How do you view Matthew 16:13 through 20? What does it mean to you?


But you’re not making your own rules. We are ministers of reconciliation, confessing our sins one to another, building each other up, comforting one another and, when necessary offering words of warning and rebuke. But it certainly is not pointing the finger at everyone. It is offering the joy and certainty of the Gospel—if you believe and repent, you are forgiven.

Well, Protestants aren’t going to do that either. I’m not going to go to someone I don’t know or barely know saying you have sin in your life BAM! To hell with you. :laughing:

But your description of priestly absolution is not that much different from what Luther envisions lay absolution to be. The emphasis is on the forgiveness of sin. For those struggling with sin, the point is not condemnation but to reconcile. This link is from a sermon preached by Luther on “The Power to Forgive Sins on Earth”.

So you don’t think you can enjoy your rights as an American citizen and still submit to government authority? Either hold the government accountable or submit but not both? That makes no sense.

There is always a distinction between legitimate, constituted authority and illegitimate, unconstitued authority. We are to obey elders in Christ when they represent Christ. When they start representing themselves and substituting their own authority for Christ’s, Christians are not bound to submit. We are to test the spirits.

How does your priest know?


No person—Catholic priest, Protestant minister, or lay person—can truly know what is in someone’s heart. No person can drive sin out of the human heart and fill it with God’s grace. Only God can do that. What the church does is proclaim what God does inwardly within us. The word that we proclaim is not ours but God’s. God has said:

Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Ephesians 1:7 “ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

If Jim or Bob have confessed and repented of their sins, God forgives them. And the church proclaims the work of God.

Hopefully it’s because he meets the qualifications in Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Timothy 3.


They do mean something to non Catholics also because of, made possible by, 2 Timothy 3:16, and 1 John 2:20, and Job 32:8, etc…


Well, you could declare that if I reject the Holy Spirit and the gift of Calvary knowingly they are at least retained, in perdition. The church has come close at times in stating similar fate for those rejecting the Catholic faith knowingly. Don’t see anywhere that only a priest can declare this, and that any good member may declare their church’s teachings.


it is not either or , but both…for sure man declares, we are His mouthpiece, just that something is only binding ( by man’s declaration) if indeed God has bound it, willed it, already…the tail does not wag the dog…it is quite conditional.


What is being talked about regarding sins that are retained is whether or not a person who is confessing sins to a priest has contrition. For example, in the confessional, if I say I throat-punched someone, but they deserved it because they stole my pencil, the priest would counsel me and try to help me understand why that was a sin. If I still feel I was justified, he might decide to tell me to come back when I have contrition and understand what I did offended God.

It is fitting that the first thing Jesus did after walking out of the tomb was to meet with the disciples and give them the authority to forgive or retain sins. He knew he was going to soon ascend to heaven and man would continue to sin and would need to have absolution.


I don’t see how any of these verses have anything to do with Peter alone understanding who Jesus is in verse 16, then being blessed by Jesus in verse 17, being named Peter in 18 and being told Jesus will build his church on him, and being given the keys to the kingdom of heaven in 19.


And second Timothy 4:3, 4.


From what I understand, Luther had little faith in absolution through confession and was very scrupulous, so it was probably not too difficult for him to dismiss what is being talked about in John 20:19-23. Itwin, you seem pretty smart, and you’ll make a fine Catholic someday, but imagine how frustrating it is for Catholics when Matthew 16:18 has been dissected and ripped apart by non-Catholics. It would be just as frustrating for Lutherans if scripture said, “…you are Martin Luther, and upon you I will build my church…”


Here are a couple of ECFs who state that Christ will build His church on Peter’s confession, not specifically on Peter.

John Chrysostom

He did not say, “upon Peter” for it is not upon the man, but upon his own faith that the Church is built. And what is this faith? “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Migne, 52.806.75-807.1)

Therefore He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. “And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” And if not against it, much more not against me. So be not troubled because thou art shortly to hear that I shall be betrayed and crucified. (Homily LIV)


Why have I wanted to make this little introduction? In order to suggest to you that in Peter the Church is to be recognised. Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. (Sermon 229)

I hope this helps…


Never said you couldn’t declare the Word of God. I thought we were talking about definitively claiming someones sins are not forgiven. No offense but you seem to keep doing what Luther does in his writings. You proclaim a true statement then you apply it to something else hoping the person won’t see that you didn’t really respond to the actual question. Luther claimed every Christian has the power of the keys and can declare the retention of sins. Instead of proving how every Christian can you give some line of reasoning that the Christian only declares what God already decreed.

Seriously, how on earth do you know God retained that persons sin? Don’t turn this back on me with well if a Priest can do it then anyone can do it. Just show were Luther gives a sound theological argument for his claim. Jesus was only talking to the Apostles when he said…

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

He didn’t say If I already decreed that this persons sins are forgiven you can declare it; if I already decreed that this persons sins are retained you can declare it.

Jesus pretty much said it the other way around here, if you declare it I will decree it.

What seems more reasonable here, that Jesus gives the Priest the Holy Spirit and the power to declare someones sins forgiven or retained and Jesus is willing to go along with what the Priest decides, because He already knows He himself guided the Priest to the decision. OR is it more reasonable to believe Jesus gave every Christian on the face of the earth the ability to declare what He already decreed in heaven?

I’m sure you are itching to go and point out where I am wrong with this verse but that is not the discussion at hand. The discussion is to show where Luther gives the evidence for his claim. If not, it is just his fallible opinion about the keys.

Agree, but I was applying this to the context of judging someones sins to be forgiven or retained. St. Paul is telling us to judge someones BEHAVIOR here, not the state of their soul. This has nothing to do with what we are talking about.

Totally agree he is talking to the Church, but like I said this has nothing to do with judging and declaring that the idolaters sins are not forgiven.

God Bless


Once again you are changing the subject. I agree with everything you said here. However none of it says a single word in defense of every Christian having the power to actually declaring someones sins are not forgiven.

We must be talking past each other. It seems to me you are comparing apples and oranges. Are you saying a group of us can get together and boot someone out of office in the exact same way the congregation can get together and remove their Pastor?

Better yet let’s try to line these two up. Bible vs Constitution. My guess is, please tell me if I am wrong because I have heard from some reformed that this is how it works, the congregation can get together with their Bibles, self interpret the Bible, use their personal self interpretation and regardless of what the leadership says as long as enough of them agree on the interpretation they can successfully remove their Pastor. So are you claiming we as Americans can self interpret the Constitution and using our personal interpretation we can successfully remove our governor from office?

Once again simple answer the question with Luther’s defense instead of dodging the question with a question.

Anyway, I never claimed the Priest knows. Nor did I ever say the Priest has to know. You are the one who is trying to prove your claim with the defense well if the Priest can do it anyone can do it. Like I said it is the other way around. Jesus gave His authority to the Priest. “As the Father has sent Me so I send You”. Did the Father Send Jesus to forgive Sins or did the Father send Jesus to simple declare what the Father already decreed in heaven?

You might not agree that Jesus gave this authority to the Priests, that’s fine, but it does leave us wondering if the Priest what exactly was Jesus sending them to do in John 20?

God Bless





Great verses. But once again this is avoidance. None of these verses has anything to do with declaring someones sins are retained.

Agree. But once again proclaiming is not the same as declaring.

You totally lost me on this one?

In verse 5 St. Paul is talking to Titus, not to the members of the congregation. He tells Titus that it is his responsibility, not the members of the congregations responsibility, to appoint elders. Not just in Crete but in every town that St. Paul directs him to. That sure sounds like Apostolic succession to me. How does Pastor Bib meet the qualifications of Titus 1:5-9 if he can’t even make it past verse 5?

St. Paul give Timothy the exact same instruction in 2 Timothy 2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

He doesn’t say entrust to faithful men whom the membership deems worthy. He is telling Timothy I taught you, you are my successor, now go teach others what I taught you and make your own successors.

Nothing in any of these verse gives the membership any type of authority over the leadership.

God Bless


Welcome to the conversation. You are kind of jumping into the middle of quite a few posts.

All I can say is I agree with your statement. But that was not the question at hand.

We were discussing Luther’s claim that every Christian, not just St. Peter, was given the power of the keys. The question you responded to comes from Luther stating…

“Christ gives both the power and the use of the keys to each Christian” (AE 40:26); “The keys belong to the wholechurch and to each of its members, as regards their authority and their various uses” (AE 40:27) and “to bind and to loose clearly is nothing else than to proclaim and to apply the Gospel. For what is it to loose, if not to announce the forgiveness of sins before God? What is it to bind, except to withdraw the Gospel and to declare the retention of sins?” (AE 40:27-28).

Luther’s last sentence here does not state that every member can say " if you knowingly and willingly reject the Holy Spirit" then I declare the retention of your sins.

If that is what he meant than he is comparing apples and oranges and has no argument, nor does he truly believe the keys have any power. Which I basically think is his whole point. Instead of trying to argue against who has the keys he is trying to show they are meaningless and insignificant. Do we truly want to believe something that came out of the mouth of our Lord is meaningless?

Once again you don’t see it because no one is claiming it. It’s a straw man argument has nothing to do with the claims Luther is making.

If you would like to give a defense to Luther’s statement I would love to hear it. Like I said earlier it sure seems like Luther’s theology flows where he needs it to and tends to be contradictory when you ride out his arguments to the full extent.

God Bless


Sorry I am not following you here. Once again we are discussing the ability of every Christian to be able to declare someones sin is retained. No ifs, and, or buts in this statement. We are talking about declaring that you are not forgiven by God. Nothing in here about stating you are not forgiven if you don’t repent. or you are not forgiven if you reject the Holy Spirit.

I’ll ask you the same question how does one declare what God has already decreed in regards to whether or not someones sins are forgiven. This is the question we were discussing. We are discussing a definitive declaration. It is not based on other factors (if, and, or but).

As for your tail wagging the dog comment I’m not sure where you are going with this?

Are you trying to say it is not possible for the Holy Spirit to guide a Priest into knowing when to forgive or retain a persons sin?

After all Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on them. How many times in the Bible did God breath on man? Seems like something pretty powerful probably happen at that time doesn’t it?

God Bless


I am not sure if you realize that the Catholic Church agrees with the Church is built on St. Peter’s confession. However, you are taking this Homily out of context by trying to say the Church was not built on St. Peter. St. John Chrysostom in this homily is teaching that the Church is not built on just a mere human. Why, because as he points out in the rest of the homily St. Peter wasn’t the first person to say the words “Son of God”. If you read the entire homily you will see that at the beginning St. John points out that this homily is about St. Peter and he lets it be known that …

  1. What then saith the mouth of the apos- tles, Peter, the ever fervent, the leader
    of the apostolic choir?

Regardless of how we interpret the rest of the homily it is told to us at the beginning that St. Peter is the leader of the Apostles. He is the one who was put in charge by Jesus.

The whole point of this homily is that the Church was not built upon a mere man but that it was built upon what God gave to that man. That is what he is getting at with the verse of the homily you posted. Which is what the Catholic Church teaches. Read the rest of the homily the very next line states…

Then He mentions also another honor. "And I alsowill give thee the
keys of the heavens."But what is this, “And I also will give thee?”
“As the Father hath given thee to know me, so will I also give thee.”
And He said not, “I will entreat the Father” (although the
manifestation of His authority was great, and the largeness of the gift
unspeakable), but, “I will give thee.” What dost Thou give? tell me.
“The keys of the heavens, that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth,
shall be bound in Heaven,and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth,
shall be loosed in Heaven.” How then is it not "His to give to sit on
His right hand, and on His left,"when He saith, “I will give thee”?

Seest thou how He, His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of
Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these
two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone,
(both to absolve sins, and to make the church in- capable of
> overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a
fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with
him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father, speaking to
Jeremiah, said, He would make him as "a brazen pillar, and as a
wall;"but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world.

St. John isn’t denying that St. Peter is the Pope here… he is telling us that St. Peter is the Pope because God gave him the revelation of faith and Jesus handed him the keys. This entire homily is very Catholic.

Hope this helps,

God Bless


I offer three points.

  1. I think Christ was saying: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, (and therefore) whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
    That is, the power of the keys gave Peter the authority to bind and loose.

  2. In this passage Christ was speaking to Simon called Peter. He was not speaking to the rest of the Twelve and certainly not speaking to the multitude. Peter was given the power of the keys, the power to bind and loose.

  3. Later on Christ told the Twelve: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them.” This is certainly a form of authority. But it is not the same as the power of the Keys, and even then it was given to those present at that time. It was not given to all believers.


The post addresses your question of whether the text has any meaning for us non catholics, and so I posted that they do, and the verses deal with how any non Catholic (and really even Catholics) can get meaning, understanding, of said texts. As a matter of fact, 2 of my verses are kindred to one of your verses, that God reveals to Peter who Jesus is, as He does to all of us.


I think the first thing Jesus did was to breathe upon the apostles, to receive the Holy Ghost.It is interesting that the unforgiveable sin is to blaspheme that same Holy Ghost. And the last thing Jesus told was to preach the gospel to the world, partnering with the Holy Ghost. The retention or absolution of sins depends on one receiving or rejecting their(apostles and H Ghost’s message), not on going to a confessional…we know for sure that apostles preached…don’t know of them holding confessional


Who ever is in covenant with Jesus has the keys.
I have signs following. Mark 16:16-20
Math 10;10. Heal the sick raise the dead
When 2 are anointed Christ is in their midst.

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