As for the disparaging dissimilarities between the Pope and Christ, ad infinitum, for the doctrines and practices of papalism are as alien to New Testament Christology as that of contemporary cultism. This is not to say, that Romanism has either orally or in print denied the deity of Christ, but it is to say; Rome’s multiplying of mediators between God and man has made Christ at best one among many deities which intercede between God and man. According to Romanist teaching the parish Priest, Residential Bishop, the jurisdictional Cardinal, the Pope, canonized saints, good angels, the Virgin Mary, are not merely mediators between God and man, but also have the power to absolve the confessee of sins. (My Catholic Faith, pages 33, 39, 97,199). Over and against these soul damning doctrines of Romanism, the Bible emphatically declares, there is “ONE MEDIATOR” between God and man …” (I Timothy 2:5), and “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness …” (Daniel 9:9). Priestly intercession and the remission of sins is the blessed and exclusive work of the nail scarred Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Exegesis Of Matthew 16:18
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
It is taken for granted by Catholicism, Protestantism and Baptists, and rightly so, that a correct identification of the “rock” of Matthew 16:18 is absolutely essential to an ecclesiology that meets the Divine standard. It is not enough to say, “Jesus is the Rock referred to in the text,” and then own as true churches of Christ those who have malidentified the “Rock”. This truth demands more than mere lip service, it calls for a strong and positive emphasis, and a clear renunciation of all erroneous exegesis of the text. The text allows for only one interpretation, and that is: Jesus refers to Himself as the “Rock” foundation of His church and any understanding to the contrary is fallacious.
The word “Peter” in Matthew 16:18 is translated from the Greek word “petros”, which means a small stone, a pebble, a movable fragment of stone, and is therefore; owing to its size and instability, utterly inadequate as a foundation stone. Conversely, the Greek word “petra”, which is translated “rock”, means a ledge of rock of substantial size and great strength, a giant bedrock, a foundation stone. The translation given the Greek words “petros” and “petra” are not merely alleged or supposed by me, but the translation and definition as herein stated is supported by an innumerable host of profound Greek scholars and authorities of various church affiliations, of whom I will mention but a few: ‘K. S. Wuest – The New Testament, An Expanded Translation, Page 42’. ‘A. T. Robertson -Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol. 1- Page 131’. ‘W. E.Vine – An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words, Page 302’. ‘The Interlinear Greek English New Testament, By: George R. Berry, Page 45’. Etc.
To say the above stated position is that of the majority of Greek scholars would be to mis-state the case. But we can say, and that without reticence; If the rules which govern etymological research and translation as applies to our study (Ascertain the original Greek word, and give a literal rendering of that word) would be strictly adhered to, there would be far less opposition to the interpretation enunciated in the two previous paragraphs. (See rules of translation of the Greek text on page 46 of Dr. W. A. Jarrell’s Book Titled: BAPTIZO-DIP-ONLY). The high principles of scripture translation demands a tenacious adherence to the above stated rules, and if the Anglican translators (KJV-1611) had honored these rules, and translated the Greek term “Baptizo” by using its English equivalent “dip” or “immerse” rather than transliterating it, their great work would not have been perfect, but it would have prevented a particular and hurtful stigma from attaching itself to their translation efforts. This stigma or scar on the prominent part of their translation labors has given impetus to the Romanistic error of effusion, and the Protestant error of sprinkling for baptism. Moreover, this one monumental departure in revision by the KJV translators has distorted the figure of Christ’s redemptive work, and has thereby greatly diminished the quality of the whole of their translative diction. Oh’ what great harm can be wrought by a single deviation from a code of honor, and never more so than in the instance of the Church of England transliteration of the word “Baptizo”.
To properly identify the foundational rock of Matthew 16:18 is essential to a correct ecclesiastical relationship with Christ in this present evil world, and in the heavenly world to come. The degree of a saved person’s intimacy with Christ in this earth will be revealed at the mercy seat of Christ (I Corinthians 3:13), and will determine the believers measure of intimacy with Christ in heaven’s glorious and endless ages to come. Spiritual obedience to Christ in this dark and evil world begets intimacy with Him (James 4:8), and faithfulness to Christ is infinitely enhanced by membership in one of His blood bought churches, for it was to His church He gave the evangelistic commission and the keeping of His ordinances (Matthew 28:19,20; I Corinthians 11:2). Hence, the door which leads unto obedience is immeasurably wider in the Lord’s church than in the family of God (Ephesians 3:15), apart from the church (Ephesians 3:10,21).
Baptist churches have never in their aggregate sum, nor in any measure approaching a majority ever claimed that all spiritual utility is confined to their churches, or that the church has a preemptory and exclusive priesthood, but this position is a vital part of the Roman Catholic dogma, and is based on the errant concept that there is no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic church (MY CATHOLIC FAITH, Page 150). The Romanists having ill assumed that Christ made Peter the foundation and infallible Head of His church, and that their popes are the apostolic successors of Peter, having the same primacy and infallibility that Peter had, have become a theological law factory. This law factory has produced and dogmatized an endless number of heresies, a few of which are: The worship of Mary, the doctrine of purgatory, Papal and church infallibility, celibacy of the priesthood, sacramental salvation, etc., etc., etc.
Christ did not appoint Peter to the headship of His church, nor bestow on him any degree of superiority over the other apostles, and it is seen from Scripture that Peter was not infallible in word, nor in church matters (Matthew 26:74; Galatians 2:11-14). The scriptures explicitly and irrefutably teach that salvation from sin is by the sovereign, free and irresistible grace of God, and that this saving grace was merited by the sacrificial blood of Christ. This great and glorious truth is amply iterated in Scripture, and has for the last two thousand years been attested to by the supremest theological minds. Based on this God honoring and church edifying truth, I ask: Where is the wisdom that allows for Peter through the means of his (supposed) successors to dogmatize doctrine that contradicts the gospel of free grace?
Peter, speaking of the salvational grace of God, declares it to be the fruit of Christ’s suffering (I Peter 1:10,11; 5:10-12). Seeing that Peter’s words are divinely inspired, I ask: “Where is the wisdom that allows Peter’s first, interim, and umpteenth successor (?) to dogmatize doctrines that contravene Peter’s testimony regarding grace?” The Lord did not endow Peter with inerrant ability, but did tell His infant church of which the apostles were a primary part, that its pronouncements of His decrees on earth, would be sanctioned in heaven (Matthew 18:18).
The Burden Of Proof
The burden of proof which rests on the Romanistic contention that Peter is the foundational “rock” of Matthew 16:18 is exceedingly heavy, yea, so much so that it is unobtainable; and that for the simple reason it does not exist. Delineated in the following paragraphs of this chapter are some of the mooted and absurd claims of Romanism as relates to Peter. We shall examine these claims in the light of the inspired, eternal, and inerrant word of God.
However, the long and dark history of the Roman Catholic Church reveals that the lack of Scripture evidence has not in the least deterred it in the formulation of its dogma and practice. The Papacy claims an inspiration that allows it to by-pass Scripture evidence, and to off set or negate the evidence. It is easy for the Roman church to conjure up a miracle, which directly supports their claim. And who is it that is so crass as to question a doctrine that has a miracle as its adjunct? (???). Romanism from its inception has suffered from a fatal lack of Holy Spirit inspired truth, but human logic asks: “Who needs inspired truth when miracles are ever at hand?” According to Romish claims it takes at least four miracles for the canonization of a saint. Two miracles must be performed by the saint before his canonization, and two subsequent to it. Multiply four by the large number of their canonized saints, and it will be readily seen why so little attention is given to the sacred record of God’s Son, by the Romish church.
In order for the Roman Catholic Church to prove their claims regarding Peter, it must be shown from Scripture:
1.) That Christ made Peter the first Pope of His blood bought Church and that Peter first exercised his Papal Bishopric in the church at Rome. There is NO Scripture evidence for the Papal office, and it cannot be established from Scripture nor from the first century of secular or ecclesiastical history that Peter was ever at any time in the imperial city of Rome.
The words addressed to Peter by the Lord in Matthew 16:18 did not designate Peter as the head and foundation of His church, nor did they bestow on Peter an ecclesiastical primacy over the other apostles. This assertion is attested to many times in the Acts and the Epistles, but I will at this time refer the reader to two scriptural events which unequivocally show that the Romish claim of Petrine Papacy is ridiculously unsound. The first event I refer to is the first church council, the account of which is recorded in Acts 15. Peter, Paul, and Barnabas address the council, but there is no particular superiority exercised over the council by any of them. There is no ex cathedra voice heard in this council, nor any Papal decrees issued, but it is James, the Lord’s brother, a non apostolic leader, and Pastor of the church at Jerusalem whose “sentence”, or more correctly “judgment” that is accepted by the council. (Vss. 6-22).
2.) The second event I call the reader’s attention to is recorded in Galatians 2:11-16, wherein Paul charges Peter with dissimulation and spiritual weakness (Vs. 13). Paul says: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed … I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Vss. 11 & 14).
There is not one word of remonstrance by Peter against Paul, for Peter knew Paul’s charge against him was correct and justified, and we know the account of this event given by Paul is inspired of the Holy Spirit. In view of the awesome power which the Pope has in the Roman Catholic church (“To him belongs the last appeal in all cases.”), is it not most difficult to conceive of a subordinate rebuking him to his face, and that before an official assembly in the Vatican. Then too, in light of Papal history, where is the principled person who can believe the Pope would refer to his humiliating detractor as “beloved brother”? (II Peter 3:15).
3.) The third thing the Romish church must show to prove that Peter was the first Pope is: That his supposed bishopric at Rome was transferred to the highest official in the church at Rome at the time of Peter’s death in a.d. 69. The dubiety of this ill founded notion is greatly compounded in that it utterly ignores the apostle John, and makes him a disciplinary subject for more than twenty years to Peter’s imagined successor. The beloved John died sometime between 90 and 100 a.d. without knowing he had an infallible and Supreme Pontiff in Rome (???) However, this lack of knowledge on the part of the great apostle did not disturb him, for a person cannot be disturbed over something which the person knows does not exist. And John knew from the very outset that the apostolic office would reach its terminus in spite of Satan’s efforts to counterfeit it (Revelation 2:2).
4.) The fourth thing the Romish church must unambiguously set forth in its allusion to Peter as the first Pope is: That Peter claimed to be the Vicar of Christ. This Romish contention is too ABSURD to dwell upon, so our comment will be brief. It does despite to the Holy Spirit, Who is the true Vicegerent of Christ on earth. “But the Comforter (Paraclete), which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you …” (John 14:26). “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is the Author and interpreter of God’s word, and the Lord has graciously blessed His church with the institutional indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), whereby all ancillaries and traditions of men are made null and void. A general study of the character of the popes (264 to date, 1990) from the origin of the apostate church (303 a.d. at the very earliest) will reveal that the appellation “false prophet” insuperably applies to these pretended successors of Peter.
We Invite you and your family to join with us for worship at Grace Missioanry Baptist Church, located at The Glowmar Bridge. Sunday School 11:00 am Worship 12:00 Evening Worship 7:00 pm Prayer Meeeting and Bible Study Wednesday 7:00 pm Elder Charles Minks and Brother Fred Minks.