Saturday, October 15, 2016


Matthew 16

v. 13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?”

v. 14) And they said, “Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets.”

v. 15) He said unto them, “But whom say you that I am?”

v. 16) And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

v. 17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in Heaven.”

v. 18) And I say also unto you, “That you are Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

v. 19) “And I will give unto you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

This is the third and final article in this series on Matthew 16 and we are seeing the Catholic Church’s abuse and hi-jacking of this passage for their own purposes.

Last month, we saw how the Catechism of the Catholic Church falsely claims that Peter was the only rock of the Church (CCC #881), placing Peter above all the other apostles; and we demonstrated that the biblical evidence certainly points against this idea.  See here:

The Catechism Strikes Again

The Catholic Catechism also claims that Peter is the only one to whom the keys were directly given: 

“…Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.” (CCC #553)

So, what is all this about?  What are these “keys” that Jesus is giving to Peter?  Of course, these are not literal keys, but a metaphor.  Keys represent authority, power and access, and since they are the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, they must give access to Heaven.  This is the binding (locking) and loosing (unlocking) concept that Jesus was speaking of, i.e., restricting or allowing access to Heaven.

Infallible Successors?

Catholics also claim that this authority that Peter received from Jesus is an infallible authority, and because of this, he (Peter) cannot officially proclaim error when teaching on faith and morals.  Not only that, this infallible authority will also be passed on to his successors.  The reason they claim infallibility is because they believe:  1) Jesus gave Peter the legislative power (ability to make laws) to bind and loose.  2) Peter decides that a particular teaching should become law, and makes it binding on the church.  3) God sees this action and is somehow obligated to endorse or ratify this new law from His throne in Heaven.
And the Catholic says that the reason that this action has to be infallible is because God cannot lie or endorse an erroneous or false decree.  And since He must always endorse what Peter binds or looses, He won’t ever let Peter bind or loose the wrong things, guaranteeing freedom from error.  Sounds good, right?

But that’s not the way it works.  Man doesn’t make the rules and then obligate God to agree with him.  Nor is God obligated to keep anyone from making bad decisions.  Everyone is accountable for his own decisions (Galatians 6:7).

You see, the keys come with the implied understanding that you will abide by the rules of the one who gave you the keys in the first place.  This promise from Jesus to Peter is neither a license to bind and loose whatever he wants, nor is it a guarantee to never teach false doctrine (whether “officially” or not).  This is not about telling God what to bind or loose.  Rather, Jesus is saying, “Peter, I will back you as long as you do My will,” He is NOT saying, “I will keep you from ever straying from My will.”  Church leaders are expected to be more responsible and more accountable than others (1 Timothy 3:1-10; Titus 1:5-9).  The Bible tells church leaders to guard their teachings (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 4:16; 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14).  But why tell them to “keep” or “guard” those teachings if they are guaranteed an infallibility and protection against error?  There is no biblical evidence of anyone in the post-apostolic church who would have infallibility.

Just Peter?

Ok, so Peter was given the keys to the kingdom.  But is he the only one who obtained these keys?  No, not at all.  Speaking to all the apostles in another passage, Jesus said:

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:  and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)

We can see from this verse that Jesus is giving this same power to bind and loose to ALL the apostles.  It is the same exact wording as Matthew 16:19 (except the “ye” and “you”).  So they must necessarily all have the same keys, that is, the same authority.  Jesus gave nothing to Peter that he didn’t also give to the other apostles.  To try and say that Peter is “the only one to whom He [Jesus] specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom” is deceptive.  The Catholic Church makes a big deal out of isolating Peter in Matthew 16:18-19 and then they try to insert the doctrine of the papacy here.

Whose Papacy?

But the Catholic will say, “But look at all the special things Peter did and experienced!  Shouldn’t he have this ‘primacy’ and this special role as pope?”  Catholics will argue that he was the first one to get the keys, that Jesus told him to “Feed My sheep,” that Jesus changed Peter’s name, etc., etc.  But if these sorts of accomplishments suggest that a man should be pope, then we could suggest the apostle Paul, as well, for this honor.  After all, Paul has a better “resume” than Peter.  Whatever evidence can be brought forth for the primacy of Peter, more (and better) evidence can be brought forth for the primacy of Paul.  See this link for an interesting comparison between Peter and Paul:

Of course, no one is actually saying that Paul is a pope, but the point is that Catholics are not consistent when they use this argument.  If someone had to be a pope based on experiences and accomplishments, it seems it should be Paul.


Ok, so ALL the apostles had the power of binding and loosing.  But what were the limits of this power?  When discussing the papacy, Catholics will almost always speak very highly of Peter’s authority.  But sometimes, an interesting thing happens when Catholics are pressed about the limits of this gift to bind and loose.  Someone in the discussion may well ask, since Peter had this special primacy and authority, couldn’t he decide to proclaim any wild teachings he desired to promote?  Could he make crazy laws for the church that everybody would have to follow?  Maybe change some existing infallible Catholic teachings?  After all, wouldn’t God bind and loose whatever Peter chose to bind and loose?  This is a valid question, since he is given so much attention and power in the Catholic Church.

At this point of the discussion, Catholics will often tone it down and say no, Peter can’t decree such things; that’s not what this means, and they may quote something like “Pastor Aeternus” of the First Vatican Council, which says:

“For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.” (Session 4, Chapter 4, Paragraph 6)

Ok, so according to Vatican I, this power of binding and loosing was apparently not for creating new doctrines, etc., but only to cause Peter to “religiously guard” and “faithfully expound” the revelation that already existed.  But isn’t this the job of every pastor who is worth his salt?  This is the norm for biblical churches, to try to religiously guard and faithfully expound God’s Word.  Actually, this is every Christian’s duty.  So, how does this separate Peter from the rest?  How does this make Peter’s status any higher than the other apostles?  It doesn’t.  There is nothing in Matthew 16 that calls for the Catholic Church’s exalted view of Peter.

But notice how the discussion goes from:
   A)Peter is the Vicar of Christ, referred to as “His Holiness,” who has full, supreme and universal power over the whole church, who has the power to make statements that are infallible (without error) and irreformable (unchangeable; not subject to improvement), and being under his authority is an absolute necessity for salvation.…

To basically

   B) Peter has to follow (and be faithful to) the Word of God, just like everybody else. 
“A” (above) can only be concluded by much hype and exaggeration, as well as eisegesis (reading things into the text), while “B” is much closer to the truth, and closer to the meaning of binding and loosing in Matthew 16.

When the Catholic is pressed on this point and this “special gift to Peter alone” is examined, we find that ultimately, they will be forced to downplay Peter’s status.

The Grammar

To get a good idea of the nature and scope of this power of binding and loosing, we need to look at the grammar used in this context.  The structure in the Greek grammar of both Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 is unique and very important.  Many scholars (e.g., A.T. Robertson, J.R. Mantey, Charles B. Williams, Robert Young, Jay P. Green, Sr., and Thomas Constable, just to name a few) agree on the type of perfect tense used in these passages and teach that it indicates a state of completion.  The Greek is literally saying, “Whatsoever you bind / loose on earth shall have been bound / loosed in Heaven,” “…is already bound / loosed in Heaven,” “…shall be what has been bound / loosed in Heaven,” “…having been already bound / loosed in Heaven,” etc.  There are well over a dozen different Bible translations that render it this way, or something very similar.  This may be somewhat awkward in English, but according to these scholars, it is faithful to the Greek, which is the inspired language.
Ok, so why does this type of perfect tense matter?  The important thing to note is that this structure demonstrates that the binding and loosing in Heaven actually comes FIRST - BEFORE a man on earth has declared what is bound or loosed.

It is interesting to note that this very same Greek construction is also used in John 20:23 where Jesus tells the apostles that whoever’s sins you retain / forgive are retained / forgiven.  This type of structure indicates that God’s forgiving or retaining comes first, and then man’s proclaiming of the person’s spiritual status afterward (based on that person’s acceptance or rejection of the gospel).

This is not a situation where a man can decide to forgive or retain the sinner’s sins, as in the Catholic confessional – it is a situation in which a believer simply declares / proclaims / confirms what God has already clearly stated in His Word, concerning the sinner’s response to the gospel. Forgiveness depends on whether a person is repentant and how he reacts to the gospel, not on some special formula that the priest, rabbi, or minister uses.

So, practically speaking, this passage is simply saying 1) “Since you have accepted the gospel on earth, you are already forgiven (loosed) in Heaven,” or 2) “Since you reject the gospel of Jesus Christ on earth, you have already been condemned (bound) in Heaven and excluded from eternal life.”

Again, as with all three passages mentioned above (Matthew 16:19, 18:18, and John 20:23), it is NOT a case of a man having power over other people’s souls, or creating laws at will, or absolving sins and then afterward, God being obligated to give His seal of approval.  Binding and loosing (as well as retaining and forgiving) has to do with entrance into Heaven and is simply declaring what God has already done according to His Word.  Scripture is the standard upon which a person can bind or loose something.  The keys that were first given to the apostles are simply the gospel of Jesus Christ, because THAT is “…the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).  And these keys are, by extension, given to every Christian through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).  When Christians are obedient in proclaiming the truth about a person’s acceptance or rejection of the gospel, God will ratify (or has already ratified) that proclamation in Heaven.

Isaiah 22

Another argument that Catholics often use to justify Peter’s primacy as pope is to parallel Matthew 16:19 with Isaiah 22:20-22.  Here is the passage:

v. 20) And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah.

v. 21) And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

v. 22) And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Since there is a key involved, and since there is opening and shutting (“loosing” and “binding”) involved, and what seems to be a type of “prime minister” position, Catholics believe that this is symbolic of Jesus giving the keys to Peter, with Peter ruling over the Church by way of a papacy. 
But this Isaiah passage is actually about a man named Shebna (v. 15) who, because of his pride, was about to lose his position as second only to the king (Hezekiah), and God was handing his position over to another man named Eliakim.  So, Catholics compare Peter to Eliakim, who was to receive the “key of the house of David” (v. 22).   And they say that Jesus is giving Peter these same keys to be a sort of “prime minister” of the Catholic Church.  This is Catholic typology.

But this is far from good biblical typology.  The Bible mentions several different keys (or sets of keys).  Does each and every one of these also apply to Peter just because keys are mentioned?  What is it in Isaiah 22 that demands a parallel with Peter?  If this typology is accurate, then who represents Shebna in the Matthew 16 scenario?  Who did Peter replace?  The truth is, he replaced no one, since the apostles were the foundation of the church era.  And if this passage points to Peter, then what is the significance of Isaiah 22:25, that is, how was Peter ever “removed” or “cut down”?  We would think that Catholics would be cautious about applying this to Peter or his papacy.

The Jewish Connection

And it doesn’t apply for good reason.  This Eliakim (whose name means “God will raise up”) is a type of Jesus Christ, not Peter.  It is Jesus who will have the glorious throne in v. 23 (the everlasting throne of David - 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:30).  And it is Jesus who has the “key of David” (Revelation 3:7).

The “key of the house of David” in Isaiah 22, we believe, focuses more on the promises of David’s throne, the setting up and fulfillment of his kingdom.  The “house of David” is about the ancestry or the line of David.  Again, the key (singular) of the house of David (Isaiah 22:22) had to do with Israel (note the reference to Jerusalem and Judah in v. 21), while the keys (plural) of the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:19) have more to do with the church.

There may be similarities between Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16, but they are not the same thing.


We have often said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  The Catholic Church’s claim to Matthew 16:13-19 is no different, in fact, it is one of their most fervent claims, but their focus is on the wrong person.  They have a lot to lose if they are proven wrong here.  That’s why they fight tooth and nail to promote these ideas.

Once again, this passage is NOT about Peter and his “primacy.”  It is about the person, the work, and the message of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  It is about His gospel of salvation through faith in that glorious work on the cross… and that alone.  He has also called all Christians to share this gospel with a lost and dying world.  As we said earlier, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), and it is exactly what this passage (Matthew 16:13-19) and this series of articles is all about.

We are not against Peter.  He was definitely a leader in the church who has done much for the gospel.  He became a great man of faith, in spite of his initial shortcomings, and he will sit on a throne just as all the other apostles will.  But we must be ever mindful of over-emphasizing anyone, be it an apostle, Mary, a “saint,” or any minister.  And this is exactly what the papacy does:  It wrongly focuses on, and exalts, a mere man rather than Jesus Christ.

According to God’s infallible Word, there IS no papacy, there IS no pope, there IS no one ruler on earth over the whole church.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Matthew 16

v. 13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?”

v. 14) And they said, “Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets.”

v. 15) He said unto them, “But whom say you that I am?”

v. 16) And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

v. 17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in Heaven.”

v. 18) And I say also unto you, “That you are Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

v. 19) “And I will give unto you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”


This article is the second in this series, and it’s topic is not a new one.  This debate has been raging for centuries, and many gallons of ink have been spilled in defending the arguments on both sides, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.  But we would like to examine the Catholic view of this passage and offer some food for thought on this topic.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the ‘rock’ of his Church.  He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock…” [directly referring here to Matthew 16:18]. (CCC #881)

“The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.  For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.” (CCC #882)

The Catholic Church claims that Peter alone is the rock upon whom Jesus built His church.  And from that “foundation” grows this giant structure which is known today as the Catholic Church, with Peter as its Supreme Pontiff (pope), whose successors will enjoy the gift of infallibility and “universal power” over the whole church, and will each be known as the “Vicar of Christ.”  He will be headquartered in Rome, with his multi-layered hierarchy of priests, monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and popes, not to mention other sub-categories, e.g., nuns, monks, abbots, etc.  All this mostly arises out of an eisegesis of the passage above.  Eisegesis is reading something into the passage rather than allowing the text to speak for itself.

So, let’s analyze the passage in question.

“Petros” and “Petra”

There are two important Greek words in Matthew 16:18 relevant to this topic, “petros” and “petra.”  Jesus stated, “You are Peter [“petros”] and upon this rock [“petra”] I will build My church.”  According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (Complete and Unabridged), “petros” (Strong’s #4074) means “piece of rock.”  On the other hand, “petra” (Strong’s #4073), means “mass of rock.”  So, we immediately see that there is a distinction between these two words.  And, by the way, Strong is not the only scholar who makes such a distinction.  See here:

Yes, Peter’s name means “rock” (actually, “piece of rock”) and he was indeed, in a sense, a rock.  We’re not denying that.  But it’s like saying that a man’s son is “a chip off the old block” when he resembles his dad.  In the same way, Peter resembles Jesus (in purpose and behavior) and is therefore named Peter (“petros”).  In other words, it is simply a play on words, where Peter is a representative of Jesus.  Just as there is a resemblance between Jesus and Peter, there is a resemblance between “petra” and “petros,” but again, “petros” and “petra” are two different words with similar, but distinct, meanings.

But Catholics are trying their best to say that Peter alone (CCC #881) is the “petra,” the rock and foundation upon which the church is built.  Was Jesus really saying that only Peter is the foundation of the church (along with all the “hierarchy” and “infallibility” attachments) or did He mean something else?

Matthew 16:16-18

Let’s look at it more closely.  In v. 16, Peter makes an extremely important statement, confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Ok, now notice the tiny word, “it” in v. 17:  “flesh and blood has not revealed IT unto you,” referring to what Peter said in v. 16.  In v. 18, Jesus points to this same “it” when He says, “Upon THIS rock.”  These two tiny words (“it” and “this”), we believe, are the key to this whole argument.  “It” (v. 17) and “this” (v. 18) are pointing to the same thing.  They are pointing to Peter’s statement of who Jesus is.  THAT is what the church of Jesus Christ is built upon – the revelation that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, the Christ.  He is the object and focus of the good news (the gospel) of salvation.  So, it is that truth, that revelation of Peter’s statement about Jesus, or better yet, Jesus Himself, that is the foundational Rock, not Peter.  We’re not trying to take anything away from Peter, but we want to be faithful and accurate with God’s Word. 
If God intended to identify Peter as the rock, then why doesn’t the inspired Greek text say, “You are Peter and upon you I will build My church”?  This would have removed all doubt.  If Peter is the intended foundation, then why would Jesus use two different words in the Greek (“petros” and “petra”) with two different meanings?  Again, this a play on words and God intended to distinguish the two from each other.  Related, but not the same.

The Gender Argument

But Catholics will say that “petros” is masculine and it wouldn’t be right to call Peter a feminine name like “petra.”  Yes, “petros” is masculine, but this gender argument doesn’t hold water, because the feminine “petra” is also used in other verses (Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8 – see below) in describing Jesus Himself (certainly a male).  But the inspired author could have easily avoided any “gender issues” by simply saying, “You are petros and upon this petros I will build My church.”  Problem solved.  But no, the inspired Greek doesn’t say this.  So, this “gender objection” falls flat. 

Consistency in Scripture

“Petra” refers to Jesus here in Matthew 16:18 just as much as it refers to Jesus here:  

“As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock [“petra”] of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 9:33)

And here:

 “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock [“petra”] that followed them: and that Rock [“petra”] was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)

And also here:

“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock [“petra”] of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:8)

Notice who is speaking in this last verse.  This was written by Peter.  Of all people, Peter himself would have known if he was the “rock,” the foundation of the church.  If Peter really did have a “special office,” different than, and above all the other apostles, then why doesn’t anything in Peter’s epistles reflect that idea?  In fact, we see equality with the other apostles there, instead (1 Peter 5:1).

The Phantom Aramaic

But Catholics will say that Jesus spoke Aramaic, and that the book of Matthew was actually first written in Aramaic, not Greek.  They tell us the Aramaic word for rock is “Kepha” (or “Cephas,” which is the name Jesus earlier gave to Peter – John 1:42).  Supposedly, the Aramaic uses the same word for “Peter” and for “rock.”  They say that this verse in Aramaic would read, “You are Kepha, and upon this Kepha I will build My church.”  So Catholics believe that this proves that the apostle Peter and “the foundational rock” are one and the same.

But this is a very weak argument, since we don’t have any manuscript copies of Matthew in Aramaic.  Why would the Catholic Church refer to something that doesn’t even exist?  This is pure speculation and it only shows the weakness of their argument. 
Besides, in John 1:42, when Jesus said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone [petros], we can see that the Aramaic “Cephas” is translated into the Greek “petros” anyway, not “petra.”  In Scripture, the two terms (“petra” and “petros”) are never used interchangeably.  The bottom line here is that the inspired language that God used for the New Testament is Greek.  And Greek is a very specific language… which distinguishes between “petros” and “petra.”  So, this argument also fails.
Thrones and Foundations

And if Peter really did have primacy over all the other apostles, then why is this not mentioned or implied in Matthew 19:27-28, or Luke 22:29-30, where Jesus tells the apostles that they will sit on twelve thrones?  In both cases, Jesus had opportunity to make Peter’s status over all the others clear, but He mentions nothing of the sort.  Nothing is said about Peter’s throne being special, or different than any of the others.  Again, in Revelation 21:14, the walls of the city of New Jerusalem have twelve (seemingly equal) foundations with the apostles’ names on them, but it never implies that Peter’s foundation would be special or stand out in any way above the foundation of the other apostles.  Strange, if Matthew 16 were implying otherwise. 

An Argument Settled
In Luke 9:46-48, the disciples are arguing about who is the greatest among them.  It is interesting that in this same chapter, just a few verses earlier (Luke 9:18-21), we have the parallel passage to Matthew 16, where Peter is supposedly made the “rock.”
But when the disciples started arguing here (v. 46), Jesus didn’t say, “Hey guys, we’ve just gone through this already!  I just told Peter that HE was the rock, that HE was the greatest among you!  Why are you arguing about this.  Have you already forgotten?”  No, Jesus says nothing at all like this.  He simply points out their need for humility (v. 47-48).  This clearly demonstrates that there was no apostle who was above all the other apostles. 
Papal Claims

The papacy’s extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  The Catholic Church would need far more than this eisegesis of Matthew 16 to prove anything like a papacy, with all its accompanying (unbiblical) attachments.  Peter was indeed one of the leaders of the apostolic circle and he even was a “rock,” but he didn’t have the office or the type of primacy that the Catholic Church gives him.

Ephesians 2:20 would have been an excellent place for Paul to point out Peter’s primacy over all the others.  But instead of mentioning Peter only, Paul speaks of apostles (plural) and prophets (plural) as being the foundation of the church.
The reason that they were the foundation is because they were the first to receive the message of the gospel.  They were the pioneers of the foundational revelation given to the church, and this is the message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone, who is THE Rock.  Neither this passage nor any other in Scripture singles Peter out as a separate foundation.

Emphasis on Peter?

So, the emphasis in Matthew 16 is NOT on Peter.  Jesus said, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?  He didn’t ask, “Hey Peter, whom do men say that YOU are?”  Just because Peter grasped the revelation of who Jesus was, doesn’t make him a pope.
And it’s not like Jesus’ question about His identity (just above) was a test for all the apostles, and only Peter got the answer right.  That’s not likely.  It wasn’t that none of them except Peter knew the correct answer, it’s just that Peter would often speak first.  He was impetuous, that is, he would often act or speak quickly, without first thinking things through - sometimes with good results, and sometimes with bad - for example, Matthew 14:25-31; 16:21-23; 17:1-5; 26:33-35; John 13:6-9; 18:10-11; 21:5-7.  But that was Peter’s nature.

And for the record, pointing out special things that Peter did also does not demonstrate a papacy.  We could just as well point out the many special things that the apostle Paul did, but no one is claiming that he’s a pope.

The issue is not whether Peter is some type of “rock” or some kind of “foundation.”  Protestants already believe that both can be applied to him.  But the real question is this:  Can you biblically demonstrate that Peter is above or greater than all the other apostles, as the Catholic Church insists?  We firmly believe that the answer is no.

But even if it could be proven beyond a doubt that Peter is the “petra” in Matthew 16, the foundation upon which the church is built, it is STILL not Peter apart from the other apostles.  You can say that Peter is a rock in some way, but you cannot biblically isolate Peter, as a foundation, from the rest of the apostles (Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14).

Once again, Catholics are reading way too much into this passage.  Matthew 16 is simply about our Lord building, heading and sustaining His church, as Christians proclaim the good news of salvation (the gospel of Jesus Christ) and set people free through knowing Him and trusting in His work on the cross.

We will continue with this series next month.