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 chapter, “Leader of the Church,” advocating for Petrine primacy and papal authority using Luke 22:31-32 as his proof text.
1 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Protestant response #16: “Peter only strengthens by helping others not to make the same mistake that he did.”
Writes Broussard, “The next couple of Protestant comebacks aim to undercut the significance of Peter’s instruction to strengthen the brethren. One attempts to limit the nature of the instruction to helping fellow Christians repent when they have fallen. Todd Baker (an evangelical apologist) takes this approach:
As an apostolic minister of the gospel, Peter was to learn from this past mistake, and in turning back to the faith in Christ, which he previously fell from when he denied his Master three times, the apostle was to strengthen fellow Christians who had also fallen in a moment of weakness. He was to further safeguard other believers from making the same mistake he made, particularly in times of severe trial and persecution. Peter did this very thing so eloquently in both of the canonical epistles in the New Testament bearing his name (see 1 Pet. 1:5-9, 5:6-10, 2 Pet. 1:5-12, 2:9, 3:17-18).“
Broussard’s response is rather lengthy, so I will summarize it briefly without omitting the main points. He dismisses Baker’s response as “basically speculation without evidence.” He then interprets Luke 22:24-32 as a contextual argument for Petrine primacy:
- Luke 22: 24 – A dispute arose among the apostles as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
- Luke 22:25-26 – Jesus instructs the apostles that they are not to exercise authority in the manner of Gentile kings, but as servant leaders.
- Luke 22:29-30 – “Jesus makes explicit his intention that the apostles were to exercise royal authority.”
- Writes Broussard, “Immediately after this, Jesus makes the exclusive promise to pray for Peter as a response to Satan’s attempt to sift all the apostles like wheat and gives Peter the exclusive instruction to strengthen the brethren” as the preeminent servant leader. Broussard then cites eleven passages in Acts (also written by Luke) demonstrating Peter’s leadership role in the early church.
Concludes Broussard, “For Luke, Peter’s command to strengthen the brethren is not merely one of keeping Christians from losing faith and helping them repent when they do. Peter is to strengthen the brethren by leading the Church.”
I scolded Broussard last week for not acknowledging Luke 22:24-26 (the apostles argue over who is greatest/preeminent and Jesus rebukes them) in context with Luke 22:31-32, but he does so here, in an attempt to build a case for Peter’s primacy.
The Acts of the Apostles, chapters 1-12, certainly records that Peter was a leader of the apostles and of the early church and that he did strengthen the brethren, albeit not in the preeminent/papal sense that Roman Catholicism claims. The remainder of Acts, chapters 13-28, focuses on the missionary work of the apostle Paul. In the 13 Pauline epistles and the 8 other epistles that follow Acts, we see no reference to Peter as pope. In contradiction of Catholic claims, Paul writes in Galatians 2:6 that he was the equal of all of the other apostles.
Broussard correctly notes that Jesus rebuked the apostles for desiring apostolic/ecclesiastical primacy according to the pattern of Gentile monarchs and regents, instructing them instead to be as servants. Even casual students of church history know that the bishops of Rome developed the papacy according to the Caesarian imperial model. The pope became ipso facto the religious Caesar and in some respects the temporal Caesar. Although popes claimed the humbly-pretentious title of Servus Servorum Dei (Latin: “Servant of the Servants of God”), a precursor of Soviet double-speak, their wealth and political-religious control rivaled and surpassed that of most European temporal monarchs. The worldly, monarchical pattern that Jesus Christ specifically forbade in Luke 22:25-26 was precisely the pattern embraced by the bishops of Rome. This is a stark incongruity that a lost Catholic soul such as Broussard is completely oblivious to. Luke 22:25-26 is a stunning refutation of the historical Roman Catholic papacy.
Next week: Protestant response #17: “The Bible says that other people ‘strengthen’ as leaders in the Church.”