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

Lucas Banzoli’s 205 “Petrine Potshots”, Part III May 30, 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 Two: “Disproofs” #51-100

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]

101. Paul used the authority of the name of Jesus Christ to cast out an evil spirit, which went out immediately (Acts 16:18).

All twelve disciples had that power (Lk 9:1). So did the seventy evangelists appointed by Jesus (Lk 10:17, 20).

102. The seven sons of the head of the Jewish synagogue rebuked evil spirits on the basis of “Jesus whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13). At no time is Peter indicated by them or anyone else as sufficient authority to repel demons.

We know that he did from Luke 9:1: written by Luke: the author of Acts, too.

103. There were two people in the Christian faith who, as important as they were, made themselves “known” by name even by the devil, who insisted on highlighting them. They are: (1) Jesus; (2) Paul (Acts 19:15).

The demons mentioned Paul because his name had already been invoked by the Jewish exorcists (Acts 19:13).

104. God intervenes on Paul’s behalf with violent earthquakes to the point of shaking the foundations of a prison (Acts 16:22-26). At no other time in the New Testament does God intervene in nature in such a way on behalf of a servant of his.

There was no earthquake, but an angel got St. Peter out of prison, too (Acts 12:7-11). So only St. Paul got an “earthquake intervention.” But how does that prove that he is more so a papal figure (if there is one) than St. Peter? It simply doesn’t.

105. Paul was in charge of the baptism of the jailer and his entire family (Acts 16:33).

Great. In what way is that relevant to this discussion?

106. Paul is the apostle who baptized the most people recorded in the Bible (Acts 16:33; 1 Cor 1:16; Acts 19:5; Acts 18:8, etc.).

So that’s the Philippian jailer and his family, Crispus, the ruler of a synagogue, “some disciples” of John the Baptist, Crispus, Ga’ius,
and the household of Steph’anas. St. Peter was responsible for 3,000 baptisms in one day (Acts 2:38-41), as well as Cornelius with “his kinsmen and close friends” (Acts 10:24, 45-48).

107. Paul was officially a Roman citizen, who had numerous privileges at that time (Acts 16:38).

And this is relevant how?

108. Paul was at the forefront of encouraging the disciples in the faith. It was he who met the brothers in Thyatira, and encouraged them to continue in the walk of faith (Acts 16:40).

Of course he did. This doesn’t indicate that he was the first pope.

109. Paul is the apostle who most often entered Jewish synagogues to debate with Jews (recorded in the Bible). For three consecutive Sabbaths he went to the synagogue to argue with them from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2).

110. Paul was the only apostle to defend the Christian faith at the famous Areopagus in Athens, of which there is a biblical record (Acts 17:22).

This shows that he was a great debater, evangelist, and debater, but not the pope.

111. While some apostles like Peter were married (1Co.9:5), “Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching” (Acts.18:5).

Great. Anyone can choose to do that if they wish, and if God calls them to it.

112. Paul is the only apostle recorded to have strengthened all the disciples throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia (Acts 18:23).

113. Paul “argued convincingly about the Kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8), convincing the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

114. There is no record of an apostle more persecuted than Paul. In his words: “…I have worked more than them and I have been in jail more times. I have been whipped far more than they were, and I have often been in danger of death” (2 Cor.11:23). From reading 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 we see his testimony that he was the most persecuted apostle in the history of the early Christian Church (in its early years).

115. Paul was the only apostle in Church history who preached to “all the Jews who lived in the province of Asia” (Acts 19:10). For two years, they all came to hear the word of the Lord through the preaching of this blessed apostle. There is no historical record of any apostle in the history of the Church who has achieved such a wide reach in terms of propagating the faith to the unsaved.

Good for him, and irrelevant to this discussion.

116. Paul resurrects the young Eutychus (Acts 20:10-12), in yet another great demonstration of God’s power through his life.

Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-41).

117. Paul instructs the pastors, bishops and elders of the Church for three years, never failing to warn each one of them in their Christian walk (Acts 20:31).

Good for him, and irrelevant to this discussion.

118. All the bishops, pastors and elders made “great weeping” for Paul, falling on his neck and kissing him (Acts 20:37). It is probably the greatest display of affection and consideration ever known for an apostle.

This shows he was greatly loved, but not that he was the pope.

119. God chose Paul from all the ancestors to make the truth known through him (Acts 22:14,15), to see the righteous and to hear the words of his mouth (Acts 22:14,15).

We would expect that He would so bless the Greatest Evangelist.

120. He is one of the only ones to receive directly from God the guarantee of “being a witness to all men of what he has seen and heard” (Acts 22:15).

Jesus told all the apostles: “you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

121. Paul is the only apostle who claims to have fully fulfilled the will of God, “having fulfilled my duty to God with all good conscience, until this day” (Acts 23:1).

Jesus prayed that the faith of Peter would not fail (Lk 22:32). And it didn’t (after he repented for having denied Him). He also fulfilled his duty and calling and died as a martyr, being crucified upside down. Peter responded to what Jesus said by saying, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” (Lk 22:33). He wasn’t ready that night, as we all know (and most of us wouldn’t have acted differently in that situation, though we sit in our armchairs looking down our nose at St. Peter), but he was after his repentance, and after having been filled (or re-filled) with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so that he actually did fulfill what he claimed.

122. Paul begins to defend the authority of his ministry in his epistle to the Galatians. He writes that he went to Judea for the purpose of speaking to those who “seemed most influential” (Gal.2:6). According to Catholicism, this must certainly include Peter. However, he claims that “what they were then makes no difference to me” (Gal.2.6)! He would hardly have been so “insubordinate” to a position above his own, as special as “infallible” as is “pope” (if there had been such a thing, of course!).

This was the second time Paul went to Jerusalem to consult with Peter (and/or James and John), fourteen years (Gal 2:1) after he was already established as an apostle and evangelist. According to the Bible, Peter was the preeminent authority, which is why Paul had to, and did consult with him, during his first visit to receive sanction for his ministry:

Galatians 1:18-19 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. [19] But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.

Now, what impression does this passage give, as to the relative importance in the church of Peter, James, and John? Yes (my answer, too . . .). But oddly and inexplicably enough, Lucas never mentions Galatians 1:18 in his entire presentation of 205 disproofs of Petrine primacy (at least if the search engine is correct). I think we should consider and analyze all the passages related to Peter and Paul in this discussion. One would think that in the course of 205 points, this key and ultra-relevant verse would be included. But Lucas prefers to ignore some of the Bible passages that don’t agree with his position, and to engage in selective presentation, which is basically setting out half-truths.

123. Paul asserts that these more influential men “added me nothing” (Gal.2:6). They had nothing to add to Paul’s life other than what he already knew or already was!

Yes, because they couldn’t make him more of an apostle than he already was. That was established no later than his first visit with Pope St. Peter (Gal 1:18-19).

124. Paul, in stating more clearly who these “influential men” were, does not differentiate Peter from the others, as being the most important.

Galatians 1:18 already showed that. But as I noted, Lucas conveniently skipped over that verse. Out of sight, out of mind! Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil . . .

On the contrary, he generalizes together with James and John. Nor does he make a point of citing Peter as being the first among them, but he places James as the first pillar of the Church, even ahead of Peter himself (Gal.2:9).

This is basically a repeat of #50, that I answered at considerable length in Part One., citing several Protestant commentaries in agreement with me.

125. Paul affirms that “I had been entrusted with the preaching of the gospel to the uncircumcised, as Peter was entrusted to the circumcised. For God, who worked through Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, also worked through me to the Gentiles” (Gal.2:7,8). One can clearly see the tone of equality between Paul and Peter. He does not place Peter above him, but on an equal footing, in asserting that God has worked in the same way among them, equally, and not disproportionately to the one to the detriment of the other.

Apostles treated each other — broadly speaking — as equals, yes. I basically replied to this line of reasoning in my reply to #66 in Part Two. Here’s the heart of that rebuttal:

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).

Also, we see Jesus saying, “the Father is greater than I” (Jn 14:28) and “My Father . . . is greater than all” (Jn 10:29), but in the same Gospel also saying, “I and the Father are one” (Jn 10:30) and “All that the Father has is mine” (Jn 16:15) and “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9) and “I am in the Father and the Father in me” (Jn 14:11). Hebrew, biblical, and Catholic thinking are not “either/or” (as habitually in Protestantism), but rather, “both/and.” Therefore, sometimes Paul or Peter or the biblical narrative can talk in terms of their equality, and other times, refer to Peter’s headship in the hierarchy of the Church.

126. Paul was chosen by God to “open the eyes of his own people and of the Gentiles, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:17,18). Although this is a function of all Christians, for he was chosen of God to receive this call directly from Him, among many others.

The same is true of St. Peter, who was clearly the leader of the brand-new Church, starting on the Day of Pentecost, when he delivered the first sermon in the Church age and oversaw the baptism of 3,000 new believers (Acts 2). He continues being the focus of Luke’s narrative in Acts (during the time that Paul was persecuting and killing Christians), primarily evangelizing Jews, up through chapter 13, where the narrative switches over to the newly converted Paul (since he and Peter were the two most important figures in the new Church).

It was Pope St. Peter, not Evangelist St. Paul, who was the first to learn that the Mosaic dietary and ceremonial laws wouldn’t be required for Christians, and he was the first to receive the Gentiles into Christian fellowship, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48). Just prior, an angel had told Cornelius to seek out Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1-6). Peter referred back to this in his talk at the council of Jerusalem: “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7). Obviously, since Peter wound up in Rome as the bishop, and was martyred there, he had long since focused upon outreach to Gentiles.

History and scholarship tells us that Peter was killed in 64 AD, during the reign of the madman Nero. This was before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans (in 70 AD). Thus, Peter had decided to concentrate on outreach to the Gentiles, just as Paul had. Both evangelized Jews and Gentiles. It’s foolish to create some arbitrary divide, as if it is absolute. Both wound up being martyred in Rome.

127. Paul was considered “the chief head of the sect of the Nazarenes -και ειναι πρωτοστατης της αιρεσεως των Ναζωραι” (Acts.24:5). The presence of the definite article and the singular πρωτοστατην shows us clearly that Paul was actually the leader of the Christians appointed by the famous lawyer Tertullus (Acts 24:2), with the consent of the Jews and Luke, the evangelist who confirmed and recorded this in the Acts of the Apostles. Once again we see that Paul – and not Peter – is the most suitable to be “leader of the sect of the Nazarenes”!

Once again (annoyingly), Lucas decides to repeat an entry. If he keeps doing that, it will merely allow me to deepen and strengthen my answers, by dealing with the same thing twice (as I will do in this instance, and it doesn’t look good for his argument at all). This material was covered in my reply to #49 in Part One. There I noted that:

My RSV Bible says “a ringleader” as opposed to “the ringleader.” How much difference one little word makes! I’ve found only one out of about 60 English translations of Acts 24:5 that has “the ringleader.”

So an argument Lucas obviously thinks was a “knockout punch” for Paul being some sort of “pope” rather than Peter, is mercilessly shot down by 59 out of 60 translators of the Bible into English. That’s pretty decisive. A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament (at Acts 24:5) shows the true sense: “A ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes . . . a front-rank man, a chief, a champion” [my bolding and italics]. In a Greek-English Interlinear version of the Bible (see the description of it), we see that there is no definite article, either:

prōtostatēn te tēs tōn Nazōraiōn

πρωτοστάτην τε τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων

a leader then of the of the Nazarenes

“Nazarenes” has a definite article preceding it; but “leader” (or, “ringleader”) does not. And that’s why 59 out of 60 English translations use the indefinite “a” in describing Paul’s leadership, not the definite “the.” Whatever Portugese translation Lucas used here simply got this wrong, according to the overwhelming consensus of Bible translators (in English). I didn’t simply claim this. The translators have made it crystal-clear. I accept their conclusion; Lucas does not. Readers can make their own choice, having now read two sides, rather than just one. Isn’t back-and-forth dialogue wonderful?

128. Paul exalted his own ministry (Rom.11:13).

Yes he did. And what did he say in that verse? (Lucas merely cites it; I examine it): “I am an apostle to the Gentiles . . .” He states exactly what his role or office is: the evangelist to the Gentiles, so as to spread Christianity far and wide. It’s quite evident that such a role is not that of pope, who is the shepherd, leader, teacher, and protector of all Christians, not Gentile unbelievers. So this is Paul stating with his own “mouth” what he is (the Great Evangelist) and what he is not (the pope and leader of Christians). Paul reiterates this point of his central purpose in evangelizing the Gentiles many times.

129. Christ accomplished through Paul in word and deed (Rom.15:18). He was the only apostle on record to have “fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ” (v.19) from “Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum” (v.19).

Yes, he preached far and wide, because that was his office: evangelist. This disproves that he was pope. Why can’t Lucas see this? So many of his “disproofs” are actually strong arguments for the Catholic view of Peter as the first pope. I can’t thank him enough for affording me this wonderful opportunity to prove all the more that Peter was the first pope and that Paul certainly was not. I’ve come up with many arguments throughout these replies that likely would have never crossed my mind.

130. Paul is the only apostle who writes that he was living “in the fullness of the blessing of Christ” (Rom.15:19).

This doesn’t prove that no one else partakes of the same blessing. In order to do that it would have to read something like, “I am the only one who comes in the fulness of the blessing of Christ.”

131. Paul used the authority of the name of Jesus Christ to plead with all the Romans, giving them orders to obey “in one thought and in one judgment” (Rom.1:10).

That’s acting like a bishop does, since it is one local church or congregation. But that doesn’t prove universal jurisdiction. Paul exercises authority and supervision over the churches that he planted or nurtured.

132. Paul’s name appears first in relation to Peter in Romans [1 Corinthians] 1:12. Paul appears first, Apollos second, while Peter is only third (last listed). If Catholics really want to convince that the fact that someone’s name is mentioned first means that he has primacy over the others that come later (as they constantly do with the list of disciples), then there’s a hell of a headache that puts Peter behind Paul and Apollos!

The actual verse is 1 Corinthians 1:12. I don’t think this has any significance for our topic, because it has to do specifically with factionalism, not with ultimate authority. Paul names himself first because he was actually predominant in Corinth, having planted the church there (Acts 18; 1 Cor 2). Apollos is next because he gained much fame and reputation as an expert in apologetics in the region, in discussion with the Jews:

Acts 18:27-28 . . . When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, [28] for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

He was doing so well preaching and defending the faith there that the next verse notes:

Acts 19:1 While Apol’los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus.

Division of labor . . . Because Apollos was thriving in Corinth and its surroundings, Paul (ever the pragmatist) bypassed it and went to Ephesus. Acts 18:27 stated that Apollos arrived in Achaia. This was a province of Greece in the Peloponnese peninsula that was directly to the west and north of Corinth. Because of Apollos’ success, factions started developing, as Paul notes, saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol’los,” (1 Cor 1:12).

Quite obviously and unarguably, then, Apollos was not listed after Paul because he was the second most important in the universal Church after Paul, but because he was the second most important in Corinth. No one in their right mind would say that Apollos had more importance in the early Church than Peter. So Paul mentions himself and Apollos in that respect. Then to broaden his point of unity to make it more general, the first person he thinks of is Peter (the pope), and then Christ (which is the proper answer: all Christians belong to Christ, and He alone). Paul nails down the point by adding, “Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

The meaning, then, seems clear: “You say you belong to me or Apollos [the local leaders of the Corinthians], or to Peter [the pope and leader of all Christians], or to Christ.” This actually strengthens Petrine primacy, rather than diminish it, once the context is understood, because the first person he mentions beyond the immediate regional context is Peter; then he mentions Christ, because that was Who Christians should ultimately follow.

And who are the Christians who are famous for naming themselves after men and following them to a fault, and forming competing sects: precisely the opposite of St. Paul’s view? Lutherans, Calvinists, Mennonites, Zwinglians, Wesleyans, Arminians, Amish . . .

My original argument, as I have explained many times, is a cumulative one. It becomes strong and impressive by its constant repetition. Here was how I put it in my 50 Proofs for Peter. It’s not only being listed first that is noteworthy, but being named so often, period:

4. Peter’s name occurs first in all lists of apostles (Mt 10:2; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13). Matthew even calls him the “first” (10:2). Judas Iscariot is invariably mentioned last.

5. Peter is almost without exception named first whenever he appears with anyone else. In one (only?) example to the contrary, Galatians 2:9, where he (“Cephas”) is listed after James and before John, he is clearly preeminent in the entire context (e.g., 1:18-19; 2:7-8).

36. Peter’s name is [almost] always the first listed of the “inner circle” of the disciples (Peter, James and John – Mt 17:1; 26:37,40; Mk 5:37; 14:37).

39. Peter’s name is mentioned more often than all the other disciples put together: 191 times (162 as Peter or Simon Peter, 23 as Simon, and 6 as Cephas). John is next in frequency with only 48 appearances, and Peter is present 50% of the time we find John in the Bible! Archbishop Fulton Sheen reckoned that all the other disciples combined were mentioned 130 times. If this is correct, Peter is named a remarkable 60% of the time any disciple is referred to!

Lastly, if Lucas wants to make an argument from the word order in 1 Corinthians 1:12, then not only is Apollos more important than Peter in the early Church (absurd), but Jesus Christ is less important than all three men (!!!): seeing that He was listed fourth and last. Now his argument in #132 is shown to be ultra-ridiculous and more full of holes than Swiss cheese or a pin cushion.

133. Paul asserts that they were but servants through whom the Corinthians came to believe (1 Cor. 3:5), so that “neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but God alone” (1 Cor. 3:3). :7). In fact, such a picture does not occur in Catholicism, where the Pope “has full, supreme and universal power in the Church. And he can always freely exercise this power of his” (Catechism, §882).

To the contrary, popes routinely call themselves “Servant of the Servants of God.” This goes back to Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century. So this “picture” is part of Catholicism. On the other hand, there is supreme and universal power in the Church, as seen in the decree of the Jerusalem council, in conjunction with the “Holy Spirit” (Acts 15). And the infallibility of the Church is also taught in 1 Timothy 3:15. When the logical and ecclesiological implications of that verse are unpacked, it is seen to teach the infallibility of the Church, which is contrary to sola Scriptura. If the Church has that power, it makes sense that the leader of the Church also would.

And Peter possessing the “keys of the kingdom” proves exactly that. That’s why the great Protestant scholar F. F. Bruce said Peter was the “chief steward” of the Church (see the Introduction in Part One), why the Lutheran Oscar Cullmann called Peter the “superintendent” (ibid.), why Methodist W. F. Albright thought Peter was the “the vizier, the master of the house, the chamberlain” (#7 in Part One), why Craig Keener thought he had “legislative authority” (ibid.), and why The Interpreter’s Bible confirmed that Peter had “plenary authority” and was the “chief teacher” (ibid.).

This is why, also, when Peter spoke at the Jerusalem Council, no one disagreed with him (“And all the assembly kept silence”: Acts 15:12), and local bishop James deferentially said, “Simeon has related . . .” (15:14), and proceeded to show how the prophets agreed with Peter (15:15-18). Peter (guided by his recent revelation / vision form God) had decided that the Gentiles shouldn’t have to follow the entire Mosaic Law, including circumcision, and this is what the council decreed. This is precisely “power in the Church”: exercised by St. Peter, leading a council of elders and apostles, including St. Paul (whose words in this gathering weren’t even recorded).

134. Paul claims that it was he (not Peter) who laid the foundation for the church (1 Cor. 3:10).

In context, this is clearly referring to Paul laying the foundation for the local Corinthian church (1 Cor 2:1-5; Acts 18:1-11), not the Church universal. Very shoddy hermeneutics here . . . Besides, if Paul had laid the foundation of the universal, Catholic Church, then it didn’t even exist on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit started indwelling all Christians and when 3,000 persons were baptized and “added” to the Church (Acts 2). Paul was still killing Christians in those days. So this entire notion is utterly absurd and false. It’s embarrassing to me as an apologist to have to take time to refute such a silly, vacuous argument. But we see how weak Lucas’ case is. This is a prime example.

135. Rather than adduce the pope, Paul adduces himself when he speaks of the (spiritual) “fathers” that the Corinthians had (1 Cor.4:15). If Peter were the [only] pope, obviously he would be the one for it, not Paul (remember that the very word “pope” comes from the word “father”).

Another silly, fatuous argument. Lucas himself says that this refers to the Corinthians only. Popes are the fathers of all Christians, but bishops are also the fathers of local churches, and priests of local congregations or parishes, if you will. It’s not an either/or scenario.

136. It was Paul – not Peter – who had begotten the Corinthians in faith through the gospel (1 Cor.4:15).

He planted a church as an evangelist. That is the evangelist’s task, not the pope’s.

137. Paul is the only apostle who constantly pleaded with us to imitate him (1Cor.4:16; 1Co.11:1; Phil.3:17).

He did, but in 2 Thessalonians, which was actually a joint effort of  Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (1:1), Paul said to imitate all three of them:

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, [8] we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. [9] It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate.

Does Lucas now argue as a result, that Timothy and Silvanus are higher in the Church than Peter? Hebrews broadens the scope of this “imitation” too:

Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 11:1-40 (the whole chapter) is the famous “heroes of faith” passage. It was written, quite obviously, to exhort people to imitate the figures mentioned: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and “Samuel and the prophets”.

138. Paul is the only apostle who passed on commandments (1Co.7:10 [7:6?]; 1Co.14:37,38)!

Peter commanded Cornelius and his kin and friends to be baptized (Acts 10:48). Jesus told eleven disciples (including their leader, Peter): “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). That was certainly passing on commandments. St. John did this, too: “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard” (1 Jn 2:7; cf. 2 Jn 1:4-6); “And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also” (1 Jn 4:21).

139. Paul is the only apostle with a “universal” character, who passed orders to “all the churches” (1 Cor.7:17).

Note it is plural: “churches” (i.e., congregations). He’s acting like a bishop, over local churches, not like a pope over the universal Church, though it is true that the advice and commands in his epistles are generally regarded as applicable to all Christians (just as the rest of the New Testament is so regarded as well).

140. Paul acknowledges that he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.7:40).

Christianity has decided that the canonical writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the author of Hebrews, James, Peter, and Jude were also inspired (“God-breathed”), so this is neither here nor there as to our topic at hand. This dispute is not about All the Wonderful Things About Paul (that no one disagrees with). It’s about Whether Peter Was the Pope / Leader of the Early Church.

141. Paul defends the validity of his apostleship with the following arguments (1 Cor.9:1):

A. It was free.

B. He saw the Lord Jesus.

C. The Corinthians were Paul’s work in the Lord.

And how is this a disproof of Peter’s papacy? The title of Lucas’ article that I am replying to is 205 Proofs Against the Primacy of Peter. Writers generally stick to the topic indicated by their title. But apparently Lucas disagrees with this widespread practice. Many of these entries about Paul have nothing to do (pro or con) with Peter’s primacy or lack thereof.

142. Note that none of Paul’s arguments for the validity and veracity of his true apostleship (either in 1 Cor. 9:1 or in any other chapter) is based upon its being “accepted or ordained by the pope.” Of two, one: Either Paul ignored the leadership and authority of Peter, or else Peter was not all that as Catholics preach. Paul’s apostleship and authority was completely independent of any acknowledgment of Peter!

We wouldn’t necessarily expect to see that at such an early stage of ecclesiology; however, what evidence we do have (Paul’s visiting Peter for fifteen days at the outset of his ministry: Gal 1:18) strongly suggests Peter’s sanctioning approval. It wasn’t just a mere coincidence that Apostle / Pope St. Peter was the one whom Apostle / Evangelist St. Paul visited, and for fifteen days, right at this important stage in his mission. If he were truly some sort of “spiritual lone ranger” as so many Protestants pretend (and Lucas may be one of them), then he wouldn’t have to go beyond Ananias, who laid hands on him (the usual rite of ordination), baptized him and was told by the Lord that Paul would have a great mission and destiny. That would constitute his ordination, if just anyone could do that. But in fact, we see the authority and ecclesiastical superiority of Peter in play.

143. Paul showed that he had the same rights to himself that the other apostles had, and he includes Peter (1 Cor.9:5).

Yep. Irrelevant. If we’re talking about apostles, Peter was one, too.

144. Paul made himself weak to win the weak, and strong to win the strong. He did everything to everyone, to somehow save as many people as possible. In his own words, “I do everything for the gospel’s sake, to share in it” (1 Cor.9:22,23). Paul was definitely the apostle who was most committed to defending the faith, to the point of becoming everything to everyone, so that they could receive Christ and see in him an example to be followed.

Exactly. This is what we would fully expect evangelists in particular to do, as good “persuasive policy”. I have tried to imitate this in the 41 years I have done Christian apologetics. Once again, Lucas seems to forget what the subject matter of this dispute is about. No one disagrees with all the great things that he notes about Paul (at least the ones that aren’t distorted and misunderstood). Was Peter the Pope? is our topic, and I religiously stick to it even if Lucas goes sailing off into the wild blue yonder, wildly, obliviously producing scads of non sequiturs and talking about all of St. Paul’s attributes that I have admired and respected as a committed disciple of Jesus and Bible-lover these past 45 years.

145. Paul’s words were not merely instructions, but “commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). He categorically states that if anyone were to ignore his words, “he himself will be ignored” (1 Cor.14:38). Nowhere else in the New Testament do we see an apostle writing with such authority, or writing on the authority of “the Lord’s commandments.”

Now Lucas bizarrely repeats an (erroneous) argument he made just seven entries earlier (#138 above). Weird . . .

146. Paul claims that he worked much harder than all the apostles did. He says, “…and his grace toward me was not in vain, but I worked harder than all of them” (1 Cor.15:10). As the apostle who works the most towards others, he can certainly be considered the “front line” among the apostles, the first and the one who most carried the gospel message.

He was the hardest worker. I agree! See my reply to #144 above.

147. Paul was “Christ’s ambassador” (1Co.5:20) [should be 2 Cor 5:20], and he claims that God made his appeal through him (1Co.5:20).

Yes he was. So was Timothy, co-writer of 2 Corinthians (1:1). That’s why Paul writes in the plural, and why it has “ambassadors” in the plural:

2 Corinthians 5:20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

But Lucas ignores the “we” and “us” that the epistle constantly employs, and so ignores poor old Timothy, who is also an “ambassador.” Peter, for his part, had long since been an ambassador or representative of Christ, as one of the twelve disciples (Mt 10:1), as Jesus made abundantly clear:

Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. . . .

Matthew 10:40 He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.

148. The only apostle the Bible says is “commended in everything” (2 Cor.6:4) is Paul.

It doesn’t say God commended him, but that “we commend ourselves in every way”. St. Peter taught that those who are commended by God are a rather large number:

1 Peter 2:19-20 For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly. [20] . . . if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval.

The writer of Hebrews applies it to a large number of past saints: “the men of old received divine approval” (Heb 11:2), based on their faith (11:1).

149. Paul clearly did not defend the superior authority of the apostle Peter over himself. Proof of this is that he says: “I was in no way inferior to the most excellent apostles” (2 Cor. 11:5). How could he have said such a thing, when Peter was the greatest earthly leader of the Church on the face of the earth, the “universal bishop”? Since Paul was in NO way inferior to the most excellent apostles, it is obvious and patent that he was not inferior to Peter or the others, either in terms of ecclesiastical authority.

I’ve dealt with this issue of “equality” twice now: in #66 in Part Two, and in #125 above.

150. Paul again defends his apostolic authority, not judging himself inferior to others (2Co.11:22-30), based on these facts: 

A. He was also a Hebrew (v.22).

B. He was also an Israelite (v.22).

C. He was also a descendant of Abraham (v.22).

D. He was much more a servant of Christ (v.23).

E. He worked much harder (v.23).

F. He was imprisoned more times (v.23).

G. He was scourged more severely (v.23).

H. He was exposed to death many more times (v.23).

I. He went through much more tribulation than anyone else (vv.25-27).

J. For these things he is proud (v.30).

He was an apostle, yep. Not every apostle is a pope, and not every pope is an apostle. He had the ancestral pedigree. He suffered a lot. The problem with Lucas’ analysis is that Paul also taught that everyone who “suffer[ed] with” Christ would — as a direct result — be “glorified with him” and would be “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17).

151. Paul continues to “glory” (2 Cor.12:1) in this, defending his authority as an apostle. He passes on the “visions and revelations of the Lord” (2Co.12:1), having been “caught up to the third heaven, and hearing unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for man to speak” (2Co.12:4). Paul was the only apostle who, in life, was caught up to the third heaven!

St. John (while still in this life) was caught up to the very throne of heaven:

Revelation 4:1-6 After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this.” [2] At once I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! [3] And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. [4] Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. [5] From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; [6] and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

The prophets Daniel (ch. 7) and Isaiah (ch. 6) had also been ushered into the presence of God in what appears to be heaven, too: both before their deaths.

152. Paul asserts that he should be “praised by you” (2Co.12:11), since he was in no way inferior to the most excellent apostles (2Co.12:1).

Basically a repeat of #66, #125, and #149.

153. After defending the authority of his apostolate, comparing himself with even the most excellent apostles and not finding himself in an inferior position to them (on the contrary, he claims that he suffered and went through experiences that none of them did), he ends saying that he could be “strong in the use of the authority which the Lord has given me to build you up and not to tear you down” (2 Cor.13:10).

See my reply to #150 and #152. Again, he’s talking about the Corinthian congregation, as to his “authority.” This has no relation to whether Peter was the leader of the early Church.

154. Paul affirms that the gospel he preached “is not of human origin” (Gal.1:11), for “I received it from no one, nor was it taught to me; on the contrary, I received it from Jesus Christ by revelation” (Gal.1:11,12). This shows us that Paul was not indoctrinated in the doctrine of Peter, as in submission to him as “pope”, but only and directly from Jesus Christ, without dependence on the other apostles.

It does not at all. That’s how he first received it. When he visited Peter for fifteen days at the outset of his ministry (Gal 1:18: the verse that Lucas totally ignores throughout his entire article), they weren’t talking about the weather . . .

155. This explains why, when he was converted, he did not consult anyone (Gal.1:15-17), nor did he go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him, but went straight to Arabia. : “When it pleased him to reveal his Son in me so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I consulted no one. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, but immediately I departed for Arabia, and returned to Damascus” (Gal.1:15-17). Paul’s ministry was independent, not dependent on Peter or the authority of any “pope” or other apostles. If Peter were pope and leader of Christians, it would be Paul’s responsibility to consult him immediately, as the supreme and ecclesiastical authority that he would be.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be immediately, but it was early on. Again, Lucas ignores Galatians 1:18: the very next verse after the ones he brings up, and extremely relevant to the discussion.

156. It was through Paul that the Ephesians received the dispensation of God’s grace (Eph.3:2,3).

Being an evangelist . . . St. Peter did the same with the 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and Cornelius and his kin and friends (Acts 10). With St. John he converted 5,000 in Jerusalem, at the temple (Acts 4:1-4), and a bunch of other people soon after (4:31), and many in Samaria (8:14-17).

END OF PART THREE

Go to Part One (#1-50)

Go to Part Two (#51-100)

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 III of my replies (#101-150).

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