John: John, You know something you dogans always get your axles hung up on Peter’s Rock. When Jesus came to the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples a momentous question: “Whom do men say that I am?” (Matt. 16: 13). The disciples reported what others said as to Jesus’ identity (vs. 14). However, Jesus placed the focus on them, “But whom say ye that I am? (vs. 15).Peter then confidently answered: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (vs. 16). Jesus then commends Peter and confirms Peter’s answer (vs. 17). Jesus then enunciated: “And I say also 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” (vs. 18). The word “Peter” (petros) does mean stone. Peter was a mere man. Peter stood in the way of Jesus’ sacrificial offering, denied the Lord, and sinned publicly (Matt. 16: 21-23, 26: 69-75, Gal. 2: 11-14). Does the church rest on Peter, a man? Back to “upon this rock.” When Jesus said, “upon this rock I will build my church.,” he used a different word in the original (“rock” here is petra). “Petra denotes a mass of rock, as distinct from petros, a detached stone or boulder, or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved…” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). Petros and petra also differ in grammar, petros (Peter) is masculine, referring to Peter and petra (upon this “rock”) is feminine gender. Jesus did not build his church on a stone which could be easily thrown away (petros, Peter), but on a mass of rock (petra). Jesus, the Son of God, is the foundation, not Peter.
J. Salza: John, I have written a book that examines and refutes every single argument you just posed. It is called The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith, published by Our Sunday Visitor (see pp. 40-64). If you are really seeking the truth, I humbly ask you to get a copy. I am also working on another book called The Biblical Basis for the Papacy, which digs even more deeply into these issues, again, refuting all the arguments you have just advanced.
My website also examines and refutes the arguments you raise in your email. Your note is rife with erroneous exegesis which has no support from the patristics, medievals, or any Christian for that matter for the first 1,000 years of the Church. Your analysis demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Greek language, and a distortion of the plain meaning of the texts (e.g., only Peter received the keys; binding and loosing in heaven what is bound and loosed on earth means the Church teaches infallibly; etc). Your analysis is also devoid of any historical support. But fundamentalist Christians such as yourself are expert eisegetes, privately interpreting Scripture to your own destruction. I have been down this road to many times before.
Why don’t we do this. You find me one Church father, one doctor, one medieval who agrees with your position that (1) Peter is not the rock on which the Church is built, and (2) all the apostles received the keys to the kingdom. Okay? Just find me one. Surely, if you are so confident of your position, then it must be supported by the writings of the early Christians. Let’s see what you come up with. If you are intellectually honest with yourself, you will begin to see that the early Church was Catholic. This is also the same Church that gave you the Bible (the Bible didn’t just fall out of the sky, John; it’s canon was determined by the Catholic Church).
So, come up with the fathers for support for your position, otherwise this dialogue is over.