Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

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.

capture30

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’s rebuttal

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.

My rebuttal

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.”

Catholic Myths

Catholic Myths: A Biblical Examination into the Myths, Rituals, Relics, Superstitions, and Inventions of the Roman Catholic Church
By Charles A. Zonca
Independently published, 2020, 227 pp.

3 Stars

With “Catholic Myths,” author Charles A. Zonca (Word of Victory Tract Ministries) has done a decent job examining many of the mythical elements of Roman Catholic theology (see chapter headings below). The RCC’s doctrines are based more upon the church’s spurious “sacred traditions” than upon the Bible. Many of the traditions have their roots in paganism.

However, there are a couple of problems with this book. 1) Zonca relies heavily upon Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” (1858) and Ralph Woodrow’s “Babylon Mystery Religion” (1966), which drew directly from the former. Historians have shown that Hislop overreached with some of his postulations regarding Babylonian paganism. Woodrow later reconsidered and disavowed his previous book with the publication of “The Babylon Connection?” in 1997. 2) Zonca is a purveyor of KJV 1611-Onlyism and presses that view.

“Catholic Myths” has a lot of very good, detailed information about popular, superstition-tinged Catholic beliefs and practices that the more academically-inclined evangelical writers like Gregg Allison and Leonardo De Chirico tend to avoid, but the problems mentioned above prevent me from recommending this book as a resource.

An excellent examination of Roman Catholicism as it compares to Biblical Christianity is “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy, available at Amazon here.

Contents

Myths

  • Bible Versions
  • The Rock
  • Apostolic Succession
  • Peter – Bishop of Rome
  • Limbo
  • Purgatory
  • Transubstantiation
  • Sacrifice of the Mass
  • Forgiveness of Sins
  • Mary – Mother of God
  • Assumption
  • Immaculate Conception
  • Mary Worship
  • Worship of Saints
  • Celibacy
  • Priests and Nuns
  • Sainthood Canonization
  • Fasting from Meat
  • Gambling and Drinking
  • Many Ways to Heaven
  • Muslims
  • Chrislam
  • Papal Infallibility
  • Charismatic Movement
  • The Magi

Rituals

  • All Saints Day
  • Holy Stairs in Rome
  • Indulgences
  • Infant Baptism
  • The Host
  • Worship of the Monstrance
  • Pope’s Tiara
  • Mitre
  • Kissing the Pope’s Ring
  • Kissing Statues
  • Priestly Clergy Garments
  • Processions
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Pilgrimages to Shrines
  • Votive Candles
  • Catholic Santería Voodoo Rituals
  • Epiphany Door Blessing Ritual

Relics

  • Relics of Romanism
  • Our Lady of Clearwater
  • The Nun Bun
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe

Superstitions

  • Apparitions
  • Amulets

Good News

  • The Bible – Man’s Only Hope

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith.”

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.

capture30

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. – Matthew 16:13-18


Protestant Response #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith”

Writes Broussard, “Protestant apologists note that Jesus begins with a personal address directed to Peter using the second-person pronoun you. ‘And I tell you, you are Peter,’ but then switches to the demonstrative adjective this: ‘and upon this rock.’ James White infers from this that Jesus makes ‘the differentiation between ‘Peter’ and ‘this rock’ complete,’ and that Jesus is ‘speaking to Peter about the ‘rock.” If Jesus had intended ‘this rock’ to refer to Peter, the argument continues, he would have continued to use the second-person pronoun and said, ‘You are Peter, and upon you, Peter, I will build my church.’ Instead, he’s referring to the next-closest thing in the text: Peter’s proclamation that Jesus is the Christ” (pp. 25-26).

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard opens his rebuttal with the argument that “there’s no reason why the metaphorical rock can’t have a double meaning: one primary (Peter) and the other secondary (Peter’s confession of faith)” (p. 26). He admits the Catechism of the Catholic Church embraces this double meaning (see CCC 424 here). “However,” continues Broussard, “given the context of the passage…Peter’s profession of faith can only be a secondary meaning, since Peter is the direct recipient of Jesus’ address.” Broussard argues, “Just because Jesus switches from saying ‘you‘ to saying ‘this,’ it doesn’t follow that he must be changing his object from Peter to something else.” Broussard presents two examples in which Jesus’ disciples and Jesus are referred to using the demonstrative adjective, this (Matthew 5:14, implied) and Acts 4:10-11. Broussard also argues “that Peter’s declaration of faith is two verses removed from the ‘this.’ So, when Jesus says ‘this rock,’ it’s more reasonable to think he’s referring to Simon, whom he just renamed Rock, because he is the nearest thing for the pronoun to refer to” (p. 27).

My rebuttal

As I mentioned last week, it’s certainly misleading that Broussard presents the Protestant position on Matthew 16:18 as two distinct “comebacks”: 1) “the foundation is Jesus” discussed last week and 2) “the foundation is Peter’s confession of faith,” convolutedly presented this week. It’s clear that the Truth of Jesus being THE Rock is contained in Peter’s confession and it’s upon that Truth, Jesus being the Christ, that the church would be built.

In this section, Broussard expends a great amount of effort examining grammar and sentence structure to defend the Roman misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18. It’s fair to say that the verse is not crystal clear in meaning by itself so as to validate either the Protestant interpretation or the Roman misinterpretation. It’s obvious we’re not going to get to the crux of this issue by debating sentence structure.

As we stated last week, Scripture interprets Scripture, and it’s clear from the many Scripture passages that we presented in the previous post that Jesus Christ Himself, not Peter (petros), is THE Rock (petra) upon which He would build His church.

Let us present several additional arguments showing that Jesus is the Rock and that Rome’s self-serving interpretation is fallacious:

  1. In Matthew 20:20-28, the mother of James and John comes to Jesus and requests that her two sons be granted pre-eminency among the apostles. Why would she have done so if Peter had already been granted that status in Matthew 16:18 as Catholics insist? Mark 8:27-30 includes the synoptic parallel of Matthew 16:13-18 and yet in Mark 9:33-37, we see the apostles arguing amongst themselves over who is the greatest, who has primacy? In neither account does Jesus correct them, saying, “Didn’t you hear me give Peter apostolic primacy?” No, instead we witness Jesus rebuking the apostles for desiring primacy: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.” – Matthew 20:25-26. The authoritarian hierarchy implemented by the RCC, which was adopted from the Roman imperial model, was precisely the type of structure that Jesus forbade. Both Matthew 20 and Mark 9 thoroughly debunk the Catholic misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18. We could satisfactorily rest our case at this point, but there is much more.
  2. Let’s look at other Scriptures. In the Acts of the Apostles, we certainly see that Peter did play a leading role among the apostles, although nothing resembling a pope. However, beginning in chapter 13 and continuing until chapter 28, the end of the book, we see the emphasis shift to the apostle Paul. In none of Paul’s thirteen epistles do we see Peter acknowledged as preeminent or anything even remotely resembling the Roman Catholic pope. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In contrast, Paul wrote that he was the equal of any of the apostles, even the more influential ones like Peter (Galatians 2:6). In fact, Paul had to publicly confront Peter at Antioch because the allegedly infallible first pope had compromised the Gospel of grace by deferring to the legalistic Judaizers and segregating himself from Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-14). In the eight epistles that follow Paul’s letters, two written by Peter himself, we see absolutely zero evidence for Petrine primacy or the RC papacy.

We have demonstrated from an abundance of Scripture that Petrine primacy and the office of pope are Roman Catholic inventions. As the bishops of Rome consolidated their power, they searched the Bible for supporting proof-texts and manipulated Matthew 16:18 to meet their devilish ends.

It’s quite interesting that Augustine, who Rome views as one of its premier theologians and a highly esteemed “doctor of the church” held to the Protestant interpretation of Matthew 16:18.

“But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered, ‘Thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God.’ One for many gave the answer, Unity in many. Then said the Lord to him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.’ Then He added, ‘and I say unto thee.’ As if He had said, ‘Because thou hast said unto Me, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God;” I also say unto thee, “Thou art Peter.” ’ For before he was called Simon. Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. ‘Therefore,’ he saith, ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this Rock’ which Thou hast confessed, upon this rock which Thou hast acknowledged, saying, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;’ that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, ‘will I build My Church.’ I will build thee upon Myself, not Myself upon Thee.For men who wished to be built upon men, said, ‘I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas,’ who is Peter. But others who did not wish to built upon Peter, but upon the Rock, said, ‘But I am of Christ.’ And when the Apostle Paul ascertained that he was chosen, and Christ despised, he said, ‘Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?’ And, as not in the name of Paul, so neither in the name of Peter; but in the name of Christ: that Peter might be built upon the Rock, not the Rock upon Peter.” – Augustine, from Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VI, St. Augustin, Sermon XXVI.1-4, pp. 340-341).

Broussard guilefully omits from the reader the view from Rome’s most venerated theologian on this matter. Other church “fathers” wrote that Jesus Christ was the Rock referred to in Matthew 16:18, including Origen, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theodoret of Cyr, Cyril of Alexandria, Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome, Epiphanius, etc. (see William Webster’s excellent and nuanced article on the topic here). While we appreciate the views of Augustine and the other church fathers who correctly interpreted Matthew 16:8 to mean Jesus is the Rock upon which the church would be built, not Peter, we must always defer to Scripture for our spiritual truth and Scripture taken together shows that Jesus Christ is the Rock referred to in Matthew 16:18.

Next week: Protestant response #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

Are Catholics Considered Christians?

I ran across the 8-minute video below from Allen Parr of “The Beat” YouTube Channel that does an excellent job of explaining some of the major differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. After 7:45 minutes of examining seven anti-Biblical aspects of RC theology, Allen states the following:

“So the original question was this, ‘Are Catholics Christians?’ Well, let me just go on record and say this, it is not my job nor is it your job to go around and decide who is a Christian and who is not. That is God’s business, not ours. But what we can do and what we are called to do is assess whether someone’s belief lines up with a Christian belief so we are able to confidently say, ‘I don’t know if you’re a Christian or not, but what you believe in is not a Christian belief.”

Hmm. That’s a bit of a weak landing after an excellent 7:45 minutes. It seems to me that Parr is trying to be non-offensive to a fault. Wishy-washiness doesn’t help anyone. The Apostle Paul didn’t hold back from pointing out false teachers/false Christians in his epistles. While there may be some individual Roman Catholics who have genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and are in the process of being led out of the RCC by the Holy Spirit, we can confidently say that Roman Catholics, who by definition adhere to their church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit, are not Christians. Roman Catholics aren’t Christian. Mormons aren’t Christian. Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t Christian. Christian Scientists aren’t Christian. It’s patently obvious that followers of pseudo-Christian sects are not Christians because they do not hold to orthodox Christian beliefs, especially regarding how a person is saved.

In contrast to Parr’s wishy-washiness, I can say to a Roman Catholic, “I know you are not a Christian because meriting salvation in any form or fashion is not the genuine Gospel and is not genuine Christianity.”

Weak ending aside, this is a pretty good video.

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #3: “The foundation is Jesus.”

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.

capture30

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.


Protestant Response #3: “The foundation is Jesus.”

Since Gospel Christians do not believe Peter/petros and rock/petra refer to the same thing in Matthew 16:18, what do we believe rock/petra refers to? Broussard states that Protestants believe petra refers either to A) Jesus Christ or to B) Peter’s confession of faith in Matthew 16:16. Brussard focuses on the former in this section and cites evangelical apologist Ron Rhodes’ argument, “We must not forget, ‘No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3:11).'” States Broussard, “For (Rhodes), Peter can’t be the rock in Matthew 16:18, because St. Paul tells us what the foundation of the Church is, and that’s Jesus” (p. 23).

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard accuses Rhodes of using a non-sequitur (“it does not follow”) with the above argument. “Just because Jesus is called the foundation in one passage,” writes Broussard, “it doesn’t follow that Peter can’t be called the foundation of Jesus’ Church in other passages.” Broussard then presents several Scripture verses in which Jesus and others are referred to using the same metaphors, including the following:

  • Matthew 16: 18 presents Jesus as the builder, but in 1 Cor. 3:10 Paul presents himself and other ministers as builders.
  • 1 Peter 2:4 presents Jesus as “the living stone, rejected by men,” but the following verse, 1 Peter 2:5, states all Christians are living stones.
  • In 1 Cor. 3:11, Paul writes that Christ is the one foundation, but in Ephesians 2:20 he writes that the apostles and prophets are also the foundation, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone.

Concludes Broussard, if the New Testament writers didn’t see “a contradiction between Jesus being the foundation of the Church and at the same time others being the foundation of the Church, why should we say there is a contradiction between Jesus and Peter both being the foundation of the Church, just in different respects?” (p.25).

My rebuttal

It’s ill-informed or disingenuous to claim that Gospel Christianity’s interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is divided between two options. There is one interpretation, that Peter’s confession of faith contained the divinely-revealed Truth that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah/Christ, the Son of God, and it was upon that Truth (and thus, upon Himself), that Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God sent to save sinners, would build His church.

Yes, the New Testament writers used metaphors to also describe the apostles as under-shepherds and secondary foundation stones, but the primary Shepherd and the Cornerstone is Jesus Christ. All of the apostles’ authority was from THE Rock (petra). Scripture interprets scripture and we see from many Bible passages that Jesus Christ is THE Rock (petra), not the fallible apostle, Peter (petros):

  • 1 Cor. 10:4 – and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
  • Matthew 21:42 – Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
  • Acts 4:11-12 – This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
  • Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
  • Psalm 62:2 – He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

The Jewish converts to Christianity knew their Old Testament well, and would not have tolerated the heresy of the church allegedly being built upon a sinful man rather than upon Jesus Christ. Only a spiritually blind, unredeemed Roman Catholic or one of Rome’s ecumenical Protestant polezni durak (“useful fools”) could read Matthew 16:18 in conjunction with the above verses/passages and still agree with Rome’s tortured interpretation.

Next week, I will present substantially more evidence proving why Jesus is the Rock (petra), the immovable foundation upon which He would build His church, not poor Peter (petros).

Next week: Protestant Response #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith”

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #2: “Petros and Petra mean different things.”

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. Broussard is moving in slow motion, so please be patient as he scrupulously attempts to build his case.

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“You are Peter (Greek: petros, “small stone or pebble”), and on this rock (petra, “a large stone, a huge rock mass; a solid rock formation”) I will build my church.” – Matthew 16:18


Protestant Response #2: “Petros and Petra mean different things.”

The classical Protestant interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is that Peter/petros and rock/petra mean very different things. Petros in Koine Greek means small stone or pebble while petra means a large rock or a solid rock formation. Matthew used two different and opposing words to convey two different meanings.

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard points out that writers will sometimes use an antithetical parallel, a writing device “in which two different words or images are placed alongside each other in order to contrast what they refer to” (p. 21). That is the Protestant interpretation of Matthew’s use of the different words, petros and petra, that the two different words are used to contrast the strongly opposing meanings associated with each particular word. Broussard then submits that writers also use another parallel, a synthetic parallel, in which the second image is meant to build upon and amplify the first.” He uses the example of calling his daughter a “kitten” a minute before she does something outrageous, after which he calls her a “wildcat.” Broussard suggests that Matthew’s use of petros and petra may be a synthetic parallel, meant to convey that while Peter was a very fallible human being – an insignificant pebble – at the time Jesus addressed him with these words, he would go on to become the “immovable rock that the Church can be set upon” (p. 22).

My rebuttal

In this chapter and the previous one, Broussard has attempted to rationalize why Matthew used two different words with two different meanings, petros and petra, to identify Peter as the rock upon which Christ would build His church, according to the Catholic interpretation. The two chapters have been a Jesuitical grasping at straws and don’t deserve a lengthy analysis and response. It’s vital to Broussard’s and the RCC’s case for the papacy that they extrapolate these spurious interpretations of Matthew 16:18, but we needn’t follow Broussard down every allegedly “plausible” rabbit hole, like this antithetical parallel vs. synthetic parallel. Next week, we will finally begin to get into the meat of the debate, in which we will examine Matthew 16:18 in context with the preceding verses in Matthew 16:13-17 and the entirety of Scripture. Our case against the Catholic misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18 is very strong and is Scriptural.

Next week: Protestant response #3: “The foundation is Jesus.”

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #1: “Petros and Petra are two different words”

Today, we begin our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). Thanks for joining me and I hope to see you every Friday for the next seventy-seven weeks.

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The first chapter of this book is titled, “Rock of the Church, Matthew 16:18,” and deals with the Catholic claim of Petrine primacy, i.e., that Peter was chief among the apostles and the first pope based upon Matthew 16:18: “You are Peter (Greek: petros, “small stone or pebble”), and on this rock (petra, “a large rock or rock mass; a solid rock formation”) I will build my church.” Roman Catholics interpret this verse to mean that Matthew, and hence, Jesus Christ, intended “Peter” and “rock” as one and the same. Connected to this claim of Petrine primacy is the Roman Catholic church’s assertion that its long line of popes are the divinely anointed successors of Peter and that it is therefore the only authorized and true church.

Broussard examines seven Protestant responses to Catholicism’s claim of Petrine primacy based upon Matthew 16:18. Please bear with me. As you will see, Broussard scrupulously builds his false case far beyond the point of mendacious overkill, but we will eventually get to the crux of the debate.

Let’s look at the first Protestant response along with Broussard’s attempted rebuttal.

Protestant response #1: “‘Petros’ and ‘Petra’ are two different words”

The implication is that two different and opposing words were used because two different meanings were intended.

Broussard’s reply

While Peter (petros) means “rock” it is spelled differently than the rock (petra) Jesus said He would build His church upon. Broussard will begin to focus on the difference in meaning between the two words next week, but for now he posits on why Matthew might have possibly used the two different Greek words for rock. He suggests,

A) Matthew’s Greek-reading audience was not as familiar with Peter/petros, so he resorted to the more familiar petra for the second noun.

B) Matthew used petra because he desired to make a connection to another passage in his gospel, Matthew 7:24-25:

24 “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock (petra); 25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock (petra).

C) Different words were used “to preserve the distinction between a proper noun (Petros as a proper name) and a common noun (in this case, petra as a metaphor)” (p. 20).

Broussard concludes, “Given that we can provide plausible reasons as to why there might be a difference in words without denying that the rock refers to Peter, the argument that Peter is not the rock, simply based on the use of petros and petra are different words, fails.”

My rebuttal

It’s difficult to address this “Why were two different words, petros and petra, used in Matthew 16:18?” question without also discussing the different meanings of the words, but as I mentioned, Broussard begins to introduce that argument next week. Suffice to say that Matthew’s Greek-reading audience would have immediately picked up on the starkly contrasting meanings of the two words. Matthew would not have used the two polar-opposite words if he intended the same meaning. While Broussard congratulates himself for presenting “plausible reasons” as to why Matthew used opposing words to allegedly intend the same meaning, I see Broussard’s efforts as Jesuitical sophistry and grasping at straws. Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, recorded Jesus Christ using two polar-contrasting words to convey that Peter and “this rock” were contrastingly different. That was the intention of Matthew and that would have been the interpretation of his 1st-century, Greek-reading audience.

Next week: Protestant response #2: “Petros and Petra mean different things.”

The Rise of Catholic Indifference

Deadly Indifference: How the Church Lost Her Mission and How We Can Reclaim It
By Eric Sammons
Crisis Publications, 2021, 304 pp.

1 Star

The Roman Catholic church has always taught baptismal regeneration and the complementary doctrine of extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (Latin: “outside the Church [there is] no salvation.” Two exceptions were added to these doctrines, those being baptismus sanguinis (“baptism by blood”) and baptismus flaminis (“baptism by desire”). The former declared that those who were martyred before they were baptized could be saved, while the latter declared that those who desired to be baptized, but died before the sacrament could be administered, could also be saved. Those two exceptions were historically understood as “rare” occurrences, but today the Catholic church teaches that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and even atheists can be saved implicitly through baptismus flaminis/baptism by (unconscious) desire. How did this teaching evolve? In “Deadly Indifference,” traditionalist Catholic editor, Eric Sammons (“Crisis” magazine), examines the history of the expansion of baptismus flaminis and the implications for the declining RCC.

Beginning in the Middle Ages, some Catholic theologians and philosophers began to mull over the spiritual status of those pagans in distant lands who had never heard the Catholic gospel. The notion of “invincible ignorance” was born, which stated that “some” pagan souls might desire baptism if they were aware of it, and that they could also be saved via the baptism by desire exception. The teaching was bandied about by Catholic theologians for centuries and even gained papal approval in the Singulari Quadam allocution issued by Pius IX in 1854: “It is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God.” Invincible ignorance was popularly viewed as the theoretical exception rather than the rule as Catholic missionaries determinedly continued their efforts to convert non-Catholics across the globe.

However, as modernism/liberalism took hold in Catholic academia and episcopacies in the twentieth century, “invincible ignorance” and baptismus flaminis gradually became the standard regarding non-Catholics and were codified in the Second Vatican Council declarations, Unitatis redintegratio (1964) and Nostra aetate (1965). It took some time for this new liberal paradigm to filter down to the seminaries, rectories, convents, and pews – as a young Catholic grammar school student in the early and mid-1960s, I distinctly remember being taught by the priests and nuns that Protestants and all non-Catholics were destined for hell – but filter down it did. Sammons uses a “salvation spectrum” to demonstrate the current range of Catholic teaching/belief regarding extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. There is the absolutist on one extreme, who rejects the aforementioned exceptions. This view was infamously espoused by Jesuit Leonard Feeney (see here). Sammons states that, unlike Feeney, he is not an absolutist, but an exclusivist. He concedes the exception of baptismus flaminis as legitimate, but only in “rare” cases. Sammons posits that modern popes, John XXIII, Paul VI, JP II, Benedict XVI were in the middle “inclusivist” range in varying degrees, but that Francis is at the opposite extreme as a pluralist bordering on universalism.

The result of the expansion of baptismus flaminis and “invincible ignorance” is that there is no incentive for Catholic missions, since it is now taught that it’s possible for every non-Catholic religionist and even atheists to merit Heaven. Another result is an ever-increasing number of cradle Catholics are dropping away from the church because of the prevailing indifferentism. Their thinking: “If non-Catholic religionists and atheists have a good shot at Heaven, it makes no sense to have to suffer through an hour of boring mass every Sunday.”

Traditionalist Sammons, would like to return the Catholic church to pre-conciliar militancy, when baptismus flaminis and “invincible ignorance” were understood as the “rare” exceptions rather than the rule. He desires that Protestants be once-again categorized as “heretics” and that they be targets for proselytization by Catholic missionaries along with all other non-Catholics. Sammons also pines for the day when “religious freedom” is a memory and the Catholic church once again rules hand-in-glove with civil governments (pp. 50-51). Nope, I’m not kidding. How does Sammons put the horse back in the barn? He encourages fellow traditionalists to turn the clock back to pre-conciliar militancy, parish by parish.

We’re seeing signs that this rad-trad militant Catholicism that Sammons espouses is gaining traction and getting some internet notoriety, but the reality is that it’s still a small minority among Catholics.

Postscript: This book was valuable to me only in that it details some of the historical expansion of baptismus flaminis that I wasn’t aware of. In contradiction to all of this Catholic internecine squabbling over legalistic details (i.e., if baptismus flaminis is only rarely legitimate, how rare is rare? 0.1% of non-Catholics? 1%? 5%? 10%?) is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Neither Francis’ progressive pluralism or Sammons’ militant traditionalism have any connection to the genuine Gospel of grace. Some might be surprised that evangelical darling, Billy Graham, also embraced the teaching of “invincible ignorance.” Watch Graham unabashedly propagate the heresy of invincible ignorance in a 1:30 minute video here.

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response”

We recently completed our nine-month series in which we examined Catholic philosopher and apologist, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). I was mulling over several Catholic apologetics books for our next series and stumbled upon…

Meeting the Protestant Response: How to Answer Common Comebacks to Catholic Arguments
By Karlo Broussard
Catholic Answers Press, 2022, 288 pp.

As some of you may recall, we examined Broussard’s previous book, “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019) a couple of years ago.

This new book is divided into twenty-four chapters by subject matter, which include seventy-seven “common Protestant comebacks” to Catholic apologetical arguments, followed by Broussard’s responses. We’ll examine and answer one of Broussard’s counter-arguments every Friday.

Unlike Kreeft’s “shoot from the hip,” personal philosophical style in “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic,” Broussard uses ample Bible proof-texts throughout this book, so my responses will require much more research and preparation.

I hope you’ll join me over the next seventy-seven weeks as we respond to “Meeting the Protestant Response.”

Throwback Thursday: Yes, I am “in Christ.” No, you’re not. Yes, I AM! No, you’re NOT!

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 30, 2016 and has been revised.

capture30

Last night, I was reviewing some discussions I had with a couple of Roman Catholics back when I first began this blog. The dialogue reached a point where the Catholics claimed to be “in Christ” just as much as I claimed to be “in Christ.” I was a Catholic for twenty-seven years; educated in a Catholic grammar and high school, and I’ve learned even more about Catholicism since I left that church and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983. I’m fully aware that Catholic parlance is filled with references to “Jesus the Savior,” “faith,” “grace,” and the like, but when Catholics use such terms, they mean something entirely different than what evangelicals understand.

In my exchanges with the Catholics about being “in Christ,” I said the term referred to a believer’s position before a Holy God; covered in Christ’s righteousness. I have no righteousness of my own. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, His perfect righteousness was imputed to me. In Holy God’s perfect court of law, I stand completely condemned by my sin, but my Savior took my place and bore the penalty for my sin on the cross. I am washed and redeemed by His blood and I’m able to go free ONLY because of His righteousness.

In contrast, Rome teaches that God’s grace is infused into the Catholic through its sacraments, empowering them to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and live an increasingly sanctified life, enabling them to merit Heaven. So a Catholic faithful to their church’s teachings cannot rightly say they are “in Christ,” because their salvation ultimately depends upon how well they obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) right up until the moment of their death. Positionally before God, they are NOT “in Christ,” they are “outside of Christ” and still in their sins because they are attempting to merit their own salvation rather than accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

My Catholics friends were quite taken aback that I would dare to suggest that they were not “in Christ.” Who was I to tell them that? Was I making myself out to be God Almighty by deciding who was going to Heaven and who wasn’t? How rude! How narrow-minded and judgmental!

But God’s Word says there is only one Way to salvation, and that’s Jesus Christ. Christ is either your Savior or He is not. It’s not enough to call Christ your Savior, you must be trusting in Him by faith alone. If you tell me that salvation is merited by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) through sacramental grace, as Catholicism teaches, then I can tell you with absolute confidence that Jesus is not your Savior and you are not “in Christ.”

To illustrate, let’s suppose you’re a passenger on a sinking cruise ship, and I show up in my rescue boat and beg you to get in. Praising and admiring the rescue boat for its wonderful qualities won’t save you. You have to abandon your ship and get into the rescue boat. You have to be in the rescue boat for the boat to save you. Likewise, gushing about “Jesus the Savior,” “faith,” and “grace” won’t save you when you’re still trying to merit your salvation by your own efforts. You’re not “in Christ,” you’re denying Christ and trusting in your own abilities and “goodness.”

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

In today’s climate of plurality, tolerance, and relativism, theological debates such as the one above are viewed as unseemly and repugnant and are to be avoided at all costs. The only requirement, according to Rick Warren and friends, is that we all nebulously “just love Jesus.” That’s a sinking ship, friends.


What does it mean to be in Christ?
https://www.gotquestions.org/in-Christ.html