Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues with his arguments that Matthew 16:18 is a proof-text for Petrine primacy, the papacy, and the authority of the Roman Catholic church.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 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. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 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.” – Matthew 16:13-19
Protestant response #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”
Broussard quotes evangelical apologist, James R. White, to expound upon Protestant response #5: “The confession that Peter gives of the messiahship of Jesus is the central thought of the entire passage. It is the reason for the trip to Caesarea Philippi. Jesus indicates that Peter has just been the recipient of divine revelation. God, in his grace, has given to Peter an insight that does not find its origin in the will of man, but in God the Father himself. The content of that confession is, in fact, divine revelation, immediately impressed upon the soul of Peter. This is the immediate context of verse 18, and to divorce verse 18 from what came before leads to the errant shift in attention from the identity of Christ to the identity of Peter that is found in Roman Catholic exegesis. Certainly we cannot accept the idea, presented in Roman theology, that immediately upon pronouncing the benediction upon Peter’s confession of faith, the focus shifts away from that confession and what it reveals to Peter himself and some office with successors based upon him!” – James R. White, quoted from a debate with Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis, May 30, 2008.
Broussard answers that there is a shift in focus from Jesus Christ to Peter beginning in verse 17. The pronoun “you” is used in reference to Peter twice in v. 17, twice in v.18, and thrice in v. 19. Given the context of the entire passage, argues Broussard, it’s only reasonable to assume that Jesus is referring to Peter as the rock upon which He will build His church in v. 18.
James. R. White presented an excellent argument above regarding the focus of vv. 13-17 in context with v. 18, wherein Jesus declared He would build His church upon the truth divinely revealed to Peter, that He was the Messiah/Christ. White is undeniably correct in asserting that Catholics almost completely ignore the context presented in vv. 13-17 in making their case via v. 18 for Petrine primacy. There is certainly a shift in focus beginning in v. 19 where Jesus declares He will give to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven (important note: Jesus granted these spiritual keys of locking and unlocking, binding and loosing, to ALL of His disciples in Matthew 18:18). Broussard and Catholics self-servingly argue the shift in focus from Jesus to Peter begins in v. 17, while Gospel Christians argue the shift begins with v. 19. Who is right? Last week, we presented conclusive evidence (see here) that Jesus would build His church upon Himself as Christ/Messiah, Son of God, and Savior, NOT upon weak Peter and the corrupt despots in the Vatican who claimed to be Peter’s successors.
Next week: Protestant response #6: “All the apostles are the foundation, not just Peter.”