The "It" Against Which the Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

It’s hard to stomach because of his arrogance and condescension, let alone the blatant ignorance or willful misrepresentation of Catholic history and Catholic doctrine, but his interpretation is a new one I haven’t heard before. We all know the verse, Matthew 16:18, and Catholics and Protestants have been arguing about the “rock” for 500 years, but I’ve never seen an argument that the “it” against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail isn’t the Church. I thought we just argued about the nature of the Church, not whether Hell would prevail against it. Unless I’m misunderstanding what he’s saying, it seems to me like he’s saying Christ never promised to protect the Church against Hell, but only the foundation of the Church which is the belief in Christ’s divinity and death and resurrection. This interpretation also seems to ignore 1 Timothy 3:15 wherein the Church is “the pillar and ground of the truth”.

Here’s the video:

I guess my questions are: Is this a common interpretation within Lutheranism? Where in history is the beginning of this interpretive tradition regarding the “it”; who first explicated it?

Yeah, that poor little insignificant pebble.:slight_smile:

The it is the church .

Keep the faith , Starwars :slight_smile:

Arrogance and condescension is an understatement. However, this is not a new revelation, I have heard it in the past that it refers to the Faith of the body of believers, all Christians everywhere and not the church. However, his entire thought process is balanced on his definition of Petros meaning pebble, which most scholars have already come to an agreement that it doesn’t.
On a side note I came across this same line of thinking yesterday when I was searching for a non catholic interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:29. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. The speaker used the same thought process and defined “the body” not to mean the body of Christ but the body of believers to refute that this verse is speaking of the Eucharist.

I’ve been working on a comeback, in regards to Peter, which seems logical to me, but I have learned when it comes to the Bible differences most people refuse to use logic in their interpretations. The non stop fighting and twisting of scriptures regarding the importance of Peter makes my head hurt. I was hoping this might be a different direction to show the importance of the Church when it comes to defining scriptures such as these.
2 Peter 3:15-16
And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this[a] as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

I’ve been searching for an answer to “Why would Peter write it?”

Now put yourself in Peter’s shoes. If this is such vital information would you stop at a warning? Hey people some of these directions are hard to understand so don’t miss read them or you will be destroyed.
Do you think Peter being smart enough to foresee the possibilities of miss understand and miss using the scriptures, would have figure out a way of making sure someone was still on earth to guide us after he was gone? Just like Jesus left the Apostles to guide the people of their time after Jesus Ascended.

Not sure if that would be a good response or I am just blowing wind that will be ignored. Thanks for the input.

For the record, in the Greek it’s not “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” It’s “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.” A feminine singular pronoun, in agreement with its antecedent “church,” a feminine singular noun. That should go a long way toward settling the argument.

I think that’s a good point. That seems the perfect place to tell us how exactly one should interpret the scriptures if not through the instruction of the Apostles and their successors. That would’ve been the perfect place to expound upon Sola Scriptura, or the Bible interpreting itself, or the individual believer filled with the Holy Spirit.

The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church because the Church is built on the rock. Neither will the gates of hell prevail against the rock upon which the Church is built because the fate of the Church is tied to the rock upon which it is built. The rock upon which the Church is built is Peter and the popes who succeed him. Peter and the popes who succeed him are the rock because Jesus Christ prayed that their “faith may not fail,” not only their faith in a few revealed truths, such as Christ’s divinity and death and resurrection, but their faith in all revealed truths, in order that they in turn may strengthen their brethren. (Luke 22:31-32)

it should, until you get told that you shouldn’t have to go back to the greek to prove your doctrine

:nope: He’s wrong.

Interesting. I would ask, though, if someone could object by claiming that the Greek word for “rock” as the foundation of the Church is also feminine and could be the antecedent. Not a Greek scholar here, mind you.

Though “church” is the nearest antecedent feminine singular noun, couldn’t the “it” also refer back to the “rock” (petra), the other antecedent feminine singular noun in the sentence? Is there not the same ambiguity with such pronouns as there is in English?

Quite possible. Jesus is both the feminine and masculine “rock” as cited in scriptures. (Sorry do not remember the verses). Certainly as a "secondary’’ meaning to the scripture the video makes a good point. Men, church officials have not always “prevailed”. What has been perfect is God’s grace, the Father drawing men to Jesus Christ throughout all the ages, despite persecution, just as certainly as the Body of Christ , the “church” ,the ecclesia, the called out ones, have prevailed.

In the rock discourse it is clear that God’s illuminating power was central and key, even above religious “institution” (which at that time was the Jewish nation) . So maybe the "it’ is divine revelation that Christ is the Messiah, Our Savior and Lord.


Then they will say… what about all the Bad Popes. :slight_smile:

So what about this part… I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Church has an aspect of Christ guiding and protecting her, and in particular the true, faithfull. The Lord will guide through the offices He established, even if it means despite individual failures.

Jesus, here, obviously draws on the Scriptures of Isaiah 22. He makes a distinction with Peter, individually, in order to set him apart as a first holder of a new office among even the twelve. He confirms this at other times, and even with the other 11 present.

Jesus conferred His authority to the 12, and even specifically to one of the twelve first and foremost. Peter, and his successors are members of the Church body. As individuals, God shows no partiality to them. Yet they occupy an office appointed by Chris which contains authority.

Hi T,

Some have rendered the reading to mean that heaven is extending the binding/loosing to earth, thru the ecclesia and its leaders. That is because a leader binds does not necessarily mean it is bound in heaven. It has to be the will of the Father first. It is conditional power. The church is the pillar as long as she preaches Christ crucified/ risen etc., because that is what the Father will illumine to lost souls.

It is not either/or. It is both Christ and the Father’s revelation thru the church, for by the foolishness of preaching God chose man to be saved.

Salvation was from the Jews , Christ said. Yet it was and is the drawing of the Father and His free gift by grace thru the Holy Ghost that He moved amongst the Jews and mankind. It was conditional for Israel as it is today for the church.

The gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ building the church, but the church is not an end in itself. Christ has defeated Satan and death , and as long as we are in Him individually, and corporately as congregations, death and hell shall not prevail against us either.

It is wrong to lose sight of this balance, to idolize , put on a pedestal the institution (Israel then, church now) above it’s Anchor. Faith in Christ makes us a Christian primarily, above secondary faith in Lutheranism, or Orthodoxy, or Catholicism, etc…


I think this is very Catholic to a certain degree. Then it takes a shift into calling the Church leadership as invisible, or relative to “if the individual Christian considers them as from Christ”.

We all DO have a responsibility to learn and know the Catholic faith. If we have concern that a leader is departing the faith, by either his actions or teachings, then we are able to inquire and raise it to higher awareness. If we are unsatisfied with the “Church’s” judgment, then the problem subsist in ourselves.

What constitutes the “Church” must ultimately include the highest office which Jesus instituted… the Papacy.

It’s not our focus on the pope, but Christ’s will to lead us in the means He designed.

Hi rc and good first Friday to you,

Thank you for that “certain degree”. It is encouraging.

Not sure I shift to invisible. I stressed both the invisible (the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, divine revelation) and the visible (the ecclesia, its leaders, and “preachers”) I also did this for both OT and NT times, the visible and invisible. Just like the Body of Christ, the Church- the visible Body (ecclesia), and the* invisible *Head.


I suppose the “it” can be parsed a few ways with much nuance and that the Catholic’s embracing of a “both, and” principle would allow us to affirm that “it” is the faith, the foundation, the pope, and the Church, but this total separation of the actual visible Church, including her pope, from the “it”, making her susceptible to the gates of Hell, seems a very Protestant interpretation. Just as Catholics believe the visible Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, it seems we’d have to affirm that the visible Church cannot be prevailed against by the gates of Hell. This is why I ask the second question that I think every biblical interpretation should be measured against. How long have Christians interpreted that verse to mean that? Which traditions have professed such an interpretation that the “it” isn’t or cannot be the Church?

Well you should know that I respect your genuine faith. This means, from my point of view, that you have much Catholic faith.

I was probably “reading between lines” in stating that your belief leans towards “invisible” Church leadership. Maybe I was wrong to do so. But my perspective is that there is only ONE leadership. Let’s look at 1st Corinthians for me to explain…

I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.11For it has been reported to me by Chlo′e’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren.12What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol′los,” or “I belong to Cephas,”or “I belong to Christ.”13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?14I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga′ius;15lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name.16(I did baptize also the household of Steph′anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Paul is addressing divisions over leadership. But some things are interesting about this passage.

First, Paul is appealing to faith in Christian as foundational! This is the best way to appeal to one another to come to agreement in matters of the faith. We see this here at CA too!

Second, Paul names Apolo, himself, Peter and Jesus. Jesus is obvious, and Paul and Apolos seems to have established and preside as their leaders. But Peter is still recognized as a leader among them.

Third, Paul names Jesus among them, so it isn’t the fact that they consider these men as their leaders, but that they consider them as divided! The problem has to do with them thinking they “belong” to one as opposed to the other. This causes division and breaking up the unity of Christmas and His leadership.

I bring all this up because we should not have leaders who are opposed to one another! And we should not consider our leaders opposed to one another.

Who is your leadership? Are they united to the Steward whom Jesus established with Peter? There cannot be perfect unity of faith without assent in to this Truth! Even though assent in to the leadership of the Papacy does not guarantee genuine “following” the faith professed through the Papacy. This is because “weeds” grow in every place.

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