Info on "You are Peter and on this rock I build My Church"


#1

Hi. I am new to this forum. I have used catholic.com as a reference source for quite a while and enjoy the site greatly.

Recently I had a long drawn out discussion with several people concerning the Scriptural passage, “You are Peter and on this rock I build My Church.” The person I was most debating with would not move off the stance of the gender shift in Greek and Latin between “Peter” and “rock.” Also, he cited French cleric, Jean de Launoy of the Sorbonne that said among the early fathers 17 thought it was Peter, 44 said it was his confession of faith, 16 thought it was Jesus Himself, and 8 thought it was all the apostles. I could not get any solid first hand references from this person, only what this cleric supposedly said. All the references I gave him on the subject showing Peter as The Rock Jesus spoke of and his primacy among the Apostles was met with, ‘You’re quoting from those first 17, who were in the minority opinion.’ It was completely frustrating. Any further insight you could provide me, especially with regards to his source would be helpful.

Thanks
–B.


#2

Protestant sources:

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[left][font=Arial][size=2]The meaning is, “You are Peter, that is Rock, and upon this rock, that is, on you, Peter I will build my church.” Our Lord, speaking Aramaic, probably said, “And I say to you, you are Kepha, and on this kepha I will build my church.” Jesus, then, is promising Peter that he is going to build his church on him! I accept this view. [/size]
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[left]William Hendriksen member of the Reformed Christian Church Professor of New Testament Literature at Calvin Seminary New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew, page 647.
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[font=Arial][size=2]Nowadays a broad consensus has emerged which — in accordance with the words of the text — applies the promise to Peter as a person. On this point liberal (H. J. Holtzmann, E. Schweiger) and conservative (Cullmann, Flew) theologians agree, as well as representatives of Roman Catholic exegesis. [/size] [left]Gerhard Maier evangelical Lutheran theologian, “The Church in the Gospel of Matthew: Hermeneutical Analysis of the Current Debate” Biblical Interpretation and Church Text and Context page 58.
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[font=Arial][size=2]Although it is true that petros and petra can mean “stone” and “rock” respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses (“you are kepha” and “on this kepha”), since the word was used both for a name and for a “rock”. The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name. [/size] [left]Donald A. Carson III Baptist and Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Seminary, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 8 (Matthew, Mark, Luke) page 368 [/left]
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[font=Arial][size=2]The word Peter petros, meaning “rock” (Gk 4377), is masculine, and in Jesus’ follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken “rock” to be anything or anyone other than Peter. [/size]
[left]Donald A. Carson III Baptist and Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary — New Testament, vol. 2, page 78.[/left]
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#3

[font=Arial][size=2]The Savior, no doubt, used in both clauses the Aramaic word kepha (hence the Greek Kephas applied to Simon, John i.42; comp. 1 Cor. i.12; iii.22; ix.5; Gal. ii.9), which means rock and is used both as a proper and a common noun… The proper translation then would be: “Thou art Rock, and upon this rock”, etc. [/size] [left]John Peter Lange German Protestant scholar, Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: The Gospel According to Matthew, vol. 8, page 293
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[font=Arial][size=2]The Greek Petros, meaning ‘stone’, is here linked with rock (Gk. petra). The play on words would be brought out even better in Aramaic where one word kepha lies behind Petros and petra. (For the use of Cephasa as a proper name, cf. Jn. 1:42; 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal. 2:9.) The name need not have been given to Simon here for the first time (cf. Jn. 1:42; Mk. 3:16), but it receives a new significance[/size] Some interpreters have therefore referred to Jesus as the rock here, but the context is against this. Nor is it likely that Peter’s faith or Peter’s confession is meant. It is undoubtedly Peter himself who is to be the rock, but Peter confessing, faithful and obedient. . . That Peter is to exercise his authority in conjunction with the rest of the apostles is made plain in 18:18. The leading role which Peter played is shown throughout the early chapterss of Acts. . . .

Dr. Guthrie BD, MTH, PHD is a Protestant scholar and Lecturer in new   Testament, at the London Bible College: The New Bible Commentary:   Revised edition, printed by Eerdmans, Copyright 1970, page 837

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[font=Arial][size=2]“Peter/ Cephas” (lit. “rock”) is the surname Jesus gage Simon (cf. Matt. 1618) [/size] A.T. Robertson (Died Sept. 24, 1934) was a assistant professor in Greek and homiletics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary :Word Pictures in the New Testament Concise, printed by Holman Bible Publishers ,2000, page 74

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[font=Arial][size=2]16:18 This rock (taute to petra) The nearest referent (for the pronoun “this”) in the context of Jesus’ statement is Peter, forming a wordplay on his name, Petros. While it is possible Jesus is referring to Peter’s confession of him as the Christ (v. 16), it seems more likely that Jesus is describing Peter and the other disciples’ future ministry as the foundation of the future church (cf. Eph. 2:20). As representative spokesman for the disciples, Peter was the first to preach to both Jews (Acts 2) and Gentiles (Acts 10) the truth that salvation is through Jesus (cf. Acts 2:36; 10:36). [petra, houtos][/size] David K. Lowery, B.A, Th.M., Ph.D. is a Protestant scholar and Professor of New Testament Studies, at the Dallas Theological Seminary. : The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study, copyright 2002, printed Victor Publishing, edited by Darrell L. Bock, Pg. 79

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God bless,
RyanL


#4

Also, don’t forget that scripture is polyvalent - no single interpretation has to be right to the exclusion of any other interpretation. For example:

881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.” This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

**552 **Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve; Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord then declared to him: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Christ, the “living Stone”, thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.

**424 **Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.

The Church understanding is in line with all of the early Church. Is theirs?

God bless,
RyanL


#5

The problem is that you are not dealing with a logical thinker…I run into the same problem almost everyday…it seems that we have lost the ability to think properly using solid logic.

His hang-up over the gender issue is only a smoke screen because it doesn’t address the verse in question. “…you are rock and on this rock I will build my church” is not a complicated statement. There is no logical way to explain how the two “rocks” mentioned back to back in this statement are not actually one and the same.

When all logic fails, change the subject! So now we are talking about gender rather that what Jesus actually said. Suddenly the solid interpretation is under scrutiny rather than the weak one. This is the Protestant game, they didn’t invent this way of arguing as far as I know but they sure are good at using it!

Make them stick to the verse and explain to you “this rock” does not refer to the same “rock” that was only mentioned 4 words back in the same sentence, but instead to a statement that was made 2 verses back.

My new rule is that if someone refuses to debate properly then it is not worth my time to engage them at all!


#6

[quote=b_justb]Hi. I am new to this forum. I have used catholic.com as a reference source for quite a while and enjoy the site greatly.

Recently I had a long drawn out discussion with several people concerning the Scriptural passage, “You are Peter and on this rock I build My Church.” The person I was most debating with would not move off the stance of the gender shift in Greek and Latin between “Peter” and “rock.” Also, he cited French cleric, Jean de Launoy of the Sorbonne that said among the early fathers 17 thought it was Peter, 44 said it was his confession of faith, 16 thought it was Jesus Himself, and 8 thought it was all the apostles.
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That is nonsense. Ask your friend to produce those quotes. I’ll wager the only ones who he will be able to produce will be heretics.


#7

[quote=Ignatius]That is nonsense. Ask your friend to produce those quotes. I’ll wager the only ones who he will be able to produce will be heretics.
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I think RyanL’s approach, that the Churches understanding is polyvalent is the best approach for this actually. It can be seen for instance in Augustine that there are multiple levels that Matt 16:18 can be looked at. That it MUST be viewed primarily as the rock spoken of there is Peter, yet most certainly Peter being the rock is based on his faith and the root of his faith is in Jesus Christ working through the papacy. Therefore you will find father’s discussing all three understandings but not neccessarily contradicting eachether.

I recommend that he ask his friend who is the light of the world?

John says it is Jesus, he also says we are the light of the world. There is no contradiction.

Who is the foundation of the Church? Is it prophets and Apostles (Eph 2:20) or Jesus (1 Cor 3:11). Do these verses contradict just because they give “different” (though not really different, for Paul says “not I who live but Christ lives in me”) identities to the foundation.

Blessings


#8

Thank you to all. The Protestant admissions posts will come in handy. I only had a single reference to one previously. My discussion with said person in no way had me doubting my faith; doubting I could carry on with him in charity? Sure. I have taken a break from it. I may or may not revisit it just because I am doubtful if any thing further I say on the subject will produce any positive results. Thanks again to all ya all.

-B.


#9
                                             [font=Arial][size=2]Although it is true that petros and petra can mean "stone" and "rock" respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry.[/size][/font]

That being said, all the protestant has to do is locate scripture where petra or petros is used for a stone or pebble in the Greek manuscripts. Since he cannot do this, he is on no foundation scripturally for his bizarre acclaimations.
Stone is mentioned about 45 times in the NT Greek. Not a single use of either petros or petra was used.
As the protestant says, “let Scripture interpret Scripture”.

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#10

[quote=thessalonian]It can be seen for instance in Augustine that there are multiple levels that Matt 16:18 can be looked at. That it MUST be viewed primarily as the rock spoken of there is Peter, yet most certainly Peter being the rock is based on his faith and the root of his faith is in Jesus Christ working through the papacy. Therefore you will find father’s discussing all three understandings but not neccessarily contradicting eachether.
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Certainly, something can simultaneously be symbolic of several things. But Augustine specifically said that the Rock upon which the Church is built is NOT Peter. Peter cannot both be the Rock and not be the Rock simultanesouly. It would be a contradiction if these both were true.

He acknowledges that others hold to different views and seems to imply that he may have held a different view previously. (And the fact that there were multiple views implies it was not an official doctrine of the Church at the time.) But at the time of his writing in Retractations, Augustine emphatically indicated that it was his view that the Rock was not Peter. And he indicates the the Rock is, in fact, Christ. He then suggests that the reader decide for himself which view is most reasonable. This is not a statement of personal ambivalence on the matter, but rather an acknowledgement of the reader’s free agency to decide for himself.

There were other non-heretical early Church fathers that held that the Rock was Jesus. It is my understanding that the Church is not supposed to make a dogmatic pronouncement when there is such diversity in the record of early Church history. Why the eagerness to rob Christ of His headship of the Church? Christ is not dead. He lives and still the Rock.


#11

Dear Petra;

you said…

Why the eagerness to rob Christ of His headship of the Church? Christ is not dead. He lives and still the Rock.

Christ is the head of His Church. His Church is the Catholic Church. The bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter, not Christ. How could you suggest that the Catholic church robs Christ of His headship of the Church just because we have a spiritual leader among us? That’s like suggesting the pastor of your church is robbing Christ of his headship. It’s a difference only in numbers, not logic.

Peace


#12

You may find the below link helpful.

catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/church/response-white-jpk-print.htm


#13

I understand any time “stone” was referenced in the Greek Testaments, the word “Lithos” was used. The use of “Petros” for little pebble had gone out of usage long before the birth of Christ.

But the argument is needless. Christ didn’t speak Greek. He used the word “Kepha” (Kephas in Greek) when he gave Simon his new name.

NotWorthy


#14

[quote=petra]…But Augustine specifically said that the Rock upon which the Church is built is NOT Peter…
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St. Augustine had several things to say about St. Peter being the rock:

“[In] the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom…** The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter**, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate…” (Against the Epistle of Manichaeus [Contra Epistolam Manichaei Quam Vacant Fundamenti.)*

[quote]Homilies on John

, Tract 11:5(A.D. 417), in NPNF1,VII:76

“When, therefore, He had said to His disciples, ‘Will ye also go away?” Peter, that Rock, answered with the voice of all, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.’ “

In Psalms

, 56[55]:14[PL 36, 656] (A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:223

“And the Lord, to him to whom a little before He had said, ‘Blessed thou art, and upon this **Rock** I will build my Church,’ saith, ‘Go back behind, Satan, an offence thou art to Me.’ Why therefore ‘Satan’ is he, that **a little before was** ‘blessed,’ and a ‘**Rock**’ ?”

In Psalms

, 69:4[PL 36, 869] (A.D. 418), in Butler, 251

“Peter, who had confessed Him as the Son of God, and in that confession had been called the rock upon which the Church should be built.”

In Psalms

, 104[103]:16(A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:513

“And if a Jew asks us why we do that, we sound from the rock, we say, This Peter did, this Paul did: from the midst of the rocks we give our voice. But that rock, Peter himself, that great mountain, when he prayed and saw that vision, was watered from above.”

…I did, however, identify one seemingly contradictory statement from later in his life…

Retractations

,1:21(A.D. 427),in GILES, 177

“[In my first book against Donatus] I mentioned somewhere with reference to the apostle Peter that ‘the Church is founded upon him as upon a rock.’ This meaning is also sung by many lips in the lines of blessed Ambrose, where, speaking of the domestic cock, he says: ‘When it crows, he, the rock of the Church, absolves from sin.’ But I realize that I have since frequently explained the words of our Lord: ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church’, to the effect that they should be understood as referring to him Peter confessed when he said: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’, and as meaning that Peter having been named after this rock, figured the person of the Church, which is built upon this rock and has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For what was said to him was not ‘Thou art rock’, but ‘Thou art Peter’. But the rock was Christ, having confessed whom(even as the whole Church confesses) Simon was named Peter. Which of these interpretations is more likely to be correct, let the reader choose.”

I also found the following explaination (which I think is quite plausable) which explains the apparent contradiction:

Augustine was not steadfast in his interpretation of Matthew 16:18. Above, Augustine equated the rock with Peter’s faith, Peter’s successors, and Peter himself. It was during his controversies with the Manicheans, Donatists, and Pelagians that he emphasized the role of Christ and identified “this rock” with Christ. In his dealings with the Manicheans, the nature of God was in the forefront; with the Donatist, it was the nature of the Church and clergy; with the Pelagians, it was the nature of grace and its originator, Jesus Christ. Augustine equated “this rock” with Christ not to downplay Peter’s primacy, rather to emphasize Jesus Christ. Against all these heresies, Augustine stressed that the Church’s foundation and grace rested upon a divine and not a human person. Nevertheless, Augustine remained steadfast in his understanding of Peter’s primacy and the primacy of the Roman See. **Augustine did not reject the Petrine interpretation, in favor of which he cites Ambrose’s hymn, but leaves it to the reader to choose.rock **

**Simon remains a rock, a secondary rock dependent on the Rock-Christ, for Augustine writes, ‘Peter having been named after this ** (Retractations 1:21).

Full text: St. Augustine DID believe in the Primacy of Rome

God bless,
RyanL
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#15

Also, all of St. Augustine’s writings still seem to mesh rather well with my post #4. What do you think?

God bless,
RyanL


#16

[quote=martino]The problem is that you are not dealing with a logical thinker…I run into the same problem almost everyday…it seems that we have lost the ability to think properly using solid logic.

His hang-up over the gender issue is only a smoke screen because it doesn’t address the verse in question. “…you are rock and on this rock I will build my church” is not a complicated statement. There is no logical way to explain how the two “rocks” mentioned back to back in this statement are not actually one and the same.

When all logic fails, change the subject! So now we are talking about gender rather that what Jesus actually said. Suddenly the solid interpretation is under scrutiny rather than the weak one. This is the Protestant game, they didn’t invent this way of arguing as far as I know but they sure are good at using it!

Make them stick to the verse and explain to you “this rock” does not refer to the same “rock” that was only mentioned 4 words back in the same sentence, but instead to a statement that was made 2 verses back.

My new rule is that if someone refuses to debate properly then it is not worth my time to engage them at all!
[/quote]

You just hit the nail on the head. The problem is that the majority of non-Catholics will argue for the sake of proving Catholics wrong, but they base their arguments on misinformation backed up by emotion. If they would only use their God-given reason and intellect, they would be much more apt to see the logic behind Catholic beliefs.

JU


#17

RyanL - good reference work. I appreciate it All good posts and ideas all the way around.
-B.


#18

[quote=b_justb]RyanL - good reference work. I appreciate it All good posts and ideas all the way around.
-B.
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Here is a site that clusters sites on the Papacy.
You might enjoy this site. You get to listen to many converts via audio concerning Peter, the Church, etc.
One I especially admire is Jeff Childers on the right side of the page (“chill ders”).
He goes deep into the OT pre-figuring the Church and its hierarchial structure.
Have your adversary go their. if he dares! Nearly all of the audios are not lay people, but learned ministers in prot sects. Jeff is a convert from “Church of Christ” sect which is a tough bunch originating from the Restoration movement of the 1800’s.
Jeff Childers can also be read on this subject as well. Also at this site.
Finally,
God’s method of having ONE person in ONE office keeping the unity and protecting that ONE person from declaring error for universal belief, is the ONLY possible way to achieve the necessary Unity of :
Ephesians 4 :5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
This ROCK is NO BURDEN, but a blessing of certainty, security, and protection to His Body, the Church which is to :
“Feed My Sheep…Feed My Lambs…Feed My Sheep” Jn21:15ff
NO other method has EVER worked. From there, ask him to show you any OTHER method that has actually worked to maintain the required Unity.
Isn’t God wise beyond comprehension.

God Bless.


#19

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