Fighting Heresy

Proof for the Papacy?

I was recently directed to a “defense” of the idea of the papacy in an unsolicited tweet by @catholictruther – “The Bible Proves the Papacy

The video linked to starts by basically establishing Peter’s leadership among the other apostles in the gospels – all the while assuming the “papal office” without actually giving any reason or basis for the assumption.

About 8 minutes in (after repeatedly presupposing the papacy without Scriptural warrant) the video then tries to create an exact parallel between 1 Chronicles 28 and Acts 15 in order to finally attempt to give a basis for the office of the pope.

This parallel becomes a little less “compelling” when reading the whole of the accounts:

“David assembled all the leaders of Israel in Jerusalem: the leaders of the tribes, the leaders of the divisions in the king’s service, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of all the property and cattle of the king and his sons, along with the court officials, the fighting men, and all the best soldiers. Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. It was in my heart to build a house as a resting place for the ark of the Lord’s covenant and as a footstool for our God. I had made preparations to build, but God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’

“Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me out of all my father’s family to be king over Israel forever. For he chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah, my father’s family, and from my father’s sons, he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. And out of all my sons—for the Lord has given me many sons—he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the Lord’s kingdom over Israel. He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who is to build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. I will establish his kingdom forever if he perseveres in keeping my commands and my ordinances as he is doing today.’

“So now in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and follow all the commands of the Lord your God so that you may possess this good land and leave it as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

“As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him wholeheartedly and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will reject you forever.Realize now that the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be strong, and do it.” ~ 1 Chronicles 28:1-10 (CSB) (and the passage moves on to describe David giving plans for the temple to Solomon)

“Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved.” After Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, Paul and Barnabas and some others were appointed to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this issue. When they had been sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they brought great joy to all the brothers and sisters.

When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Brothers and sisters, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he also did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now then, why are you testing God by putting a yoke on the disciples’ necks that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.”

The whole assembly became silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describe all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they stopped speaking, James responded: “Brothers and sisters, listen to me. Simeon has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for his name. And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:

After these things I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
I will rebuild its ruins
and set it up again,

so the rest of humanity
may seek the Lord—
even all the Gentiles
who are called by my name—
declares the Lord
who makes these things known from long ago.

Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those among the Gentiles who turn to God, but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood. For since ancient times, Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, and every Sabbath day he is read aloud in the synagogues.” ~ Acts15:1-21 (CSB)

There are no obvious indications of parallel between these two texts accept the generic ones that the video tries to force on them using a “type and shadow” analogy (1: a gathering of leaders. 2: Someone stands up to address the group. 3: The speaker mentions God’s sovereignty in choosing the speaker for their particular role. & 4: supposedly the speakers’ “offices” mean there will be more like them ad infinitum) that is nowhere given us by the apostles. As the video points out correctly, JESUS is the anti-type to all of the davidic (and mosaic) types and shadows – but nowhere in the New Testament is Peter compared to David, that’s why the maker of this video has never heard anyone make the “parallelism” claims that he has; they aren’t warranted by a proper exegesis of Scripture.

As to Peter’s role in the council – if he was supposedly so integral as some dictatorial “pope,” as the video claims, then why is he not mentioned again after Acts 15:7-11?

“Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men who were among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers. They wrote this letter to be delivered by them:

From the apostles and the elders, your brothers,

To the brothers among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

Because we have heard that some without our authorization went out from us and troubled you with their words and unsettled your hearts,we have unanimously decided to select men and send them to you along with our dearly loved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth.For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision—and ours—to put no greater burden on you than these necessary things: that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. You will do well if you keep yourselves from these things.

Farewell.” ~ Acts 15:22-29 (CSB) (Notice that none of this section refers specifically to Peter as some kind of “super-apostle.” But I sure noticed a whole lot of “WE,” “THEY,” and “THE WHOLE CHURCH DECIDED” . . .)…

In fact, why is Peter practically dropped from the story after Acts 15? Why do we follow Paul for the rest of the book? Why, in Paul’s epistles, does he never speak of honoring Peter or his “office?” In fact, the only mention Paul makes of Peter is to speak about how he opposed Peter to his face! Galatians 2 (which an honest reading of will dissuade anyone from the silly Roman Catholic “hierarchy of ministry” assumption)

Also, why is there no sign of Romish Popes for the first thousand years of the Church’s existence? (Church History Series from RTS & Nick Needham)

Rome must perform Herculean eisegesis and anachronistic reading to find their pope (or purgatory, or Marian dogmas, indulgences, etc.) in the Bible or Church history.

For further reading/listening, here are some more links:

Debates between a Protestant and Roman Catholics

Did the Acts 15 “Council” Rely on the Exegesis of Scripture?

Canon Revisited by Dr. Michael J. Kruger

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2 thoughts on “Proof for the Papacy?”

  1. This is @catholictruther from Twitter writing.

    Your response is pathetic and easily refuted.

    First, you state that the video spends 8 minutes merely presupposing the Papacy without any scriptural support. That’s false and obviously so. The first section of the video is an overview of various scriptural proofs of the Papacy, including: the significance of St. Peter’s name change; the unique prerogatives granted to him in Matthew 16, Luke 22, and John 21; St. Peter as the rock; the frequency and prominence of St. Peter in the Gospels; and much more. These points argue to and not from the Papacy.

    Second, you state that St. Peter is never paralleled to David in the New Testament. That’s obviously a circular argument, since the very thing in question is an apparent parallel. But further, there are other instances of St. Peter paralleling the Old Testament, King David, and the David Monarchy. For example, the granting of the keys of the kingdom and the power of binding and loosing mentioned in Matthew 16 in reference to St. Peter parallels the role of the prime minister of the King mentioned in Isaiah 22.

    Isaiah 22:22: “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

    Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    St. Peter is also singled out as shepherd of God’s people in John 21. King David is singled out in a similar manner in various Old Testament passages.

    Third, you basically just dismiss all the specific parallels between 1 Chronicles and Acts on the flimsiest of excuses.

    You list four points that don’t adequately or sufficiently describe the parallels.

    The parallels include (among other things) the following:
    1) a unique gathering of the chief leaders of the people of God with a view to building the temple of God (if you think this is generic, how about you give some other examples from the Bible of similar councils? Acts 15:16 also specifically makes reference to the tabernacle of God in the Old Testament, further proving the connection).
    2) the specific authoritative behavior of the leaders of the councils. King David and St. Peter both standing up to make a decision.
    3) the specific manner in which they addressed their councils. They both make reference to how God specifically chose them for the purpose. And it’s not, as your say, just some vague reference to providence. You also ignored the verbal parallels between the Greek of Acts 15 and the Septuagint Greek of 1 Chronicles.

    If these were really superficial or contrived parallels, you should be able to construct similar parody parallels with ease. But you can’t. The parallels are composed of specific, unique details following a given pattern. They aren’t at all vague or generic. Your argument is about as logical as that of the evolutionists who, upon seeing all sorts of specific evidence for parallels between DNA and information, will just dismiss it on the grounds that it just doesn’t meet some arbitrary standard they’ve set up.

    Fourth, you think St. Peter should have been mentioned more in Acts/after Acts 15. It’s very peculiar that you make that argument, because it requires you to ignore tons of evidence for Peter’s prominence in the Gospels and the first 15 chapters of Acts (especially 1-5, 10, and 15) and just focus on one specific portion. One could prove anything by that sort of argumentation. For example, it’s like arguing that God is not prominent in the Old Testament just because some specific part of the Old Testament, say, Esther, doesn’t make many references to Him. By the way, Peter is mentioned by name in Acts 1-15 more times than Jesus is.

    But we can press further. When you consider the likely immediate historical purpose for the writing of the book of Acts, what’s striking is not that St. Peter isn’t mentioned more than he is, but that he isn’t mentioned less. St. Luke, the author of Acts, was likely writing Luke-Acts as some sort of material to be used in a legal defense of St. Paul before Roman officials. That’s why it’s addressed to some prominent figure, Theophilus. That’s why Acts cuts off abruptly with St. Paul under house arrest in Italy. St. Luke was also the traveling companion of St. Paul. Many Protestant scholars have argued this point. In one sense then, St. Paul (and his message) is the focus of Luke-Acts. It therefore isn’t surprising that at some point the record shifts focus exclusively to him and the events directly leading up to his trial. But what is surprising, at least on the Protestant view, is that some other figure, whose mention on Protestantism wouldn’t even be essential to the message of St. Paul, is spotlighted prominently for one whole book (Luke) and for the first chunk of a second book (Acts) in a 2-volume work meant for exonerating St. Paul! St. Peter’s prominence was so well known and so important, that it couldn’t reasonably have been totally left out.

    There are other things that could be said, but these should suffice to show the superficiality and dishonesty or your criticisms. However, I’ll mention two more things.

    First, St. Peter wasn’t rebuked by St. Paul:

    Second, maybe you think the first 140 or so popes from the first millennium are all mythical. I’m not sure how you end up with your position. You’re wrong; but it’s ironic because you’d have to say the Papacy arose 1,000 years late and is the work of the Devil but that Luther and the Protestant “Reformation” arose 1,500 years late and is the work of God. Try chewing on that for some time.

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    1. Thanks for the response, @catholictruther.

      I still fail to see how the office of the Pope is substantiated by Peter’s role in any of the texts you have mentioned.

      Also, I notice you failed to address my objection to Peter being some grand leader in Acts 15 based upon Acts 15:22-27…

      I am not attempting to be dishonest or misleading (I linked several times to your entire video), so I would appreciate it if you did not accuse me of such. However, my primary point is that the office of the pope must be largely assumed to find the kind of meaning that you do in the texts you have cited.

      Finally, I have read and listened to a lot of church history, and I can find no evidence among the early church fathers for the papacy. As Acts 15 displays, the Church has always (and was always intended) to be governed by groups of men who are grounded in the teachings of ALL the apostles – and today that means the Scriptures.

      Thanks again for responding.

      Like

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