A Haughty Catholic Is Corrected - 11/29/2003

I was recently sent this letter via email and will respond to some of the more glaring errors -- there are quite a few. I find that truth is better served when people actually interact with it rather than ignore its consequences. My words will be in bold font and will appear throughout the letter.

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.

It doesn't mean "stone." It means "rock." "Evna" means "stone" in Aramaic.

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.

First of all, John never said that "Cephas" (really "Kephas" in Greek) means stone. The words of John 1:42 are literally: "...su klethese Kephas ('o epmeneuetai Petros)" --that is, "...you will be called Kephas (which is translated as Peter)." Despite the VERY tired, old Fundamentalist argument, "petros" NEVER meant "stone" in Koinic Greek (the Greek dialect of the Bible). What's more, EVERY ancient manuscript that we have renders "Petros" with a **capital** "pi" (the Greek letter "p"), thereby making it very clear that it is not a common noun, but a **proper name** --"Peter." So, all John is saying in John 1:42 is that "Kephas" (or "Cephas") is the Aramaic equivalent for the NAME "Peter" --the most well-known version of the Apostle's name. He is not translating "Kephas" ("Cephas") as "stone" or anything else, but merely pointing out how "Kephas" ("Cephas") and "Peter" are the same name. And anyone who misses that is either an anti-Catholic propogandist or VERY poorly educated. Or both. There is also some overt KJV bias in the translation here.

With respect to the Greek words, “petros” and “petra, ” RCC claims that both words mean exactly the same thing simply are not true.

Balderdash. Go read Scott Butler's "Jesus, Peter, and the Keys," where he presents numerous PROTESTANT Greek scholars who readily admit that "petros" never meant "stone" in Biblical Greek, but ONLY is some ***very obscure*** 5th Century B.C. (Ionic Greek) poems, that is, in a Greek dialect that died out 500 years before the Gospels were written. A similar comparrison would be to use English words like "meat" or "girl" in the way they were used in English over 500 years ago. At that time, "meat" meant any food, whether flesh or vegetable; and "girl" meant any young person, whether male or female. Yet, if a modern book used those words today, NO English speaker would understand them that way. The same is true of the "petra" (rock)-"petros" ("Peter") switch of Matt 16:18. The one and only reason, as ALL modern scholars (both Protestant and Catholic) now admit, that the Greek switches from the feminine Greek word for "rock" ("petra") to the masculine "Petros" is so as to render "Peter" as a masculine name. There is no other reason for it whatsoever; nor did any ancient, Greek-speaking Christian ever acknowledge any other reason. Rather, all ancient Greek-speaking Christians recognized Peter himself as the Rock of Matt 16:18. What's more, in Aramaic, the language which we KNOW Jesus spoke on the event recorded in Matt 16:18 (because the Scriptural record preserves that Peter was originally called "Kepha" --Aramaic for "Rock), there is no distinction between "rock" and "Peter," since both are THE SAME in Aramaic: "Thou art Kepha (Peter), and upon this kepha (Rock) I will build my Church." So, no linguistic switch existed in Jesus' actual words. Rather, the switch only occurs when those original Aramaic words of Jesus were translated into Greek; and the sacred scribe applied a masculine ending for Peter's name because he could not call him "Petra" --a woman's name. This is likewise why the Greek text renders the Aramaic name "Kepha" as "KephAS" (or "CephAS")...so as to make it masculine.

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.

Because none of those 16 places employ the Greek word "petra" as a MAN'S NAME. :-) Nor is Jesus ever called a Rock AS A NAME. That should be obvious.

Petra means large foundation rock. Petros means a stone you can pick up and throw.

Really? :-) Okay. Show me one time where "petros" means "a stone you can pick up and throw" in the Bible, or in any Koinic Greek text outside of the Bible. Do that, and you have a point. Don't do it, and you're revealed as an empty propogandist who doesn't know what he's talking about.

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.

Christ did not use "lithos" or "moulos" because both these words do not match the Aramaic "kepha," which means "rock" (a natural formation), and not "stone." What's more, as I said, if Jesus really wanted to call Peter "a stone you can pick up and throw," then there is a perfect Aramaic word for that: "Evna" --which is the word that Jews and Syrians used for the kind of stones employed in sling-shots and thrown at their enemies. But, Peter is never called "Evna," or "Evnas," or anything like that. Rather, he is called "Kepha" and "Kephas," which means a great, big, whopping rock --the equivalent of the Hebrew word "sur" --a **rocky foundation**, as it is applied to the Patriarch Abraham in Isaiah 51:1-2. What's more, when Greeks and Romans spoke of sling-shot, they used the word "lithos" (or "lithoi") --"stones"! So, if Jesus wanted to call Peter "a stone you can pick up and throw," why in the world didn't He just call him "Lithos" --which is not only the perfect Greek word for that, but also already in a masculine form?!

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)

Here, you illustrate one of the chief problems with Protestant Fundamentalists --namely, they do not take the Scriptures as the Lord presented them to us, but seek everything to be perfectly packaged to fit their own preconceived notions. Well, needless to say, such an approach is a recipe for disaster. For example, when the Rich Young Man in Matthew's Gospel calls Jesus, "Good Teacher," Jesus responds: "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone." Now, employing the same kind of narrow, Neanderthal-type thinking to this passage, as you present to Matt 16:18 and 1 Corith 3:11 above, one would have to assume that Jesus is not God, since He distinguishes Himself from God. However, all sensible Christians know that the Scriptures are frequently, if not constantly, more subtle than that. And the same goes with Matt 16:18 where, while He might not use the specific word "foundation," but rather the more poetic "rock," no one can deny that Jesus' intention is to present this said "rock" as a foundation, given that He will 'build His Church' atop it. The demand that the Lord use the specific word "foundation" is just silly, and reveals the kind of childish, two-dimensional mentality which many use in their eisegesis of scripture.

The Vatican has a well-earned reputation for quoting the early Christians when it is expedient to do so, and ignoring theircontributions 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),

Really? Then would you care to explain away these quotes from St. Augustine:

"...Why! a faggot that is cut from the Vine retains its shape. But what use is that shape if it is not living from the root? Come, brother, if you wish to be engrafted in the Vine. It is grievous when we see you thus lying cut off. Number the bishops from the See of Peter (Rome). And, in that order of fathers, see whom succeeded whom. ******This is the Rock which the proud gates of hades do not conquer*****. All who rejoice rejoice in peace, only judge truly." --St. Augustine, Psalmus Contra Pertem Donati.

...and ...

"For, if the order of the succession of bishops is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter, to whom the Lord said: 'Upon ****this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it****." For to Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus Clement ...To Julius Liberius, to Liberius Damasus, to Damasus Sircius, to Sircius Anastasius." --St. Augustine, Ep 53.

Also, ... If you'd like to see some evidence for how Augustine himself acknowledged the authority of the Papacy in his day, here are some additional quotes:

The Church of Rome "...in which the authority of the Apostolic office has always stood fast." ---St. Augustine, Ep. 43:7.

Also, writing to Pope Innocent I, he says ...

"This act, Lord Brother, we thought right to intimate to your holy charity, in order that to the statutes of our littleness might be added ***the authority*** of the Apostolic See for the ****preservation of the safety of many**** and the correction of the perversity of some." --St. Augustine to the Pope on Pelagianism, Ep. 175.

Also to the Pope, he writes ...

"For we do not pour back our little stream for the purpose of replenishing ****your great fountain****, but in the great temptation of these times, we wish it to be ****approved by you**** whether our stream, though small, flows from the same ****head of water as your abundant river****, and to be consoled by your answer in common participation of the same grace." --St. Augustine to the Pope, Ep. 177.

And, in response to these two epistles, Pope Innocent writes back to Augustine and to his fellow African bishops, saying ...

"In making inquiry with respect to those things that should be treated with all solicitude by bishops and especially by a true and just and Catholic council, preserving, as you have done, the example of ancient Tradition, and by being mindful of Ecclesiastical discipline, you have truly strengthened the vigor of our religion, no less in consulting us than before passing sentence. For you decided that it was proper to refer to our judgment, knowing what is due to the Apostolic See, since all we who are set in this place desire to follow the Apostle from whom the very episcopate and whole authority of his name is derived. Following in his steps, we know how to condemn the evil and to approve the good. So also, you have, by your sacerdotal office, preserved the customs of the fathers, and have not spurned that which they decreed by a Divine, and not a human, sentence, that whatsoever is done, even though it be in distant provinces, should not be ended without being brought to the knowledge of his See; that by authority the whole just pronouncement should be strengthened, and that, from it, all other churches (like water flowing through the different regions of the world, the pure streams of one incorrupt head), should receive what they ought to enjoin, whom they ought to wash, and whom that water, worthy of pure bodies, should avoid as defiled with uncleansable filth. I congratulate you, therefore, dearest brethren, that you have directed letters to us by our brother and fellow-bishop Julius, and that, while caring for the Churches which you rule, you also show your solicitude for the well-being of all, and that you ask for a decree that shall profit all the Churches of the world at once." ---Pope Innocent to the African bishops, Ep. 181.

So, without question, Innocent speaks of his universal authority. And, did Augustine deny any of this? On the contrary, he later writes (referring to the above reply from Innocent) ... "And the words of the venerable bishop Innocent to the Council of Carthage ...what is more plain and clear that this ****sentence**** of the Apostolic See?" --St. Augustine, C. Julian 2:4, 6:7.

"...When he answered that he consented to the letters of Pope Innocent, of blessed memory, by which *****all doubt about this matter was removed*****." ---St. Augustine, C. Julian 2:3:5.

"Do you think these fathers, viz Ireneaus, Cyprian, Reticius, Hilary, Ambrose, are to be despised because they belong to the Western Church, and I have mentioned no Eastern bishop among them? What are we to do, since they are Greeks and we are Latins? I think that you ought to be satisfied with the part of the world in which *******our Lord willed to crown the Chief of the Apostles***** with glorious martyrdom. If you had been willing to hear blessed Innocent, *****the president of that Church****, you would have long ago disengaged your perilous youth from the nets of the Pelagians. For what could that holy man answer to the African councils except from what of old ******the Apostolic See and the Roman Church with all others preservingly hold*****? ...See what you can reply to St. Innocent, who has no other view than have those into whose council I have introduced you; with there he sits also, though after them in time, before them in rank ....Answer him, or rather *****answer the Lord Himself, whose words he alleges. What will you say? What can you answer? For if you should call blessed Innocent a Manichaean, surely you will not dare to say it of Christ***** ?" --C. Julian 1:4:13.

"To all these letters, he (Pope Innocent) answered in the manner which is *****the right and the duty of the bishop of the Apostolic See****." --St. Augustine, Ep. 186.

"Let the blessed Innocent also reply, the prelate of the Roman Church, who in answering the African episcopal councils ... Do you see what *****the Catholic Faith holds by her minister (the Pope)*****?" ---St. Augustine, Op. Imperf. 6:11.

"My brethren, be of one mind with me. ....For already two councils have been sent to the Apostolic See concerning this matter, and rescripts have come from thence. ****The case is concluded*****; would that the error would soon cease also." --Sermon 131:10.

So, there was no Pope in Augustine's day, huh? :-)

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.

Uh, Not only are you misrepresenting Catholic ecclesiology and history, but also Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology and history. Even if you take the Orthodox point of view, and maintain that the Bishop of Rome had no universal authority, he was STILL (according to the Eastern Orthodox) the rightful patriarch of the West, and Augustine's diocese of Africa was PART of that Western patriarchate! :-) Go ask an Eastern Orthodox who knows anything about Church history.

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.

I see. Well, as with the Greek language, it seems we're going to have to educate you on what these fathers really wrote as well. While it's true that some of these fathers, speaking **poetically** in sermons, stated that Peter's faith was the Rock or that Christ is the true Rock (we Catholics believe both these things too), they are also ALL on record saying that Peter himself is the Rock --the **most literal** and **fundamental** interpretation of Matt 16:18. For example, ...

St. Ambrose of Milan (385 A.D.), writes ...

"Peter is called the Rock because, like an immovable rock, he sustains and joins the mass of the entire Christian edifice." (Ambrose, Sermon 4).

...and ...

"Christ is the Rock, 'For they drank from that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ, ' and He did not refuse to bestow the favor of this title even upon His disciple, so that he too might be 'Peter,' in that he has from the Rock a solid consistancy of firm faith." (Ambrose, Expos. in Luc.).

...and ...

"[Christ] made answer: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . . ' Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

...and ...

"It is to Peter that he says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church' [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).

Likewise, ...

St. Cyril of Alexandria (424 A.D.) says ...

"He suffers no longer to be called Simon, exercising authoriy to rule over him already as having become His own. But by a title suitable to the thing, He changed his name into Peter, from the word petra (rock); for on him he was afterwards to found His Church." (Cyril T. iv. Comm. in Joan.).

...and ...

" 'Blessed art thou ...,' calling, I imagine, nothing else the Rock, in allusion to his name (Peter), but the immovable and stable faith of the disciple upon whom the Church of Christ is founded and fixed without danger of falling." (Cyril, On the Holy Trinity).

...and ...

"He promises to found the Church, assigning immovableness to it, as He is the Lord of strength, and over this He sets Peter as Shepherd." (Cyril, Comm. on Matt., ad. loc.)

Also, ....

St. Jerome (393 A.D.) says ....

"Christ is not alone in being the Rock, for He granted to the Apostle Peter that he should be called 'Rock'. " (Jerome, Comm. on Jerimias 3:65).

...and ...

"For what has Paul to do with Aristotle? Or Peter to do with Plato? For as the latter (Plato) was prince of philosophers, so was the former (Peter) prince of Apostles: on him the Lord's Church was firmly founded, and neither rushing flood nor storm can shake it." (Jerome, Against the Pelagians 1:14a).

...and ...

"'But,' you [Jovinian] will say, 'it was on Peter that the Church was founded' [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division." (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

...and ...

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark on Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

Likewise, ...

St. Basil the Great (371 A.D.) writes ....

"The house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the foundations of which are on the holy mountains, for it is built upon the Apostles and prophets. One also of these mountains was Peter, upon which Rock the Lord promised to build His Church." (Basil, T. i. Comment. in Esai. c. ii.).

...and ...

"The soul of blessed Peter was called a lofty Rock ..." (Basil, Sermon 1 De Fide I.13).

Also, ...

Leo I (C. 445) ....who WAS a Pope after all, says ... :-)

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church' [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter's solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]).

And, also, ...

St. Gregory of Nyssa (371 A.D.) writes ...

"Peter, with his whole soul, associates himself with the Lamb; and, by means of the change of his name, he is changed by the Lord into something more divine. Instead of Simon, being both called and having become a Rock, the great Peter did not by advancing little by little attain unto this grace, but at once he listened to his brother (Andrew), believed in the Lamb, and was through faith perfected, and, having cleaved to the Rock, became himself Peter." (Gregory of Nyssa, T. i. Hom. xv. in C. Cantic).

...and ...

"Peter ...that most firm Rock, upon which the Lord build His Church." (Gregory of Nyssa, Alt. Or. De. S. Steph.)

Now, assuming, by "Gregory," that you did not mean St. Gregory of Nyssa, but St. Gregory of Nazianzus, here's what HE has to say ...

St. Gregory Nazianzen (370 A.D.):

"See thou that of the disciples of Christ, all of whom were great and deserving of the choice, one is called a Rock and entrusted with the foundations of the Church." (Gregory Naz., T. i or xxxii).

...and ...

"Peter, the Chief of the disciples, but he was a Rock ... (Gregory Naz., T. ii.)

...and ...

"[Peter], that unbroken Rock who held the keys." (Gregory Naz., Sect. ii Poem Moral. tom. ii.)

And also, ....

St. John Chrysostom (387 A.D.) writes ....

"...and when I name Peter, I name that unbroken Rock, that firm foundation, the Great Apostle, the First of the disciples ..." (Chrysostom, T. ii. Hom. iii. de Paednit).

...and ...

"Peter, the leader of the choir, that Mouth of the rest of the Apostles, that Head of the brotherhood, that one set over the entire universe, that Foundation of the Church." (Chrysostom, In illud. hoc Scitote).

...and ...

"Peter, ... that Pillar of the Church, the Buttress of the Faith, the Foundation of the Confession." (Chrysostom, T. iii. Hom. de Dec. Mill. Talent)

Given that St. Hilary was a close friend and spiritual advisor to Pope Leo the Great, who above advocates Peter's role as "the Rock," can one seriously argue that St. Hilary disagreed with Leo???

And, lastly, let's present St. Augustine himself, who supposedly (according to you) "denied that Peter was the Rock" ...along with all the other fathers listed by you. :-) For, while Augustine prefers to speak of Peter's faith, he also on several occassions admits that Peter himself is the Rock. For example, he writes ... "These miserable wretches, refusing to acknowledge the Rock as Peter and to believe that the Church has received the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, have lost these very keys from their own hands." (Augustine, Christian Combat).

Need we say more? :-) Okay, let's. For, as I presented earlier (above), Augustine does not merely identify Peter as the Rock, but also the Papal ministry of his own day. For, he writes ...

"...Why! a faggot that is cut from the Vine retains its shape. But what use is that shape if it is not living from the root? Come, brother, if you wish to be engrafted in the Vine. It is grievous when we see you thus lying cut off. Number the bishops from the See of Peter (Rome). And, in that order of fathers, see whom succeeded whom. ******This is the Rock which the proud gates of hades do not conquer*****. All who rejoice rejoice in peace, only judge truly." --St. Augustine, Psalmus Contra Pertem Donati.

...and ...

"For, if the order of the succession of bishops is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter, to whom the Lord said: 'Upon ****this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it****." For to Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus Clement ...To Julius Liberius, to Liberius Damasus, to Damasus Sircius, to Sircius Anastasius." --St. Augustine, Ep 53.

So, father-for-father, I have matched your list --showing that ALL OF THEM understood Peter to be the Rock of Matt 16. I don't see how your position could be more embarrassingly wrong. Yet, you continues ...

In all due respect to your apparent knowledge of Greek, what was good enough for Augustine and troop is good enough for me.

We Catholics couldn't agree more. :-) So, why don't you accept the authority of the Papacy, then? St. Augustine certainly did.

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.

The Bible I have been using is the New American, drawn from the original Greek --one of the many approved Bibles for Catholics. While even it has a few shortcomings, it certainly puts the KJV to shame. While a beautiful piece of **English** literature, the KJV is FAR from an accurate translation of the original texts; and it's a pity that more Protestants don't realize this.

One expert found almost 3500 errors, ommissions, mistranslations, etc., in Vaticanus alone.

I hate to break this to you, but EVERY ancient Biblical manuscript in man's possession has ommissions, mistranslations, and other flaws. That's why we compare manuscripts so as to arrive at a standard translation --something that the 16th Century English Protestants who cooked up the KJV were unable to do (since they only had what was available in Britain at the time). What's more, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that the Codex Vaticanus is the standard manuscript for the Catholic Church, evidently because it's known by the name "Vaticanus." Well, that's very cute, but the manuscript is only called "Vaticanus" because it belongs to the Vatican Museum ...just as the Codex Sinaiticus belongs to the British Museum (the British brought it back from St. Catherine's monastery in the Sinai desert of Egypt), and the Codex Alexandriucus comes from Alexandria in Egypt, etc. All of these codices, by the way, are **Greek** texts, and are all that remains of the fifty imperial Bibles that Emperor Constantine the Great commissioned as gifts to the principal city-churches of the Empire. And, while they indeed all have flaws (as do all ancient codices), together they make up one of the chief foundational sources for Biblical scholarship, **both** Protestant and Catholic. So, again, you reveal yourself as someone who simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

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.

Good thing it's not build upon maple leaves, then, but upon a Christ-established Rock of truth. :-) I feel very sorry for you that you (clearly in ignorance) abandoned that Christ-established Rock of truth. Please come home now.

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.

Dear God, are you misled and deceived! ...Not only when it comes to the ancient evidence for the Papacy (from the 1st Century on), but also when it comes to the historical reign of Pope Boniface I. Go look up the history in an **objective** source, my friend. Pope Boniface I was installed in the year 418 A.D., and reigned as Bishop of Rome until A.D. 422 --LONG before the "7th Century." This is HILLARIOUS So, I don't know what Protestant Fundamentalist rag you're getting your "information" from, but it's not even a clever pack of lies, but one which relies upon the total ignorance of its readers. Again, go look up the truth ...then come home.

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.

More nonsense. Now, there **was** a spurious document called the "Donation of Constantine," which is apparently from the 8th Century (not the 9th). However, that was only used (in innocence, I might add) to support the medieval Papacy's **political** authority ...since it claimed that the Emperor Constantine had legally donated the whole of the Western Empire to the Pope. However, there's nothing in that document, or any other, which serves as the foundation for the Pope's role as successor of Peter or the primal authority in the Church. This, rather, is founded upon universal Christian Tradition and countless testimonies from ancient Christians; and if you're willing to listen to reason, I'd be happy to illustrate all this in detail for you ...if only to reveal how **incredibly** mistaken you are.

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.

If you are truly interested in truth, then you will look beyond what was fed to you by heretics and deceivers and explore the true, **objective** history of the Papacy. Your errors and lack of historic knowledge tell me that you would rather create false truth and tear it down than deal with THE TRUTH and be set free! If you are a Christian, then you can do no less. But, are you truly a Christian? I wonder.



Dear Mr. J

You had a few comments regarding an article I wrote for the Contender Ministries website about the fallacy of the papacy. At the risk of seeming impertinent, I must insist that cephas (kephas) means either rock or stone. (Cf. Strong’s Concordance #2786) It is for this reason the Holy Spirit through John clarified in 1:42 that Christ’s name for Simon was to be “stone” not rock. In John 1:42 the Greek word for “interpretation” is Strong’s #2059 - hermeneuo {her-mayn-yoo'-o} – and its meaning is “to translate what has been spoken or written in a foreign tongue into the vernacular.” The Holy Spirit’s intention was clear in constraining the evangelist to “translate” the Aramaic cephas into the Greek “stone” or “petros.” I must also insist that petros and petra have different meanings, and that petrain the New Testament – when applied to a person – only applies to Jesus, never to Peter. In the Old Testament there is no question whatsoever that the term rock as used there always applies to Christ.

Regarding the KJV, I will stick with it and trust it over anything the RCC has to offer. It is known as the majority text because over 90% of the extant NT texts are in agreement with it while less that 10% of those same texts agree with Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Both the Syriac Peshita (AD 145) and the Old Vulgate (AD 157) agree with the Textus Receptus – the majority text – and not with other versions.

I will stand by my statement that there was no accepted, established papacy until the seventh century. Boniface IV (609-614) was the first “pope” to benefit from the decree issued to his predecessor, Boniface III, by the Byzantine Emperor, Phocas, declaring the bishop of Rome to be the head of the western church. His predecessor was sent by Gregory I to Constantinople in AD 603 to obtain that decree.

You quoted a lot of early churchmen allegedly supporting the appointment of Peter to be the “rock” of Christianity. You did not quote Tertullian who rebuked Calixtus in the 3rd century when he tried high jacking Christendom by citing Matthew 16:18. You did not quote Cyprian who rebuked Stephen for trying the same thing later in that century, citing the forged, spurious, deceitful, evil, pseudo Clementine Letters and Homilies of that century. You did not point out that the 5th century Council of Chalcedon denied Leo the designation he sought as primate of all Christendom even after he’d gotten the Emperor to say he was the “Vicar of Christ.”

You did not point out that Augustine was the secretary of a synod of African bishops in AD 419 that declared excommunicated any African Christians making an appeal of any kind to the bishop of Rome or any other western church bishop; nor that that same synod sent a letter to the Roman bishop telling him to recall his legates and stay out of the African Church’s business.

You did not point out that the canon of the New Testament was settled on without any input from the bishop of Rome or the western church. This occurred at a synod – Carthage, AD 397 – attended exclusively by eastern church bishops, and today, trumpeted as an ecumenical council by the RCC. Athanasius, another eastern bishop, had set the NT cannon in 367, and another eastern church synod – Hippo, AD 393 – already had confirmed it. No bishop of Rome – no pope – had anything to do with it.

But now I have a few questions for you. If you, a sinful, mortal man, can expiate your sins by suffering in Purgatory, (1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church) why did Jesus have to suffer the humiliation, the agony and the excruciatingly painful death of Calvary? Isn’t it logical to conclude that if you can be purged on your own of a single sin, then there was absolutely no need for Jesus to go thru what He went thru? I mean, if you can pay for one sin, why wouldn’t God just let you pay for all your sins?

Another. If the Second Person of the blessed trinity is from everlasting to everlasting (Isaiah 40:28; 63:16: Psalm 90:2) and had no beginning, then He did not – absolutely could not – originate in the womb of Mary. Therefore, how is Mary the mother of God? Scripture calls her the mother of Jesus, or “woman,” but not the mother of God. Please do not say I am “dividing” Jesus by that question, for if that is what I have done, then you have divided the trinity by saying Christ is the Son of God.

Another. The RCC quotes copiously Augustine and Aquinas. What were their opinions regarding the concept of Mary’s Immaculate Conception?

Another. How could Mary have been both a cradle-to-the-grave virgin, and at the same time be utterly without sin? The Word of God commands married couples to engage in normal sexual relations. (1 Cor 7:2-5) If she denied Joseph his nuptial rights, wasn’t that sinful? If they both denied each other, wasn’t that doubly sinful?

Another. Every time the Greek word adelphos is used in the NT in conjunction with a specific name or names, it means a blood brother. It never means kinsman or cousin because there is a different Greek word - suggenes – to describe those relationships. Why, then, are the half-brothers of Jesus – specifically named in Matt 13:55,56; Mark 6:3, Gal 1:19) – only kinsman or cousins according to the RCC?

Another. Why did Jesus specifically send Paul to witness at Rome (Acts 23:11) if Peter was to be its first bishop, and the head of His Church there? Why does Eusebius say both Paul and Peter preached in Italy; that Linus was the first bishop of Rome; that Peter was succeeded by Ignatius as bishop of Antioch? If Peter was bishop of Rome, how do you explain Acts 28:16-31? There are 100 more I could ask. But enough for now.

You suggested in your comments, sir, that I “come home” as you put it. Let me assure you that I AM home, my sins paid for in full and forgiven as if they’d never been committed. I have traded them – so unfairly – to Jesus, and in return have received His righteousness. And I am kept – not by any power in me – but by His omnipotent power until the day of my judgment. I sin still, but when I confess directly to Him, he fulfills His promise to me to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Moreover I have an advocate – an attorney – who pleads my cause with the Father. It is not Mary, sir; it is the man Christ Jesus. Come home? Oh, how sweet it is to BE home; to be able to invite you to “come out from among them and be ye separate; and touch not the unclean thing.”

Wishing you the Jesus of Scripture for Christmas

John Schroeder