Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 10/1/22

The American Catholic church is split not only by politics, but by opposing views on abortion, S&G-ism, the ordination of women, the progressive reforms of pope Francis, etc. The RCC is definitely not the united monolith presented by Catholic apologists. It must be noted that missing amidst all of this Catholic disharmony is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

This is a first and definitely a sign of things to come. The Catholic bishops of Belgium are the first national conference of bishops to officially approve a liturgical blessing for S&G same-sex unions, although they refrain from calling it a “wedding blessing.” This is a significant “crack in the dam” in the eventual full acceptance of practicing S&G-ers in the RCC.

…and pope Francis continues to do his part to pave the way for full acceptance of practicing S&G-ers.

After the historical bloody tensions between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, many suppose the country’s demographic shift to a Catholic majority will lead to eventual unification with Ireland. It can correctly be said that the vast majority of Catholics and Protestants living in Ulster and Ireland are nominal members of their respective religions at best.

Although Brazil still has the world’s largest Catholic population, so-called “evangelicals” are quickly gaining. The majority of these “evangelicals” are disciples of the health-and-wealth, word-of-faith, prosperity false gospel.

Seven long and nightmarishly bloody months after the initial invasion of Ukraine, frustrated Russian despot, Vladimir Putin is rattling his nuclear sabre and conscripting Russian men. Prior to the invasion, some misguided American evangelicals hailed Putin as a champion of “traditional Christian values.”

It’s “interesting” to see a Catholic conservative ascend to the office of Prime Minister in Italy, a country where liberal politics has ruled for 75-years. Why this turn to political conservatism in Italy and elsewhere in Europe? There’s no doubt that a large part of it is a reaction to unbridled immigration. It’s no coincidence that pope Francis gave a speech encouraging support of immigrants on Italy’s election day (see here). Suffice to say there will be no evidence of the Gospel in the future tug-of-war between Giorgia and Francis.

President Joe Biden claims that his Roman Catholic church doesn’t go so far as to ban all abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, and age. Actually, it does, Joe, and I know that without even being a Catholic. A June 2022 AP poll found that 64% of Catholics agreed that abortion should be legal in most or all cases in contrast to 25% of those who identified as evangelical Protestant. Although pope Francis has called abortion “murder,” he’s gone out of his way to publicly support pro-abortion Catholic politicians, Biden and Nancy Pelosi,

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #18: “The exchange is merely the opportunity to make up for the three times he denied Christ.”

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 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:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

States Broussard, “For Catholics, the exclusive command to feed Jesus’ sheep clearly signals Peter’s unique role as leader of Jesus’ Church” (p. 67).

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Protestant response #18: “The exchange is merely to give Peter the opportunity to make up for the three times he denied Christ.”

Writes Broussard, “Perhaps the most common counter-response given to John 21:15-17 is that Jesus was simply giving Peter an opportunity to repent for his three denials. (Norman) Geisler and (Ralph) MacKenzie put it succinctly: The overall import of the passage in John speaks more to Peter’s weakness and need for restoration than to his unique authority. The reason Peter is singled out for restoration, being asked three times by Jesus…was that only Peter denied the Lord three times and so only Peter needed to be restored. Thus, Jesus was not exalting Peter above the other apostles here but bringing him back up to their level.”

Broussard’s response

Broussard readily concedes the connection between Peter’s threefold denial and his threefold restoration in John 21:15-17, but claims the passage reveals Peter’s primacy according to the following arguments:

  • All of the apostles abandoned Christ, but Christ singles out Peter alone in the passage. Therefore, contends Broussard, Peter is restored to “a unique role of leadership to feed Jesus’ lambs and shepherd his sheep, including the other apostles” (p. 69).
  • Contrary to Geisler’s and MacKenzie’s claim, the passage reveals Peter was not only restored, but also invested with shepherding duties – governance and leadership.
  • The Greek word “tend” (poimainō) is used in the New Testament to convey not only a shepherd feeding/protecting his flock, but also the act of governing by rulers.

My response

Peter was certainly a leader of the apostles prior to his thrice denial of Christ, which made his betrayal that much more scandalous. Jesus lovingly restores Peter as a leader of the apostles in John 21:15-17. In Acts 1-12, Peter plays a leading role among the apostles in declaring the Gospel to the Jews, to the Samaritans, and to the Gentiles, but we don’t see him ruling/governing the apostles or the early church in a papistic sense as Broussard contends. As I’ve stated previously in these multifarious assertions of Petrine primacy, we see no references to Peter in the Acts of the Apostles or in the thirteen Pauline epistles or in the eight other epistles which follow that either explicitly or implicitly suggest Petrine papastical authority over the other apostles or the early church. Rather, we see multiple texts that contradict the notions of Petrine primacy and papal authority (see previous installments).

Thanks for hanging in there with me throughout this tediously long harangue for Petrine primacy. Just five more installments and we’ll be “out of the Petrine woods.” It’s quite revealing that Catholic apologist Broussard devotes his opening 23 points to Petrine primacy as the basis for papal authority with very little focus on Jesus Christ.

Next week: Protestant response #19: “There are other shepherds.”

New Series: Reformanda Initiative Podcasts

I’ve been blogging for…sheesh…seven-plus years now and over that long span the bulk of my 2300+ posts have been devoted to outreach to Roman Catholics and educating evangelicals about Rome’s false gospel and the dangers of ecumenism. In my research, I’ve come across several ministries that address Roman Catholicism. One of the best that I’ve found is the Reformanda Initiative, led by Dr. Leonardo De Chirico. Others associated with Reformanda Initiative include Gregg Allison and Michael Reeves. I respect these three solid theologians and brothers in the Lord very much.

Reformanda Initiative produces blog posts, articles, books, seminars, videos, and podcasts informing both Catholics and evangelicals about Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit in comparison to the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Last week, I presented a couple of interesting RI podcasts that dealt with the topic of “invalid” RC baptisms, a topic I’ve touched upon previously. While preparing that post, I noticed that RI has an archive of 54 podcasts dealing with RC-ism, hopefully with many more to come. It occurred to me that the podcasts would be excellent material for a weekly series. Each Monday, I’ll post a single podcast and also include the introductory notes from the RI staff along with my own short evaluation. We’ll begin the podcasts next Monday.

I’m really excited about this new series! By myself, I’m just one ex-Catholic, born-again, believing blogger with no formal theological education swimming against the rising tide of ecumenical compromise with Rome. What a joy it will be to “team” with a formidable ministry in Christ like the faithful and knowledgeable brethren of the Reformanda Initiative.

Reformanda Initiative website

Next week: Season 1, Episode 1: What is the Reformanda Initiative?

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/24/22

Evangelical pastors misguidedly love to quote Anglican and Oxford intellectual, C.S. Lewis, who believed in purgatory along with other heterodoxies and propagated an ecumenically-inclusive Mere Christianity. See my review of Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” here.

What to make of the alleged blood relic of St. Januarius (d. 305) liquifying on his feast day, September 19th? The RCC won’t submit the two vials of alleged blood for scientific examination. Read the wiki article here.

The 2018 Vatican-Beijing accord brokered by pope Francis allows the Chinese communist government unprecedented interference in the administration of the Chinese Catholic church. Cardinal Zen opposed the deal as the betrayal that it was/is and was summarily arrested. Francis’ critics say that the pope has pragmatically thrown Zen and conservative Chinese Catholics under the bus.

When I was a Catholic grammar school student in the 1960s, the nuns frequently cited Ireland as THE exemplary Catholic nation and society. The country subsequently turned en masse against RC-ism with the revelations of widespread abuse.

Evangelicals’ accommodation and acceptance of Roman Catholicism and its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit is a disgrace and a betrayal of the genuine Gospel. The writer of this article identifies J.I. Packer as an “anti-Catholic,” which is preposterous. Packer was an ecumenist way back in the 1960s, much to the consternation of his ex-friend, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Packer sunk to ignominious lows as one of three evangelical signatories (along with Chuck Colson and Richard Land) of the 1994 “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” declaration. What a scandal it is to the genuine Gospel when a Catholic priest is appointed Dean of Students at an allegedly “evangelical” seminary.

The term, “evangelical,” has largely lost most of its meaning.

The S&G steamroller will not accommodate what the Bible teaches regarding homosexuality. The Bible will be increasingly viewed as “hate literature” and Gospel Christians will be marginalized in the same category as Ku Klux Klan-ers.

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #17: “The Bible says that other people ‘strengthen’ as leaders in the Church.”

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.

“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.”

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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.

Broussard’s response

“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).

My response

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.”

Throwback Thursday: Jack Chick dead at 92

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 26, 2016 and has been revised.

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Chick Publications has announced that its founder, the mysterious Jack Chick (photo above), died this past Sunday (October 23, 2016) at the age of 92.

Several months ago, I posted my memories of Chick tracts. See here. Chick took a conspiratorial approach to Roman Catholicism and managed to blame every calamity that beset the Western world on the Vatican and/or the Jesuits.

“According to Chick, the Vatican was responsible for creating Islam, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), as well as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He also accused the Catholic Church of having been responsible for the Holocaust, the founding of Communism, Nazism, and the Ku Klux Klan; starting the World Wars; masterminding the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and the assassinations of U.S. Presidents Lincoln* and Kennedy.” – from Wikipedia

Whoops! The contributors to the Wikipedia article neglected to mention that Chick also claimed the Vatican created Freemasonry and Christian Science and that Jim Jones of the People’s Temple was a secret Jesuit who orchestrated the Jonestown Massacre in order to discredit Protestantism.

Certainly, the Vatican and the Jesuits were complicit in all manner of historically verifiable persecutions and skullduggery, but Chick’s claims were “off the charts” ridiculous.

Chick’s outrageous allegations against the Vatican and the Jesuits impeded the efforts of responsible outreach to Roman Catholics. Taking a cue from his conspiracy mania, could it be that Jack Chick was secretly a Jesuit agent, under orders to undermine credible Gospel witness to Catholics? No, I’m not serious, but who can argue with the end results? In the final analysis, Jack Chick was the Jesuits’ best friend by making outreach to Catholics look ridiculous in the minds of many.

Jack Chick, fundamentalist Christian cartoonist, dies at 92 – Associated Press article

Jack Chick – Wikipedia article

*Well, there’s actually some circumstantial evidence that the RCC may have played a role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. See my relevant post here.

Note from 2022: Some evangelical Christians of recent years have regrettably become enmeshed in conspiracy theory mongering à la Jack Chick.

Defying Roman Catholicism

Defy Roman Catholicism
By Sonny L. Hernandez
Independently published, July 2022, 110 pp.

4 Stars

Pastor Sonny Hernandez was raised as a Roman Catholic, but eventually accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone and renounced his membership in the RCC. He currently serves as as pastor of Trinity Gospel Church in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

In this short book, Hernandez addresses the major anti-Biblical doctrines of Roman Catholicism: the papacy, Mariolatry, and, most importantly, Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Throughout the book, Hernandez compares the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) with Scripture and notes the irreconcilable differences.

There’s some excellent information here from Pastor Hernandez. He’s admittedly blunt and a bit “rough around the edges” with his forthright, polemical approach, which some might view as a drawback. However, remember that the Reformers had no qualms about “calling a spade a spade” when it came to the RCC.

Contents

  • Introduction: Defy Roman Catholic Dogma
  • Defy the Pope: Anti-Christ, not authentic Christian
  • Defy Mariology Myths
  • Defy Rome’s False Gospel

“Defy Roman Catholicism” can be ordered from Amazon here.

“Invalid Baptism” Redux

Religious legalism and works-righteousness false gospels always, always, always lead to contradictions and unanswerable rabbit-hole conundrums. Two of the most glaring examples I’ve come across in my seven-plus years of blogging were the bizarre cases of Catholic priests, Matthew Hood and Andres Arango.

As a preliminary, we recognize that the RCC teaches un-Biblical baptismal regeneration:

“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.'” – CCC 1213

Let’s now get to our two examples:

  • In the Summer of 2020, RC priest, Matthew Hood, of Detroit discovered via an old family video that a Catholic deacon had baptised him as an infant using an incorrect incantation. Instead of using the prescribed formulaic incantation, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” the deacon said, “We baptize you…” Hood’s baptism was thereby ruled to be invalid by RC church authorities, meaning his priestly ordination in 2017 was invalid, which meant that all of the sacraments Hood had administered over the course of three years as an illegitimate priest – baptism, eucharist,* confession, matrimony, last rites – were also invalid. Hood had to be rebaptized, reconfirmed, and reordained. The Archdiocese of Detroit set about to contact as many affected Catholics as possible to re-receive the requisite sacraments from a valid priest. See my 2020 posts on Hood here and here.
  • Then, in February 2022, it was discovered that priest, Andres Arango of the Diocese of Phoenix had been using the incorrect “We baptize you…” incantation for 20 years. The Phoenix diocese also attempted to contact those who were affected. See my 2022 post on Arango here.

Needless to say, the secular press had a field day with the two cases. They mistakenly believed inane Catholic scrupulosity represented Christianity.

The above should raise serious questions about the legitimacy of baptismal regeneration in the minds of those who espouse it. Does salvation hinge upon a precise formulaic incantation? What about all of the affected people who died or couldn’t be reached? How many other priests and deacons have used incorrect baptismal incantations? How can Roman Catholicism teach baptismal regeneration requiring a precise incantation when it incongruently allows that all non-Catholics and even atheists may also merit Heaven if they follow their conscience?

I was recently perusing the Reformanda Initiative website and I noticed two podcasts that examine the “invalid baptism” quandary mentioned above. Reformanda Initiative is both a Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics and an educational resource for evangelicals. There’s some excellent discussion on this radically bizarre example of Roman Catholic legalism and I invite you to listen:

Recall Notice! Your Baptism is not Valid: Part I – March 1, 2022 – 38 minutes
Featuring Clay Kannard and Reid Karr of Reformanda Initiative with guest, Jordan Standridge, missionary to Rome.
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/10165146-s3e10-recall-notice-your-baptism-is-not-valid-part-i

Recall Notice! Your Baptism is not Valid: Part 2 – March 14, 2022 – 32 minutes
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Clay Kannard, and Reid Karr of Reformanda Initiative
https://reformandainitiative.buzzsprout.com/663850/10246210-s3e11-recall-notice-your-baptism-is-not-valid-part-2

*Some Catholics claim that they have a sublime, ecstatic experience after consuming the consecrated Jesus wafer. As I asked in one of my referenced posts, how is it that over the course of three years not one Catholic noticed that invalid priest Hood’s wafers were not transubstantiated?

Postscript: Listening to these podcasts gave me an excellent idea for a weekly series. Tune in for the announcement next Monday.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/17/22

The death of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain on September 8th has received great media attention to put it mildly, another example of Americans’ fascination with British royalty. Was Elizabeth Windsor a Christian? As monarch, she was “Supreme Governor of the Church of England,” an anti-Biblical conflation of religion and political governance. Amidst all of the ostentatious Anglican religious pomp and pageantry, we don’t know if Elizabeth genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Queen Elizabeth’s efforts to eliminate bigotry against Roman Catholics in British society was commendable. Her ecumenical accommodation of Roman Catholic religious error was disturbing. Perhaps what people admired most about QEII was an air of old-school dignity she maintained in a world where dignity and decency are fast crumbling (even among her progeny).

We’ve been observing the German Catholic Synodale Weg (Synodal Path) since its inception in 2019. The four-year effort, dominated by liberal clergy and laity, is an attempt to introduce progressive reforms into the rapidly declining German church. A document, “Living in Successful Relationships,” was recently submitted to the synod’s episcopal leadership recommending reversing church teaching on homosexuality, transgenderism, and masturbation. While the document failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass, 33 of the 55 bishops voted to adopt. The fact that 60% of the German bishops support radical reversal of RC teaching on sexual sin portends things to come.

Roman Catholicism has always subordinated the Bible to its Sacred Traditions and Magisterium.

The Roman Catholic church teaches that its priests transform bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, and that by eating the Jesus wafer, recipients are alleged to receive graces to help avoid sin in order to successfully merit salvation at the moment of death. Transubstantiation is a religious fallacy intended to subjugate the laity to the clergy. In Catholic churches around the world, large Jesus wafers are displayed in “monstrances” (transparent receptacles) during off-hours so that the faithful can gather to worship the wafer. History records that this “eucharistic adoration” began in 1226 when King Louis VII of France petitioned the Catholic bishop of Avignon to display the “blessed sacrament” for adoration in celebration of the Catholic victory over the Albigensians-Cathari, a sect that flourished in southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries. The fact that eucharistic adoration didn’t begin until the 13th century reveals transubstantiation was an evolving doctrine.

Christian schools and seminaries are gateways for heterodoxy to enter into the church.

Popular rapper, Marshall Mathers aka Eminem, has caused a big stir by appearing on DJ Khaled’s song “Use This Gospel” wherein he claims Jesus is his Savior and Shepherd. I’m always skeptical of these celebrity conversions. Is Mathers responding to the genuine Gospel? DJ Khaled describes himself as a devout Muslim. The song reached #1 on Billboard’s Christian Chart earlier this week. Despite the muddy waters, the Holy Spirit can use this song to draw souls to Jesus Christ.

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #16: “Peter only strengthens by helping others not to make the same mistake that he did.”

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.

“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.”

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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

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.”

My response

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.”