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I apologize ahead of time that most my comments are not backed with Scripture at this point. I have made most of those already in previous posts. While I put little stock in my own opinions as compared to the authority of Scripture, I am responding to the best of my ability from a biblical worldview rather than by book, chapter and verse. I have prayed extensively about this, as I consider truth claims no light matter that can be made without great accountability. (To whom much has been given, much is required.)I do think that the lack of Scriptural support is a deficiency in your argumentation. I mean no offense in this at all, but many of your arguments seem to come from your own ideas of what you would like a verse to mean instead of what the context, the original languages, other Scripture passages, and biblical scholarship says that it means. I am often at a loss as to how you arrive at some of your conclusions.
Also, though I seem to say some very direct things, I am feeling no hostility (not sure that always comes through in writing). Sorry for the extensive disclaimer.No problem! I think that this has been a very congenial debate.
I have been kept from being led astray on these matters of faith and morals by coming to Christ in faith, repenting of my sin, reading the Bible and obeying it. I did that before I ever knew what a Pope was. Or should I say, Christ did that in me. I have submitted myself to church leadership which has explained the scripture to me word for word, verse by verse since I was in 3rd grade. This doesn't make me an authority, only that I have great assurance of this grace in my life. I sin, but I have no trouble knowing what it is.But, the problem is, I too feel that I have come to Christ in faith, repented of my sin, read/obeyed the Bible, submitted to Church leadership and had the Bible explained to me....and I disagree with you. In other words, it's not enough to come to Christ in faith and to feel good about your position. If that were the case then we would both be right and we could end this debate and go about our merry way. But, the Spirit does not contradict Himself. This means that, despite your litmus test, either one of us is wrong or both of us are.
So, how do we resolve this predicament? Well, luckily, God has not made Truth contingent upon the strength or forcefulness of human argumentation. Instead, he set up an infallible authority to settle such matters, a final rule against which we could judge all things. This authority rests in His Apostles and their successors. These, and no other men, were commissioned by Jesus Christ to teach in His name and with His authority. You will find no other group of individuals given such authority in all of Scripture.
To me, this means that if you want the assurance in doctrine that comes with this God-given authority, you better have a successor of the apostles in your midst. The Catholic Church does. The Protestant denominations do not. Now, this doesn't mean that Protestants don't get some things right. Often times they get quite a few things right. But, without the authority given first to the Apostles and passed on to the men they commissioned to take their place and lead the churches, error creeps in, as you acknowledge later in your post. This is a problem, and it is simply not what Jesus Christ (or the Apostles) wanted for His Church.
I confess my sin to my Heavenly Father, just as Jesus and the Apostles have taught me to do from the pages of Scripture. Christ mediates for me just as He promised. I do not see this passage telling me that someone needs to speak other infallible words outside of scripture.Well, I'm not really sure what else to say. I have already shown you what the keys signify, based on significant Biblical scholarship from a host of sources. I have shown you how Mt 16:18-19 parallels Isa 22:15-22, in which Eliakim is made steward of the household of the king and given the keys to open and shut. I've explained what it means to "bind" and "loose" and the significance of Jesus binding and loosing in heaven what Peter binds and looses earth. I've explained the significance of Jesus praying specifically for the faith of Peter and calling Peter out from among the twelve to provide spiritual guidance and rule for His sheep. I have noted the promise of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus gave to the apostles to lead them into all Truth. Finally, I have shown you how none of this impinges upon Jesus' unique position as Head and sole Mediator of the Church.
Very little of this has been refuted with Scripture, and much of my arguments have been skipped altogether. I realize that you have a family and you're busy -- and like I said in an earlier post, I don't expect you to have all the answers -- but you also need to know that you have not sufficiently proven your position.
In fact, I see a greater danger in giving that man the power of infallibility based on a passage as vague as this one is, in supporting the idea of a single sinful person, capable of heresy and error wielding the power of words considered infallible.Well, first of all, the doctrine of papal infallibility does not rest solely on Mt 16. I have brought in various other passages as well. Secondly, in my opinion, what's dangerous is when sinful men do not have the power of infallibility. Without that charism, they are prone to declare, in the name of Christ, a whole host of false and malicious doctrines that lead Christ's sheep astray. I thank God that he has given his Church the charism of infallibility, to guide Her and keep Her in all Truth, despite the sinfulness of her leaders.
Falsehood has indeed crept into the church, Nicholas. The father of lies works hardest not at sending people to the church of Satan and witchcraft, but to plant small seeds of “mis-truth” (though there is no such thing, they are lies) within the church. For a lie to be effective, it must look very much like its opposite with just enough of itself to damn those who believe it. Good lies seem like truth. But I do not believe that the heart of Satan’s affective mischief exists with not having a Pope to combat him, but with those who do not believe on God’s Son and obey the pages of Scripture. And faith in Christ as the Son of God, secures forever, that the gates of hell are shut to me, not by my works, not by Peter, but by Christ who shut them.Well then, I guess the devil has won. He has succeeded in spreading his false doctrine and no body of Christians has been able to maintain the Apostolic teaching in its purity. Is that what you are telling me? If so, then I'm afraid you've turned Jesus into a liar.
Peter was capable of upholding the truth of the Old Testament and securing the church’s adherence to that already revealed truth. Any leader who would rise up after him, after Paul, or after any other Apostle would be capable of leading the church by staying close to the Scriptures and securing their clear explanation to the future generations. Scripture didn’t need more words than it has. (I know you are not saying the Pope’s words are added to the actual cannon of scripture) Peter did have infallible words given to him by the Holy Spirit, what we now call scripture (the books that he wrote). Beyond that there is no mention of others following after him to bring infallible words. It just isn’t in the text. Give me a different text.I appreciate this question because it gives me an opportunity to discuss something that we haven't had a chance to get to yet: Apostolic succession. I think we both agree that the Apostles were given authority to teach in the name of Jesus and that their teaching was without error. Your beef seems to be not so much that Peter be considered infallible but that his successors would be as well.
I think it is evident in Scripture that the Apostles passed on their teaching and disciplinary authority to other men as they established churches and fulfilled the Great Commission. "They appointed elders for them in every church," as Acts 14:23 tells us. Peter institutes this succession in Acts 1:15-26 when Mathias is chosen to take the place of Judas.
Acts 1:20,25 For it is written in the book of Psalms, "Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it"; and "His office let another take." 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place."
Notice that Judas' position is called an "office" (or in the KJV, the "bishoprick,") and he was succeeded in his office by Mathias. Paul too calls his position an "office" (cf. Col 1:24-25), which he passes on to Timothy (cf. 1 Tim 3:1; 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6) and Titus (cf. 1:5). Timothy is in turn instructed by Paul to pass on his teaching authority to other "faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim 2:2).
Remember the position of "head steward" in Isaiah 22?
Isa 22:15,19-21 Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, "Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. 20 In that day I will call my servant Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah."
It too is an office with a succession, and we have already seen how Peter's position in the Church parallels this office. All of this shows that the apostles instituted a succession of bishops so that the Apostolic authority to govern and the ability to teach without error would not die with the last Apostle but would continue on throughout the ages so that the Church would continue in Truth. Only the Catholic Church has maintained this Apostolic succession.
Herein is the heart of our debate. I have been a believer in Jesus Christ, saved by grace through faith in Christ for 26 years and I hadn’t even heard of this charism until I started reading your blog. For me to be saved, based on the clear teaching of Scripture, this charism has not been necessary. Nor do I find its necessity mentioned anywhere in all the teachings in Scripture laying the ground work for church leadership. Unless of course that is exactly what you are saying, that I am not saved. I will not be offended if you believe this about me.The infallibility of Peter and his successors is Biblical truth. You have not considered it necessary to your salvation to believe it because you have been ignorant of it. But, I have shared this truth with you to the best of my ability, so now you are no longer ignorant of it. Now you are accountable for this teaching. I can't say how much this culpability effects your salvation. Only you and God know how responsible you are for rejecting this.
You said...You have yet to prove how that follows from the fact that Jesus spoke to "satan" in response to Peter.
"By way of reminder, I've already shown (in Part 3) how, regardless of one's interpretation of that incident, the doctrine of papal infallibility is not refuted."
On the contrary, if one were to take my interpretation seriously, which I do, the very office of pope was never meant to exist.
Yes, the power of binding and loosing, that is what key Peter has been given, I agree. That power, in my reading, is clearly the Gospel. What else can bind and loose anyone on this fallen planet, but Christ’s act of substitution (I repeat myself). It had to be the perfect God-Man making reconciliation between the Holy One who was offended and His enemy, fallen mankind, (to all who believe).I suppose you can read it that way if you want, but your understanding of "binding" and "loosing" is simply NOT supported either by the context of the passage, biblical scholarship on binding and loosing, or the Jewish and Rabbinical understanding of their own terms. You seem to be forcing this passage to say what you want it to say and ignoring any evidence to the contrary.
And I will add to these comments one question of vital importance to me. I have attached a quote below and I’d like to know if you believe it. It strikes at the very heart of what I believe. How you answer will also either confirm or relieve my concern for you.The Council of Trent (1500s), but I have heard, is still authoritative in the Catholic church today:We can discuss the efficacy of the sacraments and their relationship to our salvation if you wish, but I'd rather not do it in this debate. I think it would take us too far off topic. I hope that's ok with you.
“If anyone says that the sacraments are not necessary for salvation… and that without them… men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification… let him be anathema.”
“If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.”
I thank you for being respectful throughout this debate.