Video: Is Peter the Rock on which the Church is Built?

In the following video, I discuss a recent article from the Calvinist International by Joe Minich, trying to discern the relevant background for Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 16:13-23. See the rest of my videos (and subscribe) here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Hermeneutics, Matthew, NT, NT Theology, The Church, Theological, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Video: Is Peter the Rock on which the Church is Built?

  1. Geoff says:

    This is excellent, thank you. I particularly appreciated the grounding in scripture, Jeremiah. You have clearly gorged on scripture so much so that it is from the abundance of your heart that the mouth speaks, unscripted. While I appreciate the tip to speed up video, it had a slightly unsettling effect of listening to an obsessive that you’d not want to meet in the street, or indeed in church. It’s a bit like a spring of water that’s been blocked for years but has now been released: gushing enthusiasm, that is at the same time is infectious that can be too far buried in work written for the academy. Would that many more take the time to listen to it particularly, teachers, preachers, and pastors, so it can be passed on
    Once again, thank you. It is so fresh and new to me, deep mining for gold, at the gold face of scripture, to reveal an ever more glorious God, to deepen faith at simulate worship. If this is a niche, (and it ought not to be) you’ve found it. My view is that it needs to be set out in writing, greater permanence, with all the enthusiasm, keeping to the main points.

  2. Timothy Graham says:

    Really enjoyed this – especially the connections with Jeremiah & possibly even his role in Maccabees. I had never heard that mined before in this context.

    Could I ask a couple of provocative questions about your assumptions, mainly for an ecclesiological reading of this text (disclaimer: I read this as an Anglo-Catholic)? (1) You are right to reject a crude Catholic apologetic, drawing a straight line from Peter to the idea of a continuing Petrine office. But wouldn’t a more nuanced approach discuss the idea that a subset of the roles of the apostolic office (not its unique historical position with regard to the establishment of the church) continued in the episcopate? And then go on from that to discuss matters like the role of Peter as chief of the Apostles, the martyrdom of Peter & Paul in Rome etc.? There is a composite & cumulative case to be made rather than a simple linear one. (2) That first intermediate step (i.e. a charism of the Apostles being carried over into the episcopate) brings me to my next question, which is: are you introducing a very unbiblical dichotomy in the idea that if a person is a once-for-all placeholder in the divine economy, there is NO possibility of their paradigmatic role being passed on to other people? A relatively weak example of this is given in your own interpretation of this passage, e.g. Peter is (in some senses) Jeremiah, John the Baptist is (in some senses) Elijah. But there are other potentially stronger examples, such as the passing on of the prophetic office between Elijah & Elisha, where the “spirit” of someone is transferred from one person to another. So although the 12 Apostles are the foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem, does this mean that their “spirit” and divinely-given function vis-à-vis the church (and therefore also Peter’s function) is not therefore transferrable to others? viz., although the Apocalypse refers primarily to the 12 Apostles as the foundation of the church, that does not mean that it cannot also include within its meaning a continued spiritual gift to successors in their office? (3) To rule out this possibility is to limit the prophetic power and range of meaning within the NT in a way that, if applied to the OT, would make a great deal of the very fine interpretative work you are engaged upon here very suspect indeed. I am making an argumentum ad hominum here in the strict sense of that term, trying to press the conclusions of your own procedure against limitations that you profess to place upon the potential meanings of the NT text within a Protestant hermeneutic.

    As an aside, it does puzzle me that Protestants don’t shrug their shoulders a bit more about the Catholic and papal claims about this Rock text, even to the point of allowing for some kind of continued Petrine role in the church – one can (should!) still object to and critique its concrete historical form. And one can of course point a bit further down the page in Matthew, to argue against some Satanic or simply all-too-human aspects of the exercise of the papal office to justify keeping at arm’s length from certain of its accretions and developments over the last 2000 years.

  3. Inspired and inspiring, Alastair – thank you!

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