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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Peter is the first pope

Mick writes: You want to establish that Peter is the first pope as to justify The RCC as the true church that Christ Gave us. I still disagree but lets say you are right that Jesus did make Peter the head of the church. What makes you think that justifies the RCC. If we compare the early church that Christ made Peter the head of there is no comparison with the RCC and papacy that fell into apostasy after 300 AD. Jesus never told Peter the church was to be a politicaly ambitious religious government. Nor did Christ ever teach this to any of the apostles. Peter never sat in a palace throne wareing fancy religious robes and hats with golden staffs, surounded with cardinnals. Why because Christ never taught that. He nerver taught Peter to force religion as a religious government and a corrupt government at that. The church existed for three hundred years with out this Apostilic succesion does not justify any of this either. I don't have time to go into the many other differences but please don't tell me this justifies the RCC as the true church.

My response: You've got a few different things going on in your comments to me. I am going to try and take them one at a time and if I don't connect them as well as you'd like I apologize. Sometimes from a brief comment, I don't always understand the connections others see to their own comments, for example you putting Peter as the first Pope with "justifying the RCC". I really don't know where you're going with that, but I will do my best to respond to your comments.
I don't need to "establish" that Peter was the first Pope because Jesus did that in the Gospel. If you'd take a moment and look at Matthew 16 you will see that Jesus is changing Simon's name to "Rock" {Greek 'Kephas'} to us "Peter" or "Petros". Jesus says to Simon, now called Kephas/Rock "So I say to you, you are Peter [or you are rock], and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mt.16:18-19). There are a few things here that need to be noted. First, is the name change from Simon to "Rock". None of the other disciples were called "Rock", only Simon. Jesus has signaled Simon out as the "Rock" which He, Jesus, will build His Church on. So Simon is now seen and known as Peter (the Rock) and all the disciples are a witness to Jesus signaling Simon out and setting him apart from the others. Jesus not only changes Simon's name and tells him He will build a Church on him, but he also places authority in Peter's hands with the "keys". Keys are often, especially in scripture, a sign of authority. It shows who holds authority. We see this is a few places in scripture, for example Isaiah 22:
20 "In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open."
Sounds similar to what Jesus said with Simon Peter doesn't it?
Next, note Jesus saying "you" specifically to Peter in Matt. 16. He is making it clear who is now called "Rock" and who has the keys. All the "you's" are directed right at Peter in Matthew 16 and in the the last chapter of John. Here is more of Jesus establishing Peter as the first Pope. Let's go to the last chapter of John (from the NIV bible):
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
Here again we see Jesus signaling out Peter specifically above all the other disciples. It is Peter, Jesus tells to "feed my sheep" and he repeats this over and over again. Jesus does not do this with any other disciple. I hope you are able to see what I am attempting to point out to you about Peter and Jesus establishing him as first pope of the Catholic Church.
Now about your view that the Church fell into apostasy in the year 300. We go back to Jesus Christ's own words to Peter when He changed his name from Simon to Peter: Jesus promised that "the gates of hell would not prevail against" His Church. That is our Lord's Word. It can't happen. Sure there can be Church members who do wrong and sin, we are not perfect, but the Church will prevail against all evil because Jesus promised us it would. As far as robes and palaces go, we see those things in scripture, mostly in the Old Testament, but they are there. I don't believe God has condemned them or opposes them, do you?

Now you mention the Church being politically ambitious. There is no denying there is some history in the Catholic Church that we as Catholics regret and wish had never occurred. But the Church teachings are not in error because the Holy Spirit guides the Church and keeps it from error. So while men will come and go and fall into sin and error, the Church will not because Christ said it wouldn't. Am I making any sense with that? If you see something you view as "wrong" with the Catholic Church, you have to look to our official teachings. Those are never in error. If you see a Catholic clergy or layperson and you view something they say or do as 'wrong' you might be correct or you might not, as we are not without sin or error and their personal opinions are just that, THEIR opinions. But if the Catholic is sharing a Catholic belief and you question it, check it against our catechism. Our faith is spelled out in the Catholic catechism fairly clearly in my opinion. There are references and quotes in there for you to further research as to the "why" behind the beliefs we hold.

I hope I've answered your concerns about Peter and our Catholic Church.

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