Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #11: “Uniqueness doesn’t entail papal authority.”

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 his argument for Petrine primacy with Peter as the “Keeper of the Keys,” pointing to Matthew 16:19 as his proof text.


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 16:19

Broussard continues his argument from the last three weeks, that there is a direct parallel between Eliakim being appointed to the royal stewardship of the Davidic Kingdom in Isaiah 22:15-22 and Peter being given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (and, hence, vicarship of Christ’s church as Catholics claim) in Matthew 16:19.

Protestant Response #11: “Uniqueness doesn’t entail papal authority.”

For Protestant response #11, Broussard turns once again to evangelical apologist, Jason Engwar of Triablogue who wrote, “Even if the keys of Matthew 16:19 had been unique to Peter, would that prove that he was pope? Obviously not, since uniqueness doesn’t prove papal authority. Peter could have uniquely used the keys of Matthew 16:19 in the book of Acts, when he ‘opened a door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) with those keys by preaching to the Jews and Gentiles at Pentecost (Acts 15:7)” (p. 48).

Broussard’s response #1

Writes Broussard, “Engwar suggests that the ‘keys of the kingdom’ could have referred not to an ongoing authority but only to Peter’s ‘opening the kingdom’ through preaching. This is a common interpretation among some Protestant apologists, but it ignores the interpretive context of Isaiah 22:15-22” (p. 48). Broussard then repeats his claim that the the granting of the keys to Peter in Matthew 16:19 is precisely paralleled with the granting of the vicarial key of the Davidic kingdom to Eliakim in Isaiah 22. Broussard states, “But the authority to ‘bind and loose’ didn’t refer to preaching. Rather, in Jewish tradition this language denotes judicial authority – deciding what was forbidden or allowed according to the law” (p. 49).

Broussard cites Engwar once again, “Even if we assume that the keys were unique to Peter, uniqueness obviously doesn’t prove papal authority. John was uniquely called ‘the beloved disciple’ (John 21:20), was uniquely referred to as living until Christ’s return (John 21:22), and uniquely called himself ‘the elder’ (2 John 1:1). Paul was uniquely called a ‘chosen vessel’ who would bear Christ’s name before the world (Acts 9:15), uniquely asserted his authority over all the churches (1 Cor. 7:17), and was uniquely the only apostle to publicly rebuke and correct another apostle (Gal. 2:11-14)” (p. 49).

Broussard’s response #2

States Broussard, “It’s not uniqueness by itself that suggests Peter’s papal authority. Rather, it’s the uniqueness of the keys and what they signify. Appealing to unique statements made to other people distracts from the real issue at hand: what it means for Peter to possess the keys” (p. 49).

My response

Broussard and Roman Catholicism argue for the uniqueness/primacy of Peter’s apostolic position as the basis of the papacy. We have already thoroughly debunked the notion of Petrine primacy in previous installments. Yes, the “keys” to the kingdom of Heaven and the power to “bind and loose” were conferred to Peter as they were to all of the apostles of Jesus Christ (Matthew 18:18). Broussard predictably claims here that the authority to “bind and loose” strictly denotes judicial/ecclesiastical authority according to “Jewish tradition.” However, in such examples as Acts 2:38, we witness the apostles’ power/authority to unbind/loosen sinners from the penalty of sin precisely through the preaching of the Gospel:

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Broussard’s dismissal of the preaching of the genuine Good News! Gospel as the primary meaning of “binding and loosing” in contrast to RC-ism’s interpretation of the term as a validation/proof of papal authority is a revealing confession.

What does the Bible mean by binding and loosing? –

Next week: Protestant Response #12: “Jesus uniquely rebukes Peter.”

10 thoughts on “Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #11: “Uniqueness doesn’t entail papal authority.”

  1. He is still beating this drum. Well, you are a very patient person to wade through all of this, Tom. I would hope that any Catholic person who is reading these can see the obvious flaws in Broussard’s position.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Chris! He has a loooong way yet to go with this Petrine primacy/papal authority argument. The initial 30% of the book is devoted to this, which is quite revealing regarding what Catholicism prioritizes. The ironic thing is conservative Catholic apologists like Broussard advise their audiences to ignore much of pope Francis’ reforms.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, that sounds a bit contradictory. Francis seems to be a poster child for arguments against Broussard’s claims. Sad that Catholic theology is such a mess. Thanks for helping us all understand the situation better.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this I feel Boussard likes to drag on and on about papal authority…its getting kind of lame. NOt you nor your post (you have to respond) but the book and the guy Boussard himself…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, the fact that he devotes the first 30% of this book to defending papal authority is ridiculous AND revealing. For Catholics, it’s all about the institution and its works false gospel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know your a Macbeth fan and while he’s not a woman he does protest too much. When you have to defend something this much, (which he is far from being done with this argument) it means the position is false. I always knew papal authority was central to RCC what I didn’t realize was how deep that runs. It’s hard for me to even express this because for me getting the atonement, deity of Christ, justification etc are primary and getting that wrong produces faulty theology/beliefs. Ok said another way what is amazing is just how first order papal authority is to the RCC or at least to folks like Broussard. I know most RCC folks don’t read the Word for themselves but if they did unless they want to be deceived there’s no way they could close the Bible affirming any of this Petrine/papal authority. One of our friends, he’s an elder in our church but his dad is staunch Catholic, instead of questioning the vicar of Christ being biblical he says, “Nostradamus said the last pope will be super liberal.” Stunning that someone would rely on Nostradamus instead of the Word of God!!!!! Thank you for your work in refuting these!!!! How’s work?! The end is getting ever closer. Totally don’t want summer to leave but will be glad for you and Corinne when you’re done!!! 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mandy! Yeah, Broussard’s prioritization of Petrine primacy/papal authority is a good example of what Catholicism values, the institution and man-created religion over the Bible and salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. He doth protest too much.
      Work is always busy, but, yup, getting close to the end. I emailed my end-of-work notice to HR yesterday. Thanks and hope you and Nathan enjoy the rest of the summer. Leaves will be falling in only 11 more weeks!

      Liked by 1 person

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