Reply to Papal Fallacy Article - 09/12/2003

First, Abraham is called a rock in Jer 51:1-3.

Secondly, the Matt 16 passage as we have it is in greek, but there is good evidence to suggest that Matt was originally written in Hebrew/Aramaic. And even if it wasn't, Jesus would almost certainly have been speaking it himself (see also Jn 1:40-42).

In Aramaic, both cases would have been kepha. There would have been no difference there. As for the petros/petra difference, they only seemed to mean different things in Homeric greek, by the first century AD the two words were synonymous. It's like me arguing what two very similar words mean as they appear in a 20th century text based upon their meaning as found in the writings of Chaucer. You cannot do it, and it is deceptive to give the impression that you can.

Why, then didn't Jesus name Simon "Petra"? Petra is the feminine form of the word. It would be inapropriate to name a man with a feminine word.

Thirdly, the immediate context gives no indication that the rock is anyone other that Simon himself. If Peter means "pebble", the it's like saying: Blessed are you for having a supernatural revelation of my divinity, (you insignificant little thing!)-and here are the keys to the kingdom! (thanks to James Akin for this description).

Fourthly, it is true that the Church Fathers sometimes refer to Peter's faith/confession/christ as being the Rock, but they also refer to Peter himself as being it. The Fathers liked to spiritualise passage (see esp Origen). Just because a Father gives a "spiritual" interpretation of the resurrection does not mean that he did not believe in the literal meaning AS WELL.

This is equally important as regards to their views on Peter and the Papacy. It easy to pick a passage out of context that does indeed look rather convincing-until you read the other things that that same Father ALSO said.

As for Tertullian's flat out rejection of the Papacy, it should be noted that at the time of his writing "On Modesty" he had joined a cult called the Montanists. (The Montanists denied the final authority to the church, tradition OR the bible, but gave it to the ecstatic utterances of two prophetesses, they denied remarriage even after being widowed, and they believed that a christian who falls away can never repent.) In that famous passage, it should be noted that he is violently hitting out at a well established norm, viz, that that which was given to Peter was passed on to his successors.

I hope that you carefully consider these points, and that you will consider them with an unbiased mind.

Yours in christ,



Jesus Loves you, Geoffrey:

Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind; And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host. (Jeremiah 51:1-3)

One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called CEPHAS, which is by interpretation, A STONE. (John 1:40-42)

2786 Kephas {kay-fas'}
of Aramaic origin cf 03710; TDNT - 6:100,835; n pr m
AV - Cephas 6; 6
Cephas = "stone" 1) another name for the apostle Peter

Note: The Apostle, John, did not by accident, include the following clarification:
"which is by interpretation, a STONE." Remember, Geoff, "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Pet 1:21) It was the Holy Spirit that constrained the Apostle to include the quoted qualifying statement, knowing in advance that one day men would seek to replace Jesus as the rock on which Christianity is founded.

"As for the petros/petra difference, they only seemed to mean different things in Homeric greek, by the first century AD the two words were synonymous." This is a remarkable statement, Geoff, but unsupported by any proof. As a Jesuit high school student I was required to take both Latin and Greek. From what I was taught by Roman Catholic brothers, it is impossible in Greek for words ending - one in "os" and the other simply in "a" - to have the same meaning. Word endings in Greek - then and now - are critical to the meaning of words.

"Petra is the feminine form of the word. It would be inapropriate to name a man with a feminine word." You are absolutely right, Geoff, but it would not be inappropriate to use petra to describe a statement Peter made that identifies who the real foundation rock is. This is especially true when we look in both the Old and New Testaments for the Holy Spirit's thoughts regarding the "rock."

"I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment." (Deut 32:3,4)

"And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;" (2 Sam 22:2)

"For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?" (2 Sam 22:32)

"As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Roman 9:33) Note: Does believing "on Peter" as the rock save anyone?

"....all our fathers...did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual ROCK that followed them: and that ROCK WAS CHRIST." (1 Cor 10:4)

In First Peter 2, the Apostle admits that Jesus, not himself, is the "chief corner stone." the word for stone is "lithos," which can mean small stones or building stones, depending on its modifiers. In this case, the words "chief" and "corner" are assurance that this "lithos" is the foundation stone. Peter also says that "lithos" has been "made the head the HEAD OF THE CORNER" - in other words. the foundation stone. Lastly, Peter says Jesus is "a rock of offence" to unbelievers.

Here, Geoff, after considering all of the above rock references, I apply to Catholicism's interpretation of Matthew 16:18, your very own statement as follows: "It's easy to pick a passage out of context that does indeed look rather convincing-until you read the other things that that same Father (in this case, God) ALSO said."

Regarding the early saints, there are no statements in existence that this writer knows of in which Augustine, Ambrose, Cyril, et all, deny that Matthew 16:18 establishes Jesus, not Peter, as Christianity's foundation. There are quite a few that contradict Rome's view, but I have not found a single one that supports the Vatican. If you have such quotes from the men I named, please do send them to me.

Throughout the 1994 Catechism, there are references to statements made by Tertullian and other of the early Christian saints, such as Augustine, Ambrose, Clement, Justin Martyr, etc. The pattern followed by the Magisterium in putting this monumental work together seems to be this: include a reference if it matches Roman Catholic teaching. Do not quote references is they disagree with Roman Catholic teaching. Example: Both Augustine and Aquinas strongly opposed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. I have their statements. In the fifth century, Gelasius, a bishop of Rome, condemned as heresy the suggestion that Mary's body was "assumed" into heaven. In the 6th century, Hermisdas, another bishop of Rome called anyone subscribing to this belief a heretic.

Geoffrey, your soul and its eternal destination is very important to me. I was where you are. The Bible, the Word of God He has revealed to us, is what liberated me from the "commandments of men." Please, please, stop reading what James Akin says and start reading and believing what God has said.

Jesus loves you, and wants you to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you already - exclusively by faith and trust in what He did on Calvary - have eternal life in heaven with Him assured.

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)

Praising Him always,

John Schroeder