Interesting claim by a protestant

I have recently encountered a Protestant who wanted to debunk the idea Peter was indeed a rock for the Catholic Church…

Here is his attempt,in fact,he makes multiple claims:

''Peter’s profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah is the rock upon which the Church was built. If you assume Peter is the rock, then you must also conclude he is Satan, should you keep reading the verses below.

''Jesus was clearly refering to the source of his actitudes, not Peter himself. Besides, this verse had never been used to support the Catholic claim before the Reformation.

If you resort to saying Peter has been given the keys of Heaven, **please read Matthew 18:18 - **all of the apostles have.

And what Church Fathers are you talking about? Because most of them were part of the Eastern Empire (now the Orthodox Church) and did not make such claims you do. I haven’t read all of the works of the Latin Fathers but the ones I have mention neither Peter nor a Pope’’

Any thoughts?

Well, that is what a lot of Protestants believe, but

One of the origins of Protestantism is Henry VIII of England who denounced authority of the pope only because he was married and wanted to marry someone who would bear a child, and he ended up beheading a lot of his wives. That’s a far cry from the church Jesus founded, and a very different founder from loving Jesus who said ‘What God has brought together let no man seperate.’ All for the sake of divorce. All for the sake of wanting to make up his own rules so he didn’t have to keep the commandments. And then he martyred so many good catholics because they wouldn’t support his heresy. Thou shalt not kill.

I prefer the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself under the guided authority of Jesus temporal representative in an unbroken line from the apostles:

‘You are Peter (Cephas which means =Rock) and on this rock I will build my church.’
‘I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be considered bound in Heaven, whatever you loose on earth will be considered loosed in Heaven.’

‘behold Peter, satan has asked that he may sift you like wheat , but when you have turned again, RETURN AND STRENGTHEN THE BRETHREN.’

Why is this saying repeated after the Crucifixion; ‘Peter and the other apostles’
He was set apart by them, when the Holy Spirit filled and came down as a rushing wind and tongues of fire and filled them Peter was the lead speaker

Jesus spent 40 days with the apostles after His resurrection before He ascended into Heaven. John writes, ‘Jesus did many other things among the apostles and if they were all to be written I do not suppose the books of the whole world could contain all that would be told.’

Jesus gave messages to a lot of his saints for individual popes.
Did not Our Lady of Fatima mention a Pope would be wounded (and later there was the assassination attempt on pope John Paul II, is Pope John Paul not now a canonised saint because of two scientifically proved miracles he worked healing two souls? One woman heard him tell her from a photo of him on a magazine, ‘Get up and walk.’ And she was healed. Another was a priest who blessed himself with a relic of the pope and was cured of cancer.
If God did not want popes would he not have told us through his countless saint mystics and apparitions of Our Lady such as at Fatima.? She told the seers at Fatima, 'Pray for the Holy Father (the Pope) because he suffers much.

The Pope is called ‘christ’s Vicar on earth.’ Jesus representative.
Ought we not have a leader? Or we’d all be doing our own thing, and bishops could anoint whoever they want to be bishop, make up their own rules, etc…
Why did Peter assume authority of the apostles, they could hear the Holy Spirit and had visions in answer to prayers post Pentecost, Our Lord spent 40 days after His resurrection instructing the apostles, they were told the Holy Spirit would ‘Teach them all things’, the Church Fathers and John were still around to guide things after Peter’s crucifixion upside down in Rome,

This assertion always strikes me as odd, since Peter and Jesus effectively take turns identifying each other. Jesus asks ‘who do you think I am’, and Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus in turn identifies Peter as the one on whom the Church will be built, and giving him that particular new name. It’s clearly a word play, and I for one can’t imagine why Jesus would bother renaming Peter at that point if the whole ‘rock’ thing was unrelated to Peter himself.

''Jesus was clearly refering to the source of his actitudes, not Peter himself. Besides, this verse had never been used to support the Catholic claim before the Reformation.

If the verse was never used it was only because it was never needed; before the reformation the authority of the successor of Peter was taken for granted. In fact, the problem was often proving that people were the successors of Peter, rather than whether or not Peter was the person who should be succeeded (hence St. Irenaeus’ list of popes (that’s a Church Father reference by the way).
As far as calling Peter ‘Satan’ goes, Jesus could hardly be declaring that Peter IS Satan, since a few lines earlier he specifically called him ‘blessed’, so here yes I would assume Jesus is referring to Peter’s belief that he shouldn’t suffer and die on the cross as being derived from/influenced by Satan. On the other hand we’ve no reason to believe that Peter need not be the ‘rock’ to whom Jesus refers.

If you resort to saying Peter has been given the keys of Heaven, **please read Matthew 18:18 - **all of the apostles have.

Well in one sense all priests / bishops have the authority to forgive sins, but half the point is that to Peter alone are ‘the keys’ given, and he’s specifically told apart from the others. This and the clear primacy of Peter in the Bible: Jesus resurrected appears to Peter first of the apostles, the times even the angels say ‘Peter and the apostles’, the fact that Peter is mentioned by name almost 7 times more than the next apostle (195 times vs St John’s 29 times) all point to Peter being the chief apostle. Someone else can probably go more in-depth into that particular claim than I can though.

It has long been noted that many Protestants take the Bible at face value as meaning exactly what it says – except for “troubling” passages such as “This is my Body” and “upon this rock,” where suddenly interpretations twist around, pretzel-like, to avoid believing in: a) just what the passage says; and b) something that the Catholic Church teaches.

I am a Catholic revert. I was raised Catholic but defected from the church around 1981 when I ultimately joined the Assembly of God Church. I became a street evangelist and a Sunday school teacher for 10 years. I reverted back to the Church because I took the bible literally. There are so many theological errors in Protestant doctrine that I don’t know where to even begin…I could write a book. Be that as it may, the more I studied scripture the more it became Catholic doctrine for me…until one day, I realized the bible was teaching the Catholic faith and no other doctrine (Galatians 1:6-10).

I have heard all the arguments regarding the primacy of Peter (including this one) and not only did it never sit right with me, but they are intellectually dishonest and just plain non-sense. In John 21:15-17 Jesus was about to ascend into Heaven. All of his disciples were with him at the time when he turned to address Peter and ONLY Peter asking him to feed and care for his sheep 3 times. There is really no room for interpretation here, Jesus was making Peter the head pastor of the universal church.

Moreover to address the argument regarding the eastern churches, they ARE the Catholic Church. They never rejected the primacy of Peter but in 1054 AD under hot dispute over the species used for the Eucharist the eastern patriarchs argued that the primacy of Peter was one of honor and not authority.

The end result was that the eastern patriarchs excommunicated the patriarch of Rome (the pope) and the Pope excommunicated them. They did not try to reconcile until Vatican II. Here is the bottom line, if Protestants are going to make this argument to excuse their schism (and in some cases apostasy) then what is their excuse for not joining the Eastern Orthodox Churches? The answer is because they too are Catholic!

It is simply arguing from both sides of their mouth. The eastern fathers have a valid sacrament and heritage that traces their roots to the apostles. Protestants do not! Therefore, after realizing these things and the bible speaking to my heart, I returned to the Church being fully reinstated June 26 1999. I have never looked back.

It should also be said that it was a great struggle for me. I was not even aware that there was such a thing as a Catholic apologist and came to all these conclusions before I even read any of their books. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “born again” Christian converting to the Catholic faith! I was very troubled by all this and knew I could not trust my pastor or any evangelical pastor or teacher to confide in. One day I had a dream and in the dream a man approached me and told me to find a local Catholic book store and look for books about Catholic converts. The rest is history.

Pax Cristi,
David Lamb

This was only part of his large argument…here is another part which adresses even more…including Galatians:

‘‘Protestants nag on Catholics because they have a habit of taking Galatians 1:8 out of context and they completely ignore Romans 10:9.’’

So,can you refute these claims as well?

To be fair, it seems that forgiveness of sins, properly speaking, isn’t the issue being discussed in Mt 16 and Mt 18. Rather, it is the authority given the apostles with respect to governance in the Church. If we wanted to make a claim about the authority to forgive sins, we’d look to John 20.

but half the point is that to Peter alone are ‘the keys’ given, and he’s specifically told apart from the others.

:thumbsup:
Precisely: all the apostles share in the authority to govern the Church (although one can make an interesting argument with respect to the type of authority Mt 18 is discussing!), but only Peter is given the “keys of the kingdom.” If NormalBeliever were to ask his Protestant friend to open his own Bible to Mt 16:19, he would find that there’s a cross-reference there to Isaiah 22:22. At that passage in Isaiah, he would read that the phrase “keys” has to do with the authority of the al-bayit (that is, the ‘master of the palace’ or ‘prime minister’ (in contemporary terms), who acts with the authority of the king), of whom is written that he “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (Is 22:21).

All apostles share in the ministry of “binding and loosing”, to an extent, but only Peter is given the “keys to the kingdom.”

King Henry VIII actually started the Church of England or anglicanism not protestantism in general. Martin Luther helped begin protestantism maybe 20 or more years before King Henry VIII gave up after waiting many many years for the Pope to annull his marriage and he broke off from Rome. You are correct that after that he did some very bad things. Before though he was a very Catholic king and loyal to the Pope.

**Recommended Reading:
**
[LIST]
*]Peter the Rock
*]Is Peter the Rock in Matthew 16:18?
*]You Can’t Get Past this Rock
*]The House Built on Rock
[/LIST]

That’s from the Ask An Apologist forum up top and all it took is a search. :thumbsup:

How are Catholics completely ignoring Romans 10:9 -10?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

The assumption being made here is that believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord is a onetime magic sinner’s prayer which guarantees heaven. But believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth is a conversion of one’s life. It is a life-long process that leads to sanctification and death to self to answer Christ’s calling in one’s life. How would this interpretation hold up under the gospels which say;

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life* will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”**

This verse makes it clear that believing in Christ and confessing his name means dying to self. It also makes it clear that if we do not deny ourselves then we can forfeit our soul. And what else can I say? The parable of the sheep and the goats; both the sheep and the goats confessed Jesus as Lord but only the sheep got in because the sheep did what Christ called them to do and died in that state of grace. The goats did not and therefore forfeit their souls. Hence we read in Matthew 7:21-23;

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Once again this flies right in the face of the protestant one verse argument (Romans 10:9-10) demonstrating that not everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only the ones who obey the Father by denying themselves and taking up their cross and following Him.

Catholics do not use a single verse to understand scripture but use the totality of the gospel message. Moreover, proper biblical hermeneutics always uses the gospels as a foundation to understanding the epistles. This Protestant opponent has it backwards. Recall that the epistle of Peter tells us about interpreting Paul’s letters apart from the teachings of the apostles;

15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:15-17

And what can I say specifically addressing obeying those appointed over us in our Christian walk? Well how about Hebrews 13:17 for a start?

*Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. *

Protestants submit to the authority of their own pastors and teachers the way Catholics submit to the authority of their pastors and teachers which happens to be the totality of the bishops and priest with the Pope as the head bishop making up the magisterium of the Church. Once again we have an argument from a protestant coming out of both sides of the mouth.

The difference is that Christ left us a single Church which is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Jesus being the chief cornerstone. To leave that church was considered by Saint Paul as an act of the flesh that forfeit’s the soul:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, DISSENSIONS, FACTIONS 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By its very nature Protestantism is factions and dissensions which nullifies Paul’s letter to the Galatians. And once again in the beginning of the same letter Saint Paul warns us;

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Pax Cristi,
David Lamb*

That’s from the Ask An Apologist forum up top and all it took is a search. :thumbsup:

I just wanted to not that the link to “Contact Catholic Answers Directly” is broken.

There was a time when the Church allowed people to have tiny disagreements without making everything Anathema:

“In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: ‘On him as on a rock the Church was built.’ . . . But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,’ that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ For, ‘Thou art Peter’ and not ‘Thou art the rock’ was said to him. But ‘the rock was Christ,’ in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable.” (The Retractions, 1:20:1)
-Augustine

Silly ignorant Protestant Augustine.

No, that’s not at all what Augustine was saying!

Here, he says, “at one point, I wrote that Peter was the rock; later, I often stated that Peter’s confession was the rock. So, let the reader decide which of my interpretations might be considered the more probable.”

In other words, Augustine isn’t saying, “hey guys, you decide for yourself what Church doctrine is”, but rather, “you know, I’ve been on both sides of the fence, myself, on this one, so take a look at both of my arguments, and decide in which of them my conclusion was more probably correct.”

To suggest that Augustine was asking Christians to decide on doctrine by themselves, though? That’s what’s silly, here… :wink:

And yet, to call this a ‘Protestant’ approach is the least insightful comment of them all. Rather, Augustine’s approach is the quintessential example of how the Church operates: in a time when a definitive statement has yet to be made, the Church doesn’t quell discussion and debate; yet, once the definitive teaching of the Church has been established, well… at that point, as Augustine himself affirms, “causa finita est.” :wink:

But he also gives his interpretation; which is contrary to yours if you believe Peter is the rock.

Augustine is clear that he had one belief and changed it. He also made it clear that one can interpret it either way and that’s okay.

Here’s what I would say to him

[LIST]
*]Re: Peter’s confession, it’s both Peter & his confession. And Peter’s confession didn’t come from him it came from the Father. And Jesus at that point in the scripture, switches from plural (talking to the apostles) to talking to Peter singularly. The Greek word for “you” makes the distinction clear between singular and plural. iow, it is saying I Jesus (1st person singular) give you Simon (2nd person singular)
*]
[LIST]
*]a new name, (Rock…Peter)
*]on which I will build my Church
*]I give you Peter the keys of the kingdom
*]I give you Peter the power to bind and loose.
[/LIST]
*]Re: Jesus saying “get behind me Satan” Matthew 16:22-23 right after Jesus does this for Peter, that’s answered in Luke 22:31-32 . Jesus announces to Peter after the last supper, that Satan had demanded to sift all of them like wheat. That’s what Satan had been allowed to do all along in the ministry. Peter is just finding this out. Sifting was allowed all along and the apostles didn’t know it. But Jesus in Luke 22:31-32 prays specifically for Peter after telling him this, so Peter can do what is required of him THROUGH the sifting.
*]Re: Mt 18:18, keys are not mentioned. Those went to Peter. Jesus gives the others the power to bind and loose but Peter has the keys. iow, he can bind what they bind but also loose what they bind and bind what they loose.
[LIST]
*]notice in Mt 18:18 the conditions and steps for the apostles to take before “bind and loose”. Peter was not given that restriction in Mt 16:16…]
[/LIST]
*]Re: the verses used to support Peter’s primacy, the teaching of Peter’s primacy was always and everywhere taught in the Church. For example.
[LIST]
*]#3 using the passage from Luke above, in an expanded way
*]#[FONT=Arial]34 [/FONT]look at the internal links from “Irenaeus”
*]The “reformation” was nothing but a revolt from Our Lord’s Church in the 16th century. That kinda stuff was condemned from the 1st century, and there is no expiration date to the warning or the consequences for those who do it and remain divided. See the links used in #[/FONT]34
[/LIST]
[/LIST]I would also tell your friend, the bible is a home game for Catholics. The Catholic Church wrote, collected and canonized the NT.

He also believed in Limbo – a ‘third destination’ of sorts for souls – which was never the teaching of the Church.

(It’s funny to me how Protestants cry out against papal infallibility, and against ECF teachings they disagree with, especially since these aren’t Scriptural sources… but how, if they find one teaching they like, they dig their heels in and advocate for the correctness of that teaching, against all other teachings, eh? :wink: )

Augustine is clear that he had one belief and changed it. He also made it clear that one can interpret it either way and that’s okay.

The question, which you seem to be conveniently ignoring, is whether the belief that Augustine champions was considered a final teaching of the Church at the time. If it were – such as was the conciliar pronouncement on the controversy over Pelagianism, which I referenced via the ‘causa finita est’ quote – then Augustine backs off and defers to what the Church teaches, rather than appeals to his own personal opinion or authority. (That, among other things, is why it’s kinda funny that you refer to him as holding ‘Protestant’ views. ;))

And also has not been proclaimed officially as a false teaching either. The difference is that Augustine clearly left something up for interpretation that is believed to be truth in the Catholic Church now.

The CC still allows people to have their own opinions on Limbo however.

My only point is that there was diversity in the old days. Even among the most learned.

I don’t ignore it. Let’s not go too far away from my original point that ECF’s left certain things up to interpretation without getting so Anathema on everyone.

The reason I mentioned (jokingly) that Augustine was Protestant is that Catholics act like Protestants are ignorant of Scripture in regards to ‘the rock’ and our interpretation of it. I mean; look at the OP. It makes it seem like we’re nuts for our interpretation and yet Augustine agrees!

There comes a point where Catholics must say, “they do have a point.”

In his book, The Fathers Know Best, Jimmy Akin cites numerous early Christian writers and writings in support of the notion that the apostle Peter was the rock upon whom Christ said he would build his church:
Tatian the Syrian, Diatesseron 23. (c. A.D. 170)
Tertullian of Carthage, Prescription Against Heretics 22. (c. A.D. 200); Modesty 21. (c. A.D. 220)
Origen of Alexandria, Homilies on Exodus 5:4. (c. A.D. 249)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, Unity of the Catholic Church 4, first edition (Treatise 1:4) (A.D. 251); Letters 39:5. (A.D. 251); *Letters *68:8. (A.D. 254)
Firnilian of Caesarea, quoted in St. Cyprian’s *Letters *74:16, 16. (c. A.D. 255)
Letter of Clement to James 2. (c. A.D. 290)
Clementine Homilies 17:19. (c. A.D. 290)
St. Optatus of Milevis, Schism of the Donatists 2:2. (c. A.D. 367)
St. Ambrose of Milan, *Faith *5:57 (c. A.D. 379)
St. Jerome, *Letters *15:2 (A.D. 376); Against Jovinianus 1:26 (c. A.D. 393)
St. Augustine of Hippo, Letters 53:1:2. (c. A.D. 400)
Council of Ephesus, Session 3. (A.D. 431)
St. Sechnall, Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3. (c. A.D. 444)
Pope St. Leo I, *Letters *10:1. (A.D. 445)
Council of Chalcedon, Session 3. (A.D. 451)

In his treatise On Modesty, Tertullian, then a heretic, wrote against the bishop of Rome, whom Tertullian sarcastically called “Pontifex Maximus — that is, the bishop of bishops,” for unilaterally issuing an edict allowing for the reconciliation of repentant Christians guilty of adultery or fornication, objecting to the bishop’s claim that Matthew 16:18-19 gave him the personal authority to do so because his church was akin to Peter.

How would you respond from these citations;

Augustine

“*If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. … In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found” (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]). *

In this letter regarding the Donatist heresy, Saint Augustine makes it very clear that there is one visible church and that the Church was built upon Peter the rock. Then he goes on to name all his successors from Peter to Augustine’s time. Moreover he was making it clear that the Donatist “denomination” was outside the church and their teachings were in error.

Pax Cristi,

David Lamb

Here is just a portion of a multi-part post which you can find with a quick search:

TWENTY-FIVE PROTESTANT SCHOLARS ON PETER THE ROCK
(Listed Alphabetically)

“You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter)." (John 1:42)

“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 16:17-19)

W.F. Albright (Protestant) and C.S. Mann

“[Peter] is not a name, but an appellation and a play on words. There is no evidence of Peter or Kephas as a name before Christian times….Peter as Rock will be the foundation of the future community. Jesus, not quoting the Old Testament, here uses Aramaic, not Hebrew, and so uses the only Aramaic word that would serve his purpose. In view of the background of v. 19…one must dismiss as confessional interpretation any attempt to see this rock as meaning the faith, or the messianic confession, of Peter. To deny the pre-eminent position of Peter among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence…The interest in Peter’s failures and vacillations does not detract from this pre-eminence; rather, it emphasizes it. Had Peter been a lesser figure his behavior would have been of far less consequence.” (The Anchor Bible; Matthew [Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1971], 195)

Albert Barnes (Nineteenth-Century Presbyterian)

“The meaning of this phrase may be thus expressed: ‘Thou, in saying that I am the Son of God, hast called me by a name expressive of my true character. I, also, have given to thee a name expressive of your character. I have called you Peter, a rock. . . . I see that you are worthy of the name and will be a distinguished support of my religion” [Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, 170].

Francis Wright Beare (Presbyterian/Reformed)

“The play on words – ‘Peter’, this ‘rock’ – requires a change in Greek from petros (properly, ‘stone’) to petra. In Aramaic, the two words would be identical – Kepha the name given to Peter, transliterated into Greek as Kephas (Gal. 2:9), and kepha, ‘rock’. The symbol itself is Hebraic: Abraham is the ‘rock’ from which Israel was hewn, and in a rabbinic midrash, God finds in him a rock on which he can base and build the world…” (Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew [Harper and Row, 1981], page 355)

John Broadus (Baptist)

“As Peter means rock, the natural interpretation is that ‘upon this rock’ means upon thee. . . . It is an even more far-fetched and harsh play upon words if we understand the rock to be Christ and a very feeble and almost unmeaning play upon words if the rock is Peter’s confession”

“Many insist on the distinction between the two Greek words, thou art Petros and on this petra, holding that if the rock had meant Peter, either petros or petra would have been used both times, and that petros signifies a separate stone or fragment broken off, while petra is the massive rock. But this distinction is almost entirely confined to poetry, the common prose word instead of petros being lithos; nor is the distinction uniformly observed.”

“But the main answer here is that our Lord undoubtedly spoke Aramaic, which has no known means of making such a distinction [between feminine petra and masculine petros in Greek]. The Peshitta (Western Aramaic) renders, “Thou are kipho, and on this kipho”. The Eastern Aramaic, spoken in Palestine in the time of Christ, must necessarily have said in like manner, “Thou are kepha, and on this kepha”… Beza called attention to the fact that it is so likewise in French: “Thou art Pierre, and on this pierre”; and Nicholson suggests that we could say, “Thou art Piers (old English for Peter), and on this pier.” [Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1886), pages 355-356JPK page 20]

Craig L. Blomberg (Baptist)

“Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon’s nickname “Peter” (Petros = rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus’ declaration, “You are Peter”, parallels Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ”, as if to say, “Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.” The expression “this rock” almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following “the Christ” in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter’s name (Petros) and the word “rock” (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification.” (The New American Commentary: Matthew, vol. 22 (Nashville: Broadman, 1992), pages 251-252, JPK pages 31-32)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.