centuries. Customs and disciplines change but those are not required for belief. The truths that we do cling to that are required to believe have NEVER changed.

Further, it is not the church’s job per say to list all the truths of God at one specific time as the Holy Spirit does not and has not worked that way as history proves. God’s timing is not our timing. Jesus alludes to this delayed laying out of truth when he tells his apostles that he has more to tell them but that they cannot bear it for now John 16:12. Rather, often what the church does is wait for a challenge to the truth or a denial or twisting of the truth to occur and then she through the Magisterium (teaching office of the Catholic Church) and guidance of the Holy Spirit declares the truth. Usually this occurs in a Council but not always. This is by the way another way to prove her existence throughout the centuries because any other church we have today was not fighting the heresies, apostasies, schisms as they did not exist. What other church was there to defend the truth? Want a list of heresies by century. Take a look at this:

catholic.com/tracts/the-great-heresies Then ask your non-Catholic friends to have their other church they claim to exist back then to render the truth against the false teachings. They won’t be able to but Catholics can as our Church was the one fighting against the false truths, schisms, apostasies etc. We have the documents, decisions, historical evidence as proof.

Your question:
Why can’t the Protestant churches be a part of the evolution?
All Protestant churches taught or even continue to teach untruths and Christ’s church would never do such a thing. Case in point: Before 1930 virtually all Protestant churches in existence then were firmly of the belief and taught that contraception was immortal just as the Catholic Church has taught for 2000+ years. After 1930 the Anglican Church changed it teachings and declared contraception was not sinful and the various other Protestant church soon followed. To this day the Catholic Church’s Magisterium still teaches and declares that contraception is immoral. It’s worth noting that in every society where contraception is accepted then abortion follows soon after. Slippery slope. This is just one simple case. Many Protestant churches today refuse to take a stand against such things as abortion, gay marriage, capital punishment because they are not designed by Christ to teach/testify to the truth. Thus, they often keep silent on such controversial issues. To this day we see Catholic teachings that boldly declare each of these to be wrong, even abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Your point about the apostles going out and making churches in various places:
They were told to do so when Christ commanded (Matthew 28) just before his Ascension to his disciples to go to ALL Nations and baptize them and teach them all Jesus commanded them. These guys were the first bishops. Jesus gave the bishops the command to teach ALL that he taught them and he gave supreme power to Peter with the keys that only he received in Matthew 16 as the supreme leader. We are far removed from the Jewish community of Jesus’ day but the Catholic Church is not as she began back then. In Matthew 16 the 12 apostles knew very well what the keys to the kingdom meant. As Jews they were very familiar with Isiah 22 where keys are mentioned again. In both instances the person receiving the keys gets the same authority as the person who is giving the keys. Further, Jesus tells Peter after giving him and through him the popes (as an office was created by Jesus in Matthew 16), that he Peter and those to have the office after him, would be able to bind and loose. The binding and loosing would also be familiar to the Jewish apostles as being able to make decisions that would apply on earth and in heaven. Thus when we see disputes in Acts about circumcision and later eating food we see the final decision is Peter’s and what he declares is what is followed then and to this day in the Catholic Church. Do other churches in existence today follow the decisions that were bound and loosed by Peter and the various popes through the centuries? No. More proof then my friend.

The power to teach was passed down by the laying on of hands from the days of the apostles to this day in the Catholic church. More evidence as most other churches do NOT do this.

Continued post

I would add that many Protestant churches today do not have global reach and they often lack a central authority to resolve disputes. I know of some Protestant churches that have for decades not been able to decide what to do about abortion in the cases of incest and rape. Sometimes they say it is wrong and sometimes they say it is right. That’s not truthful. The Catholic church has always taught that all human life from natural conception to natural death is sacred and should be preserved and protected and respected.

We have a line of popes that go back to Peter from our current Pope Francis. Do the other churches? No. More proof then.

The problem is most non-Catholics do not trust/believe in the authority given to the Catholic Church from Jesus through the Holy Spirit in the person of the pope and the teaching authority of the Magisterium. No surprise. Satan never stops attacking anything Christ does. Obedience is not easy as often we must follow when we do not fully understand. The fact remains that that the Catholic Church still exists today, can trace her roots back to Acts 2 Descent of the Holy Spirit and has a track record of testifying to the truth through her teachings that is unbroken for over 2000+ years. The fact that she remains to this day despite all the evil attacks of Satan and the sinful, weak popes, bishops, cardinals, deacons, priests, lay members etc. is further proof of her Holy Spirit led testimony to the truth. All these things make the Catholic Church the only church for me.

Read the book I mentioned as it covers all this and more. God bless,

I also say read Stephen K.Eay’s book "Uopn This Rock. " He was a evangelical Baptist. The book is a good staring place to learn about the orgins of the Papalcy. If he could find out about what the Catholic Church is and is the true Church, then those who do not know and think they do should read it as it is full of facts for Apostolic sucession.

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