HOME  Why its a mistake to give the Catholic Church support via membership or donations

 

DID JESUS REALLY SAY HE WOULD BUILD HIS CHURCH ON PETER? PETROS OR PETRA?
 
Jesus was supposedly God incarnate and because he set up his Church and returned to Heaven he left one man to rule the Church and teach it in his stead, Peter. Peter had successors namely the popes. That is Catholic doctrine as is the notion that Jesus told Peter he was rock and on this rock he would build his Church. That doctrine is a lie.  It is only about 1000 years since the bishops of Rome got into a position to attempt to control the Church.

Traditionally, Protestants have dismissed papal claims because according to the original Greek of the gospel, Jesus said, “You are Petros and on this Petra I will build my Church and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven” in Matthew 16. Petros is supposed to mean small stone while Petra means huge rock. So if Peter was not the rock or was just part of the rock then Jesus denies that Peter was a pope. If Peter were a small stone then Jesus would not have built the Church on him. He said it was built on a mighty rock. This interpretation argues that Peter is not the rock but CONTRASTED with the rock.
 
There is a lot of debate about the importance of the switch from petros to petra but that there has been a switch cannot be denied and it tells us that Peter cannot be identical with the Rock. Most of the Church Fathers believed that the Rock was Peter’s doctrine that Jesus was the Messiah or the Son of God.
 
The Catholic Church admits that there is a difference in the words and that the noun for Peter is masculine and the one for stone or rock is feminine but says this does not matter for in the Aramiac the meaning would have been the same for the one word Kepha would have been used (page 362, Radio Replies, Vol 1). So they are saying the Greek is translating the Aramaic which runs, “You are Kepha and on this Kepha I will build my Church.” A mighty strange away of speaking for why not say, “You are Kepha and on you I will build my Church”? If Jesus had meant that Peter was the rock he would build the Church on he would have said, “You are Kepha and on you I will build my Church”.
 
Even the Aramaic then indicates a difference of meaning though not in wording between man and rock.
 
The Greek rendering indicates a distinction between the Kepha addressed and the Kepha he will build on. It goes You Kepha and then This Kepha. The translation refuses to be literal and takes account of the fact that there was a difference between the meaning of Kepha and Kepha in the Aramaic.

There is no evidence at all that Jesus did speak in Aramaic on that occasion.  The notion that Jesus said this in Aramaic is an assumption made by Maurice Casey and others but nowadays it is believed that people in Palestine then did not just speak the one tongue. Jesus could have occasionally used Greek.  And it may be that Matthew did not intend us to care about the Aramaic.
 
Some in the Catholic Church lie that if petros meant a stone and not a rock then the gospel would use the Greek word lithos for pebble or small rock or stone (page 42, Pope Fiction). But the notorious defender of Catholicism Karl Keating admits that this is untrue for petros does mean a stone while Petra is rock. So Peter was not the rock. Catholics like to refute the idea that petros was stone or pebble and Protestants like to defend it but the fact is all we need is a distinction between Peter/Petros and Rock/Petra. If both words mean rock there is no problem. All we need to do is prove they were different rocks. That would make the rock Jesus built on was not Peter. The gospels do use Aramaic words at times and it is impossible to see why Matthew mightn’t have written ,”You are Kepha and on this Petra I will build my Church.” Matthew knew that the rock Jesus built the Church on was not Peter.
 
Keating argued that Matthew translating from the Aramaic into the Greek did the following. He translated kepha or Cephas as Petros (Peter), which Keating admits denotes a small stone and is of masculine gender or pebble, and kepha as petra (rock) because Petra is of the feminine gender. He says it would have seemed foolish and insulting to give Peter a female name such as Petra in saying you are Petra and on this Petra I will build so he used the word petros instead to make it you are Peter just to avoid the insult (Catholicism and Fundamentalism, page 210).
 
So Matthew had to change the meaning of Jesus’ words to avoid giving Peter a female name! Lunacy! Why not just do bad grammar and have it as you are Petros and on this Petros I will build my Church? It is the meaning that it is important.
 
So according to Keating, Matthew didn’t want to call Peter Petra and used Petros because Petros was masculine while Petra was feminine and yet Catholics say Jesus said on this petra meaning Peter I will build my Church. If Matthew didn’t want to insult Peter then why did he call him the Petra the Church was built on? It is less insulting to be given a woman’s name than to be described as a female in your position. Rome would have us believe that Matthew was stating that Jesus was giving Peter a female position in the Church and Matthew didn’t want to insult him by calling him Petra as in name! The alleged insult had nothing at all to do with the way Matthew spoke of Peter. Rome is trying to obscure the truth. If Peter was the rock then why couldn’t Matthew say, “You are Petros – stone and on this stone I will build my Church.” A rock is a big stone and who cares if it is a rock or stone as long as it is a sufficient foundation? Jesus could have called Peter petra in Matthew’s narrative because it was only a translation after all and Peter’s real name in the original tongue was Kephas not Peter, Peter is only a translation name.
 
So Matthew to avoid calling Peter female made Jesus say that Peter was a masculine noun and on this feminine noun rock or petra he would built his Church thus giving him a female name or role after all according to Catholicism! Jesus then admitted it would be wrong to call Peter female when he called him male and then he still called him female! This is one of the most hilarious apologetics in the Catholic Church and there is plenty to match it in lunacy. But Matthew could have avoided this meaning by restructuring the sentence. What kind of translator was he? Matthew was not that dumb. Keating is lying. If he is right about the insult then Peter may be understood as being distinguished from the rock even if the Catholic rendering of what Jesus said is correct.
 
Keating argued that Peter must be the rock for you don’t say you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church meaning something or someone else by the rock (page 208, Catholicism and Fundamentalism). Then there would be no point in addressing Peter. If you say, “I have a dog and a cat and it is dead,” the nearest noun to dead is the one that is meant to be dead. It doesn’t mean that the dog and the cat are the same being.

Keating lies because he knows fine well that Simon was called Peter BEFORE the event in Matthew 16. He was called Peter in Matthew 10:2, 14:29 and 15:15. (Another source that lies about Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter is the horrendous Reasons for Hope which argues that Peter was to be a leader for name-changing was an indication of conferring leadership in the Bible as if that would prove anything even if it indicated promotion to leadership everywhere else - see page 141. Also, we know from Mark 3:16, 17 and John 1:42 that Jesus changed the name of other apostles and we have no reason to think they got any special or unique authority because of that). If Jesus had changed his name from Simon to Peter in Matthew 16 it might have given the Catholics a bit of a case but Simon already had been known as Peter. Jesus certainly did not mean that the weak Peter was to be the rock of his Church but he may have meant that the faith of Peter was to be the rock. It was not Peter as man. When Peter professed his faith Jesus said, “You have been named Peter and you are a stone because of your faith and on this rock [Peter professing his faith] I will build my Church.” Peter was called Simon after Matthew 16 which shows that he was not the rock the Church was built on for he would always have been called Peter just like John Paul II is no longer Karol but John Paul.
 
In John 1:42 Jesus called Simon Cephas or stone which is Peter in the Greek language. There Jesus tells him he is Simon son of John and that he will be known as Peter. He does it without any hint that Peter had the faith to be the rock that the Church was built on. There is no hint that Simon Peter was to be the pope. This was long before the scene of Matthew 16 or before Peter had had any real faith in Jesus. This tells us the title does not make Peter head of the Church. And how could he be Peter when Jesus was still on earth if Peter denoted his being head of the Church? All agree that Jesus was the head and not Peter when Jesus was alive.

Peter was the first member of the Church of Christ and the only believer at that time which was why Jesus gave him the powers and the keys. The rest got them later when they were ready. Peter was not singled out so there is no hint of him having a special authority.
 
The gospel that says you are Peter etc was written in Greek originally. Jesus spoke Aramaic. Catholics say that there is no different word for small stone and large rock in the Aramaic Jesus spoke, so Jesus did tell Peter that he was the rock and that the Church would be founded on this rock. That is nonsense for Jesus must have stated or indicated – by tone of voice perhaps – that there was a difference when the original Greek gospel makes one. Even the Vulgate, the official Latin Catholic Bible, does not equate Peter with the rock. There is no reason for Jesus to use the rock word twice but to say it in such a way that there was a distinction. In the Greek then this distinction was put into translation by using two different words. The original version of the gospel is what counts. But whatever, if Jesus meant two separate rocks or if he meant Peter was a stone and what he was building on was a rock there was a distinction that the Greek is trying to get across. Jesus calling Peter Kephas in John 1:42 the first time he met him only proves that he called him Kephas but not that it had anything to do with Matthew 16. Giving Peter a name doesn’t mean that Matthew 16 with its play on words and poetry makes Peter the rock in the Catholic sense.
 
Even if Jesus had said “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church” meaning the rock was Peter then it is clearly believing Peter who was the rock. In strictly accurate language it would really be Peter’s faith that the rock is. You may say in ordinary language that your counsellor is your rock but the truth is it is her power of insight that is the rock. Its her quality and not her. Its indirectly her yes but that’s all and that is why you would call her your rock. The Catholic Church takes what it thinks Jesus said far too literally.

If believing Peter was the rock then what was unbelieving Peter? Not all popes have been great believers. Even if Peter was the rock we have a central sustainer of the Church not its spiritual head or spiritual father. Peter was still not a pope. The popes are frauds. 

Paul in the Bible complains about the Church at Corinth having factions, "I am for Cephas", "I am for Paul" and "I am for Christ."  These were not schisms or separate denominations.  He condemned personality cults.  The severity of the condemnation is interesting.  You would think it is a waste of time worrying about that for it always happens.  The reality is that the Catholic Church is an "I am for Cephas - as in pope" outfit.  Thus it is condemned.  In fact being devoted to the current pope is worse than being devoted to Peter for at least Peter was an apostle of Jesus and knew him and could speak for him better than any pope could.