Friday, August 10, 2012
Let's be Honest about the Papacy
With few corrections in grammar, the following are comments I left at Triablogue --->HERE<---
Any other significant additions by me are in double brackets.
Let's be honest. If Peter was the Pope then:
1. Why were the Zebedee brothers asking if they could be Jesus' right-hand and left-hand men (Matt. 20:20ff) if Jesus already made it clear that Peter was to be the Pope in Matt. 16? Why wouldn't the Gospel writers correct their misunderstanding and state that Peter was Pope? [[We know that Mark made a comment about Jesus' teaching in 7:19.]]
2. Why wouldn't Paul make the exception of Peter when he sarcastically referred to "super apostles" (2 Cor. 11:5) if the Papacy is true?
Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.-ESV
For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.-NASB
3. When Paul's apostleship was questioned by some, why didn't he immediately appeal to the fact that the Pope acknowledged his genuine apostleship to settle the issue, if the Papacy is true?
4. In light of 1 Cor. 1:12ff and the whole of chapter 3, why wouldn't Paul refer to Peter as Pope? If the Papacy is true, then there can be a genuine sense in which one could say, "I am of Cephas/Peter". Even if there might be a negative fleshly sense in which it can be said. Yet Paul doesn't explicitly affirm or implicitly acknowledge the Papacy. Nor does Paul address the abuses of the Papacy but deals with himself, Peter and Apollos as equals. It seems to me that a Pope cult developed years later (as the Orthodox have documented).
5. If the Papacy is true, why would Paul (in Gal. 2:9) refer to James, Cephas, and John as seeming/reputed pillars of the Church when he knows all along that there is a special sense in which Peter is pope? He refers to all three as if they were equals.
6. Regarding the same context, if the Papacy were true, why would Paul say what he did in Gal. 2:6?
And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.-ESV
But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)-- well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.-NASB
Paul implies his equality with them (including Peter).
7. If central authority was essential to Christianity, why didn't Jesus do something about those others who were preaching in His name (Mark 9:38ff)? If the Papacy were true, why would Jesus say, "For he that is not against us is on our part"? Notice I cited Mark's gospel. The gospel that may have been based on Peter's sermons. Why wouldn't Mark make clear in this passage (or any where else in this gospel) that Peter is the Pope?
8. If the Papacy is true, why in John 12:20-22 did Philip go to Andrew and then together they went to Jesus, when Philip could have gone to Peter as the Pope? The only way I can understand this is if the Church didn't realize Peter was the Pope until later. Maybe after the resurrection. If so, when exactly after the resurrection? Before or after Paul's conversion? Before or after Peter's own death? How many generations or centuries afterward?
9. If the Papacy is true, why isn't that office mentioned in Eph. 4:11-12, 1 Cor. 12:28-29, 1&2 Timothy or Titus?
10. If the Papacy is true, why doesn't Peter (in his epistles) acknowledge or make reference to it? In fact, Peter refers to himself as a "fellow elder" (1 Pet. 5:1ff) in a context where it would be supremely fitting for him to appeal to his position as Pope.
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:- ESV
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,-NASB
11. If the Papacy is true, then why doesn't the author of Hebrews acknowledge the Papacy in light of the fact that authority and priesthood are two of the main topics of the book? How could such a supposedly vital and useful office not be referred to in any of the epistles (including Peter's) or in this very long book (Hebrews)?
12. If the Papacy is true, why didn't Christ sent Paul immediately to the Pope to be instructed and have his apostleship legitimized? Or why didn't Christ send Peter to Paul ahead of time like Cornelius did when he sent two of his servants and one of his soldiers to find Peter? Instead Christ sends Ananias to Paul. You might say that it's because Ananias was closer. But Paul didn't visit Peter for years afterward. In all those years, Paul could have gone to see Peter, or Peter to have seen Paul. When they do meet, Paul refers to Peter and the others as not having "added/contributed anything" to him (Gal. 2:6). How could the Pope not add/contribute anything to Paul? After Paul's conversion, many Christians feared whether he was a false convert. At any time he could have sought the Pope's confirmation.
13. If the Papacy is true, then wouldn't the Jews know that Peter was the Pope and therefore the leader of Christianity? If so why didn't they go after him and "cut off the head", as it were? Why, instead, go after Paul (Acts 21:28)? As Jason said, "he's the man they hold most responsible for teaching Christianity everywhere." It was Paul, not the Pope that opponents of Christianity wanted to assassinate (Acts 23:12).
14. Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." (ESV). Why doesn't Paul or any other writer of the NT say that about Peter, especially since he's supposed to be the Pope? Excluding Matthew (because of the disputed interpretation of chap. 16), no New Testament writer teaches about or refers to (even implicitly acknowledges) the office of the Pope (or Peter as Pope). Not the writer of Hebrews, or Mark, James, Jude, or in the entire Lukan, Johannine, Pauline, (EVEN!) Petrine corpus.
15. If the Papacy is true, why would Peter's centrality fade in NT history as the book of Acts shows and as the rest of the epistles show by their deafening silence of Peter? Before Luke published Acts, he could have conferred with other Christians regarding the Pope's whereabouts and activities. But he didn't. [[It might be said that Luke was in a rush to get his book distributed. Still, why didn't he publish a longer version with the Pope's history included? Why wasn't a book written in the NT that was dedicated to the Pope's exploits? Any of the Apostles' assistants could have done it (obviously with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit).]]
Finally, EVEN IF Peter were the Pope, that doesn't prove that his successors have the same or similar prerogatives. Apostolic succession is an additional burden of proof Catholics need to shoulder.
The following 16th question was added MONTHS AFTER Dave Armstrong interacted with this blog post. I'm noting this to be fair to him. He's always welcome to respond to it or continue the dialogue.
16. If the Papacy is true, then why didn't Jesus explain in what sense Peter was leader of the Church and of the other apostles after He explained how the leaders of the Church aren't supposed to "Lord it over" their fellow believers in Matt. 25:24-28? Jesus said this in the context of when the sons of Zebedee (James and John) wanted to be the top leaders in Jesus' Kingdom.
24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (ESV)
I understand that the Pope considers himself to be the "Servant of the Servants of God" (an official title). However, a case can be made that the bishop of Rome has "Lorded it over" other believers and bishops (as Tertullian argued when he sarcastically called the bishop of Rome "Pontifex Maximus" on account of how Callistus abused his bishopric by asserting/claiming more authority than he actually had).