Friday, June 23, 2006

Rocks In My Head: Some thoughts on the Matthean view of Peter

Some Protestants, such as D.A. Carson, agree with the Catholic position that it is Peter who is being called the "Rock" in Matthew 16:18. However, they do not agree with Catholics regarding the charisms and authority they claim comes with the office. In other words, the same Protestants do not agree that a papacy was being established here, complete with successors, universal jurisdiction, infallibility, and all the other charisms Catholics claim for him and the office. Yet, I feel that because the "Rock" argument is essential to the Catholic belief in the papacy, if it can be refuted, then we must refute it. Take the "Rock" away from Peter and you take away a major factor in the Roman Catholic argument for the papacy. With that in mind...

It is argued that Jesus spoke Aramaic, thus there would be no gender difference considering Kepha would be employed. This is mere speculation because the Palestinians of His century would've spoken one or more idioms (Aramaic, Hebrew, and/or Greek) so there is no way of knowing for sure which language Jesus used when He stated the words in Matthew 16:18. It is further argued that Matthew may have been originally written in Aramaic. However, this assumes much considering there are no Aramaic Matthean manuscripts in existence and, until one surfaces (we won't hold our breath), there is no such thing. Yet, what speaks volumes to me is that the Greek Matthean manuscripts we do possess, do not employ any word which would give substance to the Catholic claims for the Aramaic. Why didn't Matthew write "Thou art Petra and upon this Petra I will build my church"? It would be silly to give Peter a feminine name. Is it because Peter was a "dude"? Then why wouldn't Christ say "Thou art Petros and upon this Petros I will build my church"? Whether it be a small stone or a rock, the message wouldn't be lost and Christ would be saying that Peter is who the church is built on. But there is nothing to lead that way. Instead, this divinely inspired Apostle differentiates between the feminine and the masculine form. No, there is nothing in the passage that would lead us to believe that Peter is the Rock. All in all, what this means to me is that Matthean support for Peter as the Rock is basically nonexistent.

4 comments:

Oddball Pastor said...

I agree that it is difficult to make an argument based on the text of an assumed underlying original in another language. Carson seems to think that it needs no defending, probably because he concludes that the issue is not relevant for Catholic-protestant issues. He does not, after all, see the text leading to a Catholic perspective anyway.

I myself have tried to highlight though that the argument cuts both ways. If one asks the question of what underlying aramaic might underlie "church" which RCs infuse with notions of ecclesiastical structure an authority) the answer is not pleasing to the Catholic.

Doing a bit of research reveals that the word most often translated ecclessia by the greek is one that measn community.

But the RCs don't mention that bit of aramaic...

Churchmouse said...

You're right Brent. It's the old double standards that abound in Catholic apologetics. Peter means "Rock" in the assumed Aramaic, but the Aramaic isn't valid enough for "church." Give nothing and take everything is the norm for the Catholic apologist, while the Catholic faithful hang on to every assumption.

Peace,
Ray

Christsdonkey said...

Hi Churchmouse and Oddball Pastor:

Have you read the book "Jesus, Peter and the Keys"? If so, would you care to critique it's apologetics regarding the theme of this thread (I know James White had some rebuttles to which Robert Sunggenis has replied) but I would be interested in your take on the points raised in the book.

Also, over on the Planet Envoy board the poster aman 2 gave an opinion to Charisman's Matthew 16 comments regarding binding and loosening. He also offered an opinion on Christ's action of breathing on the apostles and what he/she felt this signified. Aman 2 has not taken up Charisman's offer of dialoguing on Chariman's blog (I was hoping he would; Churchmouse, are you Charisman?) Would you care to comment on aman 2's post to Charisman on Envoy?


Christ’s donkey

Churchmouse said...

Hi Cd,

I hope you don't mind the abreviation.

You said:

Have you read the book "Jesus, Peter and the Keys"? If so, would you care to critique it's apologetics regarding the theme of this thread (I know James White had some rebuttles to which Robert Sunggenis has replied) but I would be interested in your take on the points raised in the book.

Honestly, no. I have never read the book although, like you, I have read Dr. White's rebuttal of certain points in the book. As to any points which you think might be relevant to this discussion, you can bounce them off me and I can try to respond.

Also, over on the Planet Envoy board the poster aman 2 gave an opinion to Charisman's Matthew 16 comments regarding binding and loosening. He also offered an opinion on Christ's action of breathing on the apostles and what he/she felt this signified. Aman 2 has not taken up Charisman's offer of dialoguing on Chariman's blog (I was hoping he would; Churchmouse, are you Charisman?) Would you care to comment on aman 2's post to Charisman on Envoy?

Was I that transparent :-) Actually, I knew that if folks put two and two together, they could trace Charisman back to me through Jim's blog. Part of it I did purposely (the CM in Churchmouse and the CM in Charisman). My only intent at Planet Envoy was to give Sippo a taste of his own medicine, but it seems that the forum leans towards the Catholics considering some of my posts were deleted when they weren't any different then some of the Catholics there, yet their posts weren't deleted. No, I won't bother going on that forum again. I doubt if Jim will either considering Sippo's ridiculous behavior.

As for Aman2, I didn't ask him to communicate with me via a blog, but I asked him to write me via email and I posted my address. I would be more then happy to respond to his claim, but I refuse to do it on Envoy. I don't think I want to remain on a forum which half-heartedly asks Sippo and his cronies to tone it down, but obviously allows him to have the run of the mill. Ironically, I was reading the CAI website this morning and Sungenis stated regarding the issue of evolution:

R. Sungenis: Again, it is sad to see Sippo denigrate his opponents as he does. He’s been warned about this time and time again, but he just ignores it all.

It seems Artie's behavior takes no prisoners, Catholic or Protestant. It's all about the infallible Art Sippo who holds all the secrets of universe :-) If memory serves me correctly, I believe Sippo was on the staff of CAI at one time, wasn't he?

Yet, back to Aman2, I checked my mailbox and, to this day, he hasn't bothered. If you'd like, I can look at it later and respond on this blog.

Peace,
Ray

 
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