Did Jesus build his Church upon Peter?

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January 15, 2014 by mattfradd


In the following 7 minute interview I (very) briefly answer the following three questions:

1. Was Peter primary among the apostles?

2. Was Peter the rock upon which Christ would build his Church?

3. How can Peter be the foundation when 1 Corinthians 3:11 says Jesus is?

Here is the audio clip, followed by the text we focused on. Enjoy!

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

And I tell you, you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:17-19).

In the interview I mentioned that even Protestant authorities (oxymoron?) concede that, in Koine Greek, there was no distinction between petra and petros. And that Petros himself is the petra.

For example, one of the most respected Greek dictionaries among Protestants is Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Here’s what it has to say about Matthew 16:18:

The obvious pun which has made its way into the Greek text . . . suggests a material identity between petra and Petros . . . as it is impossible to differentiate strictly between the two words. . . . Petros himself is this petra, not just his faith or his confession. . . .

The idea of the Reformers that he is referring to the faith of Peter is quite inconceivable. . . . For there is no reference here to the faith of Peter. Rather, the parallelism of “thou art Rock” and “on this rock I will build” shows that the second rock can only be the same as the first.

It is thus evident that Jesus is referring to Peter, to whom he has given the name Rock. . . .To this extent Roman Catholic exegesis is right and all Protestant attempts to evade this interpretation are to be rejected. [1]

For more quick answers to objections to the faith, click here!


[1] Thanks to Tim Staples for sharing this with me.

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