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- No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ - 1 Corinthians 3:11
When Jesus asked his disciples their opinion about himself, the apostle Peter answered: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus commended Peter, saying, 'Blessed are you Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it' (Matthew 16:16-18).
What is the 'rock' upon which the Church is built? Some say it is Peter; others think it is Peter's confession, 'Your are the Christ.'
The church is built on Peter, the other apostles and the prophets (as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:20) because the church is founded on their teaching about Christ. However the Roman Catholic claim that the church is built on Peter because he was made the universal bishop of the church is simply false. Even though he was a prominent apostle, in the New Testament Peter was not considered the head of the whole church. The Vatican teaches that Peter is 'the Church's supreme pastor (shepherd)' (Catechism paragraph 857); but Peter himself would disagree because he calls Jesus Christ 'the Chief Shepherd' (1 Peter 5:4).
The 'rock' could refer to Peter's confession about Christ, the Son of God, as St. Augustine taught. Even the Catholic catechism admits that this meaning is correct. 'Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ build his Church.' (paragraph 424).
We need not be in any doubt about the basic questions about the Church because the Bible gives us clear answers.
- Who is the head of the Church? 'Christ is the head of the Church' (Ephesians 5:23)
- What is the foundation of the Church? 'No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 3:11)
- Is there any other Rock besides the Lord? 'Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock, I know not one' (Isaiah 44:8).
The church of Jesus Christ is the whole assembly of his people which he purchased with his own blood from every nation of the world. That is why it called catholic, which means 'universal'. It is holy because its members are sanctified by the blood of Christ and have the same Holy Spirit. It is apostolic because it follows the teaching of the apostles as recorded in the Bible.
If you believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation, confessing him as the Divine Messiah, you too are blessed by God and you are a member of the spiritual temple, the Church, built upon the foundation of Christ.
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