My conversation for my RCC friends and acquaintances.. Keys to the Kingdom.

I love to get into friendly debates with my Roman Catholic friends.  I do not like to see people attacking Rome’s  church like you see and hear so much of.  But I think a little agitation is just what the Doctor ordered.  Iron rubbing iron, IS agitation in the physical sense.  When you clean your sink and the soap alone won’t break loose the grease, you apply agitation.

One of the really fun discussions is on the “Keys to the Kingdom”.   It seems as a Protestant I’m supposed to have a really strong objection to the thought that God works through the Church, instead of to each individual themselves.

 I’m afraid I have to agree with Rome to some extent.  Christ elected disciples and Apostles to carry his message to the masses.  It’s evident in the Timothy’s and Titus, that the Apostles, at least Paul, trained people to lead area Churches’ leaders.  And that they were told to carry the teachings on.  Both written and spoken is mentioned in one of the Timothy’s.  And in 1 Clement, he describes the Church in such a way as to greatly resemble how Rome is established.

But, the question remains, does or does not Rome hold the keys to the Kingdom through Christ giving them to Peter.  I won’t speak for their view too much.  I hold a bias, and don’t want to misrepresent them if I can knowingly avoid it.  The way the New Advent website describes it…

The expression “power of the keys” is derived from Christ’s words to St. Peter (in Matthew 16:19). The promise there made finds its explanation in Isaiah 22, in which “the key of the house of David” is conferred upon Eliacim, the son of Helcias, as the symbol of plenary authority in the Kingdom of Juda. Christ by employing this expression clearly designed to signify his intention to confer on St. Peter the supreme authority over His Church.

I find their explanation and understanding to not be “ridiculous” as the loudest Catholic objectors would claim.  In fact, it makes more sense, Biblically and logically than many things you find a Protestant Church claiming.   The question is on the authority part. And more specifically, “on this rock/Rock I will build my Church”

Rome establishes their authority, to a large extent, on this verse.  And, even though I agree with them on a lot of this conversation, atypical for a Protestant, I will show my objection below.  I think they have this wrong.  This is ONLY a conversation on this verse and their understanding of it, not a claim that Rome should disassemble or that they are the anti Christ, or any of the other outlandish thoughts I’ve heard tossed about in Protestant circles.

The vss in question are…

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.(NASB)


Christ is addressing the disciples, not Peter in the first underlined segment.

THEY answered as a group.

Christ continued the conversation and asked THEM but who do YOU say I am?  Is there any reason here to think he turned the conversation from the group to the individual, Peter?  The context the U pronoun is used in is addressing the disciples.  There has been no shift, I.E. no indication Christ went from speaking to the group, then turned his head specifically to Peter and walked to him asking him a question apart from the group.

And Peter answered.  Was this a case of assuming to speak for the group?  Or maybe Peter simply was eager, like a “pet student” in a classroom and spoke for the group.

          I would contend that Peter wasn’t addressed the group was.  Either Peter answered for the group, or the author, not wanting to make a technical assessment of who answered what, and how they said it, summarized the whole ensuing chat, and condensed it to Peter’s words.

  Peter answered, >>>>>>> YOU are the Christ, Son of the Living God. <<<<<<<

Then Christ says to him, blessed are you Simon, son of Jona, you didn’t figure this out from your own wits, but God revealed it to you.

Now, the question I have, is the next comment back to addressing the group that he started talking to, until Peter interrupted, or does it continue to be addressing Peter.

When I was in school, I either slept through class, or I was all in and asked constant questions, but they were good questions so I was tolerated.  The professor would be talking to the class, and I would ask him a what if.  He would pause and answer me, and then go back to the lecture in the class.

Or he may be teaching a lesson, and ask a question.  If I was “involved” in this chat and not sleeping, I would answer.  He may address me for my astute answer, or ridiculous answer, whichever, but then he would go back to addressing the class.

So, when Christ begins to speak here, who is he addressing?  He continues with, I call you a rock, like you could hold in your hand, but upon this rock Boulder, or mountain crag I will build my church.

So, if Peter is the rock that is holdable, but something that is a rock but like a boulder or mountain crag, what is the other Rock?

There are two possible answers.  It could be the answer Simon son of Jona answered with.  Or it could be the person that answered.

So I ask you, which is the foundation of the Church.  Peter?  Or that Christ is the living son of God?

If Peter was never here, Christ still died upon the cross for our sins.
If Christ was never here, Peter is just a fisherman.

Which do you think is the bigger rock that is the foundation of the Church, Christ’s death on the cross, or a man on earth?

I think an anecdotal example can be found in the Catholic Church.  Who forgives sins in the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, or the leaders of the Church (priests) for the Church?  The Priests do.  That is not a gift that ONE person holds.  It is a responsibility of the whole Church.    Likewise, when Christ was speaking to the disciples as a group, and the group was what He left to start His church.

We know that some of the disciples and apostles went their own way and started churches at some distance from Peter and Peter’s influence.  Can’t we admit that all of the Apostles were given the right to “bind” things on earth and not just Peter?

If we can agree on that point, then those Keys were given to the group as well, not just Peter.  Peter was patted on the back and given a nick name that flowed into Christ’s message, but after the individual student answered, he went back to the group to finish the lesson.

“Well said, Simon, you are a bullet in this war, but on the tank you just described, we’ll win this war”.

Excommunication, is an act of the Church, not the Pope.  It is one of those keys that Christ gave whomever he addressed.   As any priest can excommunicate, I’d contend the keys did not go to the individual, rock, but went to the Church as a whole, or specifically the Apostles and Disciples.

I would argue that even Peter knew what Christ was speaking of, even in his over simplified all about me focus…

Act 4:8   Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,

Act 4:9   if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,

Act 4:10   let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by [u][b]the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, [/b][/u]whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—[u][i]by this name this man stands here before you in good health[/i][/u].

Act 4:11   “[color=teal][b]He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.[/b][/color]

Act 4:12   [u]”And there is salvation in no one else;[/u] for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (NASB)

Jesus the Messiah was given all credit for the man’s good health.

That is the CORNERSTONE, or the STONE that the Church was built upon.

ISA 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Which was Peter’s answer above.  Peter wasn’t the stone, Peter didn’t get the keys, the Church got the keys.  The foundation of the Church, the Cornerstone, was the BIG rock Christ claimed to build the church on, and Peter was a smaller rock, that would be supported by the Cornerstone.

It all comes down to the first dilemma above, the the questions was it Peter He addressed, or the Church.

You can’t conclude exclusively which one is the absolute claim in scripture.  So there you have it.  I will say that ROME’s followers are much more faithful to how they interpret these things than most Protestants are… I admire them for that.

Rome sees it one way.

I see it the other.


4 comments on “My conversation for my RCC friends and acquaintances.. Keys to the Kingdom.

  1. Sanet says:


  2. pascal says:

    On the confession of sins to a priest, I do not thimk the Catholic Church taught protestants to believe that they should confess their sins to God and not to their pastors. After all, the Bible stated it clearly that Jesus breathed on His disciples and gave them authority to forgive sins. I do not know in what light my protestant brothers see it that make them to criticise confession to a priest by us Catholics. After all, Jesus told His disciples that whosoever sins they forgive is forgiven and whosoever sins they retained, is retained.

    • Pascal,

      I’m quite sure the CC didn’t teach protestants to believe they should confess to God and not to their Pastors.

      I also agree with you, even though I’m protestant that a confession to a priest must be an awfully wonderful thing. I am commanded to confess my sins to another, not just God Himself. And any friend I have, would eventually spill my sins to someone, where your priest would die first. 😐 Protestants can be so bigoted they are blind. And I can’t blame it on each individual, it’s hundreds of years of teaching. Once something is repeated so many times, it becomes fact, no matter the truth.

  3. Chris says:

    Good article. This passage in Matthew 16 contains a lot of things that (according to many scholars) are indefinite and open to interpretation. Like whether it is “the Rock” that the gates of Hades will not prevail over, or the church. Also open to interpretation is what the phrase “gates of Hades” is supposed to mean. Most catholics claim this is speaking of doctrinal purity. Others claim it is victorious living advancing and setting others free in the face of attack from dark forces. A few years ago, I began to wonder if there wasn’t another explanation for this term “gates of Hades”.
    In the first part of this passage, Jesus asks His disciples who the people think He is. They relate to him the conflicting and vague answers that have been circulating. Nothing stable or sure. If the people and His disciples were to be honest, they would have to confess that they were “in the dark” on this one. The meaning of the word “hades” is important to realizing what the verse in question is pointing out. Hades in Greek came to be used to denote death, but as I understand it, this was in the sense that one went to a dark place when one died, a place where one could not see anything. One of the main meanings of “hades” is “unseen”. This was exactly the situation as far as the identity of Jesus went. His true identity was “unseen” or in “hades”. The contrast to this came when God REVEALED to Peter Who Jesus was. There were two things revealed to Peter. First, Jesus is the Christ. That was good, but then again, people had a lot of different ideas about who and what type of person the Christ was prophesied to be. The second part of the revelation to Peter was that the Christ was the Son of the Living God. Once Peter made his confession, this knowledge was out of “hades” and placed in plain sight for all the disciples to see. Furthermore, Jesus said that it would never be concealed or made unknown by the gates of Hades again. This is the Rock.

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