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Protestant Scholars agree - Peter is the Rock in Matthew 16:18

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by hoser, Jun 4, 2006.

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  1. hoser

    hoser Guest

    Twelve Quotations from Ten Protestant Biblical Scholars

    William Hendriksen
    member of the Reformed Christian Church
    Professor of New Testament Literature at Calvin Seminary
    The meaning is, “You are Peter, that is Rock, and upon this rock, that is, on you, Peter I will build my church.” Our Lord, speaking Aramaic, probably said, “And I say to you, you are Kepha, and on this kepha I will build my church.” Jesus, then, is promising Peter that he is going to build his church on him! I accept this view.
    New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew
    (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1973), page 647
    JPK page 14​

    Gerhard Maier
    leading conservative evangelical Lutheran theologian
    Nowadays a broad consensus has emerged which — in accordance with the words of the text — applies the promise to Peter as a person. On this point liberal (H. J. Holtzmann, E. Schweiger) and conservative (Cullmann, Flew) theologians agree, as well as representatives of Roman Catholic exegesis.
    “The Church in the Gospel of Matthew: Hermeneutical Analysis of the Current Debate”
    Biblical Interpretation and Church Text and Context
    (Flemington Markets, NSW: Paternoster Press, 1984), page 58
    JPK pages 16-17​

    Donald A. Carson III
    Baptist and Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Seminary
    (two quotations from different works)
    Although it is true that petros and petra can mean “stone” and “rock” respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses (“you are kepha” and “on this kepha”), since the word was used both for a name and for a “rock”. The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name.
    The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 8 (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
    (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), page 368
    JPK pages 17-18​
    The word Peter petros, meaning “rock” (Gk 4377), is masculine, and in Jesus’ follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken “rock” to be anything or anyone other than Peter.
    Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary — New Testament, vol. 2
    (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), page 78​

    JPK page 18
    John Peter Lange
    German Protestant scholar
    The Saviour, no doubt, used in both clauses the Aramaic word kepha (hence the Greek Kephas applied to Simon, John i.42; comp. 1 Cor. i.12; iii.22; ix.5; Gal. ii.9), which means rock and is used both as a proper and a common noun.... The proper translation then would be: “Thou art Rock, and upon this rock”, etc.
    Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: The Gospel According to Matthew, vol. 8
    (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), page 293
    JPK page 19​

    John A. Broadus
    Baptist author
    (two quotations from the same work)
    Many insist on the distinction between the two Greek words, thou art Petros and on this petra, holding that if the rock had meant Peter, either petros or petra would have been used both times, and that petros signifies a separate stone or fragment broken off, while petra is the massive rock. But this distinction is almost entirely confined to poetry, the common prose word instead of petros being lithos; nor is the distinction uniformly observed.
    But the main answer here is that our Lord undoubtedly spoke Aramaic, which has no known means of making such a distinction [between feminine petra and masculine petros in Greek]. The Peshitta (Western Aramaic) renders, “Thou are kipho, and on this kipho”. The Eastern Aramaic, spoken in Palestine in the time of Christ, must necessarily have said in like manner, “Thou are kepha, and on this kepha”.... Beza called attention to the fact that it is so likewise in French: “Thou art Pierre, and on this pierre”; and Nicholson suggests that we could say, “Thou art Piers (old English for Peter), and on this pier
    Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew
    (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1886), pages 355-356
    JPK page 20​

    J. Knox Chamblin
    Presbyterian and New Testament Professor
    Reformed Theological Seminary
    By the words “this rock” Jesus means not himself, nor his teaching, nor God the Father, nor Peter’s confession, but Peter himself. The phrase is immediately preceded by a direct and emphatic reference to Peter. As Jesus identifies himself as the Builder, the rock on which he builds is most naturally understood as someone (or something) other than Jesus himself. The demonstrative this, whether denoting what is physically close to Jesus or what is literally close in Matthew, more naturally refers to Peter (v. 18) than to the more remote confession (v. 16). The link between the clauses of verse 18 is made yet stronger by the play on words, “You are Peter (Gk. Petros), and on this rock (Gk. petra) I will build my church”. As an apostle, Peter utters the confession of verse 16; as a confessor he receives the designation this rock from Jesus.
    Evangelical Commentary on the Bible
    (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1989), page 742
    JPK page 30​

    Craig L. Blomberg
    Baptist and Professor of New Testament
    Denver Seminary
    Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon's nickname “Peter” (Petros = rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus’ declaration, “You are Peter”, parallels Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ”, as if to say, “Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.” The expression “this rock” almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following “the Christ” in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter’s name (Petros) and the word “rock” (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification.
    The New American Commentary: Matthew, vol. 22
    (Nashville: Broadman, 1992), pages 251-252
    JPK pages 31-32​

    David Hill
    Presbyterian minister and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biblical Studies
    University of Sheffield, England
    On this rock I will build my church: the word-play goes back to Aramaic tradition. It is on Peter himself, the confessor of his Messiahship, that Jesus will build the Church. The disciple becomes, as it were, the foundation stone of the community. Attempts to interpret the “rock” as something other than Peter in person (e.g., his faith, the truth revealed to him) are due to Protestant bias, and introduce to the statement a degree of subtlety which is highly unlikely.
    “The Gospel of Matthew”
    The New Century Bible Commentary
    (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1972), page 261
    JPK page 34​

    Suzanne de Dietrich
    Presbyterian theologian
    The play on words in verse 18 indicates the Aramaic origin of the passage. The new name contains a promise. “Simon”, the fluctuating, impulsive disciple, will, by the grace of God, be the “rock” on which God will build the new community.
    The Layman’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, vol. 16
    (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1961), page 93
    JPK page 34​

    Donald A. Hagner
    Fuller Theological Seminary
    The natural reading of the passage, despite the necessary shift from Petros to petra required by the word play in the Greek (but not the Aramaic, where the same word kepha occurs in both places), is that it is Peter who is the rock upon which the church is to be built.... The frequent attempts that have been made, largely in the past, to deny this in favor of the view that the confession itself is the rock... seem to be largely motivated by Protestant prejudice against a passage that is used by the Roman Catholics to justify the papacy.
    Matthew 14-28
    Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 33b
    (Dallas: Word Books, 1995), page 470
    JPK pages 36-37​
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  2. OrthodoxyUSA

    OrthodoxyUSA Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Rome is the "only" Church of the Ancient Churches who define Peter as the Rock in Matthew 16:18.

    "All" of the others agree that the faith that Peter showed is the Rock spoken of.

    Forgive me...
  3. JimfromOhio

    JimfromOhio Life of Trials :)

    I never had problem of Peter being the Rock of the Church but I disagree that Peter was the Pope. You didn't read the whole article why they were explaining why Peter was not Pope. You can keep supporting your loyalty to your denomination while I support the truth which is Christ (not denomination). We should all take a long hard look at what things we consider to be important. Christians' conclusions are either ignorance or loyalty to a specific denomination, cause or person. Church divisions have been going on since the New Testament days As Paul wrote in1 Corinthians 12-13 "One of you says, 'I follow Paul'; another, 'I follow Apollos'; another, 'I follow Cephas'; still another, 'I follow Christ.' Is Christ divided?"

    Acts 2:1, Peter lead when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place which became spiritual church. Church is an assembly of believers and is made up of real spiritual people. At the instant of our conversion, we become "eternal members" in the universal church of Jesus Christ, based solely on His merit and grace. If you are a Christ-follower, then you are already this kind of member. This is eternal and unchanging (I Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 2:13-22; 4:3-6; Colossians 1:13-22). Everyone who is saved is a member of God's Kingdom.

    Second Kind of Member is at Local Church, the Bible also assumes those "positional members" physically in a visible local Church and become deeply involved in the participation of a local assembly (Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians. 12:25-31; 14:12, 26; Hebrews 10:24-25; I Tim. 3:14-15).
  4. Optimax

    Optimax Senior Veteran

    Word of Faith
    The question of the rock.

    Mt 16:18
    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.

    Consider what was said before Jesus said that he would build his church on “this rock”.

    Mt 16:17
    17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

    The subject in verse 17 is how Peter received the understanding of who Jesus was. Flesh and blood did not reveal it, or tell it to Peter. We would say “a person did not tell (reveal) this to you. Jesus said “my Father which is in heaven told (revealed) this to you.

    When a person is told something (has something revealed to them) by the Father, the revealing is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. This is called revelation knowledge. It is called revelation knowledge because it is knowledge revealed by the Holy Spirit.

    The rock Jesus referred to when He said “ upon this rock I will build my church” was/is the “rock” of “knowledge revealed from the Father”.

    Revelation knowledge is a “rock” that is available to anyone who seeks it.
  5. Ethan_Fetch

    Ethan_Fetch Veteran

    It is a kind of synecdoche:

    Peter is the rock, but the name refers to his immediately previous confession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God".

    I cannot help but think that Jesus was being just a bit ironic as well, given Peter's pusillanimous waffling after Jesus was seized in the garden...[nothing particularly "rocky" about denying Him three times], or yet again the vacillation on the issue of gentile believers Paul takes him to task for (Gal. 2).

    Peter is the rock, but Christ builds his church upon the confession of Peter.

    And anyhow, there's nothing here even remotely like your idea of apostolic succession or "petrine supremacy".
  6. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper Left the river, made it to the sea Supporter

    I believe Peter is the rock upon which Jesus built "His Church"...

    It's not Peter's Church though as it is Jesus' Church and is the Body of Christ...
  7. James1979

    James1979 Regular Member

    Peter is simply not the rock. The rock is the Lord Jesus Christ.

    4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

    The word Peter was translated to stone one time and it shouldn't have been translated to stone, it should have been translated to Peter his name because the same greek word petra was translated to Peter 161 times and 1 time stone.

    Jhn 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

    So Jesus is telling Peter in Matt 16:18, upon me will I build my church.
  8. holeinone

    holeinone Saint Holeinone

    As late as 396 Church theologians were teaching the rock on which the church was built was a confession of faith.

    ...Why have I wanted to make this little introduction? In order to suggest to you that in Peter the Church is to be recognized. Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer.
    Sermons, Volume III/6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327.

    In Matt 16 Jesus asked his disciples what people were saying about Him Peter responds under the illumination of the Holy Spirit

    "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

    Peter's CONFESSION OF FAITH IN CHRIST is the ROCK upon which the true church is built - not Peter the STONE.

    Shortly later Jesus says this to Peter

    Matt 16:23 "But he turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men"

    So which is it Rock or Satan?

    Not ONE apostle or early father ever even hinted that Jesus made Peter the head of the church. Peter never claimed it for himself. Such silence is deafening. The first person to propose this was a Bishop of Rome in the 4th century. Over 300 years after Christ

    Christ is the cornerstone, the stone the builders rejected.

    Who did Peter believe the Rock was?

    [ READ the words of Peter

    1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, [as unto]a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,

    1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

    1Pe 2:6
    Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.[/size]
  9. CaDan

    CaDan I remember orange CF Supporter

    The petra vs. petros distinction doesn't work in Aramaic, though.
  10. Trento

    Trento Senior Veteran

  11. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

    I believe the OP is pasted from here.

    And the referred to TSK stands for, Jesus, Peter & the Keys: a Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy, by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David Hess, © 1996 by the authors

    I always wonder in these fights over Peter, why so much credence is given to the rock passage and the next passage seems completely ignored?

  12. Trento

    Trento Senior Veteran


    The Church teaches both from the CCC.

    424 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 built his Church.

    881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

    As does Augustine.

    "Number the priests even from that seat of Peter. And in that order of fathers see to whom succeeded: that is the rock which the proud gates of hades do not conquer."
    Augustine,Psalmus contr Partem Donati(A.D. 393),in GILES,182

    Peter upon which rock the Lord promised that he would build his church."

    Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God is able to forgive all sins. They are wretched indeed, because they do not recognize in Peter the rock and they refuse to believe that the keys of heaven, lost from their own hands, have been given to the Church."
    Christian Combat, 31:33(A.D. 397), in JUR,3:51

    "For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: 'Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !' The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of 'mountain men,' or Cutzupits, by which they were known."
    To Generosus, Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400), in NPNF1,I:298

    When, therefore, He had said to His disciples, 'Will ye also go away?" Peter, that Rock, answered with the voice of all, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.' "
    Homilies on John, Tract 11:5(A.D. 417), in NPNF1,VII:76

    Let's see.

    '...thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church' ... It is on him that he builds the Church, and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church's) oneness...If a man does not fast to this oneness of Peter, does he still imagine that he still holds the faith. If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church?"
    Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae(Primacy text),4(A.D. 251),in NE,228-229

    By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished."
    Hippolytus,Discourse on the Holy Theophany,9(ante A.D. 235),ANF,V:237

    Peter, who is called 'the rock on which the church should be built,' who also obtained 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven...' "
    Tertullian,On the Prescription Against the Heretics,22(c.A.D. 200),in ANF,III:253

    Peter, that the head of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who received the revelation not from man but from the Father ... this Peter, and when I say Peter, I mean the unbroken rock, the unshaken foundation, the great apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey" St. John Chrysostom (Almsgiving 3:4, Chapman 74).

    "[F]or the good of unity blessed Peter, for whom it would have been enough if after his denial he had obtained pardone only, deserved to be placed before all the apostles, and alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to be communicated to the rest."
    Optatus of Milevis, De Schismate Donatistorum,7:3(A.D. 370),in GILES,120

    As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built!"
    Jerome,To Pope Damasus,Epistle 15(A.D. 375),in NPNF2,VI:18

    This Peter on whom Christ freely bestowed a sharing in his name. For just as Christ is the rock, as the Apostle Paul taught, so through Christ Peter is made rock, when the Lord says to him: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church..."'
    Maximus of Turin,Homily 63(A.D. 408),in SPP,61-62

    "lessed Simon, who after his confession of the mystery was set to be the foundation-stone of the Church, and received the keys of the kingdom..."
    Hilary de Poiters,On the Trinity,6:20(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:105

    The memory of Peter, who is the head of the apostles...he is the firm and most solid rock, on which the savior built his Church."
    Gregory of Nyssa,Panegyric on St. Stephen,3(ante A.D. 394),in SPP,56

    "And Peter,the rockon whom the Church of Christ is built, 'against which the gates of hell shall not prevail' "
    Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History,6:25 (A.D. 325),in

    "[T]he first of the apostles, the solid rock on which the Church was built."
    Epiphanius, In Ancorato,9:6 (A.D. 374),in SPP,in 57

    "Simon, My follower, I have made you the foundation of the Holy Church. I betimes called you Peter(Kepha), because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me...I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, have given you authority over all my treasures."
    Ephraim, Homily 4:1,(A.D. 373),JUR,I:11

    "...the chief of the disciples...the Lord accepted him, set him up as the foundation, called him the rock and structure of the church."
    Aphraates, De Paenitentibus Homily 7:15(A.D. 337),in SPP,58

    " 'Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church', Wherefore where Peter the Church is..."
    Ambrose,Commentary on the Psalms,40:30 (AD 395),in DOP,184

    "[T]he first of the apostles, the solid rock on which the Church was built."
    Epiphanius, In Ancorato,9:6 (A.D. 374),in SPP,in 57

    Peter upon which rock the Lord promised that he would build his church."
    Basil,In Isaias,2:66(A.D. 375),in SPP,55

  13. BBAS 64

    BBAS 64 Contributor Supporter

    Good Day, Hoser

    And your point would be....

    Are you trying to then make the leap these scholars would agree, with the Roman Catholic's unhistorical ,
    unprovable false conclusion based on their intrupretation there is a Pope, that they have defined for everyone.

    Well you then have lots of scholars to deal with...

    Nobody in the earliest generations of Christianity refers to the bishops of Rome having universal jurisdiction. The absence of an early papacy, the office of universal jurisdiction that you refer to, is a consensus among both Catholic and non-Catholic scholars. Craig Keener, citing Jaroslav Pelikan, comments that "most scholars, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, concur that Peter died in Rome but doubt that Mt 16:18 intended the authority later claimed by the papacy (Pelikan 1980: 60)" (A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999], p. 425).

    You may want to start with your own denomination first.

    Peace to u

  14. cygnusx1

    cygnusx1 Jacob the twister.....

    :amen: :D
  15. cygnusx1

    cygnusx1 Jacob the twister.....

    why is the next passage speaking of Christ saying to Peter get thee behind me Satan " ?

    hardly is one going to quote that at the same time as trying to give Peter all authority so others can prize the "authority" from his fingers ... :D

    I seem to remember the disciples fighting over who would rule ...... how sick! :doh:
  16. WarriorAngel

    WarriorAngel I close my eyes and see you smile Supporter

    I disagree.

    Peter denied Christ three times. Peter tempted Jesus to walk away from His death. Peter was no stronger in faith than the others....

    But because the Father spoke to Peter, Jesus knew the Father choose Peter. Hence he was choosen to lead, and be the rock of which the artchitects would build upon.

    1 Corinthians 3
    9 For we are God's coadjutors: you are God's husbandry; you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

    Jesus is the Foundation built upon His rock, and His Apostles were His artchitects building the foundation. [Gospel...Jesus].

  17. IgnatiusOfAntioch

    IgnatiusOfAntioch Contributor

    U R Awesome. Mind if I plagiarize this?
  18. cygnusx1

    cygnusx1 Jacob the twister.....

    Upon This Rock​
    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. (KJV)

    Beginning with the writings of the so-called Church Fathers in the second century various interpretations of the phrase "upon this rock" have been given. Some have said the rock on which the church was founded was Peter. Others have argued that the rock was Peter's confession - the faith that Peter confessed was the foundation of the church. Still others have seen this reference to the rock as a reference to Christ Himself as the foundation of the church. [Larry Richards, The Teacher's Commentary, p. 567]

    It is the purpose of this article to present a short explanation of each of these viewpoints and try, if possible, to draw the scriptural conclusion. Among the brotherhood I have found no commentators that believe that Peter is the rock. Indeed most brethren tend toward Peter's confession as the rock. If you have not read McGarvey's eloquent explanation of this position please take time to do so. [McGarvey, Commentary on Matthew pp. 144-146.] My study of this verse has drawn me towards the third position - the "rock" is Christ.

    Is the Rock Peter?
    This is the Roman Catholic position. They believe that the church through the pope is the "Vicar of Christ on earth" and the power of making binding decisions has been given to Peter and his successors. This notion did not gain prominence in church history until after the Bishop of Rome gained preeminence over other bishops. They base their doctrine on the wordplay between Peter (petros) and Rock (petra). They believe that in this passage Christ is installing Peter as the head of the Apostles. The problem with this theory is that Christ forgot to tell the other Apostles that Peter was their head (Mt. 18:1; 20:21).

    However, Petros and Petra refer to the difference between a stone (Peter) and bedrock. By using the word "this" instead of "you" Christ points toward a different antecedent than Peter. In his commentary on Matthew, Kenneth Chumbley cites a survey of eighty-five ancient commentators. Sixty-eight out of eighty-five of these pre-Roman Catholic believed that Peter was not the Rock. [Chumbley's Commentary on Matthew, pp. 296-300]

    Churches of the Protestant Reformation chose to either reject the Catholic view or accept Peter as the Rock in the more general sense that the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Some believe that Peter is shown to be the foundation of the church by his possession of the "Keys of the Kingdom" and the fact that he was the first to bring the gospel message on the day of Pentecost (to the Jews) and later to Cornelius (the Gentiles). Some Greek lexicographers such as Vincent argue that the sentence structure will not allow any other interpretation than Peter as the Rock. (Word Studies, Vol. 1, pp. 91,92.) Barnes states that "the whole meaning of the passage is this: I will make you the honored instrument of making known my gospel first to Jews and Gentiles and will make you a firm and distinguished preacher in building my church." [Barnes' Notes on Matthew, p. 170.]

    Is the Rock Peter's Confession?
    Those that hold this position argue that the most fundamental truth on which the whole superstructure of the Christian system is based - is the truth that Jesus Christ is the Savior, the Son of God. Jesus is the architect, Peter holds the keys to the gate, and the truth that Jesus is the Christ is the foundation.

    The imagery is of one city (built on a rock) pitted against another (represented here by Hades - referring to "death"). Jesus the architect would build his city on Peter's great confession and allow Peter and the other apostles to control who might enter that city via the "keys to the kingdom." The cities are at war. But the gates of death will not prevail against the city built on the rock of Peter's confession. [McGarvey, Commentary on Matthew pp. 144-146.] The strength of this city is that not even death can destroy it because it is everlasting.

    Henry interprets the passage: After Peter's great confession, " Now, saith Christ, this is that great truth upon which I will build my church." [Matthew Henry's Commentary, Vol. 5, pp. 187,188.] Henry then goes on to point out that without this truth the church falls to the ground. If Jesus is not the Christ then His church does not exist and without this confession anyone calling himself a Christian does not hold on to the foundation and falls away into infidelity. Of the eighty-five ancient commentators mentioned earlier, 44 held this view.

    Is the Rock Christ?
    The distinction between the word petros and the word petra has led some Bible scholars to believe that the rock is Christ. They base their thinking on the following four points:

    The symbolic use of the word "rock" in the Hebrew scripture always refers to God and never to man. Twice in Deuteronomy it is used of false gods in comparison to the "rock of Israel." Otherwise the term is applied directly to God or the Messiah. (See Duet. 32:4; Ps. 18:2; 18:31; Isa. 28:16)

    Peter never identified himself as the rock or the foundation of the church, yet he obviously identifies Christ as the "chief cornerstone" of Psalms 118:22 in 1 Pet. 2:4-8 and Acts 4:10,11.

    The teachings of Paul also point to Jesus as the "rock." (1 Cor. 3:11: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.") In Eph. 2:20 Paul uses the apostles and prophets as a figure of the foundation - teaching that it is their inspired teaching concerning Christ (not their person or office) on which the church rests. [Chumbley's Commentary on Matthew, pp. 296-300]

    Jesus identifies Himself as the Rock of Ps. 118 (Mt. 21:42).

    Peter indeed receives the distinction of being the first preacher of record to take the gospel to both the Jews and the Gentiles (day of Pentecost, household of Cornelius). But, Peter was not infallible nor was he the superior apostle. He made doctrinal blunders before and after being filled with the Holy Spirit. God could not found the church on an imperfect man. He and the other apostles laid the foundation of the church, with Christ as the chief-cornerstone and every believer (including the apostles) as "living stones" of the building itself (the church). "Believers are added to the church. as they are saved." Peter is not the pope and he is not the bedrock on which the church is founded.

    Peter's confession is the "contract" to build. His confession is not the bedrock on which the church is built; it is the bedrock on which his own salvation is based. In a similar vein, our individual confessions of Christ as Lord, set in motion an agreement between ourselves and God that we want to become part of His building - we want to be "living stones" in His service. If the church was built on Peter's confession then in that same sense the church continues to grow every time a new soul is added to the building. Every new believer renews the contract first established between Peter and the Lord.

    Lyricist S.J. Stone used scripture and poetic beauty to craft these words:

    The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord,
    She is His new creation by water and the word;
    From heaven He came and sought her to be His Holy Bride;
    With His own blood He bought her,
    And for her life He died.

    The bedrock of the church is Jesus Christ her Lord. Jesus Christ is the Word of God Incarnate (Jn. 1:1). For all practical purposes for the world today it is God's word (the Bible) that stands as the foundation of Peter's faith, our faith, and the faith of believers to come. Each true believer must dedicate themselves to "standing on the promises of Christ the King" our "rock and hope of eternal salvation!" We can if we obey His word.​

    By Carey Dillinger
    From Expository Files 8.10; October 2001

  19. hoser

    hoser Guest

    Well, "all" of the others then are wrong, just like you are. To say that Matthew 16:18 means anything else is a slap in the face to the context of the verse.

    I suggest you read "Upon this Rock" by Steve Ray. You might receive some insight on the issue.

  20. hoser

    hoser Guest

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