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|This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.|
By Graham Llewellyn Grove, 2003
Roman Catholicism teaches that Peter was the first bishop of Rome and that he was given special authority. This is based mostly on a passage fond in Matthew 16:13-20 where the Roman Catholic Church interprets that Peter is the rock on which the church is built. This is very differently interpreted in the Protestant Church where Jesus is generally taught to be the rock on which the church is built. The Church of Rome also uses this passage, along with other verses and tradition, to justify the concept of the highest authority of the pope through apostolic succession. My own opinion is that there isn't a biblical basis for this view.
Peter's confession of Christ in Matthew 16:13-20 is written below ': 'When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
- They replied ,"Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others say, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
- "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
- Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
- Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
- Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
During Jesus' ministry he asked his disciples who they believed him to be. Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God". Jesus responded that, "You are Peter (or a rock). On this rock I will build my church". In the original language, Peter in Greek means rock. Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that Peter is the rock on whom Jesus builds his church. From this, the authority of the pope is established, who is considered Peter's replacement now on earth. Protestant interpretation is very different and a commonly accepted thought is that Matthew is using a play on words and that Jesus is in fact claiming that he will build his church on the rock or foundation that he is "the Christ, the Son of the living God".
Return to Peter and the Papacy