Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Simplest Explanation For Peter's Prominence

There are many places in the New Testament in which Peter is prominent for reasons that are obviously of a non-papal nature. I'll start with some examples in the gospels of Matthew and John that are striking in how similar they are, despite appearing in such different contexts. When Peter leaves the boat he's in and enters the water in Matthew 14:29 and John 21:7, while the other disciples remain in the boat, he does so because of the nature of his personality, not because he's a Pope. Similarly, Peter's entering the tomb, while John remains outside, in John 20:6 is best explained by Peter's personality, not a papal office. And so on. Peter was outspoken, impulsive, rash, and so forth, so that he would often stand out for reasons other than a papacy. There's no reasonable way to deny that Peter's prominence in the early sources is due partly to such personal traits.

And that's a problem for Roman Catholicism. Since Peter's personality explains his prominence so well, no papacy or any other concept of a similar nature is needed to explain that prominence. All other things being equal, we prefer simpler explanations. Simplicity isn't the only criterion we take into account, but it is one of the criteria we consider. Why seek a second explanation for Peter's prominence when the first one is sufficient?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Help The Liconas

Mike Licona and Nick Peters have done a lot of good work in apologetics over the years. Here's a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Allie Licona Peters, Mike's daughter and Nick's wife.

The New Testament In The Earliest Centuries

It's common to allege that the twenty-seven-book New Testament canon we have today doesn't first appear in the historical record until around the middle of the fourth century, in Athanasius. But it probably was advocated in multiple locations prior to that time, including in Origen more than a century earlier.

Even if it's recognized that the canon dates earlier than Athanasius' letter, it's commonly suggested that the process leading up to the origination and popularizing of that canon was unusually large and complicated and should motivate us to look for a source like an infallible church to adjudicate the situation for us. However, what stands out about the origins and popularizing of our New Testament canon isn't how unusually difficult the process was, but rather how unusually easy it was. See here for a further discussion of the subject.

And you can go here to find several other articles on issues related to the canon (mostly the New Testament, but also the Old).

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Andrew Before Peter

Several years ago, I wrote a post responding to the popular Roman Catholic claim that Peter is always mentioned first in lists of the apostles. Something that I didn't mention there is that Papias lists several of the apostles in the early second century, and he places Andrew before Peter (in Eusebius, Church History, 3:39:4).