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Particulars of Christianity:
301 Roman Catholicism


Roman Catholicism (Part 2)

Roman Catholicism (Part 1)
Roman Catholicism (Part 2)
Roman Catholicism (Part 3)
Roman Catholicism (Part 4)
Roman Catholicism (Part 5)
Roman Catholicism (Part 6)
Roman Catholicism (Part 7)
Roman Catholicism (Part 8)
Roman Catholicism (Part 9)
Roman Catholicism (Part 10)
Roman Catholicism (Part 11)
Roman Catholicism (Part 12)
Addendum: In Their Own Words



(Continued from previous section.)

Scripturally speaking, the RCC relies upon just two New Testament passages, which it claims establish the first two items from our list above.

1. Jesus appointed the Apostle Peter to a position of sovereignty over the other Apostles and over the Church.
2. Jesus conferred upon Peter the authority to determine what Church doctrine is.

The following excerpts indicate which scripture texts the RCC appeals to in support of these notions.

"The Pope - The proof that Christ constituted St. Peter head of His Church is found in the two famous Petrine texts, Matthew 16:17-19, and John 21:15-17." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"Roman Catholicism - Of the Petrine texts, Matthew 16:18 f. is clearly central and has the distinction of being the first scriptural text invoked to support the primatial claims of the Roman bishops." - Britannica.com

Since Matthew 16 is the central Scriptural passage used by Roman Catholics to establish Peter's papal authority we will address it second. First, we will cover John 21.

John 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Below is the Catholic Encyclopedia's interpretation of John 21 and its bearing on Peter's papal authority.

"The Pope - The promise made by Christ in Matthew 16:16-19, received its fulfilment after the Resurrection in the scene described in John 21. Here the Lord, when about to leave the earth, places the whole flock -- the sheep and the lambs alike -- in the charge of the Apostle." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - The scene stands in striking parallelism with that of Matthew 16. As there the reward was given to Peter after a profession of faith which singled him out from the other eleven, so here Christ demands a similar protestation, but this time of a yet higher virtue: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these"? Here, too, as there, He bestows on the Apostle an office which in its highest sense is proper to Himself alone. There Christ had promised to make Peter the foundation-stone of the house of God: here He makes him the shepherd of God's flock to take the place of Himself, the Good Shepherd." - Catholic Encyclopedia

Returning to the passage in question it is difficult to see how John 21:15-17 establishes Peter as the chief Apostle or grants him papal authority over either the Church or in determining doctrine. The content of the passage merely includes Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved Him and after each affirmative response from Peter, Jesus tells him to feed His sheep. It does not follow from this passage that Jesus is bestowing any sort of special office or authority on Peter whatsoever.

In fact, the only way to reach that conclusion is to first assume the Roman Catholic position that Jesus did confer such a status to Peter and then to interpret this passage in light of that presumption. Of course, this is poor hermeneutic practice via unsound exegesis and complete circular reasoning. The only thing that this passage indicates is Jesus restoration of Peter's confidence after his tragic denial just prior to the crucifixion, which also occurred in three repeated statements.

For, these reasons and because the Catholic Encyclopedia itself places a priority on Matthew 16 for their papal doctrine, we now turn to that passage.

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (4074), and upon this rock (4073) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Here again is the Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:17-19 and why these verses unequivocally establish Peter's supremacy and authority over the Church and the determination of Christian teaching.

"The Pope - In Matthew 16:17-19, the office is solemnly promised to the Apostle. In response to his profession of faith in the Divine Nature of his Master, Christ thus addresses him:. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - The prerogatives here promised are manifestly personal to Peter. His profession of faith was not made as has been sometimes asserted, in the name of the other Apostles. This is evident from the words of Christ. He pronounces on the Apostle, distinguishing him by his name Simon son of John, a peculiar and personal blessing, declaring that his knowledge regarding the Divine Sonship sprang from a special revelation granted to him by the Father (cf. Matthew 11:27)." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - He further proceeds to recompense this confession of His Divinity by bestowing upon him a reward proper to himself: 'Thou art Peter [Cepha, transliterated also Kipha] and upon this rock [Cepha] I will build my Church.' The word for Peter and for rock in the original Aramaic is one and the same; this renders it evident that the various attempts to explain the term 'rock' as having reference not to Peter himself but to something else are misinterpretations. It is Peter who is the rock of the Church." - Catholic Encyclopedia

As we start our analysis of this lonely New Testament passage we must remember that the principle question is whether or not we can derive the Roman Catholic doctrine regarding Peter's papal authority from this passage without first presuming the Roman Catholic position. We do not seek to understand whether or not Roman Catholics believe that Peter was the first pope. We already know the answer to that. What we want to know is if Jesus did, in fact, bestow this office and its authority upon Peter.

And the entire interpretation of this passage depends upon answering one question: was Peter the rock upon which Jesus would build the Church? As we know, the RCC argues that this passage unequivocally indicates that Peter was granted papal authority because Jesus said that he (Peter) was the rock upon which the Church will be built. If, however, this single passage does not indicate that Peter is the rock upon which the Church will be built then it seems that this crucial Roman Catholic doctrine did not originate from the teaching of Jesus' Christ.

There are several ways in which one might go about arguing against the Roman Catholic interpretation of this passage. However, in our study we will employ only two.

First, even if Jesus is indicating that Peter is the rock upon which the Church will be built as Roman Catholics argue, does it follow that Peter was granted the authority to infallibly declare what is and what is not authentic Christian teaching as the RCC claims? Hardly, though Jesus would be giving Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven we must ask which comes first the chicken or the egg? More specifically, is sound doctrine established by Peter's papal authority or is Peter made the supreme authority because he first exhibits sound doctrine?

The RCC asserts the first option by claiming the sole right to pronounce true doctrine simply by virtue of the papal authority of Peter. Therefore, for Roman Catholics, what is and is not sound doctrine is a product of papal authority. In other words, authority produces doctrine.

"Roman Catholicism - The Roman pontiff is vested with the entire teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church; this was solemnly declared in the first Vatican Council. This means that he is the only spokesman for the entire Roman Church; the papacy carries in itself the power to act as supreme pastor. It is expected that he will assure himself that he expresses the existing consensus of the church, but in fact the documents of the first Vatican Council are open to the understanding that the pope may form the consensus by his utterance." - Britannica.com

"Roman Catholicism - The first Vatican Council declared that the pope, when he teaches solemnly and in the area of faith and morals as the supreme universal pastor, teaches infallibly with that infallibility that the church has. The infallibility of the church has never been defined, and its extent is understood by theologians in the sense of pontifical infallibility as limited to faith and morals." - Britannica.com

"Roman Catholicism - Dogma is the name given to a proposition that is proclaimed with all possible solemnity either by the Roman pontiff or by an ecumenical council. A dogma is a revealed truth that the Roman Catholic Church solemnly declares to be true and to be revealed; it is most properly the object of faith." - Britannica.com

"Papacy - That church further holds that God will not permit the pope to make an error in a solemn official declaration concerning a matter of faith or morality (see infallibility)." - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.

"Infallibility - Roman Catholics hold that the infallibility of the church is vested in the pope, when he speaks ex cathedra (i.e., from the chair of Peter, as the visible head of the church) on matters of faith and morals. Definitive pronouncements resulting from an ecumenical council, when ratified by the pope, are also held to be infallible. The pope speaks ex cathedra only rarely and after long deliberation. The dogma of papal infallibility was enunciated by the First Vatican Council (1870)." - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.

Contrary to the teachings of the RCC, Matthew 16:15-17 indicates just the opposite. Jesus' statements in Matthew 16:15-17 clearly establish that any authority granted to Peter was given on the grounds that He first exhibited a sound understanding of God's revelation. As such, the idea that true teaching is a product of authority is not only NOT found in Matthew 16, but is contradicted by the process demonstrated in Matthew 16, wherein Peter is granted any supposed authority because he FIRST exhibits sound doctrine.

Even if we assume a Roman Catholic understanding that Matthew 16 conveys authority upon Peter, we must recognize three things. First, when Jesus first asks the question, Peter is NOT in a position of authority. Second and therefore, Peter's statement that Jesus is the Christ is not sound simply because it is made by a person in authority. Third, Peter is only granted authority after he first exhibits a sound understanding of God's revelation. The clear cause of Jesus granting any authority to Peter is that Peter first exhibited a correct understanding of God's revelation.

As such the events of Matthew 16:15-17 cannot be used to support the idea that persons in authority can infallibly declare revelations of God's truth as the RCC claims. Based upon Matthew 16:15-17 it stands to reason that if authority is given when sound doctrine is exhibited then authority can be lost if sound doctrine is deviated from. Or more succinctly, just as is the case in Matthew 16, having authority is entirely dependent upon the expression of sound doctrine.

Of course, this undermines the RCC's doctrine of papal authority in matters of faith and dogma, in which they claim that the pope has the authority to declare revelations of true Church teaching. However, according to Matthew 16:15-17 we can determine whether someone has God-given authority by determining whether or not they exhibit a sound understanding of PREVIOUSLY revealed teachings. We will comment further on how and why Peter's declaration in Matthew 16 is merely a restatement of previously revealed teachings as we continue forward to our next segment.

Moving on, we will now discuss whether or not Jesus' teaching in Matthew 16 does grant papal authority to Peter by declaring him to be the rock upon which the Church would be built and then giving him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

There are two critical questions to this part of our investigation. First, is Peter the rock upon which the Church will be built? Second, does Jesus' giving the keys of the kingdom of heaven, as recorded in Matthew 16 indicate that Peter alone held authority over the Church?

The reason that Roman Catholics believe that Peter is the rock upon, which the Church will be built stems from the similarity of the Greek words used in the New Testament for Peter and rock that appear in these verses. Below are the definitions for these two words and how they appear in Matthew 16:15-17.

4074 Petros{pet'-ros}
TDNT - 6:100,835 apparently a primary word
n pr m
Peter = "a rock or a stone"
1) one of the twelve disciples of Jesus
Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count - Total: 162
AV - Peter 161, stone 1; 162

4073 petra {pet'-ra}
TDNT - 6:95,834 from the same as 4074
n f
1) a rock, cliff or ledge
a) a projecting rock, crag, rocky ground
b) a rock, a large stone
c) metaph. a man like a rock, by reason of his firmness and strength of soul Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count - Total: 16
AV - rock 16; 16

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter (4074) answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (4074), and upon this rock (4073) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

From the definitions we can see that these two Greek words are very closely related. But we can determine how the Apostles understood Jesus' remarks here in Matthew 16:15-17, by how they used these two words in the rest of the New Testament writing. We will have many examples that will give us a clear picture.

The first thing to note about Jesus giving the name Peter (Petros) to Simon is that it was not a result of Peter's proclamation about Jesus being the Christ here in Matthew 16:16. Rather John informs us that Jesus called Simon by the name Peter when He was first introduced to him by his brother Andrew. This event is recorded in the beginning of John's gospel.

John 1:40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 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 (2786), which is by interpretation, A stone (4074).

Notice from John's account of Peter meeting Jesus for the first time that it is here that Jesus first calls him Peter (Petros, Strong's No. 4074). This means that Jesus did not call Simon by the name Peter because of his confession that Jesus was the Christ. Likewise, since Simon does not receive the name Peter as a result of his declaration about Jesus, we must also understand that calling Simon by the name Peter as recounted here in John 1 had nothing to do with granting Simon authority or making him the foundation of the Church.

Also, we must note what Peter is told by Andrew, his brother, when Andrew first informs Peter about Jesus. What does Andrew tell Peter before he brings him to meet Jesus? In verse 41 we see that Andrew tells Peter that Jesus is the Christ.

There are two important things that we must note from this account. First, what this tells us is that while Matthew 16:17 clearly indicates that God is ultimately responsible for Peter's understanding that Jesus was the Christ, Peter's confession that this was the case was not a novel understanding that Peter was the first to proclaim. In fact, the first thing Peter heard about Jesus was Andrew's confession that Jesus was the Christ. So, while Peter clearly understood and confessed that Jesus was the Christ, this idea did not originate with him, but was known and spoken by other Apostles before him.

In fact, this very truth was spoken to Peter by Andrew in John 1 before Peter was even Jesus' disciple. Likewise, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. In John 1:29-36, John the Baptist begins proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God four verses before Andrew tells Peter that Jesus is the Christ and calls Peter to come to Jesus.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!… 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 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, in declaring Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God in Matthew 16, Peter is simply affirming his belief in a revelation previously declared through John the Baptist and John's disciple Andrew, Peter's brother, who in calling Peter recounted these previously declared truths to Peter.

Additionally, the inclusion of John 1 into our evaluation of Matthew 16 indicates that beginning with John the Baptist's declarations that Jesus was the Son of God, who is also the Christ, Jesus began to build his Church by gathering unto himself those who believed this declaration, starting with the Apostles themselves, who were the first to be gathered, some of who, like Andrew, were John's disciples first. In other words, it was the revelation that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ, which was first declared by John the Baptist that became the foundation of the Church that Jesus was building.

Second, we see that Jesus calling Simon by the name Peter (Petros, Strong's No. 4074) is not in any way related to Peter's confession that Jesus was the Christ. And it is certainly not prompted by the idea that Peter was the first to understand that Jesus was the Christ.

This truth was certainly revealed by God, but it was revealed by God first through John the Baptist, who proclaimed it (John 1:29-36), and then it was proclaimed by God himself to the entire public during Jesus' baptism in Matthew 3:17, Matthew 1:1, and Luke 3:22. And the fact that Peter was not the first to receive this revelation entirely demolishes the RCC position regarding papal authority. Because, rather than God decreeing sound doctrine through Peter, Matthew 16 simply records God approving of Peter because he correctly and confidently upheld and repeated revelation that God previously revealed through others. If the authority of the RCC pope was similarly restricted, the pope would be required to submit to and express a correct understanding or previous revelations, just as Peter does here in Matthew 16, rather than invested with the power to proclaim doctrine on his own.

Therefore, we can see that the Catholic Encyclopedia's interpretation of Matthew 16:15-17 is entirely incorrect. Here again for reference the Catholic Encyclopedia's interpretation of the events of Matthew 16:15-17. Notice they are specifically arguing that Peter's confession is a special revelation that he received from God and that it is Peter's unique understanding that prompts Jesus' to make him the rock upon, which the Church will be built.

"The Pope - In Matthew 16:17-19, the office is solemnly promised to the Apostle. In response to his profession of faith in the Divine Nature of his Master, Christ thus addresses him:. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - The prerogatives here promised are manifestly personal to Peter. His profession of faith was not made as has been sometimes asserted, in the name of the other Apostles. This is evident from the words of Christ. He pronounces on the Apostle, distinguishing him by his name Simon son of John, a peculiar and personal blessing, declaring that his knowledge regarding the Divine Sonship sprang from a special revelation granted to him by the Father (cf. Matthew 11:27)." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - He further proceeds to recompense this confession of His Divinity by bestowing upon him a rewardproper to himself: 'Thou art Peter [Cepha, transliterated also Kipha] and upon this rock [Cepha] I will build my Church.'" - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - It is Peter who is the rock of the Church." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - …Christ had promised to make Peter the foundation-stone of the house of God." - Catholic Encyclopedia

At worst we see that the Catholic Encyclopedia is completely mistaken in their interpretation of Matthew 16:15-17, wherein they claim that Peter has some special revelation that the other Apostles did not have and that this special revelation prompts Jesus to make Peter the rock upon, which the Church was to be built. At best, however, it is unclear whether or not Peter was the first or only Apostle to understand who Jesus was and just as unclear whether or not Peter's understanding of who Jesus was had anything to do with Jesus calling him by the name Peter (Petros, Strong's No. 4074).

It is difficult to understand how Roman Catholicism can justify their critically essential and highly developed doctrine on the papal authority vested in Peter from a single New Testament passage, in which the conclusions that they draw are in no way clearly indicated by the text. But, we move on to our next question. Did the Apostles, including Peter, understand that Peter was the rock upon, which the Church was to be built?

By performing a word survey on the New Testament usage of the two Greek words that are employed here in Matthew 16:15-17 we can learn how the Apostles understood Jesus' remarks. Remember that the word for Peter is "Petros" (Strong's No. 4074) and the word for rock is "petra" (Strong's No. 4073).

The Greek word "petra" and the concept of the foundation of the Church is first discussed by Jesus in a parable recorded in Matthew 7 and Luke 6.

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock (4073): 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock (4073). 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Luke 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock (4073): and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock (4073). 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Notice that both of these passages make Jesus' teaching the rock that the house will be built or founded on. This parallels Jesus comment's in Matthew 16:15-17, where Jesus' states that He will build His Church upon the rock. Again, the chief question is whether or not the rock upon which the Church will be built is Peter or something else.

Jesus' parable, recorded in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, clearly indicate that the rock (Strong's No. 4073) is Jesus' teachings, not Peter. And we must of course recognize that Jesus' gave this parable before the events of Matthew 16:15-17 took place and before Jesus' made His statements recorded there. So, given that Jesus first called Simon by the name Peter in John 1:40 and that Jesus had taught the disciples that the rock upon which the house would be built was His own teaching in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, would the Apostles have understood Jesus' words in Matthew 16:15-17 to indicate that Peter was the rock upon which the Church would be built or would they have understood that the teaching that Jesus was the Christ was the foundation rock upon which the Church would be built?

Again, at best for Roman Catholics it is unclear, which is the case. At worst it is clear that the Apostles understood that it was the teaching that Jesus' was the Christ, confessed by Peter, that Jesus' was saying would be the rock upon, which the Church would be built. But, we don't have to end this discussion here. There is additional evidence in both the Old and New Testaments, which helps to clearly establish that it was Jesus and His teaching that are the foundation rock upon, which the Church will be built.

The simple truth is that Jesus only spoke what he heard the Father speak (John 8:28, 12:49-50, 14:10). So, Jesus' teaching was the teaching of the Father. Likewise, John the Baptist first heard that Jesus was the Son of God from the Father. So, when saying that his words would be the rock foundation in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, Jesus is stating that the foundation of his Church is the teaching of God the Father, which Jesus' himself taught and which also revealed to John the Baptist that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ in John 1:29-36. And thus, from the very beginning, even as seen in Andrew's calling of Peter in John 1:40-42, Jesus was building his Church by gathering unto himself those that heard and believed and kept the teaching of God. The Rock, therefore, is Jesus and his teachings, which are the perfect expression of the truth of God (John 1:14, 17).

For instance, while we never see Peter referred to anywhere in the New Testament as the rock (Strong's No. 4073), and especially not in any clear terms, we do see Jesus identified as the rock (Strong's No. 4073) throughout the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock (4073) that followed them: and that Rock (4073) was Christ.

Here in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul clearly and unequivocally declares the Apostolic understanding that Jesus, NOT Peter, was the rock (Strong's No. 4073). Paul's teaching that Jesus was the rock (Strong's No. 4073) also appears in Romans 9, where we see the origin of this teaching.

Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock (4073) of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Here in Romans 9, Paul speaks of Jesus as the rock (Strong's No. 4073) of offense. But Paul is not the originator of this understanding. In fact, he is quoting from an established Old Testament prophecy.

Psalm 118:22 The stone (68) which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

Psalm 118 speaks of this stone, of Jesus, who was rejected by the builders and yet was made the cornerstone of the foundation. Several New Testament passages beginning in the Gospels clearly record that Jesus was this stone.

Luke 20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone (3037) which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone (3037) which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Mark 12:10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone (3037) which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:

Acts 4:11 This is the stone (3037) which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

The final quote in this series, from Acts 4:11, is a statement made by Peter himself when he and John are brought before the high priest. But this is not the only place in the New Testament where Peter affirms that Jesus is the foundation stone of God's Church. In his first epistle, Peter also speaks on this topic.

1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone (3037), disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones (3037), are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone (3037), elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone (3037) of stumbling, and a rock (4073) of offence, even to them which stumble at the word (3056), being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Notice that in verse 8, Peter states that the rock (Strong's No. 4073) of offense, which we saw Paul use in Romans 9:33, which is the stone of stumbling is the word. The Greek word, which is translated as "word" here in 1 Peter 2:8 is "logos" (Strong's No. 3056). This word is the same word that John uses in the opening of his gospel to refer to Jesus.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (3056), and the Word (3056) was with God, and the Word (3056) was God…14 And the Word (3056) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

So, the Greek word "logos" (Strong's No. 3056) as used in Peter's epistle at least refers to the teachings of Jesus and at most refers to Jesus' himself. And this is consistent with what we have seen in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul's letters, and now Peter as well. In all cases each of these people indicates that Jesus and His teachings are the rock upon which the Church will be built. The following verses also confirm that this conclusion was shared by the Apostles and was that held in the earliest era of the Church.

And Peter's reference to Jesus as "a stumbling stone, and a rock of offence," which is also referred to by Paul in Romans 9:33, is a reference back to Isaiah 8, which establishes this prophetic title for Jesus as the "rock."

Isaiah 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul writes to the Church as babes in Christ, who he has fed with milk and not meat. He chastises them for having divisions among them, which is one of the reasons he calls them babes in Christ. In verse 11, Paul again clearly identifies Jesus Christ, NOT Peter, as the foundation that the Church is built upon.

1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

It is also interesting to note that the divisions, which Paul mentions in chapter 3 of this letter, are also referred to by Paul in chapter 1 of the same letter, where he identifies those who claimed to be followers of Peter (Cephas). Again, Paul is not praising them, but rebuking them for this division. Would his criticisms not also apply to the RCC?

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas (2768); and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Likewise, in Hebrews 5-6, Paul also speaking of those who he identifies as babes in Christ again mentions the foundation of the Church. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul identified the foundation with Jesus Christ. Here in Hebrews 5-6, Paul provides examples of Jesus' teaching, which the Apostles taught to the churches, identifying these teachings as the foundations.

Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.

But there are additional reasons that would prevent us from concluding that Peter was the foundation rock of the Church. Besides, the clear identification of Jesus and His teachings as the rock of foundation, and the total lack of New Testament indication that Peter himself is this rock, we have much evidence that all of the Apostles, as they worked to spread the teachings of Christ were the foundation.

In Ephesians 2:20, Paul identifies the foundation as the apostles and prophets, while maintain that Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone of the foundation.

Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Revelation 21 presents a similar concept wherein the foundations of the New Jerusalem are named after all twelve of Jesus' Apostles, NOT just Peter.

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

So, far from having a distinct place as the rock upon which the Church will be built, as Roman Catholics believe, we see that the New Testament record does NOT support this interpretation. At best, the RCC has overreached and taken a bold, excessive, and overdeveloped position, on a topic that the New Testament is not clear on. At worst, the New Testament is decisively clear that Peter is not the rock upon which the Church will be built, and thus the Roman Catholic position is found to be in error. We believe that the evidence we have seen so far strongly indicates the second option. But, in either case it is difficult to see how Roman Catholics can justify their papal doctrines with any confidence.

(Continued in next section.)