Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Apostle to the Jews: Part 2

Can the apostle to the Jews be the Bishop of Rome? "Selaplana" doesn't think so. Here is part 2 in our debate. You can read part 1 here.
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Thanks for your respond on the issue regarding Peter.

However, I want to make it clear, that it’s the Bible who said that Peter is the Apostle assigned to the Jews. I agree that Peter was instrumental to the convertion of gentiles to Christian. But the truth is that the Bible doesn’t introduced Peter as the Pope of the church rather an Apostle of the Jews.
Oh, I have no doubt that Scripture calls Peter the "apostle to the Jews." But, this only pertains to the specific mission of spreading the gospel. As far as his position of authority in the Church is concerned, he is specific to no demographic. It doesn't matter that he spread the gospel among the circumcised. The topic of this debate is his larger role as the pre-eminent apostle in the Church. If you read the early documents, Rome always held a place of unique honor and authority in the Christian world because Peter lived and died there. He is first among the twelve (cf. Mt 10:2). As soon as he rode in to town, the Romans would have immediately considered him the most authoritative figure there. It is in virtue of this that he is considered the Bishop of Rome.

History kept by the Roman Catholic Church might prove that Peter became bishop of Rome but the Bible didn’t said so, because what the Bible attested is that Peter like Paul was an Apostle not a Bishop.
First of all, why is it necessary to find this in the Bible? Peter as "bishop of Rome" is not a faith statement, it's an item of history. "Was Peter considered the leader of the Church in Rome?"....that is what we are asking. The Bible doesn't answer that question because it was never intended to. The Bible is not a history book. Although we do find in it true historical accounts, this was not it's main purpose. There are many events in history that are not recorded in the Bible. But, that does not mean they didn't happen. When we want to know historical facts of Biblical times, we consult the documents of the time period. The Bible is one, but there are also others. When the facts we are looking for are not recorded in the Bible, we have to consult these other historical documents. That's just how you do history.

Secondly, the positions of "apostle" and "bishop" should not be set against each other so that if you are one you can't be the other. After all, James was both an apostle (cf. Mt 10:3; 1 Cor 15:7; Gal 1:19) and the bishop of Jerusalem (see here). Also, in Acts 1:20, the position of Judas, another one of the 12, is described as the "bishoprick" (cf. KJV, TML, DRV, and Webster translations. See also NRSV: "position of overseer" and Darby: "overseership")? I think this shows that apostles can in fact also be bishops.

Finally, you say history "as kept by the Church" if there could be some type of alternative history that would say something different. But, the fact is that the only Christian documents of the time were by Catholics, since the Catholic Church was the only Christian body in existence. If you can find a historical document that rejects Peter's residence in Rome, I'd love to see it.

Then I also want to make it clear that it is not Peter whom the Church was built upon. Peter might be a rock but not as foundation rock of the church but as rock which built upon the rock…. seee
Peter as the rock upon whom Jesus built his Church is a fact pertaining to his status as the first pope. Although this is related to his status as Bishop of Rome, it is also an entirely different debate. I would rather we stay on topic. If you are interested in reading articles about this alternative debate, see the following collections: Those should effectively refute any argument you have against Peter as the Rock of Mt. 16:18.
okay, let say the pope is the rock upon whom the church was built (but not to concede), then it wouldn’t be peter who would become pope because the church was not built upon him but upon Christ (the rock) himself…. seee
You basically just repeated yourself, so see my last comment. For more on Peter's Roman residency, go here.

Pax Christi,

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