Peter as the supreme bishop over all churches


#1

I have been researching both sides of the argument (he was, he wasn’t), and have come upon some research I am having trouble disputing. I’m hoping it is allowed for me to post the link, since I can’t type down all the quotes, and my questions from them. There’s only so much space on this forum! :wink:

One of the biggest problems I have is that certain ECFs will be quoted by the RC, and his position seems pro-papal. However, then the whole quote will be shown, and it looks as if it was yanked out of context of his teachings.

For instance, Tertullian talks about Peter being the rock and so forth, but then he later says that Peter himself was the rock only, not his successors (popes). Peter essayed the key by his preaching, and the church was therefore built through him.

Also, Origen says that if we are all like Peter if we proclaim the same as he did- that Christ is the Son of the living God. If we say that the Church was built ONLY on Peter (his emphasis), then what about John, son of Thunder or the other apostles?

Cyprian says that Peter is a source of unity for the church, and is the Rock, but is a figurative representative of the bishops of the church. They all have the same power based on Matthew 18.

I’ve been told that the church was concilliar, not monarchial, such as in Acts 15. Peter didn’t simply say this is what must be done, and the others did it. The people did not come simply to Peter alone, but to James as well.:confused: When did that change?

Thanks in advance for your help. I’ve been greatly helped by this forum. :slight_smile: Pray for me as I attend summer RCIA meetings, and decide whether to continue from there. My son attends a Catholic school, and any parent, Catholic or no, is invited.

oneseeker


#2

I have been researching both sides of the argument (he was, he wasn’t), and have come upon some research I am having trouble disputing. I’m hoping it is allowed for me to post the link, since I can’t type down all the quotes, and my questions from them. There’s only so much space on this forum! :wink:

One of the biggest problems I have is that certain ECFs will be quoted by the RC, and his position seems pro-papal. However, then the whole quote will be shown, and it looks as if it was yanked out of context of his teachings.

For instance, Tertullian talks about Peter being the rock and so forth, but then he later says that Peter himself was the rock only, not his successors (popes). Peter essayed the key by his preaching, and the church was therefore built through him.

Also, Origen says that if we are all like Peter if we proclaim the same as he did- that Christ is the Son of the living God. If we say that the Church was built ONLY on Peter (his emphasis), then what about John, son of Thunder or the other apostles?

Cyprian says that Peter is a source of unity for the church, and is the Rock, but is a figurative representative of the bishops of the church. They all have the same power based on Matthew 18.

I’ve been told that the church was concilliar, not monarchial, such as in Acts 15. Peter didn’t simply say this is what must be done, and the others did it. The people did not come simply to Peter alone, but to James as well.:confused: When did that change?

Thanks in advance for your help. I’ve been greatly helped by this forum. :slight_smile: Pray for me as I attend summer RCIA meetings, and decide whether to continue from there. My son attends a Catholic school, and any parent, Catholic or no, is invited.

oneseeker

P.S. Here is the link. Hope it’s not removed, but if so, okay! christiantruth.com/mt16.html


#3

I recommend you read the book Papal Primacy: From Its Origins to the Present by Klaus Schatz, S.J.

The book deals with the subject historically using an academic/scholarly approach rather than an apologetic approach, so you avoid all the problems with “he was, he wasn’t” debates. To quote the first sentence on page 1:

There appears at the present time to be increasing consensus among Catholic and non-Catholic exegetes regarding the Petrine office in the New Testament.


#4

Windsor Responds to Webster

a2z.org/acts/windsorandaugustine.htm

Refutation of Protestant Polemicist William Webster’s Critique of Catholic Tradition and Newmanian Development of Doctrine
ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ31.HTM

A man says to his wife: "Who do you say that I am?
The woman replies, "You are my husband."
How is the woman’s confession a distinct and separate entity from the person making it?

I have no problem in accepting the womans confession of who her husband is. The Pope has no problem accepting Peter’s confession as the Rock on which the Church would be built, but we know it doesn’t stop there.

IMHO, this whole denial of Peter’s primacy reeks of the Gnostic principle of divorcing the divine from the human. If the Church is not an extension of the Incarnation, then the Eucharist is a mere sentiment.

Sentiments do not give eternal life.

Protestant version:

Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to your confession, you are your confession, and upon this rock of what you said I will build my church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give your confession the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever your confession binds on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever what you said looses on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.

<…sigh…>


#5

The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 is an example of Councils. But Peter’s actions in Acts also speak of a Primacy.

In Acts 1, it is Peter that decides that a successor to Judas must be chosen. The choice between Matthias and Barsabas is done by lots (akin to a lottery or raffle today), but the decision that there must be a successor is Peter’s as well as the decision of who the two candidates must be. Most people also overlook the fact that Jesus could have chosen a replacement Apostle during His 40 days of Resurrection, but He didn’t. He left it up to Peter to decide that Judas must be replaced. And Peter didn’t exactly look for advice from the other 10, did he?

In Acts 2, when asked “What shall we do, brother” by the Jews, Peter is the one who says, “Repent and be Baptized”. He never looks around for advice.

In Acts 9, Peter is the one who says that Gentiles should be allowed into the New Covenant Church. Again, no advice, no request for consent, simply a statement that Gentiles are allowed in the Church.

None of those three edicts of Peter’s came with any councilar decisions.

As far as successors, look to the letter of St. Clement to the Church in Corinth circa 80-90AD. In the letter, St. Clement speaks with an authority to put back in place the Church priests and elders that were chosen by the Church and not by locals. But during this time, the Apostle John was still alive. Neither the Church in Corinth or the Pope in Rome show any signs of going to St. John for resolution to this issue.

As far as Church Fathers, there was a great inconsistency among the Eastern Fathers in the Papacy. It seems when there were issues that needed resolution and they couldn’t be resolved on a local scale, several Eastern Fathers would go to Rome for resolution. And yet, when the resolution from Rome was to their liking, the same Eastern Father would then question the very authority that they sought in the first place.


#6

Tertullian was a full-blown Montanist heretic when he wrote his essay On Modesty, cited on the anti-Catholic website. Therefore, I wouldn’t put too much stock in his interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19. However, because there is no indication that the bishop of Rome at the time was a heretic, we can probably trust his interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19 which seems to have been that as bishop of Rome he enjoyed certain Petrine prerogatives which included the authority to unilaterally issue edicts affecting the whole Church or, in the words of Tertullian the heretic, the bishop of Rome was the “bishop of bishops.”


#7

Hi Oneseeker,

While the Fathers quoted in these instances, are often addressing other controversies than that of papal primacy, what is really convincing to me, is not so much what individual members of the Church said, but what the Church as a unit did. If you go through all the genuine councils that preceded the Orthodox schism, you will find that, although most, if not all of them, took place in the East, the Pope was either present or represented by his legates. See here.

Verbum


#8

What of Origens view of Matt 16? He states this as applicable to all Christians…He said, repeatedly, that all Christians are rocks upon whom the church is built and that all Christians possess the keys of the kingdom.

Or Cyprian…
Cyprian refers to all bishops as successors of Peter, and he refers to all of them possessing the keys and having the words of Matthew 16 applied to them.


#9

It’s interesting that you should mention Cyprian. I stumbled across these words by Cyprian while studying Romans yesterday.

*On the Unity of the Catholic Church, *first edition, written in 251AD by St Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage. Chapter 4 [referencing the Gospel of St John [URL=“http://www.newadvent.org/bible/joh021.htm#15”]21:15-17

]: *“And again He says to him after His resurrection: ‘Feed my sheep.’
*
*On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. *Notice there is “a chair”, which means an office that is passed on after the chair is “empty”.
*

So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith

? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church? …]. Wow! Separation from the Chair that presides in Rome means separation from the Church!!! How Papish!!! ;)*
*

The church is bathed in the light of the Lord, and pours her rays over the whole world; but it is one light that is spread everywhere, and the unity of her structure is undivided.”

  • Amen!!! No matter our differences we should always pray for our unity!!!

There’s something else worth noting. Our good Cyprian is the Bishop of Carthage - not exactly a secular ally of secular Rome. What pride would Cyprian have to swallow to admit that anything “Romish” would have authority of anything Carthagian.


#10

Cyprian believed in a primacy of Peter, but explains that the primacy is chronological and symbolic, not by jurisdiction…Here i’ve put it in a more complete context for your learning enjoyment…:smiley:
"The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, ‘I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, ‘Feed my sheep.’ And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, ‘As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;’ yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity."


#11

What is a Chair?


#12

NW I challenge you to find the version you spec’d in full context…
“Chair” isn’t in my context from any of the translated pages i’ve seen and they are all in full context…:confused: :confused:


#13

This is perfectly consistent with a Catholic understanding of the shared authority of the Apostles and their participation in the power of the keys as related to the forgiveness of sins. The power of the Keys in the peculiarly Petrine sense harks back to Isaiah 22:22 – as you well know.

Interesting that you of all people would post a quote from the Fathers regarding the forgiveness of sins through the Apostolic ministry, since I doubt very much that you believe in it.


#14

Tertullian was in his Montanist phase when he said this. He also accused the bishop of Rome of claiming authority based on the keys given to Peter. So from this we can know that the bishop of Rome claimed Petrine authority based on the keys, and Tertullian rejected this.

Also, Origen says that if we are all like Peter if we proclaim the same as he did- that Christ is the Son of the living God. If we say that the Church was built ONLY on Peter (his emphasis), then what about John, son of Thunder or the other apostles?

Note that in the middle of his commentary on Matthew 16, he says his meaning is spiritual, not literal. “And if any one says this to Him, not by flesh and blood revealing it unto Him but through the Father in heaven, he will obtain the things that were spoken according to the letter of the Gospel to that Peter, but, as the spirit of the Gospel teaches, to every one who becomes such as that Peter was.” So the litteral meaning is what is said directly to Peter, but the spiritual meaning "as the spirit of the Gospel teaches (e.g. alegorical meaning) is that all will be like Peter.

The early church fathers had a well defined distinction when doing exegesis. The literal meaning first, then the spiritual or alegorical explanations.

If you read a little further to his commentary on Matthew 18, you will find some very strong arguments in favour of a special Petrine primacy based on a more literal interpretation of the text.

But since it was necessary, even if something in common had been said in the case of Peter and those who had thrice admonished the brethren, that Peter should have some element superior to those who thrice admonished, in the case of Peter, this saying I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, Matthew 16:19 has been specially set before the words, And what things soever you shall bind on earth, etc. And, indeed, if we were to attend carefully to the evangelical writings, we would also find here, and in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter and those who have thrice admonished the brethren, a great difference and a pre-eminence in the things said to Peter, compared with the second class. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on the earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage, with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens. Matthew 16:19 The better, therefore, is the binder, so much more blessed is he who has been loosed, so that in every part of the heavens his loosing has been accomplished.

The apostles have authority over one level of heaven, but Peter has authority over all seven. Origen’s cosmology postulated seven heavens, probably akin to Paul’s cosmology based on his description of being taken up to the third heaven.

Thanks in advance for your help. I’ve been greatly helped by this forum. :slight_smile: Pray for me as I attend summer RCIA meetings, and decide whether to continue from there. My son attends a Catholic school, and any parent, Catholic or no, is invited.

oneseeker

Good luck oneseeker.

God bless,
Ut


#15

I find the keys applicable to all Christians…The forgiveness of sins can be done as according to Holy Scripture. I unlike many of you am willing to bend on my own theology in favor of truth.


#16

Are “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others” the same teaching as “Those sins you forgive, they are forgiven”?

I don’t think so. What gives the authority to not forgive. The other says you will be punished if you don’t forgive.

On another note, I"ll accept your challenge. Give me a couple of days.


#17

Just for fun? Or is there an exegetical rationale behind this?


#18

Yeah there is rationale.
And ANF backing to this line of thinking.


#19

The Pope was usually represented by legates. And there was no such thing in the undivided Church as universal pontiff, supreme pontiff, or papal infallibility. The Church knew of no such thing and the Holy Orthodox Church does not recognize it today.

Was St Peter’s authority superior to the other apotles? No. We see in Matt 18:18 that the same authority to bind and loose is given to ALL the apostles.

The whole Church shares in the power of the keys.

Isaiah 22 talks of a singular key where Matthew speaks of keys (plural). The reference to Isaiah is closer to Rev 3:7. It is Christ who holds the key.


#20

So why does Jesus give this authority to one person AND THEN to the group? This seems to be redundant.

Hmmm, I’m confused. Where in the Bible does it say this?

Could this be due to the fact that Judah was a single country, with just the Jews and the New Covenant Church included all people, Jews and Gentiles, as well as a worldwide scope.

The Kingdom of Judah was also simply of this world, while the New Covenant Church’s Kingdom is of this world and the next.

I’m not sure if the discrepancy in key/keys is that significant.


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