Another 'Papal Fallacy' Rebuttal - 10/28/2003
Dear Friends at Contender Ministries,
On surveying your site I have come upon the answer you gave to Geoffrey in his Reply to Papal Fallacy Article in your Mailbag section.. If I may be so bold there where a number of glaring mistakes in your response. For instance in referring to John 1:41-42, you write:
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.
Yet John did not call Peter a "stone." The Greek which you render "which is by interpretation, a STONE, " does not say "stone" but
"rock." The Greek "rock" is petra (petra) from which we get the masculine proper noun Petros (Petros) which is interpreted Peter. The text in question reads, o ermhneuetai Petros (which is translated Peter).
Your contention that John calls Peter "a STONE" here is simply wrong. The Greek word for "stone" is lithos (liqos). Please notice the Greek here uses Petros and not lithos. I know that you make this claim that John calls Peter "a stone" because this is the way that the KJV translates it, but this seems to have been done for theological reasons rather that good Greek translation. Also please note that this text cannot be translated "a stone" because there is no article before the noun. I agree with your contention that "It was the Holy Spirit that constrained the Apostle to include the quoted qualifying statement..." and John, by the Holy Spirit calls Peter "rock."
In your next argument you state:
"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.
In all deference to the "brothers" you should have been taught in Greek class that first declension nouns ending in "a" are feminine and those ending in "os" are masculine and have no bearing on the words meaning which is determined by the lexical form and not the ending. I see your Greek argument as sorely lacking and wholly unconvincing. If you would like to discuss this further I would love to do so.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Dear Mr. R.:
My name is John Schroeder, a former Roman Catholic, converted to fundamental, biblical Christianity. I also am the author of “Heresies of Catholicism…The Apostate
Church, ” a book I strongly recommend you buy and read from cover to cover. The
“Reply to Papal Fallacy” piece was written by me, so I will herewith respond to your comments. In John 1:41, 42, the Apostle says our Lord named Peter, “Cephas. ” Cephas is an Aramaic derivative that means either solid rock or stone. John was moved by the Holy Spirit to clarify our Lord’s meaning. If he had written, “which is by interpretation a rock, ” it would have been a strong argument in favor of Peter as the rock on which Jesus meant to build Christianity. But John said the interpretation of Cephas was stone, not rock, completely obviating Vatican claims that Christ’s intention was to make Peter the foundation rock.
With respect to the Greek words, “petros” and “petra, ” RCC claims that both words mean exactly the same thing simply are not true. In the New Testament, the word petra appears 16 times and always refers either to foundation rock or specifically to Christ Jesus by name. Why did the Holy Spirit not use the word petros in at least some of those 16 places if the words are interchangeable? The answer is, they are not interchangeable. Petra means large foundation rock. Petros means a stone you can pick up and throw.
Christ did not use either lithos, or moulos, in reference to the Apostle Peter for the very good reason that they can mean either a large stone or a smaller stone, and there is no way to distinguish between them. If He wanted to make Peter the foundation of His Christian Church, our Lord probably would have named him Themelios and you would get no argument from Fundamentalists. But the Church’s “themelios” is the Lord Jesus Himself as per the following: “For other foundation (themelios) can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. ” (1 Cor 3:11)
The Vatican has a well-earned reputation for quoting the early Christians when it is expedient to do so, and ignoring their contributions when such would be disadvantageous. A case in point is Augustine, who was not a Roman Catholic, not a member of the western churches, not allied in any way with bishops of Rome (there was no pope in Augustine’s time), and was in fact an African bishop, part of the Orthodox Church that has never for a minute been under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic pope. It was Augustine, joined by Ambrose, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Basil, Leo, Gregory and the great Greek scholar, Chrysostom, who said that Matthew 16:18 clearly conveys that the rock upon which Christianity (not the Roman Catholic Church) is built is the statement of faith made by the Apostle Peter, and not Peter himself. In all due respect to your apparent knowledge of Greek, what was good enough for Augustine and troop is good enough for me. As far as the KJV is concerned, I'll stick with the top scholars who insist that the Textus Receptus from which its New Testament is translated is far superior to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, the texts from which the Bible you use is drawn. One expert found almost 3500 errors, ommissions, mistranslations, etc., in Vaticanus alone.
As a former Roman Catholic firmly convinced that my church was the one true church founded by Jesus, I can understand your determination to prove that Peter was the rock on which the Roman Catholic church is built, for if Peter was NOT the rock, NOT the first pope, then the whole RCC package crumbles like bone-dry maple leaves.
When I took the time to check into actual history, I was shocked to discover the papacy didn’t begin to exist until the 7th century with the installment of Boniface 1 as bishop of Rome. I was further shocked by the revelation that two sets of forged documents - one set in the third century and the killer set in the 9th century – are the real reason there is a pope in Rome. And. of course, sir, this same information is available to you and to any other soul truly interested in truth and the redemption that only comes from trusting Christ entirely for salvation.
Have a good day.