Saturday, August 04, 2012

51 Biblical Proofs Of A Pauline Papacy And Ephesian Primacy

In a recent thread, ANNOYED PINOY asked me to repost something I wrote almost a decade ago. It was a list of 51 Biblical proofs of a Pauline papacy and Ephesian primacy. I wrote it in response to a Roman Catholic apologist's list of 50 alleged Biblical proofs of a Petrine papacy. Some of the items in my list are meant to parallel items in that Catholic's list. For example, he cited the performance of a miracle through Peter's shadow (Acts 5:15) as evidence of Petrine primacy. I paralleled that with a citation of Acts 19:11-12 as evidence of Pauline primacy. I don't actually think a Pauline papacy is implied by Acts 19 or any other passage I cite below. What I was doing was demonstrating how the same sort of bad reasoning that Catholics often apply to Peter can be cited to justify similar conclusions about other Biblical figures, like Paul.
 
Catholics can't object to my list by pointing to post-Biblical evidence for a Petrine papacy, since the issue under discussion is whether the Biblical evidence supports a papacy. Nobody denies that a Petrine papacy eventually developed in Rome. The question in this context is whether that papacy was just a later development or is a teaching of the scriptures as well. If Ephesus had been the capital of the Roman empire and had possessed other advantages the Roman church had, and the Ephesian church had gradually become more and more prominent, the bishops of Ephesus could have claimed that the Bible teaches a Pauline (or Johannine) primacy. In fact, in other places I've noted early patristic material that could be cited in support of an Ephesian primacy.
 
My list loses some of its force when removed from its original context. But I think it's mostly understandable, even without much knowledge of the background that led me to write what I did. Here are the 51 Biblical proofs of a Pauline papacy and Ephesian primacy, using popular Catholic reasoning:
 
1. Paul is the only apostle who is called God's chosen vessel who will bear His name before Jews and Gentiles (Acts 9:15).

2. Paul is the last apostle chosen by God, apart from the other twelve.

3. The resurrected Christ appears to Paul in a different way than He appeared to the other apostles (Acts 9:3-6).

4. Paul is the only apostle who publicly rebukes and corrects another apostle (Galatians 2:11).

5. Paul is the only apostle who refers to his authority over all the churches (1 Corinthians 4:17, 7:17, 2 Corinthians 11:28).

6. Paul is the only apostle to call himself "father" (1 Corinthians 4:15).

7. Paul is the steward of God's grace (Ephesians 3:2). This means that Paul is the overseer of salvation. Fellowship with Paul and his successors is necessary for salvation.

8. Paul is mentioned more in the New Testament than any other apostle.

9. The book of Acts, which mentions all of the apostles, discusses Paul more than any other apostle.

10. Paul was the first apostle to write a book of scripture.

11. Paul wrote more books of the New Testament than any other apostle.

12. Paul is the first apostle to be taken to Heaven to receive a revelation (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

13. Paul is the only apostle Satan was concerned about enough to give him a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).

14. Paul seems to have suffered for Christ more than any other apostle (2 Corinthians 11:21-33).

15. Paul seems to have received more opposition from false teachers than any other apostle did, since he was the Pope (Romans 3:8, 2 Corinthians 10:10, Galatians 1:7, 6:17, Philippians 1:17).

16. Paul seems to have traveled further and more often than any other apostle, as we see in Acts and his epistles, which is what we might expect a Pope to do.

17. Only Paul's teachings were so advanced, so deep, that another apostle acknowledged that some of his teachings were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter's understanding of doctrine doesn't seem to be as advanced as Pope Paul's. Paul has the primacy of doctrinal knowledge.

18. Paul was the first apostle whose writings were recognized as scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).

19. Paul singles himself out as the standard of orthodoxy (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).

20. Only Paul refers to himself having a rod, a symbol of authority (1 Corinthians 4:21).

21. Paul initiates the council of Acts 15 by starting the debate with the false teachers (Acts 15:2) and delivering a report to the other church leaders (Acts 15:4).

22. Peter's comments in Acts 15:7-11 are accepted only because Pope Paul goes on to confirm them (Acts 15:12).

23. When the Corinthians were dividing over which apostle to associate themselves with, Paul's name was the first one mentioned (1 Corinthians 1:12).

24. Paul was the only apostle with the authority to deliver people over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5).

25. Paul had the best training and education of all the apostles (Philippians 3:4-6).

26. Paul is the only apostle to call the gospel "my gospel" (Romans 2:16).

27. Paul writes more about the identity of the church than any other apostle does (1 Corinthians 12, Colossians 1, Ephesians 4-5), which we might expect a Pope to do. Paul is the standard of orthodoxy and the Vicar of Christ on earth, so he has the primary responsibility for defining what the church is and who belongs to it.

28. Paul writes more about church government than any other apostle does, such as in his pastoral epistles.

29. Paul discusses church unity more than any other apostle does (1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4), suggesting that he was the one responsible for maintaining church unity because of his papal authority.

30. Paul writes more about the gospel than any other apostle does (Romans, Galatians). As the leader of Christianity, Paul was most responsible for explaining the gospel and other Christian doctrine.

31. After Jesus, Paul speaks more about the kingdom of God than anybody else does (Acts 14:22, 19:8, 1 Corinthians 4:20, Galatians 5:21, 2 Thessalonians 1:5). After leaving earth, Jesus passed on the responsibility of teaching about the kingdom of God to Paul, the king of the church on earth.

32. Paul speaks of revealing mysteries more than any other apostle does (Romans 11:25, 1 Corinthians 15:51, Ephesians 5:32, 6:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:7), since he was the chief teacher of the church.

33. Paul was the only apostle other people tried to impersonate (2 Thessalonians 2:2), since he had more authority than anybody else.

34. Paul's clothing works miracles (Acts 19:11-12).

35. Paul is delivered from death more than any other apostle (Acts 14:19, 28:3-6, 2 Corinthians 11:23).

36. The Jewish exorcists in Acts 19:13 associate themselves with Paul rather than with any other apostle.

37. The demons in Acts 19:15 recognize Paul's primacy.

38. The Jews in Acts 21:28 recognize Paul's primacy, saying that he's the man they hold most responsible for teaching Christianity everywhere.

39. Paul had authority over the finances of the church (Acts 24:26, 2 Corinthians 9:5, Philippians 4:15-18).

40. Paul acts as the chief shepherd of the church, taking responsibility for each individual (2 Corinthians 11:29). For example, Paul was Peter's shepherd (Galatians 2:11).

41. Paul interprets prophecy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

42. Only Paul is referred to as being set apart for his ministry from his mother's womb (Galatians 1:15).

43. Jesus Christ is revealed in Paul (Galatians 1:16), meaning that Paul and his successors are the infallible standard of Christian orthodoxy.

44. Paul is the only apostle who works by himself, only later coordinating his efforts with the other apostles (Galatians 1:16-18).

45. Only Paul is referred to as bearing the brandmarks of Christ (Galatians 6:17).

46. Every Christian was interested in Paul and what was happening in his life, looking to him as their example and their encouragement (Philippians 1:12-14).

47. Christians served Paul (Philippians 2:30).

48. Paul worked more than the other apostles (1 Corinthians 15:10), since he had more responsibilities as Pope.

49. Paul was to be delivered from every evil deed (2 Timothy 4:18), meaning that he was infallible.

50. Only Paul is referred to as passing his papal authority on to [Ephesian] successors who would also have authority over the church of God (Acts 20:28).

51. Among the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2-3, the church of Ephesus is mentioned first, since the bishops of Ephesus have primacy as the successors of Paul. The church in Ephesus "cannot endure evil men" (Revelation 2:2), meaning that the bishop of Ephesus is infallible when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals. The Ephesian church puts false teachers to the test (Revelation 2:2) by exercising its papal authority. The bishop of Ephesus has the responsibility of evaluating all teachers and declaring which are orthodox and which are not. None of the other churches in Revelation 2-3 are described as having this authority.

28 comments:

  1. Tria:

    Thanks, I guess we must relitigate and reassert these things in our time.

    Papist and Tridentine theoloogy is a false and wicked Gospel, in fact, a non-Gospel. All Reformers, to a man, Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed saw it and said it, "Anti-Christ." Right then and right now.

    Too bad about Spellman, a dumb ass. Some putative English Reformers "fell on their asses" when Queen Mary fleeted up. Turn-coats, opportunists, pensioners and time-servers. The better sorts fled England and returned after the blood-shedding. They had long memories too.

    Regards.

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  2. Hmm. I'd respond simply that Christ is the head of the church, but I understand that the rhetorical purpose of this post is simply to demonstrate to Petrine supremacists that a reasonably similar case could be made for Pauline supremacy (or even Johannine supremacy as you suggested).

    I feel sadness for, not so much anger toward, my RC friends who consider papism so deeply entrenched in their faith in God that they can't imagine their faith without it. "And call no one on the earth 'Father,' for you have one Father Who is in Heaven." (Matt 23:9) The English word "pope" derives from the Latin "papa," which is the proper translation of the Greek "pater"--the word for "father" used in this verse. My Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic friends typically use this greeting for their leaders. With this simple verse in mind, I can't imagine doing the same for the leaders in my church or denomination (1 Cor 4:15 notwithstanding).

    Blessings.

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  3. Jason, this article is a CLASSIC (!!!!!). Thanks for posting it again. IMO, your Biblical argument for Pauline Papacy is SOOOOOO much stronger than Catholic Biblical arguments for Petrine Papacy. You BEAT them (not merely match them) at their own sophistical game.

    Personally, I like the concept of a Papacy. It's just untrue Biblically and historically. The concept of a "one True Church" is very appealing. I was born in a Catholic family, and so I know what James White means when he refers to the "infallible fuzzies" people feel when they join (or are in, say by birth) a Church they think is the "TRUE" one (whether it be that of Catholicism, or Mormonism, Orthodoxy, or the Jehovah's Witnesses etc.).

    But folks, Scripture commands us to test all things and hold fast what is good (and by implication what's really true). It also warns us of false teachers, false apostles, false gospels, false Christs, and false spirits.

    Jason, I got the impression that you could have included more than 51 "proofs" but that it was enough for you to top Dave Armstrong's "50 proofs". I also get the impression that you could have elaborated more on those you did list but didn't for the sake of being concise. For example, you could have contrasted Paul and Peter for each issue.

    So, here are some things I would add to your list (though, they are already there implicitly).

    Regarding:

    #1. I would have pointed out that Peter is never said to bear Christ's name to " Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel." Peter is never said to be an apostles to Gentiles; but only the Jews. In contrast to that, Paul is commissioned to BOTH Jews, Gentiles AND KINGS.

    #4. Paul actually rebukes PETER. Hence, implying that Paul is over Peter in authority.

    #5. Peter is never said to be over all the Churches.

    #36. The Jewish exorcists don't recognize Peter.

    #37. The demons don't recognize Peter.

    And we know that when Paul comes on the scene in Church history, Peter slowly fades away in importance. Like how David's rule over shadowed Saul's. Jonathan was the heir apparent ruler, but he's Divinely skipped over in favor of David.

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  4. Thanks for the list, Jason. It is informative and enjoyable.

    Peace.

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  5. So, are the conservative high church Episcopalians going to set up an Apostolic See in Ephesus now?

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  6. Jason, no doubt by a mere inadvertent oversight (seeing that he was kind enough to also keep my name anonymous), neglected to mention that I responded at great length not only to this paper of his, but also to his follow-up effort. For any who care to read both sides of a dispute (I know that that is sort of a quaint outdated custom these days), here they are:

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/reply-to-critique-of-my-50-new.html

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/second-refutation-of-reductio-ad.html

    Suffice it to say that Jason's was a failed effort. He didn't prove at all what he set out to prove, and Petrine primacy, as indicated in the Bible, is as strong as ever, with the Pauline data not undermining it one bit: neither in point of fact nor in terms of turning-the-tables rhetoric, counter-analogy, or reductio ad absurdum (as in Jason's paper).

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  7. #37. The demons don't recognize Peter.

    In context, why would they? The context of Paul being named was Paul's handkerchiefs healing folks and casting demons out of them (Acts 19:11-12): which is precisely a secondary relic in Catholic theology: God using an object connected to a holy person to bring about miracles. Even Peter's shadow healed folks (Acts 5:15), so the two were not unlike in that respect.

    The Jewish exorcists specifically mention Jesus and Paul (19:13-14). Therefore, the demon answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know" (19:15).

    It doesn't follow (in any sense) that they would never mention Peter in another context, or that Paul is therefore above Peter, simply because Paul was mentioned in this instance and the demon recognized his name. Nothing is proven by this example.

    Even if the NT doesn't mention a specific example of peter being named by a demon, that isn't proof that it never happened; only proof that it is not recorded in the Bible (as many many things were not).

    We know, in any event, from the Gospels, that Peter, as one of the twelve, cast out demons.

    Much ado about nothing . . .

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  8. Peter is never said to be an apostles to Gentiles; but only the Jews.

    How very odd, then, that God gave Peter the vision of all foods being clean: an issue that had specifically to do with gentiles in relation to Jewish law (Acts 10:9-16).

    Doubly odd (given what you claim) is the fact that Cornelius, a Roman Gentile, was told by an angel specifically to seek out Peter, and he sent men to beseech him (Acts 10:1-8, 17-18).

    Peter is told by the Holy spirit that they have arrived (Acts 10:19-20). Peter then visited and ate with Cornelius and a great many persons and spoke about how Gentiles were now part of God's plan of salvation (Acts 10:21-43).

    The Holy Spirit then fell upon these men, and peter baptized them (Acts 10:44-48).

    All this (an entire chapter devoted to it), yet you claim that Peter was to preach only to the Jews? Quite a strange position indeed . . . Here God, and angels are communicating all over the place, to Peter and a righteous Gentile, but we are told by you that "Peter is never said to be an apostles to Gentiles" -- as if that has any relevance to anything. Here, right in Scripture, we see him reaching out to the gentiles most dramatically.

    It's one of innumerable Protestant "either/or" false dichotomies that I shoot down almost on a daily basis in my apologetic work.

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  9. "suffice it to say ... " followed by two additional comments even longer than the first - classic

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  10. And your usual clueless obscurantism . . . "Suffice it to say" referred, of course, to Jason's paper (it's called "context"), whereas the two following comments dealt not at all with him, but with additional comments of "Annoyed Pinoy", whom I cited there. never mentioning Jason again.

    Thus, no contradiction (self- or otherwise) whatever, yet you think there was. Why you continue to exhibit such altogether shoddy logic and thinking wherever anything I write is concerned, is one of life's great mysteries. But it is known that hostility (both personal and theological) can indeed cloud one's judgment and bring about silliness. That's my best and most charitable explanation of your continued nonsense.

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  11. Thanks for providing your best and most charitable explanation.

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  12. Dave, you act as if Jason was genuinely attempting to make a case for Pauline Papacy such that his arguments (and my comments) have to make sense. In actual fact, he was attempting to show how Catholic-style eisegesis (not exegesis) could be used to argue for Pauline Papacy.

    Yes, Peter probably did cast out demons that recognized him, but that it just wasn't recorded in the Bible. I grant you that. I thought it was understood and so I didn't think it needed to be said. The point is someone could use Catholic-style eisegesis to "derive" [i.e. introducing INTO a text] from that passage the wild inference
    that Paul was the pope.
    Just as James' statements to the other Apostles of "listen to me [James]" (Acts 15:13) and "Therefore ***I*** [James] JUDGE" (verse 19) could be jumped upon to prove Jacobean Papacy. Does anyone doubt that if Peter had said "therefore I judge" that Catholics would use that to argue for Petrine Papacy? I know that when I was a Catholic I personally would have LOVED for Peter to have said it, rather than James. I would have prayed, "Lord, why didn't you have Peter say it instead since Peter actually was the Pope? Father, shouldn't the Holy Spirit not have inspired Scripture to record James' statement even if he did say it? Why Lord? Why?!?!"

    Dave said...
    All this (an entire chapter devoted to it), yet you claim that Peter was to preach only to the Jews?

    Yes, it's understood that every apostle could preach to Jew OR Gentile. But that's not equivalent to being COMMISSIONED by God 1. especially to Jews, or 2. especially to Gentiles or 3. both. Yes, Peter is taught by God that Gentiles may be saved and enter the New Covenant. But that's not exactly the same as being commissioned to preach to them. I stand by my statement that Peter is never said to be an Apostle to the Gentiles (i.e. commissioned to or sent especially to them).

    But EVEN IF we interpreted that account (Acts 10) that way, it wouldn't matter because Jason and I are parodying Catholic eisegesis which includes highlighting and emphasizing one set of passages to the neglect of others. Therefore, by parity of (bad) argument, we can neglect Acts 10 and focus on the facts I mentioned (and to which I still stand by):

    I said...
    #1. I would have pointed out that Peter is never said to bear Christ's name to " Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel." Peter is never said to be an apostles to Gentiles; but only the Jews. In contrast to that, Paul is [SPECIFICALLY] commissioned to BOTH Jews, Gentiles AND KINGS.

    Dave said...
    It's one of innumerable Protestant "either/or" false dichotomies that I shoot down almost on a daily basis in my apologetic work.

    The same could be said about all the passages that could be used to support Petrine, Pauline, Johannine, or Jacobean Papacy. We Protestants acknowledge ALL OF those passages and conclude that none was above another in authority (even if Peter was a "leader" of sorts). However, you're the one who's using EITHER/OR [i.e. false dichotomy] thinking in saying, either Peter is the Pope because of the passages you highlight OR Protestants are wrong because they don't properly acknowledge those passages. Actually, it's you who doesn't properly acknowledge the other passages we cite that balances the truth of Peter's position in the early Church.

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  13. I don't deny that there are times when we need to interpret Scripture using "both/and" thinking. But not to the exclusion or denial of "either/or" thinking, since truth is binary by nature. Propositions and concepts are either true or false. I don't deny that there are levels of meaning in Scripture (I'm a charismatic for crying out loud! [But also a Calvinist btw]). However, the surface meaning of Scripture takes precedence over and judges any other alleged deeper meaning.

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  14. Hi AP,

    Thanks for your measured response. There is such an animal as a charismatic Calvinist, huh? I'm delighted to hear it. :-) I was in mostly charismatic circles as a Protestant and defend the charismatic movement and continuance of all of the spiritual gifts and miracles.

    Dave, you act as if Jason was genuinely attempting to make a case for Pauline Papacy such that his arguments (and my comments) have to make sense. In actual fact, he was attempting to show how Catholic-style eisegesis (not exegesis) could be used to argue for Pauline Papacy.

    I did no such thing. I know exactly what he was trying to do, originally (ten years ago) and now. I can read his own explanation, and in fact, I quoted his explanation of the nature of his counter-argument in my Internet post that I made out of this exchange: precisely so my readers wouldn't be confused about that (since it is a somewhat complex form of counter-argument).

    And so my replies presuppose the nature of the argument utilized. If he or you argue that it is just as plausible or more so, to argue for a Pauline papacy (whether it is merely rhetorical or not doesn't change the validity of logic or exegesis used), I come back and show how it is not: that the argument fails.

    I understand it, and I think I refute it on its own terms: not as a straw man: not even knowing what Jason is trying to do. The entire argument fails, period. It was fun to interact with, but I think it is thoroughly fallacious all down the line, and my two long replies show exactly how and why I think that.

    You expanded upon his reasoning in the same "mode" and I believe I've shown how you fail, too. Nothing personal. :-)

    Your argument about Peter and demons was that they didn't "recognize" him. I showed how it fails, by delving into the context of the demons and Paul: from which you derived your argument.

    One must also understand my original paper. I wasn't claiming that all 50 points were equally strong or earth-shaking. Some are merely interesting in terms of showing that Peter was more eminent in Scripture than is commonly supposed.

    Jason's tongue-in-cheek #37 was "The demons in Acts 19:15 recognize Paul's primacy." You follow up with "The demons don't recognize Peter." Neither one can withstand scrutiny. The fact remains that these arguments can be shot down, but mine are valid examples from the Bible. The data in Acts about a demon and Paul is irrelevant because it wasn't tied to primacy in the first place.

    The strength of my paper comes from its cumulative effect. Some of the 50 points are far more important (namely, the "rock" and "keys of the kingdom" that are supported by massive Protestant scholarly comments, as to Peter being an extraordinary leader).

    There are a lot of quite significant things: Peter was the first to preach the gospel after Pentecost, first perform a miracle, to raise the dead, to receive the Gentiles into fellowship, first to recognize and refute heresy and to pronounce an anathema, etc. These are not insignificant.

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  15. It's not a "wild inference" from Scripture that Peter was the first pope. A guy like F. F. Bruce, after all, could write:

    "So in the new community which Jesus was about to build, Peter would be, so to speak, chief steward."

    (The Hard Sayings of Jesus, Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1983, 143-144)

    Likewise, The New Bible Dictionary:

    "So Peter, in T.W. Manson's words, is to be 'God's vicegerent . . . The authority of Peter is an authority to declare what is right and wrong for the Christian community. His decisions will be confirmed by God' (The Sayings of Jesus, 1954, p. 205)."

    (New Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Douglas, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962, 1018)

    There's something going on there. It isn't just flimsy, arbitrary Catholic propaganda, as you guys pretend. There is real and solid biblical indication of serious, profound leadership, and from this we derive the notion of a pope: the leader of the Christian Church.

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  16. Just as James' statements to the other Apostles of "listen to me [James]" (Acts 15:13) and "Therefore ***I*** [James] JUDGE" (verse 19) could be jumped upon to prove Jacobean Papacy. Does anyone doubt that if Peter had said "therefore I judge" that Catholics would use that to argue for Petrine Papacy? I know that when I was a Catholic I personally would have LOVED for Peter to have said it, rather than James. I would have prayed, "Lord, why didn't you have Peter say it instead since Peter actually was the Pope? Father, shouldn't the Holy Spirit not have inspired Scripture to record James' statement even if he did say it? Why Lord? Why?!?!"

    I dealt with this in my latest book, 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura:

    We learn that “after there was much debate, Peter rose” to address the assembly (15:7). The Bible records his speech, which goes on for five verses. Then it reports that “all the assembly kept silence” (15:12). Paul and Barnabas speak next, not making authoritative pronouncements, but confirming Peter’s exposition, speaking about “signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles” (15:12). Then when James speaks, he refers right back to what “Simeon [Peter] has related” (15:14). Why did James skip right over Paul’s comments and go back to what Peter said? Paul and his associates are subsequently “sent off” by the Council, and they “delivered the letter” (15:30; cf. 16:4).

    None of this seems consistent with the notion that Paul was above or even equal to Peter in authority. But it’s perfectly consistent with Peter’s having a preeminent authority. Paul was under the authority of the council, and Peter (along with James, as the Bishop of Jerusalem) presided over it. Paul and Barnabas were sent by “the church” (of Antioch: see 14:26). Then they were sent by the Jerusalem Council (15:25, 30) which was guided by the Holy Spirit (15:28), back to Antioch (15:30).

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  17. I stand by my statement that Peter is never said to be an Apostle to the Gentiles (i.e. commissioned to or sent especially to them).

    And I stand by my assertion that this is perfectly irrelevant, insofar as we know (from the Bible) that Peter evangelized Gentiles as well as Jews. This is why I showed the example of an entire chapter of Acts, while you insist on playing non sequitur word games.

    We have in the Bible, Peter stating at the Jerusalem Council: ""Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe." (Acts 15:7).

    The great Bible scholar and self-described "Paulinist" F. F. Bruce, in his book, Peter, Stephen, James, & John (Eerdmans, 1979, p. 32) states:

    "That Peter's missionary activity was not restricted to Jews is implied here and there in the New Testament. . . . 1 Peter . . . is addressed in Peter's name to Gentile converts in various provinces of Asia Minor (including two which were evangelized by Paul)."

    2 Peter also seems to be addressed to Gentiles, though it is debatable.

    Bruce also noted (p. 33) that Peter was among the eleven disciples that Jesus commissioned to "make disciples of all nation" (Matthew 28:19 ff.): thus obviously including Gentiles. So we know that Peter did indeed have such a commission.

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  18. We Protestants acknowledge ALL OF those passages and conclude that none was above another in authority (even if Peter was a "leader" of sorts). . . . Actually, it's you who doesn't properly acknowledge the other passages we cite that balances the truth of Peter's position in the early Church.

    It's not just me, nor just Catholics. In my book on the papacy I cite a host of Protestant scholars who agree with a Bible-based Petrine primacy (based on "rock" and "keys of the kingdom" and other passages); so do even the orthodox.

    You're not even in line with John Calvin, for heaven's sake, who wrote:

    "One was chief among the apostles, . . . That twelve had one among them to direct all is nothing strange. Nature admits, the human mind requires, that in every meeting, though all are equal in power, there should be one as a kind of moderator to whom the others should look up. There is no senate without a consul, no bench of judges without a president or chancellor, no college without a provost, no company without a master. Thus there would be no absurdity were we to confess that the apostles had conferred such a primacy on Peter."

    (Institutes, Book IV, 6:8)

    This was part of my book about Calvin. You don't even appear to be aware of it, since you claim that Protestants en masse deny that Peter had primacy.

    Not Calvin, and not lots of other Protestant scholars, whose word carries far more weight in your circles and in the workd of Bible commentary than yours or Jason's.

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  19. Dave I want to say that I respect your intellect. You're smarter than myself. I don't want my disrespecting anyone (including you) take away from my credibility or my own objectivity about issues I debate. I have crossed the line in the past when I've made reference to you (whether you're aware of it or not). I apologize for that.

    Now, to continue this discussion....

    Dave said...
    Why did James skip right over Paul’s comments and go back to what Peter said?

    Maybe James didn't "skip over Paul's comment". Luke may not be relaying all that occured. Luke may be succintly recording what happened. That's a common feature in Scripture. Just as I have no doubt demons recognized Peter, yet it's not recorded in Scripture.

    Dave said...
    " Paul and Barnabas were sent by “the church” (of Antioch: see 14:26)."

    You imply that being sent signifies that Paul wasn't Pope. Then what do you do with Acts 8:14 which says, "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:"?

    By the use of your own logic, Peter wasn't Pope because he himself was "sent" by the Apostles.

    Dave said...
    None of this seems consistent with the notion that Paul was above or even equal to Peter in authority. But it’s perfectly consistent with Peter’s having a preeminent authority.

    Just because it's "consistent" with it, doesn't prove it. The burden of proof is on Catholics to positively prove Peter is the Pope. If Peter were the Pope, and if he was especially sent to the Jews, then wouldn't it make sense that he stay in Jerusalem (as the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church)? Jerusalem was center and birthplace of the Christian Church. That's precisely why the council of Jerusalem was held there and not elsewhere.

    Dave said...
    We have in the Bible, Peter stating at the Jerusalem Council: ""Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe." (Acts 15:7).

    If I could temporarily use Catholic eisegesis in the cause of Protestantism, then let me say:

    1. Notice Peter doesn't say words to the effect, "This choice only makes sense since, as you all know I'm the Pope."
    2. Peter implies that God could have chosen anyone to do it but chose him. Implying that it could have been any one of them that was chosen because they were equals (even if Peter was their natural leader). But being the leader of the Apostles isn't equivalent to being a Pope.
    3. Being chosen to be the first to speak the Gentiles isn't the same as being especially or specifically comissioned to them.

    Continued:

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  20. Like I said above, even if we interpret Acts 10 as Peter being commissioned to Gentiles, it's irrelevant if we're paralleling the bad arguments that Catholics often make (emphasizing one set of texts to the exclusion of others).

    Dave said...
    Bruce also noted (p. 33) that Peter was among the eleven disciples that Jesus commissioned to "make disciples of all nation" (Matthew 28:19 ff.): thus obviously including Gentiles. So we know that Peter did indeed have such a commission.

    That's a general commission. Not a specific commission.

    Dave Said...
    It's not just me, nor just Catholics. In my book on the papacy I cite a host of Protestant scholars who agree with a Bible-based Petrine primacy (based on "rock" and "keys of the kingdom" and other passages); so do even the orthodox.

    Primacy is not equivalent to Papacy. Primacy is consistent with Papacy, but it doesn't amount to Papacy. That's why even though the Orthodox WILLINGLY acknowledge Petrine Primacy, they deny the Papacy. They even go so far as to say that for the first few centuries the Roman See was "the first among equals". The burden of proof is on Catholics to prove Papacy, not MERELY to prove things consistent with it.

    Dave said...
    You don't even appear to be aware of it, since you claim that Protestants en masse deny that Peter had primacy.

    I have no problem with Calvin's quote or in even saying that Peter had "primacy", if we mean by that he was the leader of the Apostles. Affirming that the apostles were equals doesn't mean that one can't at the same time affirm that Peter had primacy. I didn't intend to "claim that Protestants en masse deny that Peter had primacy." I affirm Peter's primacy in that sense. I think the Bible is clear about that.

    Previously I said...
    However, you're the one who's using EITHER/OR [i.e. false dichotomy] thinking in saying, either Peter is the Pope because of the passages you highlight OR Protestants are wrong because they don't properly acknowledge those passages.

    I should have said "However, you're the one who's using EITHER/OR [i.e. false dichotomy] thinking in saying, either Peter is the Pope because of the passages you highlight OR these passage shouldn't exist if he wasn't the Pope."

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  21. Let's be honest. If Peter was the Pope then:

    1. Why were the Zebedee brothers asking if they could be Jesus' right-hand and left-hand men (Matt. 20:20ff) if Jesus already made it clear that Peter was to be the Pope in Matt. 16? Why wouldn't the Gospel writers correct their misunderstanding and state that Peter was Pope?

    2. Why wouldn't Paul make the exception of Peter when he sarcastically referred to "super apostles" (2 Cor. 11:5) if the Papacy is true?

    Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.-ESV

    For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.-NASB


    3. When Paul's apostleship was questioned by some, why didn't he immediately appeal to the fact that the Pope acknowledged his genuine apostleship to settle the issue, if the Papcy is true?

    4. In light of 1 Cor. 1:12ff and the whole of chapter 3, why wouldn't Paul refer to Peter as Pope? If the Papacy is true, then there can be a genuine sense in which one could say, "I am of Cephas/Peter". Even if there might be negative fleshly sense in which it can be said.. Yet Paul doesn't explicitly affirm or implicitly acknowledge the Papacy. Nor does Paul address the abuses of the Papacy but deals with himself, Peter and Apollos as equals. It seems to me that a Pope cult developed years later (as the Orthodox have documented).

    5. If the Papacy is true, why would Paul (in Gal. 2:9) refer to James, Cephas, and John as seeming/reputed pillars of the Church when he knows all along that there is a special sense in which Peter is pope? He refers to all three as if they were equals.

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  22. 6. Regarding the same context, if the Papacy were true, why would Paul say what he did in Gal. 2:6?

    And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.-ESV

    But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)-- well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.-NASB


    Paul implies his equality with them (including Peter).

    7. If central authority was essential to Christianity, why didn't Jesus do something about those others who were preaching in His name (Mark 9:38ff)? If the Papacy were true, why would Jesus say, "For he that is not against us is on our part"? Notice I cited Mark's gospel. The gospel that may have been based on Peter's sermons. Why wouldn't Mark make clear in this passage (or any where else in this gospel) that Peter is the Pope?

    8. If the Papacy is true, why in John 12:20-22 did Philip go to Andrew and then together they went to Jesus, when Philip could have gone to Peter as the Pope? The only way I can understand this is if the Church didn't realise Peter was the Pope until later. Maybe after the resurrection. If so, when exactly after the resurrection? Before or after Paul's conversion? Before or after Peter's own death? How many generations or centuries afterward?

    9. If the Papacy is true, why isn't that office mentioned in Eph 4:11-12, 1 Cor. 12:28-29, 1&2 Timothy or Titus?

    10. If the Papacy is true, why doesn't Peter (in his epistles) acknowlege or make reference to it? In fact, Peter refers to himself as a "fellow elder" (1 Pet. 5:1ff) in a context where it would be supremely fitting for him to appeal to his position as Pope.


    So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:- ESV

    Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,-NASB

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  23. 11. If the Papacy is true, then why doesn't the author of Hebrews acknowledge the Papacy in light of the fact that authority and priesthood are two of the main topics of the book? How could such a supposedly vital and useful office not be referred to in any of the epistles (including Peter's) or in this very long book (Hebrews)?

    12. If the Papacy is true, why didn't Christ sent Paul immediately to the Pope to be instructed and have his apostleship legitimized? Or why didn't Christ send Peter to Paul ahead of time like Cornelius did when he sent two of his servants and one of his soldiers to find Peter? Instead Christ sends Ananias to Paul. You might say that it's because Ananias was closer. But Paul didn't visit Peter for years afterward. In all those years, Paul could have gone to see Peter, or Peter to have seen Paul. When they do meet, Paul refers to Peter and the others as not having "added/contributed anything" to him (Gal. 2:6). How could the Pope not add/contribute anything to Paul? After Paul's conversion, many Christians feared whether he was a false convert. At any time he could have sought the Pope's confirmation.

    13. If the Papacy is true, then wouldn't the Jews know that Peter was the Pope and therefore the leader of Christianity? If so why didn't they go after him and "cut off the head", as it were? Why, instead, go after Paul (Acts 21:28)? As Jason said, "he's the man they hold most responsible for teaching Christianity everywhere." It was Paul, not the Pope that opponents of Christianity wanted to assassinate (Acts 23:12).

    14. Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." (ESV). Why doesn't Paul or any other writer of the NT say that about Peter, especially since he's supposed to be the Pope? Excluding Matthew (because of the disputed interpretation of chap. 16), no New Testament writer teaches about or refers to (even implicitly acknowledge) the office of the Pope (or Peter as Pope). Not the writer of Hebrews, or Mark, James, Jude, or in the entire Lukan, Johannine, Pauline, (EVEN!) Petrine corpus.

    15. If the Papacy is true, why would Peter's centrality fade in NT history as the book of Acts shows and as the rest of the epistles show by their deafening silence of Peter? Before Luke published Acts, he could have conferred with other Christians regarding the Pope's whereabouts and activities. But he didn't.

    Finally, EVEN IF Peter were the Pope, that doesn't prove that his successors have the same or similar preogatives. Apostolic succession is an additional burden of proof Catholics need to shoulder.

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  24. btw, I posted my 15 questions about the Papacy on my blog --->HERE<---

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  25. Dave, admittedly these 15 questions are very basic and so I assume that you've got ready answers for them. But for someone like myself, these questions seriously call into question the concept of the Papacy. I say that as someone who likes the idea of the Papacy. So, I don't think I'm being biased about this issue. But I realize that there are a lot of things that I would like to be the case, or that I think that God should have done and God didn't do. God often does things counter-intuitively both in Redemptive History as well as providentially.

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  26. Dave and I exchanged articles on this subject several years ago. My list of 51 proofs was just a portion of what I initially wrote. I've also had discussions with Dave on the subject of the papacy more recently. You can find such posts in the Triablogue archives from 2010, for example. I've also addressed the papacy in many other contexts. See the relevant posts linked here, for instance.

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  27. Thanks for the polemic for "pope Paul," to which could be added that Paul also had more specific recorded instances of personal supernatural direction, (Acts 9:3-7 [Acts 22:6-10; 26:13-18]; 16:7-9; 18:8-10; 21:4; 22:17-21; 27:23-26) than Peter, (Acts 10:11-16; 12:6-8) and spoke in tongues more than all (1Cor. 14:18) which being pope also required, and is the only apostle recorded as saving an entire shipload of souls, losing none, (Acts 27:9ff) which also befits his role as pope, and as willing to go to Hell if that would save souls. (Rm. 9:3)

    Paul also suffered more persecution and was delivered more times (Acts 9:23:27; 14:19-20; 16:25-27) even being the only one whose life was preserved even though bitten by a snake (typifying the devil) and was seen as a god. (Acts 28:3-6; 14:11) Moreover, Paul is the only apostle recorded as binding souls in delivering them over to the devil for chastisement. (1Cor. 5:4,5; 1Tim. 1:20)

    However, he was forgetful, as he never mentions Peter among his many acquaintances in Rm. 16, nor does he ever admonish the church to particularly pray for, submit to, and otherwise remember Peter as the supreme head of the entire church, much less as its assuredly infallible supreme leader in Rome. But which Peter was also forgetful to do, among other things which testify against Rome changing the Bible to support herself, but which Rome later found the extensive Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals helpful to do, as long as they lasted.

    None of this takes away Peter's basic brethren type leadership among the apostles and initially of the first church in Jerusalem, and having a general pastoral rule, but which does not make him into the historical demigod primate residing in a palace (and we could much expand on this contrast), having his feet kissed or the like, nor make his office perpetuated thru formal historical descent. (Only one example of an apostolic successor is mentioned in Scripture, [Acts 1] and that was for a very immoral man, whom some popes were, and his replacement was elected after a method Rome does not use, and which was done to maintain the original number, while no other apostolic successor is evidenced, including for the martyred James [Acts 12:1,2]).

    In the end, while the church needs apostle-type leadership in holiness and Scriptural probity and power, Rome is among the farthest thing from that, while the church is preserved the way it began, that being in dissent from those who presumed above that what is written, (cf. 1:Cor. 4:6) with the authenticity of "the church of the living God" (1Tim. 3:15) being established upon Scriptural substantiation in word and power, and thus it must continually do so.

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  28. Danger Will Robinson! Tim Staples has warned that he is going to "do a rebuttal to both triablogue and freerepublic" (where this "51 biblical proofs" and other refutation of his latest propagation of RC propaganda was posted)!

    Surely this idea of a "Pauline Papacy And Ephesian Primacy" must be laid to rest, while in most every letter to the churches and the Lord's critique of them we see admonishment to submit to Peter, and or to remember the Holy Father in prayer, or submission otherwise made a primary issue, in addition to there being almost no limit to what can be ascribed to the Mary of Catholicism .

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