The Rock of Jesus, Not the Pope
Jesus, the Vatican and Peter
The headline I read was: Jesus 'would not enter Vatican' ... I don't see why Jesus wouldn't enter the Vatican ... he went into the Temple all the time ... however the ‘Father’ quoted in the article didn’t exactly say that.
“What would Jesus do today? I don't think he would take up residence in the Vatican. He would still be out on the dusty roads and down in the markets and on the radio and the TV, trying to get his message out.”
Well thanks Father --- thanks for clearing that up. I doubt Jesus would take up residence in the Vatican, but is that anything new or profound? It doesn't have much to do with the Vatican at all (but the Vatican is corrupt and full of wasteful use of tithes, just not by everyone there however) … that said it sure doesn’t represent Christ. Catholics "might" however, and Pope John Paul II, I think was a far more Godly man then many of his predecessors.
The Church of Christ
“Jesus never wanted a church. He never talked about a big institution.”
No, Jesus didn’t talk about the modern Catholic Church, but he sure talked about a church, His church. As for a big institution, perhaps a better description would be bureaucracy --- or for that case a Papacy at all. Where did Jesus ever talk about a Pope? Do they base this on Matthew 16?
“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! 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 gates of hell 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.”
The Catholic View
So Jesus nicknames Simon ‘Peter’ which in Greek is “Petros” --- “stone.” This text is inscribed in letters of gold four feet high inside the massive dome of the Basilica of St. Peters. So basically Catholics say Jesus called Simon a rock, then says on this rock I will build my Church. Therefore Peter was the first leader, the first Pope --- and the Pope is the bedrock so to speak of the Church. Why they didn’t just pick the Latin word for Rock, and call the Pope that --- I have no idea. I suppose ‘Silex’ didn’t sound right --- and the Latin word “petrosus” is “rocky” in English not Rock --- of course this would bring a whole new meaning to the Rocky movies.
What was Jesus Saying?
However there are a number of problem here: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” --- notice how that verse doesn’t say “you are Rock, and on this Rock I will build my church” --- or “you are Peter, and on this Peter I will build my church.”
In the Greek two words are used, as in English.
Petros (male) --- Meaning “pebble or stone – a single rock.”
petra (female) --- Meaning “a rock, cliff or ledge --- a great mass, immovable bed-rock.”
Ahhh all of a sudden this metaphor seems to make even more sense! Peter just confesses Jesus is the Christ, and Jesus now nicknames him “pebble” and on the rock of that faith --- Jesus will build his church. It is the supreme fact of faith just confessed by Peter, namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.
The Catholic Apologetic
Now I’ve heard only one reasonable Catholic Apologetic as to their interpretation of this passage. They contend that in a so-called “Aramaic Original” Jesus could have used the word “kepa” which neuter. There would be no need to use the two Greek words, you could just use one --- and therefore it could read “rock” and “rock.” But why stop there? Let’s reinterpret the whole Bible using this “Aramaic Original” that doesn’t exist! I’m sure there are lots of things the Catholic Church would love to clear up using this theorized interpretation of a text that doesn’t actually exist.
Rock Solid Use of Metaphor
However the metaphor would argue against itself in this case as well. Jesus gives Peters the keys to the Kingdom, but also makes him the base and bedrock of the Kingdom? Which one is it? Further Peter himself writes in 1 Peter 2:4-8:
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
“For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”
Every Believer is a Stone
Therefore every believer as a stone: not just Peter but anyone that puts their foundation in Christ. This from the pen of Peter himself! I don’t even think it’s necessary to go into how Jesus called Peter … Satan! The Church built on this man? Peter knew he wasn’t perfect --- and no where does he claim to be, or claim any of the leadership and authority given to the Pope. Read through the New Testament and show me a Pope.
The “Vicar of Christ”?
Don’t get me wrong, John Paul was from what I can tell a good man --- and I blame far more of the problems in the Catholic Church on his underlings. However, this Pope business is nonsense to begin with --- and “the pope is the Vicar of Christ … he can’t steer away from the Truth” --- if that is so you’ll have a lot of explaining to do in regards to actions of past Popes throughout history.