Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1951

"What About The Roman Catholic Foundation?"

Ervin Driskill, Columbus, Georgia

All, who have studied the claims of the Catholic Church know that the whole structure of Catholicism is built upon the claim that Jesus built His church upon Peter and gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, telling him that, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Thus, Peter became the first pope of the church. The passage here used is found in Matt. 16:13-19.

But, is the Catholic claim true? If it isn't, the whole structure falls with one stroke. We shall see if it is true. Notice verse 18—"And I say unto (thee), that (thou) art Peter, (Petros in the Greek and masculine gender) and upon (this) rock (Petra in the Greek and feminine gender) I will build my church." Now, the average seventh grade boy and girl knows that pronouns must agree with their antecedent, in number, gender and person. There are two antecedents in the verse, they are: "Peter" and "rock." There are two personal pronouns ("thee" and "thou" and one demonstrative pronoun "this") in the verse. "Thee" and "thou" agree in number, gender and person with Peter and refer to him but "this" modifies "rock" since that is the function of a demonstrative pronoun. It becomes an adjective (when used with a noun) and therefore modifies "rock." But, since "rock" is feminine gender and "Peter" is masculine gender, "THIS ROCK" cannot grammatically refer to Peter.

But again, if we knew nothing of the Greek or the construction of the English language, we can (if we are able to read) know that the church was not built upon Peter. Listen! . . . "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 3:11) Once more ... "being built upon the FOUNDATION of the apostles (not Peter alone) and prophets, CHRIST JESUS himself being the chief cornerstone." (Eph. 2:20) If Peter was the first pope, then he was the foundation upon which Christ built His church, but, if Peter was not the foundation of the church, then Paul was an imposter because he declared that Christ is the FOUNDATION and the ONLY foundation.

We have thus proved from the grammatical construction, and the scriptures, that the church was not built upon Peter; we shall now prove it from Catholics themselves, and from history. Here are the words of St. Augustine (a man who occupied one of the first places, among Catholics, for knowledge and holiness). "What do the words mean, I will build my church on this rock? ON THIS FAITH, on that which was said, Thou art the Christ, (not he which said) the Son of the living God." In his treatise on St. John we find this most significant phrase —"On this rock thou hast confessed I will build my church, since Christ was the rock." Augustine believed so little that the church was built on Peter that he said to the people in his thirteenth sermon, "Thou art Peter, and on this rock (petra) which thou hast confessed, on this rock which thou has known, saying, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my church—upon Myself, who am the Son of the living God: I will build it on Me, and not Me on thee." This was the belief of all Christendom in Augustine's time.—Quoted from Bishop Strossmayer's speech in the Vatican Council of 1870, pg. 14, 16.

Strossmayer, the Catholic Bishop, says, "(1) Jesus has given His apostles the same power He gave to Peter. (2) The apostles never recognized Peter as vicar of Christ and infallible doctor of the church. (3) Peter never thought of being pope and never acted as if he were pope. (4) The councils of the first four centuries, while they recognized the high position which the Bishop of Rome occupied, in the church on account of Rome, only accorded to him a pre-eminence of HONOR, never of POWER or of JURISDICTION. (5) The holy fathers in the famous passage, 'Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,' never understood that the church was built on Peter (super Petrum) but on the rock (super petram), that is, on the confession of the faith of the apostles." Quoted from Strossmayer's speech, pg. 15.

We have shown from grammar; scripture; Catholics, themselves; history, reason and good sense that Jesus did not confer any supremacy on Peter. We are sincere about these matters and we still say, "If the Roman Catholic Church is the Lord's church, let them come out in the open and prove it. We dare them to and we do not mean to be ugly.