Hello! We Catholics maintain that Christ designated Peter as the rock on which His church would be built but Protestants claim otherwise by using 1 Peter 2:4-9 and 1 Corinthians 3:11 as proof. My answer to this is that Peter is indeed the rock on whom the Lord built His church whereas Christ the Lord is the foundation of Christianity whom the church worships. Modern protestant scholars recognize Peter as the rock, although they would still not submit to the pope’s authority and eventually come home to Catholicism, but there are others who still hold on to the medieval thought that Christ and no other is the rock He’s referring to in Matthew 16:18-19. How would you respond to this? Thank you!
There is plenty of biblical evidence that might placate a “Bible Only” Protestant Christian.
Expand the discussion to an allegory, using architecture as the theme, citing the following’[LIST]
and, a Cornerstone[/LIST]
The Church is the “household” of God, built on the foundation of the Apostles, with Jesus as the cornerstone.
19So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
If the “foundation” the Church was to be built on was weak, the Church would not survive.
The purpose of a foundation is to hold up and hold together the structure above it. Contrary to our everyday experience the ground is not quite still and in many cases not totally solid. A house which is just plonked down on bare earth is more likely to be cracked or damaged over time by natural forces. A properly-built foundation increases the amount of abuse a house structure can take and remain safe for the people inside it.
47Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49*But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Jesus saw the faith of Peter the strong foundation of rock (see Luke 6:48, above), on which the Church could be built and weather the assault the evil one would place on it Matthew 16:18 - And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it).
The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
Christ, time and time again, is referred to as the “cornerstone” (of the Church):
The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Acts 4:10-12 (Peter speaking)
10be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well. 11This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the cornerstone. 12*And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Scripture shows us clearly that Peter IS the foundation, and Christ is the Cornerstone; both a foundation and a cornerstone to allow the Church built by God to stand forever.
Hope this helps
Peace and all Good!
Who else besides Peter holds the keys to the Kingdom of heaven?
Everyone who has put all their trust in Christ has authority to access all the riches of the Kingdom. There is no respect of persons with God.
Of course, without the Church, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth, how else would you know about Christ or the Kingdom? After all, you would not have scripture nor even belief in God without the Church. But because of the Church’s strong foundation, you can have confidence that the information you have about Christ and the Kingdom is accurate. Confidence that your trust is well placed.
When I first read your question the answer that first came to me is Jesus. Jesus is the corner stone (that the builders rejected) as Scripture indicates. A corner stone is the fundamental stone. Also, in Eph 2:20 it says the Apostles and prophets are all foundational stones. I would say the most basic foundation of the Church is Jesus, followed by Peter and the others. The question is does Peter hold a place of preeminence among the Apostles? I would say so indicated by Jesus giving him the keys in Mt 16:19 which indicates an office of prime minister in a Davidic kingdom, as illustrated in Isaiah 22:15+.
One interesting thing that I just realized about two weeks ago is that Peter did not have his first name changed from Simon to Peter, but rather his surname or family name was changed from Bar-Jona to Kephas (rock).
This is expressed in Acts 10:5, 10:32, and 11:13 as “Simon whose surname is Peter”.
So yes Christ is the Rock and founded the Church, but in a unique way singled out Peter as having Christ’s own surname in a sense as also the Rock. This also signifies what Peter’s own mission would be in continuing the foundation of the Church. Christ is the chief cornerstone, but Peter “inherited” a similar role when Christ chose him and named him “the rock” as his successor on earth when he changed his surname.
On a side note, I’m not aware of any other name changes in the Bible that the surname is changed. i.e. Abram - Abraham and Sarai - Sarah
Simon Bar-Jonah to Simon Peter is very unique.
It was no coincidence Simon’s name was changed to Peter just before he was given the keys to the kingdom. Usually in scripture when a person’s name is changed that person is given a new role/office e.g. Abram --> Abraham which means “father of a multitude”.
The only time Scripture uses the expression “keys (plural) to the Kingdom of heaven” is in Matt. 16:19. Obviously, since Jesus was going to give them to Peter, they were in His possession also.
There are a couple of references to a “key” (singular):
*to the house of David (Isaiah 22:22)
*the key of David (Rev. 3:7)
I agree, that Jesus is ultimately the foundation of the Church, the Church is the Kingdom of God here on earth, a supernatural kingdom. When Jesus asked Peter, who did Peter think that Jesus was, Peter answered " Thou art the Son of God, the Messiah…" Jesus said that Peter did not say this on his own, but by the Holy Spirit. Peter’s belief in Jesus,(the work of the Holy Spirit) made him the physical &spiritual representative of Jesus on earth. His belief in Jesus, the One Foundation, made him as the Rock that Jesus is. The Apostles became the pillars of the Church here on earth. It is Jesus who sustains the Church, He it is who endows the Church with His Spirit, who is the soul of the Church, the cornerstone in an arch gives the whole arch or structure holding strength, otherwise the structure will collapse. Peter manifested great faith in Christ, and because of this he was chosen to be the visible head of the Church here on earth. The Church is built on Faith in Christ represented by Peter and the Apostles, appointed by Christ, and empowered by Him through His Spirit. The Church is referred to as the Mystical Body of Christ, with Christ as it’s head, and the Holy Spirit as it’s soul, and the members as living stones, parts of the body.
But they held their peace, for in the way they had disputed among themselves, which of them should be the greatest. And sitting down, he called the twelve, and saith to them: If any man desire to be first, he shall be the last of all, and the minister of all.
They were I suppose not disputing who was the greatest in a vain way but who should be the leader of them. And the answer from God was that the minister of all in a true sense was to be their leader. The Apostles had a leader and had a position of leadership-to-all outlined by Christ himself.