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 concludes 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 #17: “The Bible says that other people ‘strengthen’ as leaders in the Church.”
Writes Broussard, “Some Protestants also deny the significance of Peter’s instruction to strengthen the brethren because the terminology of “strengthening” is used elsewhere in the New Testament. James White is one example:
[W]e find no basis for reading papal prerogatives into the passage, for such terminology is common in the New Testament. For example, the term used here [sterizein] (Acts 14:22; 15:32; 15:41; 18:23) is used of Paul’s confirming the churches of Syria and Cilicia, of Judas and Silas’s confirming the brethren at Antioch, and of Timothy’s confirming the Thessalonian Church. Amazingly, Paul uses the same Greek term in writing to the Church of Rome: “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established” (Rom. 1:11). And in Romans 16:25 Paul praises God, who is able to strengthen them according to his [Paul’s] gospel! No mention is made of Peter at all!” – from “The Roman Catholic Controversy,” p. 115.
“A motif being used for multiple people doesn’t mean they are equal with regard to what the motif expresses. In our case, Scripture tells us that God strengthens, and Paul strengthens, and Peter strengthens, but we are not forced to conclude that each means the same thing. Other details must be taken into consideration to determine how the motif applies to each individual. Are there details indicating that Peter must strengthen the brethren in a way that’s unique to his role as leader? There are: all the evidence we gave in our response to the previous objection. Peter receives the command to strengthen the brethren, which the context reveals to be the apostles, immediately after Jesus told them that Satan was going to sift them all and promised to pray exclusively for Peter. This indicates that Peter had a special task of “strengthening” that the other apostles did not. Also, both the promised prayer and the command to strengthen come after Jesus told all the apostles that he’s assigning to them the kingdom (v.29) but affirming that among them one is the greatest and the leader” (p. 66).
James White presents a credible argument in his rebuttal of Catholicism’s use of Luke 22:31-32 as a proof-text for Petrine primacy and papal authority. All Christian leaders are to strengthen the brethren.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-12
Peter certainly was a leader of the apostles and he did strengthen the brethren following his betrayal and repentance, but extrapolating the papal office from Luke 22:31-32 is preposterous.
In the previous verses, Luke 22:28-30, Jesus promises the apostles that they would all sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, but a special position is not accorded to Peter as one would expect if Petrine primacy was valid.
Next week: Broussard begins yet another chapter arguing for Petrine primacy, titled “Chief Shepherd of the Flock,” in which he uses John 21:15-17 as his proof text. He begins with Protestant response #18: “The exchange is merely to give Peter the opportunity to make up for the three times he denied Christ.”