[quote=martino]I would like to deal with a very specific verse in Scripture that seems to be the basis behind a major dispute between Catholics and non Catholics. Almost every Protestant whom I have ever discussed the meaning of Matthew 16:18 has given me basically the same interpretation; that Peter’s confession of faith is the rock that Jesus builds his church on, not Peter himself. I have also seen many Catholics on this forum seeking the answer to this erroneous interpretation of Matt 16:18. I am not interested in debating the Papacy, authority or anything else except for a grammatical evaluation of the passage that actually begins with verse 15. Here is the entire passage:
Matt 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
I would like for any non Catholic who believes that Peter’s confession of faith is “the rock” to answer this specific line of reasoning:
Peter’s confession of faith is in verse 16, Jesus’ reference to “this rock” is in verse 18.
In verse 18 Jesus says, “and I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”. **Peter **is the object of that sentence; so when Jesus says in the second part of the sentence, “…and on this rock I will build my church” he is simply referring back to the object which is Peter. “This rock” must relate back to the closest noun, not to a noun two sentences back. That my friends is elementary grammar!
Here is an example sentence: “I have a car and a truck, and it is blue.” Which is blue? The truck, because that is the noun closest to the pronoun “it.” You simply cannot skip over a noun and attach it to some earlier mentioned noun, especially one that is not even in the same sentence.
A 2nd grader would get an F if they tried using this kind of faulty grammar; how is it that educated adults cannot see the obvious. I want to hear from anyone that claims Peter’s profession of faith is the “rock” in verse 18.
Not exactly - well not at all really. It is true that we must be careful not to use misplaced modifiers the modifier is not always directed at the closest noun. For instance I could say,
“The New Testament, in which all Christians abide, is written in Greek.”
This sentence is acceptable and the modifier is not directed at the closest noun. When a prepositional phase separates the agent from the modifier, even though the object of the preposition is closer to the modifier it is not directed at the closest noun.
To keep with your original car analogy a person could say,
“The seats in the truck are red.”
The second point that needs to be considered is that Jesus is speaking this statement not writing it…
Spoken language is quite a bit different than written language, for instance it is entirely acceptable for Jerry Sienfeld to say to Frank Costanza-
“Great joke Costanza, I will build my monologue off of it.”
Now even though Costanza is closer to the modifier it is not the object - thee joke is the object of the modifier.
All that aside this verse was not written in 20th century English
Considering St. John Chrysostom (347-407) says this: “Upon this rock,” not upon Peter. For He built His Church not upon man, but upon the faith of Peter. But what was his faith? “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living
Funny considering his fist language was Ancient Greek.