Pentecostal pastor claims Jesus did NOT build his Church on Peter?

There is a very anti-Catholic (former cradle Catholic, whose family left the RC church when he was a child and converted to Pentecostalism) pastor that I know through my volunteer work at a program that takes place at his church (even though I do not go to that church). He once said that Jesus did NOT mean for Peter to run the Church. That it was not built on Peter at all and therefore the Catholic Church is wrong wrong wrong.

How could he, a sola scriptura, born again Protestant, believe this, when we read in the Bible:

Matthew 16:18: “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.”

Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . .”

I dont know how he could deny Peter’s office in the Church. I can understand the succession of that office might require more faith, but it is overwhelmingly obvious that Jesus devoted so much into the office which He gave to Peter that we are convicted in the Truth of this office.

In Acts 15, Peter reminds the Apostles and elders that God Himself chose from among them Peter in order to deliver from His Teaching (mouth) the Gospel which is to be held as Truth. No one contested him when he said this!!! Before he stood up, there was much debate! He ended the debate by the authority Jesus gave him!

The manner in which he gave the infaillible decree (dogma) was affirming His Teaching as coming from the authority given His office among the rest of them.

A large protest from protestantism is that Peter is not the rock Jesus built His Church on because Jesus is The Rock of our faith and Church. In this Sunday’s reading we find something interestingly similar to this concept.

1 Peter 2:25
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Now compare this to…

Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Since I do not know the gentleman, I cannot say how it is that he can believe this.

However - my experience with those who argue thus is that basically their “Anti-Catholicism” clouds their ability to read Scripture without bias.

One method that I have found useful in such situations (and mind you it takes some time) is to remove the Catholic Church from the equation - and then look at the NT Church structure as a whole. What does the NT say about Church structure? What was the intent?

What I have found is repeated exhortations and prayers for unity. I have found Jesus instructing the disciples to “tell it to the Church” and to listen to the Church (Mt 18:15-18)…I have found this instruction beautifully played out in Acts 15.
I have found that Paul calls the Church the Pillar and Ground of Truth (1 Tim3:16) and that it is through the Church that God’s wisdom is shown (Eph 3:8-12)

So - what does all of this tell us about the Church as designed by Christ and set-up in the 1st century? It was singular, it was visible, it was authoritative, It was given the authority to bind and loose, and to make doctrine…etc…etc…

So then - let this man tell you how the Pentecostal Church structure is more biblical than the Catholic / EO Church structure?

Like I said, such conversations can take a while, but I HAVE had protestants concede that Scripture does point to a more unified Church than they see in the protestant world…


Matthew 16:18 is one of the most beautiful verses to me. Many years ago, when I was a teenager and not even thinking about Catholicism, I (for some reason now forgotten) attended a Mass at a church in Manchester, England. The Mass was in Latin and this verse was read, presumably it was part of the Gospel that day.

Forty years later and I still think of it. For me it justifies my own recent conversion to Catholicism and it says it all. “On this rock I will build my Church” - thanks be to God.

Hello 7 Waters.

Since they are the sole arbiters of whatever it is they believe and no one else, even the Bible they use, can refute anything anyone else declares to be truth except of course whatever it is they believe which you’re expected to believe if they are preaching it at you. They tend to ignore totally those things in the Scriptures that contradict whatever it is they believe. You could show them that passage in a open Bible in your hand and one of two things would happen. One, they’d flat out deny it. Or two, re-interpret to you what it “really” means.

You could try this angle: ask him if Peter had no real authority given him, who gives him any authority to build a church of his own? He’ll probably look at you like you have three heads and shake his head and walk away feeling sorry for you that you are still Catholic. Oh well.


1 Peter:2 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation –

3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,

5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

6 For it stands in Scripture: "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. "

7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, " { Greek b the head of the corner b }

8 and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. " They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

There are two typical arguments presented about the first scripture, which your interpret as saying that Peter (Petros) is named the Rock (Petras) of the Church.

  1. Jesus is not referring to Jesus when he says on this Rock I will build my Church. They typically rely on other passages from the New Testament where the word petras is used, pointing out that in every single one of them it is Jesus who is being referenced. This is hermeneutically dodgy because it is counterintuitive; it is not what Jesus seems to be saying outright.

  2. The second, much more plausible response, is that Peter, who had just moments before referred to Jesus as the Christ was in that moment a representative of the Church. The Roman Catholic position is actually very similar to this, that Peter became a unilateral representative/leader of the Church in this passage. The only difference is that the common Protestant position is that Peter was acting as a representative of the Church already in this passage and that the commendations given to him by Christ apply to the whole body of the faithful and not merely to whatever Bishop happens to be active in Rome at the time.

It seems to me that the apparent problems with the second approach are solved when you bare in mind that Jesus was a very funny man who saw an opportunity for a bit of wordplay. “I named you Rock? Well now you’re the Rock!” This also answers the verse about the keys to the Kingdom, which if memory serves were given much less explicitly to Peter as an individual. Alone, it fails to account for “feed my sheep” however; that is a difficult passage for Protestants to make sense of.

Hmmm… Its almost like Jesus was establishing a living Church which resembled Himself! :shrug:

Simon was NOT the Rock. Jesus is the Rock. Peter is the rock which Jesus established His Mystical Body on. Peter was the first holder of the office of Prime Minister.

Paul recognized the office of Christ’s vicar when bringing his gospel to Peter for Confirmation. Then Paul rebuked the man Cephas for behaving in contradiction to the Gospel that he just Confirmed Paul in.

We are all priests able to offer spiritual sacrifices to God directly, yes. Amen

We are all (including the man holding the office of Peter) members of a Body of Christ.

We are all living stones built up as a holy house. Take away the rock which Jesus place with Peter and we are a divided house.

:thumbsup: …but in a nutshell what do you want us to understand from these verses in relation to the OP?

Yea that sounds interesting, except you then have to ignore alot of other Scripture relating to Peter being a shepherd over the flock after Jesus returned to the Father. :shrug:

The devil demanded Peter be sifted and Jesus prayed specifically for him to strengthen the others after he repented.

Jesus appeared to Peter first and then the 11.

Jesus commissions Peter alone while the others were present to feed His sheep.

Peter “in those days” stood up among them and spoke on behalf of the group.

Peter presided the council to replace Judas.

Peter went in and out among them all.

Peter stood up and settled the dispute at the council of Jerusalem.

Im sure there’s more, but they must all be a “funny” joke Jesus was playing?

Simple free will. You have free will to accept or reject the teaching of the Apostles.

Christ said you are Kepha which in Aramaic the language in which Jesus uses translates into Rock. It is as simple.

You are Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church. Jesus referred to himself as the cornerstone.

The Stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Anyone that lays block knows that the cornerstone is the most important part of a building.

The Jews rejected Christ who is the stone who has become the cornerstone.

Jesus gave PETER the ROCK the keys to the kingdom. YOU are Peter and to YOU I give the keys to the kingom.

He never said you are ROCKS or you are PETERS and to all of You I give the keys to the kingdom.

The CC is wrong,wrong,wrong for the last 2,000 years, until this Pentecostal pastor appeared? Rrriiiggghhttt!

Why on earth would I listen to a man who is 2,000 years separated from Christ as oppose to men who lived much closer to the Apostles? It is common sense!

Or how about My favorite when Peter stood up and said the Lord has made his CHOICE among us that it is through MY MOUTH to teach the gentiles.

If Peter is not the Rock, and not the leader of the RCC then what Choice is Peter talking about? And why was not a word said to contradict this choice he speaks of.:thumbsup::thumbsup:

In my experience, they attempt to make a big deal out of the Greek difference between petros and petras, which really amounts to nothing at all. Greek, like modern Spanish, assigns gender to inanimate objects. IIRC (it’s been a while, so check me), rock is feminine in Greek. So written in Greek, the “and on this rock” part is written normally. But the “Your are rock” portion is rejumbled in order to avoid giving Simon a feminine name.

In other words, if you DO want to say precisely “You are Rock and on this rock I will build my church” that sentence in Greek will have “rock” in two different genders. So that argument is worthless.

But overall, just take a step back a second. Are these guys SERIOUSLY arguing that Jesus decided to rename Simon as “Rock” and that it was purely a coincidence that Jesus in the same sentence where he stated that he’d build his church on the rock?

Wanna buy some prime Florida swampland cheap? Just a couple little bitty permits to procure and you can build some awesome condos!

Another one I like is Acts 2:14. During his ministry Jesus had “the Twelve.” After the ascension however, Peter is separated out from them as the new leader. “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, . . .”

Most often such people are not interested in discussion - - Although you might engage him thus…

OK - The Catholic Church is wrong wrong wrong. The who is right right right? :smiley:
Who did Jesus intend to run His Church?

His reply will likely be that no man can be “right” (as in infallible) and only Scripture is infallible (or inerrant).

This gives you the opening to begin an exploration of what the NT reveals about how the Church functioned in the time of the Apostles.

I’m not a big fan of using Mt 16 for Church authority for two reasons.
One is that it is a focal point for those wishing to argue the papacy and infallibility. For this reason each side has their arguments all lined up and frankly I see little headway made in such discussions.
The other reason is - given the wealth of information contained in the rest of NT Scripture - concentrating too much on Mt 16 can be something of a red herring.

So - put on the Sola Scriptura hat. Set aside the argument over the Papal office and infallibility…Turn the table on your pastor friend and seek along with him the evidence in Scripture for how the Early Church functioned. Unity(prayed for and exhorted to by Jesus and the Apostles), Authority to bind and loose (mentioned only twice and both times by Jesus), Authority to determine doctrine in council (Acts 15).

Having gone through the NT and seeing the many calls to visible and authoritative unity, Look at the structures of the two most ancient Christian Churches (RC and EO)…Look at how similar they are.
Then - after all of that, look at what has come unity under the banner of “Sola Scriptura” in just 500 years.

Wind up with the point that, whether you agree with the Papal office or not, it is certain that the “protestant model” of many independent Churches is NOT what is called for in the NT.


Its a pretty common interpretation, even amongst the ECFS that Jesus built the church on Peter’s confession.

Peter’s confession was the infaillible answer to Jesus’ question.

Jesus gathered all the apostles together as a model council. Then He presents the question at hand, which was, “who do the people say Jesus is, who do the Apostles say Jesus is?”

The apostles give a variety of answers, BUT…

Peter, being anointed by the Father answers, “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus was drawing out the one who would be blessed with holding the office of Chief Apostle. This is what we designate to Peter’s successors. Simon Peter, the person, is not the rock of our Church. He was, in those days, the holder of the keys of authority in the Church.

This authority can and has been abused. Even by Peter himself, according to St Paul! Peter was not a man who was unshakable. He had fears, doubts, and weaknesses. Jesus makes us all aware of this many times. He walked on water, for a time, then began to sink. Satan spoke through him, and Jesus rebuked him. He denied Jesus 3 times after His arrest. And still Jesus prayed for his leadership of the Church.

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