Lucas Banzoli’s 205 “Petrine Potshots”, Part II

Lucas Banzoli’s 205 “Petrine Potshots”, Part II May 27, 2022

Lucas Banzoli is a very active Protestant evangelical apologist in Brazil, who writes quite a bit in opposition to the Catholic Church and Catholic doctrine. He has a Master’s degree in theology, a degree and postgraduate work in history, a license in letters, and is a history teacher, author of 25 books, as well as blogmaster for six blogs. He’s also active on YouTube.

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The words of Lucas Banzoli will be in blue. I used Google Translate to transfer his Portugese text into English.

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See other installments:

Part One: “Disproofs” #1-50

Part Three: “Disproofs” #101-150

Part Four: “Disproofs” #151-205

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Continuing response to his article, “205 Provas Contra O Primado de Pedro” (no date) [205 Proofs Against the Primacy of Peter]. 

51. Paul places James as the first pillar of the Church in Galatians 2:9, placing him before Peter who only appears second. In addition to the fact that Peter is not the main pillar of the Church (as he would be if he were pope) and has to share his place with others, he is still mentioned behind James! Now, the “pillar of the Church” is a sign of leadership, of authority. Therefore, Peter is not the only leader, much less the first!

Already explained in my reply to #50. For further reading on this, see:

Did St. Paul Seek St. Peter’s Approval for His Ministry? (+ Does The Word Order in Galatians 2:9 Suggest a Lowering of Peter’s Primacy?) [4-27-17 and 9-4-17]

James Listed Before Peter (Gal 2:9)? (vs. Jason Engwer) [12-3-21]

52. Peter had been entrusted with preaching the gospel to the circumcised (Jews), as was Paul to the uncircumcised (Gentiles) – Gal.2:6-8. Again, no hint of “universal primacy” is extant, as Peter is not bishop of Gentiles and Jews, but is indicated by Paul as having a ministry aimed at Jews, while he (Paul) is at Gentiles. In addition to the fact that if Peter were bishop in Rome he would be of the uncircumcised (Gentiles), we also have the sad realization that he does not occupy universal jurisdiction, but only a local ministry on the same level as Paul (Gal.2:6- 8).

The First Epistle of Peter is directed towards a wide audience (1:1: “To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappado’cia, Asia, and Bithyn’ia”), and reads like pastoral guidance of the leader of the Church to the whole Church. Peter humbly calls himself a “fellow elder.” But it doesn’t follow that he has no more authority than the other bishops (Paul also called himself a deacon). In fact, he assumes authority throughout his epistle: “gird up your minds” (1:13); “be holy yourselves in all your conduct” (1:15); “love one another earnestly from the heart” (1:22); “So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander” (2:1); “long for the pure spiritual milk” (2:2); “abstain from the passions of the flesh” (2:11); “Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles” (2:12); “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (2:13); “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (2:17); ” wives, be submissive to your husbands” (3:1); “Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman” (3:7); “have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind.” (3:8); “Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling” (3:9); “in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense” (3:15: apologetics!); ” keep your conscience clear” (3:16); “keep sane and sober for your prayers” (4:7); “hold unfailing your love for one another” (4:8); “Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another” (4:9); “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another” (4:10); “Tend the flock of God that is your charge” (5:2: addressed specifically to other bishops); “you that are younger be subject to the elders” (5:5); “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God” (5:6); “Be sober, be watchful” (5:8); and “Resist him, firm in your faith” (5:9).

53. Jesus is said to be the only cornerstone of the Church (Eph.2:20), and we are built “on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph.2:20), not Peter. Once again, Peter is not indicated as the foundation or main stone of the Church, but only one among so many apostles and prophets, built on that one cornerstone that is Jesus Christ!

See my article, Can Christ & Peter Both be “Rocks”? [4-21-22] Excerpt:

[Some Protestants argue that] Scripture elsewhere calls Jesus Christ a “Rock”; therefore (so the reasoning goes) Peter can’t possibly be called the same thing. This simply isn’t true. The objection presupposes what I would argue is an unbiblical and hyper-rationalistic “either/or” outlook; whereas the Bible teaches a “both/and” point of view. Here are some of the passages brought up in order to set forth such a view:

Matthew 21:42 (RSV) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (cf. Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17-18)

Acts 4:11 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 9:32-33 Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, [33] as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

1 Corinthians 10:4 . . . For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

1 Peter 2:4, 6-8 Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; . . . [6] For it stands in scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [7] To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,” [8] and “A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall”; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

Now, is this intended to exclude anyone else being called a rock or a stone? No. In Scripture, creatures are often called in an essentially lesser sense or degree, things which God is called. There can be such a thing as a Big Rock (God) and a small rock or stone (men or a man). In fact, this is explicit biblical teaching. Note that in the passage from 1 Peter, above, I left out a verse. Here it is:

1 Peter 2:5 and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

The “spiritual house” is likely referring to the Church. Jesus, in the larger passage, was called a “living stone” a “cornerstone” and “the head of the corner.” Yet we Christians are also called “living stones” in the same passage. Thus, there is no “either/or” pattern here. Both things can be true. If there can be little stones along with God as the Big Rock, then there can also conceivably be the “chief” of these secondary stones, and that would be Peter, based on the data of Matthew 16:18. And there’s more, too:

Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; [22] in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This is again referring to the Church (2:19), which is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (2:20). Thus we have precisely the same notion that Catholics contend is expressed in Matthew 16:18: there is a secondary / “co-worker” sense in which the Church is built upon men. Here it is the twelve apostles and prophets as well. In Matthew it’s Peter, as the leader and foremost of the apostles. And then in the next verse we have the “Big Rock”: “Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone”. So there is no false dichotomy. One is not in opposition to the other. Another passage teaches the same thing (without mentioning Jesus in this particular instance):

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

This sort of typology is, as I stated, common in Scripture.

54. Once again, Jesus is singled out as the only foundation (1 Cor.3:11). Peter himself declared that the rock in question was Jesus (1 Pet. 2:4), and that he (like other Christians) were “living stones” built on the main stone (1 Pet. 2:4-6).

See my reply to #53.

55. Peter, in writing his two well-known epistles, NEVER identified himself with the terms the Catholic Church inadvertently assigned to him: pope, prince of apostles, chief, head, bishop of bishops – these are all terms totally unknown to Peter. He simply identifies himself the way he was: “apostle” (1Pe.1:1) and “servant” (2Pe.1:1). As much as Catholicism invented many myths about Peter that emerged much later, there is nothing in the writings of this same apostle that could indicate a greater ostentation than that of “apostle” and “servant”, as well as all the other apostles!

See my reply to #52. So what? Much ado about nothing. Paul never called himself an “evangelist” either, even though he was the greatest evangelist of all time, and he uses the word three times.  Does it follow that he is not an evangelist? Jesus never called Himself “God” or “God the Son.” God the Father never calls Himself that in the Bible, even though He is called this name by others many times. Does it follow, then, that He ought not be called “God the Father”?

56. Peter had “neither silver nor gold” (Acts 3:6). Popes, however, have ample amounts of both!

See my articles, Biblical Evidence & Defenses for Expensive Church Buildings and Dialogue on Biblical Views Re Following Jesus & Riches.

57. At no time does Paul or any other apostle identify in the figure of Peter a maximum authority in their writings. Rather, what we see is Paul clearly stating that God “appointed some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Eph.4:11). Note that neither “pope” nor anything of the sort appears to be an office in the Church. Simply put, Paul innocently “forgets” precisely what is most important within the Catholic Church!

The pope is the bishop of Rome. Lucas forgot to include Paul’s mention of bishops (Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:1-2; Titus 1:7). We’ve already discussed whether James or Peter or both jointly presided over the council of Jerusalem. Bishops preside over local councils and popes preside over ecumenical ones. So we see the papacy and the episcopacy in kernel form here, and we have an infallible council (with Paul spreading its binding decree): something that is anathema to Protestantism. This is exactly what we would expect at this stage: a primitive development of what was later much more developed.

58. When the Judean brothers heard that the Gentiles had heard the word of God, they criticized Peter for having food in the house of uncircumcised men (Acts 11:1-3). They would hardly have done this if Peter were infallible pope, as they would be going against a superior authority, being subordinate to them. but spends a long time giving explanations about it (Acts 11:4-7).

That has to do with behavior, not promulgation of doctrine or infallibility (just as with Paul’s criticism of Peter for hypocrisy in Galatians). Since we have never claimed that popes are perfect, it’s is a non sequitur. Popes can be, and are, criticized in a variety of ways. I’ve done it myself. There is such a thing as respectful, substantive criticism.

59. If there was a “pope” (which comes from the word “father”), Jesus would not have said that “call no one on earth your father, for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Mt.23: 9).

This is a silly, classic anti-Catholic canard. The sky would fall and western civilization would come to an end if this wasn’t inevitably trotted out. See my articles, “Call No Man Father” vs. Priests Addressed as “Father”? [National Catholic Register, 8-9-18] and Biblical Evidence for “Holy Father” & “Vicar of Christ” [9-12-15].

60. It is not Peter the Supreme Pontiff, but Jesus. Just as the OT priests were a shadow of the NT priests (ministers of God), so the high priest was a figure of a greater priest, superior to the “ordinary” priests. If Peter were pope, he would be the perfect figure identifiable as this “High Priest”, or “Supreme Pontiff” (as Catholics themselves attribute to him, as well as to other popes). However, biblically only Jesus is our High Priest (Heb.6:20; 10:21; 7:23-25; 8:4)!

This is a substanceless “argument”. Jesus is the quintessential high priest in the sense of presenting Himself once and for all at His crucifixion as a sacrifice on our behalf to the Father (Heb 10:10-14). No created human being does that, and no one has offered animal sacrifice like the OT priests did, since 70 AD, so this is a non sequitur. There is simply no comparison of this with popes.

61. Furthermore, the prerequisite for fulfilling OT figures and becoming Supreme Pontiff in light of the New Covenant included having a “permanent priesthood” and “living forever to intercede for them” (Heb.7:23-25). ). Furthermore, he also needed to be “holy, blameless, pure, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Heb.7:26). Now all these things do not fit the figure of Peter, but only in Christ. Therefore, Peter was not the High Priest/High Pontiff!

Again, the papacy has nothing to do with this. Jesus as high priest was figured in the OT by the high priest offering sacrifices at the temple and entering the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). That’s why Jesus is called the Lamb of God.

62. Finally, when an analogy is drawn between the Supreme Pontiff in heaven and the Supreme Pontiff (Priest) on earth, it is not to speak of Peter, but of the Israelites who presented the “offerings prescribed by the law” (Heb.8 :4). Again, Peter is not indicated as being the Supreme Pontiff on earth, as this title was only given to him later by the Catholic Church, as well as the other popes.

There is no such analogy. It’s fundamentally confused. Yes, the pope is “high priest” or “supreme priest” (pontiff), but it’s in the sense of New Testament priests, not OT priests, who offer animal sacrifice. The One who fulfilled their model was Jesus, Who sacrificed Himself as the innocent Lamb of God.

63. The Chief Shepherd appointed by Peter himself is not himself, but Christ (1Pe.5:4).

As Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid wrote:

Jesus is the shepherd of his flock the Church (Jn 10:16), yet he shares his shepherdhood in a subordinate way with others, beginning with Peter (Jn 21:15-17) and extending it later to others (Eph 4:11) . . . Jesus says he’s the only shepherd (Jn 10:11-16), yet this seemingly exclusive statement doesn’t conflict with him making Peter shepherd . . . or with his calling others to be shepherds as well (Eph 4:11). Peter emphasizes that Jesus shares his role as shepherd with others by calling Jesus the chief shepherd . . . (1 Pet 5:4). Note also that the Greek construction of John 10:16 . . . is the same as 1 Timothy 2:5 (. . . one mediator . . .). The apostles and their successors the bishops, are truly shepherds also. (“Any Friend of God’s is a Friend of Mine”This Rock, Sep. 1992, 7-13)

64. Peter writes so that those who shepherd do not act as rulers of the flock (1Pe.5:3), exactly the attitude of the popes, who dominate the entire “flock” called the Roman Catholic Church!

This gets back to what I discussed in my reply to #3 in Part One. The pope is not to “lord it over” the flock or be a tyrant or despot. Jesus and the New Testament are not against leadership; they oppose tyrannous leadership and dictatorship. Peter, writing to elders, expresses precisely the same thing:

1 Peter 5:2-3  Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, [3] not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.

I’ve often noted that the pope affects the day-to-day life of the Catholic far less than many Protestants’ daily lives are affected by their own pastors. The pope doesn’t know I exist. But once in 1986 (on the advice of two pastor friends), I dared to respectfully criticize my Protestant pastor after he claimed — like a good Protestant — that everyone should “keep your pastors honest”. What was the result of that? I was denounced from the pulpit and lied about, and my ministry (I was an apologist and evangelist then, too, on college campuses, commissioned by this very pastor) was trashed. That was being a petty dictator: precisely what Jesus and Peter commanded us to never be.

Was James “dominating the entire flock” when he issued the proclamation of the council of Jerusalem, which claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit? If not, how is what popes do any different? How is it even different from what Luther and Calvin did? Martin Luther said things, after all, like the following:

I need not have any title and name to praise highly the word, office, and work which I have from God and which you blind blasphemers defile and persecute beyond measure. I trust my praise will overcome your defiling, just as my justice will overcome your injustice. It does not matter if, with your blasphemy, you are on top for the moment.
Therefore, I now let you know that from now on I shall no longer do you the honor of allowing you — or even an angel from heaven — to judge my teaching or to examine it. For there has been enough foolish humility now for the third time at Worms, and it has not helped. Instead, I shall let myself be heard and, as St. Peter teaches, give an explanation and defense of my teaching to all the world – I Pet. 3:15. I shall not have it judged by any man, not even by any angel. For since I am certain of it, I shall be your judge and even the angels’ judge through this teaching (as St. Paul says [I Cor. 6:3 ]) so that whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved – for it is God’s and not mine. Therefore, my judgment is also not mine but God’s. (From: Against the Spiritual Estate of the Pope and the Bishops Falsely So-Called, July 1522. Luther’s Works, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan [volumes 1-30] and Helmut T. Lehmann [volumes 31-55], St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House [volumes 1-30]; Philadelphia: Fortress Press [volumes 31-55], 1955. This work from Volume 39: Church and Ministry I [edited by J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann]; pages 239-299; translated by Eric W. and Ruth C. Gritsch; excerpt from 248-249)

Is that “domineering”? Is that being a “ruler”? No pope has ever spoken like that, which is why I have called Luther a “super-pope.” Erasmus wrote about Luther (after vainly trying to “dialogue” with him):

I want you and your adherents to know that I am not . . . so faint-hearted as to be disturbed by your insults. But the fact that you are so disparaging, derogatory, and utterly contemptuous towards my Discussion argues that it is not as contemptible as you make out. If it did not bear down on you, your pen would not have produced such outrageous insults to its author.

[Y]ou are so impudent in your insults . . . so unrestrained in your abuse when you are hemmed in by arguments, that no one, even if he bent over backwards to be fair to you, could find any excuses for your spirit. (Erasmus responding to Martin Luther, Hyperaspistes [1526], pp. 103, 140 in Vol. 76 in Collected Works [1999] )

65. Peter wrote in the position of “elder” (1Pe.5:1). The Catholic Church declares a priest to be “inferior to a bishop” (Council of Trent, Can.7, 967), and further states that priests cannot exercise certain functions because they are of an inferior order (Council of Trent, Can.7, 960). Now, was Peter, writing as “an elder” (1Pe.5:1), of a lower order? Could he be pope, since the priest cannot perform “certain functions”? Here is the testimony of the Catholic Church itself regarding the demotion of the position of priest as an “inferior order”, which would hurt the very concept of Peter – who was a priest – being the most superior order existing in the Church!

As I noted before, Paul often called himself a deacon or minister (1 Cor 3:5; 4:1; 2 Cor 3:6; 6:4; 11:23; Eph 3:7; Col 1:23-25), yet no one would claim he was only a deacon, and nothing else. And he never (far as I can tell) called himself an “evangelist.” “Elders” in the Bible sometimes meant the equivalent of “local pastor / priest” or “bishop.” James was the bishop of Jerusalem, as many Protestants agree, but he is called an elder at the council of Jerusalem. The offices were somewhat fluid at this early stage, because ecclesiology was only in its infancy.

66. Furthermore, Peter wrote to the elders, saying that “I do so in the same capacity as an elder with them” (1Pe.5:1), that is, on an equality with them, and not superiority, as would be the case if he exercised a primacy over all others!

That’s routine “papal talk.” The pope will often say “fellow bishops” because he is a bishop (of Rome) as well as pope. None of this proves anything, anymore than Paul calling lessers “brethren” (many many times) “proves” that they are on the same level as him. Even Jesus called His disciples “friends” (Jn 15:13-15). Does that mean He isn’t above them? Paul calls Christians “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17) and “God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:9), and he calls other Christians “fellow workers” and “fellow soldiers” and “fellow servants” (see the references). These are desperate arguments, and lack understanding of biblical language and idiom and even the repeated scriptural admonition to be humble and have an attitude of servanthood.

67. It is the duty of all bishops and elders to shepherd God’s flock, and not Peter’s alone (1Pe.5:1,2; Acts.10:28). It was everyone’s duty to “feed the church of God” (Acts 10:28).

Yes, of course it is.

Christ specifically addressed Peter on the occasion of John 21:17 because of the apostle’s denials mentioned earlier. Peter denied Jesus three times, and Christ gave him the opportunity to reaffirm his love for his Master three times.

That’s the standard “anti-papal” interpretation of that passage, and I agree that it is part of its meaning, but not all of it. The meaning and intention of “Feed my lambs . . . Tend my sheep . . . Feed my sheep” and “strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:32) are not wiped out or nullified, simply because it was partly the process of restoring Peter.

This was the same process that Paul went through after having killed Christians. God said, “he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Thus, Paul’s future as the Great Evangelist was laid out to him at the beginning of His ministry. Likewise, after Peter repented of his momentary weakness and fear for his life (far less of a sin than Paul’s), Jesus (Who is God) revealed to him his role as the leader and Shepherd of the Church: to “feed” and “tend” and “strengthen” the flock.  It couldn’t be any more clear than it is.

68. Peter was rebuked by Paul face to face in Antioch, “because he was reprehensible” (Gal.2:11). A Catholic would never call the Pope “reprehensible”, nor would he resist him in the face!

As explained several times, popes have the gift of infallibility (and that in very particular specified conditions only), not impeccability. Maybe one day Protestant anti-Catholic polemicists will be able to grasp this simple distinction. But obviously, that day hasn’t arrived yet. Patience, Lord!  As to Catholics supposedly never rebuking popes, that is sheer nonsense. Saints and Doctors of the Church like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Dominic have done that in no uncertain terms.

There were also many instances of morally inferior popes (e.g., during the Renaissance) being soundly rebuked by holy priests and laymen. This is nothing novel whatsoever in Catholic ecclesiology. No one knows better than Catholics the distinction between the nobility of an office and (too often) the [relative] sanctity of the person holding it at any given time.

69. Furthermore, Paul asserts that Peter “was not walking according to the truth of the gospel” (Gal.2:14), and that he had acted in “hypocrisy” (Gal.2:13). A pope who is infallible in matters of faith could hardly be classified in this way.

Again, this proves that Lucas has no clue whatsoever as to the meaning and limited application of infallibility, which has nothing directly to do with good conduct and behavior. It’s equal parts sad and absurd that Catholics have to keep explaining this till we’re blue in the face. The anti-Catholics never learn this. It’s no more difficult than a first-grader learning to read.

Jesus excoriated the Pharisees for hypocrisy more than anything else. Yet at the same time He told His disciples to “practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice” (Mt 23:3). The Pharisees weren’t even followers of Christ, yet Jesus still told His followers to obey their teaching. Thus, we see that instances of hypocrisy do not wipe out a person’s teaching authority: that they have on other grounds.

If Peter were pope, Paul would have respected Peter’s ultimate and infallible authority in the decision he made, rather than rebuking him in public and in letter, not to mention the supposed “authority” that Peter had over him!

It wasn’t an instance of infallible authority. Peter wasn’t binding anyone else to it. He simply acted hypocritically.

70. Peter “feared those of the circumcision” (Gal.2:12). If Peter were pope, it would be Jewish Christians who should fear him!

Peter was temporarily hypocritical, no more. It has nothing to do with his authority.

71. Peter acted with dissimulation when he saw that “some from James” arrived (Gal.2:12), starting to separate himself from the Gentiles because of this (v.12). If James were under Peter’s leadership, there would be no reason to fear him, nor to censure the Gentiles for fear of those who came from James. The episode makes no sense in the view that Peter was above James in apostolic authority. If that were so, Peter would not fear an “inferior” himself, much less those sent “from” him! On the contrary, it would be Peter himself who would give orders and maintain his position of authority as leader.

This merely expands upon the last three criticisms, which are already answered.

Evidence that Peter did not exercise primacy over John

72. John, along with Matthew, was the only apostle among the 12 who composed a gospel.

Many believe that Peter was the main source behind the content of the Gospel of Mark, which was in turn (according to the prevailing scholarly view) largely copied or followed by Matthew and Luke. It matters not if he dictated it; Paul did the same in some (possibly all) of his letters, as we know.

73. John was the only apostle chosen by the Lord to have the revelation of the Apocalypse, on the island of Patmos, concerning the final and eschatological events.

Great. It doesn’t make him pope. Peter had a vision about all foods being clean. Peter raised people from the dead, and his shadow healed people.

74. John wrote more epistles than Peter, in addition to the gospel itself and the Revelation. As Jerome well said, perfectly defining this whole picture: “Peter is an Apostle, and John is an Apostle – one is a married man, the other a virgin; but Peter is only an Apostle, while John is an Apostle, an Evangelist, and a Prophet. An Apostle, because he wrote to the Churches as a teacher; an Evangelist, because he composed a Gospel, which no other Apostle, except Matthew, did; a prophet, because he saw on the island of Patmos, where he had been exiled by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr of the Lord, an Apocalypse containing the limitless mysteries of the future” (Against Jovinian)

Solomon wrote more than both of them, and he ended up fallen away from God.

75. Of all the disciples, John was the only one considered the “beloved disciple” (Jn.13:26; Jn.13:25).

This is silly and inexcusably ignorant, for anyone who is theologically educated, as Lucas is. It was already covered in my reply to #19 in Part One, which had exactly the same content. So now we’re repeating items in the long list of 205?

76. Even as he and Peter ran to the tomb, there is a clear distinction between “Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2), clearly differentiating that this “disciple whom Jesus loved” it was the other (John), and not Peter himself.

This is just a silly variation of #19 and #76. Are we to believe that Jesus didn’t love Peter at all, or only loved John, among the disciples? We can’t, because the Bible tells us otherwise, as I already explained, with #19. Jesus stated to the collective of the disciples that He “loved” all of them (Jn 13:34; 15:12).

77. John was the only disciple who leaned on Jesus’ chest (Jn.13:23).

Peter was the only one whom the Bible noted was specifically prayed for by Jesus (“I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail”: Lk 22:32). The prayer even had to do with what Catholics call indefectibility: the inability to fall away from the faith or proclaim a falsehood as binding (a gift that we believe the pope has). So even this had something to do with his role as leader / pope. Which of these two things is the more important and significant?

78. John was the only disciple chosen by Jesus to know which disciple would betray him (Jn.13:26).

John asked Him, and so He told Him. I don’t see that this is all that significant. Jesus would have answered the same with any of the disciples, I believe.

79. John had to correct in writing an error of Peter’s that had spread among the brothers, that he should not die (Jn.21:20-24).

Good for him. God used a donkey to communicate truth to Balaam (Num 22:21-39). When Lucas can come up with a list of “50 Biblical Reasons for Johannine Primacy” then he can come back and present an argument that is worthy to be regarded as equal in force with mine. As it is, he came up with 13, or 26% as many arguments as I produced for Peter. Whoop-de do! Is anyone impressed by that?

80. John was the first disciple to reach the tomb (Jn.20:4).

This is a replica of #27: “The first of the disciples to arrive at the tomb was John, not Peter (Jn.20:4).” Since I answered that in Part One, there is no need to repeat myself. Now we see how Lucas gets to 205 potshots; he repeats a bunch of these twice. Not impressive . . .

81. John was the only disciple to whom Jesus entrusted his mother to his care (Jn.19:26,27).

This is a re-tread of #25, also answered in Part One.

82. John did not deny Jesus.

Good. He also didn’t kill Christians like Paul, or plan to have a man killed in battle (i.e., premeditated murder) so he could have sex with and marry his wife (David). God made Big Sinner Paul the greatest evangelist of all time and writer of much of the inspired revelation of the NT. He made an eternal covenant with Big Sinner David (knowing that he was to commit these great sins), had him write most of the wonderful Psalms (a model of worship and praise ever since), become the greatest King of Israel / Judah, and made him be in the OT the model for the Messiah (his direct descendant) and messianic kingdom.

So why not make Big Sinner Peter the pope? No biggie! It’s all the same . . . All God has to use for His purposes (excepting Mary, who was made sinless solely by His grace) is a bunch of miserable sinners like us. But He makes it His business to transform us (filthy, ungrateful rebels that we are) and make us fit for His use. Praise Him for that!

83. John was always present at the most important events. He entered with Jesus into the house of the head of the synagogue at the resurrection of Talitha (Mark 5:37). He went with Jesus to the Mount of Olives, moments before the crucifixion (Mark 14:33). He was with Jesus at the scene of the transfiguration on the mount, with Moses and Elijah (Mark 9:2). He went up to a mountain to pray together with Jesus (Lk.9:28). He was regarded as one of the main pillars of the Church (Gal.2:9). If Peter is to be considered the “ultimate leader” based on his presence at important events like this, John certainly couldn’t help but be too, since he was with Peter and James on all these occasions!

Yes, it’s well known that Peter, James, and John were the “inner circle” of the disciples. This doesn’t overcome Peter’s primacy. Let Lucas come up with “50 Biblical Proofs for the Primacy of James” too (along with his miserable thirteen “proofs” for John). He can’t. So this is just fluff and silliness: meant to avoid the obvious primacy of Peter that is obvious in the Bible (at least once someone points it out, as I have).

84. John was the only disciple who followed Jesus to the foot of the cross, while all the others fled, Judas betrayed him, and Peter denied him (Jn.19:26).

Yes he did, and it is to his eternal credit. I love John! His NT writings are fantastic. But being at the cross has nothing to do with his supposedly having more “papal credentials” than Peter.

Evidence that Peter did not exercise primacy over Paul

As noted last time, I went through this routine with Jason Engwer 18 1/2 years ago: Refutation of a Satirical “Pauline Papacy” Argument (vs. Jason Engwer) [9-30-03]. For all I know, Lucas derived some of his material from Jason.

Let me begin answering this section by noting that I absolutely love and admire St. Paul. He’s one of my huge heroes and model for my apostolate of apologetics and evangelism. I always say that when I get to heaven I would like to talk to, in order: 1) our Glorious Lord and Savior Jesus, 2) the Blessed Virgin Mary, 3) the Apostle Paul, and 4) St. John Henry Cardinal Newman. In my work, I probably utilize and ponder St. Paul’s writing maybe 500 times more than I would use or think about St. Peter’s.

So none of the material to come is in any way, shape, or form, meant to denigrate or minimize St. Paul in even the slightest degree. I’m simply arguing that the Bible presents St. Peter as the ultimate leader of the early Church, not St. Paul. That doesn’t make St. Paul “inferior” to St. Peter.

In fact, I think that St. Paul played a much greater and especially more influential role in the history of Christianity and the development of the early Church than St. Peter, but that is not the question at hand, which is: “does the Bible present Peter as the leader of the early Church and the first pope (Petrine Primacy)?” This understood, most of Lucas’ “Pauline Primacy” texts will be non sequiturs, just as most of his list so far have been.

85. Paul saw the Lord Jesus (Acts 9:27) and “preached boldly in his name” (Acts 9:27), being the apostle who worked the most (1 Cor 15:10).

Peter lived with Jesus for three years (Paul never met Him except in a vision) and also preached boldly: so much so that when Herod wanted to persecute Christians, after he killed James (Acts 12:2), he went straight after Peter and put him in prison (Acts 12:3-4). An angel appeared to get him out of prison (12:7-11).

86. The entire assembly of believers in Jerusalem (at the Council) was silent as they listened to Paul and Barnabas speaking of all the signs and wonders that God had done among the Gentiles through them (Acts 15:12).

This is now the second time that Lucas has misinterpreted Acts 15:12 (the other being his #43, where he gave the wrong verse [15:13] and wrongly applied it to the council’s reaction to James).  Now he is erroneously applying it to Paul and Barnabas. In fact, it was the council’s reaction to Peter’s speech (15:7-11). The text says after his speech: “And all the assembly kept silence”: followed by a semi-colon, which means a strong break in the text (and remember, the original NT didn’t have chapters or verses). Then it says that Paul and Barnabas gave their report (while not recording their words, as Luke recorded Peter’s and James’). Get it right!

87. Paul was one of the existing prophets and teachers in the Church, named in Acts 13:1.

Good. And so Jesus appeared and said, “Saul, I now name you Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church . . .” Oh wait, that was Peter!

88. Paul and Barnabas were the ones set apart for the work of the Lord (Acts 13:2).

Of course they were! So are all Christians, whom Paul teaches have a calling: “let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him” (1 Cor 7:17).

89. Paul is the first to recognize and refute the heresy, against Elymas the magician (Acts 13:9-12).

Peter is the first to recognize and refute heresy, period, in Simon Magus (Acts 8:14-24), five chapters earlier.

90. The city’s proconsul, being a “learned” man (Acts 13:7) and of great importance in the city, believed through Paul’s rebuke to Elymas, “deeply impressed with the teaching of the Lord” (Acts 13: 12).

Wonderful! How is this relevant? Paul impressed a proconsul . . .

91. Paul was the only one to stand up to defend Christianity in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14-16).

Fabulous! The point is to show that a bunch of Bible passages, taken together, prove that Paul was the leader of the whole Church. It’s not just anything Paul does . . .

92. Paul was the apostle who most edified the Church with apostolic epistles, thirteen in all. A much larger number than Pedro, for example, with only two.

Popes need not necessarily be primarily writers. So this is neither here nor there.

93. Paul was the most church-founding apostle in the history of early Christianity.

Likewise, the founding of churches is not within the pope’s purview, but is, rather, the job of the evangelist.

94. Paul was the only apostle who ever preached to an entire city that gathered to hear the word of the Lord (Acts 13:44).

95. A great multitude of Jews and Gentiles believed through Paul’s preaching to the Jewish synagogue (Acts 14:1).

96. Paul and Barnabas were the only ones to stand up to defend the Christian faith before Jews and Gentiles in Iconium (Acts 14:1).

Nor is evangelism the primary purpose of a pope, though it can surely be part of what they do. Evangelism is for the nonbeliever, whereas popes watch over the Christian flock.

97. Paul works a notorious miracle on a paralytic (Acts 14:10), so much so that the great crowd thought he was a god (Acts 14:11).

Peter raised the dead (Acts 9:40), and Cornelius tried to worship him, too (Acts 10:25).

98. Paul preached the good news and made many disciples in Antioch and Iconium (Acts 14:21).

Great. Peter preached the first Christian sermon after Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36), resulting in three thousand conversions, baptisms, and folks being “added” to the Church (Acts 2:41).

99. Paul is the only apostle known to appoint elders in every church and commend them to the Lord (Acts 14:21).

That makes him a functional bishop, but not a pope.

100. Paul made use of the “keys” to “open the post of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27), so that they too might through his preaching hear the word of the Lord, and be saved.

This is a repeat of #35. I’ll repeat the first part of my answer there: “Keys of the kingdom” was a technical term, referring back to Isaiah 22 (as many Protestant commentators agree). They were only given to Peter. I treated the matter of the “keys of the kingdom” very extensively in my reply to #7 in Part One, citing seven corroborating Protestant scholars. What Paul was doing in Antioch, as recorded in Acts 14:27 had nothing whatsoever to do with the “keys” as understood by scholars.

END OF PART TWO

Go to Part One (#1-50)

Go to Part Three (#101-150)

Go to Part Four (#151-205)

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Photo credit: Detail of Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter (1481-82) by Pietro Perugino (1448-1523) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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Summary: Brazilian Protestant apologist Lucas Banzoli takes on my “50 NT Proofs for Petrine Primacy”, with his 205 “Petrine Potshots”. This is Part II of my replies (#51-100).


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