20 Biblical Proofs for the Papacy, Pt. II (vs. Lucas Banzoli)

20 Biblical Proofs for the Papacy, Pt. II (vs. Lucas Banzoli) February 13, 2023

Lucas Banzoli is a very active Brazilian anti-Catholic polemicist, who holds to basically a Seventh-Day Adventist theology, whereby there is no such thing as a soul that consciously exists outside of a body, and no hell (soul sleep and annihilationism). This leads him to a Christology which is deficient and heterodox in terms of Christ’s human nature after His death. 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 27 self-published books, as well as blogmaster (active on and off) for six blogs. He has many videos on YouTube.

This is my 61st refutation of Banzoli’s writings. For almost half a year (5-25-22 to 11-12-22) he wrote not one single word in reply, because my articles were deemed to be “without exception poor, superficial and weak” and he believes that “only a severely cognitively impaired person would be inclined to take” them “seriously.” Despite this childish rationalizing, he found my refutations so “entertaining” that he bravely decided to “make a point of rebutting” them “one by one”; this effort being his “new favorite sport.”

He has now replied to me 15 times (the last one dated 2-9-23). I disposed of the main themes of his slanderous insults in several Facebook posts under his name on my Anti-Catholicism page (where all my replies to him are listed). I shall try, by God’s grace, to ignore his innumerable insults henceforth, and heartily thank him for all these blessings and extra rewards in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12).

Google Translate is utilized to render Lucas’ Portugese into English. Occasionally I slightly modify clearly inadequate translations, so that his words will read more smoothly and meaningfully in English. His words will be in blueWords from past replies of mine to him will be in green.

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See Part I: Defending 20 Biblical Proofs for the Papacy (vs. Lucas Banzoli) (2-13-23)

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This is my reply to Lucas Banzoli’s article, “Refutando as “20 maiores provas bíblicas” que Dave encontrou do papado de Pedro (Parte 2)” [Refuting the “20 Greatest Biblical Proofs” Dave Found for the Papacy of Peter (Part 2)] (2-9-23). Despite his heroic resolve to refute any and all of my [now 61] critiques of his arguments “one by one,” for some odd reason he chose to pass over my massive four-part counter-reply, “Reply to Lucas Banzoli’s 205 Potshots at St. Peter” (5-26-22) and to concentrate on my older article (not directed towards him): “Top Twenty Biblical Proofs for the Office of the Papacy” (12-12-15). Obviously, twenty arguments are easier to address than 205, but one hopes to see him defend his larger effort, which I disposed of over eight months ago now.

Here we will look at the other ten, more for entertainment than anything else, as the arguments that were already laughable in Part 1 become even more catastrophic in Part 2 (which is the “leftover” of the previous arguments).

I’m sure, then, since my arguments are so “laughable” and “catastrophic” according to Banzoli, that his takedown of my 205 refutations of his anti-Petrine / anti-papacy arguments will be appearing soon.

11. Peter alone among the apostles is exhorted by Jesus to “strengthen” the Christian “brethren” (Lk 22:32).

This in no way implies rule over the Church, because Jesus did not use a word to designate authority or leadership. The word Luke uses here is sterizo, which means “to strengthen, to make firm” (Strong’s #4741), and throughout the Bible we are taught that it is the duty of all of us to strengthen one another. 

Of course we are to do so, but this misses the point (yet another non sequitur: Banzoli’s stock-in-trade). The actual point is that only Peter “among the apostles” (technically meaning here the twelve disciples) is told to do this. It is this constant singling out of Peter that indicates his primacy among the disciples, and by analogy and the historical working-out of Petrine primacy, the pope’s primacy among the bishops.

There is a reason why Peter is portrayed as the leader of the disciples and the early Church in the NT (just as there is a reason for absolutely everything in the inspired, infallible revelation of the Bible), and that reason is his role as the prototype of the pope and his being the first pope.

The author of Hebrews says that it is the overall mission of Christians (not just Peter) to “strengthen the feeble hands and the feeble knees” (Heb. 12:12); James asks to “strengthen your hearts” (James 5:8); Paul says to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Eph 6:10), to “comfort one another” (1 Thess 4:18) and to “Exhort one another and build one another up” (1 Thess 5:11).

Yep. This has nothing to do with my point, as explained. It would be nice if just one time, Banzoli actually comprehended, grasped, understood the nature of an argument that I made. That would be such a refreshing change. I think I’d go out and celebrate of that ever happened: take my wife to a play or something; even take my whole family (my treat!). A real cause for celebration . . .

Banzoli then uses an argument that he has brought up several times now: trying to explain away or rationalize all of these evidences of Petrine primacy:

Christ had predicted in the previous verse that Satan would tempt Peter (v. 31), as indeed he did, causing him to deny the Lord three times, as he says would shortly thereafter (v. 34). So, within this context, he says that, when all this was over, Peter would be used by God to strengthen his brothers . . . 

This “singular weakness of Peter” canard can’t be used for every single one of my fifty Petrine proofs (from which these twenty are drawn). Even if it is a factor at all (and it may have been, to a minor degree), it simply can’t explain away everything I have made note of. When Jesus called Peter the Rock and said He would build His Church upon Him, it wasn’t (by all indications in the immediate context) because Peter was weak and had to be given a “vote of confidence” from the Lord.

It was because Peter proclaimed that He was “the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16), to which Jesus replied: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). And then He made him the Rock in the next verse.

Now, what does any of this have to do with Peter being weak or the one who temporarily lost his resolve (under the threat of possible death) to follow Jesus, denying Him? Absolutely nothing! Even those who don’t like Petrine primacy and despise the very notion of a papacy freely admit that it was Peter’s faith (before the Day of Pentecost, when all Christians were indwelt with the Holy Spirit) that led Jesus to change his name to Rock.

And true faith has nothing to do with the weaknesses that we also all have. Critics of Peter (who in effect represents the dreaded, detested  Catholicism) and those who run down things like my 50 Proofs, love to bring up the fact of Peter’s three denials.

As I pointed out elsewhere, that was a matter of a strictly temporary weakness or cowardice, under the threat of possible death, as one of Jesus’ followers. He made the denials, heard the cock crow, and then immediately “went out and wept bitterly” (Mt 26:75; Lk 22:62); “broke down and wept” (Mk 14:72); that is, he repented. The entire incident may have lasted no more than five or ten minutes.

Contrast that with Paul, who persecuted and actually killed who knows how many Christians, for who knows how long of a time (“ravaging the church”: Acts 8:3); who stood by “consenting” (Acts 8:1) when St. Stephen was stoned to death. It took God virtually forcing him to convert, with a dramatic vision, to stop the killing. This is why Paul described himself as “the foremost of sinners” (1 Tim 1:15), noting how he had “formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted” Jesus (1 Tim 1:13).

Which sin was worse, between those two? But both repented, and both were mightily used by God. Both were martyred (Paul by beheading, which takes half a second; Peter by being crucified — by his request — upside down: many hours of the most agonizing torture). Yet I never see Protestants like Banzoli arguing that God used Paul as he did only because Paul was such a notorious, murdering sinner before he became a Christian; therefore God told him (through Ananias) the great things he would do for the kingdom (“you will be a witness for him to all men”: Acts 22:15), to restore his confidence in himself.

That’s never heard; it’s only applied to Peter, and only — I submit — because we say he was the first pope. Thus, there exists an irrational bigotry towards Peter from anti-Catholics like Banzoli, or Jason Engwer: with whom I’ve gone through these discussions several times, too, whereas there is no similar animus towards Paul, even though (if we are to compare) he was a far greater sinner before his conversion to Christ.

12. St. Peter is the first to speak (and only one recorded) after Pentecost, so he was the first Christian to “preach the gospel” in the Church era (Acts 2:14-36).

That’s right, the logic is “Peter was the first to speak; therefore he was pope.” Believe me, this is literally how Dave tries to “prove” the papacy! . . . in Dave’s tiny mind, the fact that Peter was the first to speak at Pentecost makes him a pope, . . . [this] would automatically make any talkative person a leader – which is just plain stupid. . . . If being the first to speak were a criterion that necessarily identified a supreme leader, Moses would have taken the lead and spoken directly to the people and Pharaoh, instead of urging God that Aaron do it for him. . . . But Dave can’t understand something so simple, either because of obvious cognitive limitations or because of his traditional intellectual dishonesty. He really thinks that Peter being the first to speak on one occasion can only be explained by the fact that he is “pope”, which shows the extent to which he is committed to duping his readers and how he sees them only as putty; an amorphous, mindless mass that will trust any dumb argument without question. . . . it’s really hard to imagine how anyone would follow such a guy for any reason other than to laugh.

Of course (“cognitive limitations” or “intellectual dishonesty” or not), this is not my argument because (as seemingly always!) Banzoli has not comprehended what it is in the first place. So he caricatures and ridicules it. His goal is not to understand my arguments and provide rebuttals to them. Rather, he is always trying to “prove” that I am the dumbest person and apologist to ever walk the face of the earth (as we can readily observe above in his supercharged polemic). This is why he loses — and will continue to lose — every debate with me (by virtue of his vastly underestimating the ability of his opponent).

This particular argument is part of an overall cumulative argument (fifty such observations), that, taken together, lead one to believe that Peter was being portrayed as the leader of the disciples and the Church; that is, the first pope. No single argument is sufficient to do this by itself. Ron J. Bigalke (BS; MApol; MTS; MDiv; PhD), [Protestant] professor in apologetics and theology, explains the nature of cumulative apologetics arguments:

Cumulative case apologetics is a method that argues for the existence of God (or another complex truth claim) by demonstrating that it is the more reasonable view in correspondence with all obtainable evidence than some alternate hypothesis. As an argumentative methodology, the cumulative case would employ various arguments but none would be regarded resolutely. Each argument, however, results in clear and definite conclusions evidentially, which assert the probability of the existence of God. Various theistic arguments are intended as proofs that assert the probability of belief in the existence of God. For instance, arguments for the existence of God are not entirely formulated definitively; rather the argumentation is developed progressively, according to conditions of probability, until theism explains natural theology better than any alternative hypothesis and becomes more probable as truth than it not being true. (“Apologetics, Cumulative Case”, 25 November 2011)

I explained this in my 50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy & the Papacy. And Banzoli read my explanation then, since he responded to this article of mine before I ever started refuting his materials (which was in May 2022):

The biblical Petrine data is quite strong and convincing, by virtue of its cumulative weight, especially for those who are not hostile to the notion of the papacy from the outset. (my bolding and italics now)

In March 2002, I elaborated upon this in reply to Protestant apologist Jason Engwer, who had critiqued my 50 Proofs:

[T]hey are part of a long list of indications of the primacy of Peter. As I said, it is a “cumulative” argument. One doesn’t expect that all individual pieces of such an argument are “airtight” or conclusive in and of themselves, in isolation, by the nature of the case. I certainly don’t do so. I was probably assuming at the time that the sort of thing that Jason brings up was self-evident, because that was my own opinion (therefore, I thought it quite unnecessary to state it). Obviously, passages like the two above wouldn’t “logically lead to a papacy.” But they can quite plausibly be regarded as consistent with such a notion, as part of a demonstrable larger pattern, within which they do carry some force. It’s true that I should have made my logical and epistemological viewpoint on this more clear in the original paper, but I am happy to have the opportunity to do so now.

I made an analogy to biblical evidences for the Holy Trinity, which I had compiled two long lists of proofs for (one / two), twenty years earlier, in 1982:

Obviously, the Jews are quite familiar with Isaiah 9:6 and Zechariah 12:10, but they don’t see any indication of trinitarianism at all in them, nor do the three passages above “logically lead” to trinitarianism, if they are not interconnected with many, many other biblical evidences. Yet they are used as proof texts by Christians. No one claims that they are compelling by themselves; these sorts of “proofs” are used in the same way that my lesser Petrine evidences are used, as consistent with lots of other biblical data suggesting that conclusion. And Jews who reject trinitarianism beforehand as a form of blasphemy, will not see the relevance, let alone compulsion, of any of these indications, as their presuppositions do not allow them to interpret within that framework. Likewise, with many Protestants and the papacy and its biblical evidences.

I further explained my methodology:

I approached the Petrine list with the thought in mind: “Paul is obviously an important figure, but how much biblical material can one find with regard to Peter, which would be consistent with (not absolute proof of) a view that he was the head of the Church and the first pope?” Or, to put it another way (from the perspective of preexisting Catholic belief): “if Peter were indeed the leader of the Church, we would expect to find much material about his leadership role in the New Testament, at least in kernel form, if not explicitly.” . . .

As for the nature of a “cumulative argument,” what Jason doesn’t seem to understand is that all the various evidences become strong only as they are considered together (like many weak strands of twine which become a strong rope when they are woven together). . . . Apart from the first three evidences of the 50 being far more important (as indicated by the space given to them), many of the others are not particularly strong by themselves, but they demonstrate, I think, that there is much in the New Testament which is consistent with Petrine primacy, which is the developmental kernel of papal primacy.

The reader ought to note, also, that in the original paper I wasn’t claiming that these biblical indications proved “papal supremacy” or “papal infallibility” (i.e., the fully-developed papacy of recent times). . . .

I did not assert — didn’t get anywhere near claiming — that the papacy as understood after 1870 was present in full bloom in the pages of the New Testament. Quite the contrary; I stated that the doctrine was “derived from” Petrine primacy — as opposed to “proven in all its fully-developed aspects by the biblical presentation of Peter,” or some such thing –, and that it developed from the essential elements shown with regard to St. Peter in Scripture (just as, e.g., Chalcedonian trinitarianism developed from far simpler biblical and early patristic teachings on the Trinity).

I repeated much of this when I started refuting Banzoli’s 205 anti-Petrine arguments, so (barring a nonexistent memory) he is fully aware of it. Yet he continues to mock and ridicule various evidences, as if he has no inkling of how relatively little I claim for most of them. This is either outright dishonest or extremely shoddy scholarship on his part.

My overall argument in my 50 Proofs is far more subtle and sophisticated than Banzoli seems to understand. Or he does understand its nature and has simply chosen to misrepresent and caricature it in order to make me look like a simpleton and an idiot for his already anti-Catholic and “willing to believe anything and everything about Catholicism and its defenders, no matter how ridiculous” reading audience.

Banzoli even distorts and twists the specific point I made here, mocking the notion of Peter speaking first, even though he didn’t at the Jerusalem Council. It’s not the fact that he happened to be the first speaker on this occasion (as if that would prove anything); it’s the fact that he was the only one recorded to have spoken on the Day of Pentecost, which makes him “the first Christian to ‘preach the gospel’ in the Church era.” Certainly this has significance, and there is a reason that it happened and is recorded in the Bible. It’s the beginning of the Church, and at that time, Peter was clearly its leader.

So this is not a failed evidence. It works perfectly well, as long as one properly understands how much I would claim for it, in the context of the other 49 proofs. But if they make no attempt to comprehend and grasp that which they are critiquing, then we will get the asinine, vapid, fatuous analysis that he provided above, only making a fool of himself.

13. Peter works the first miracle of the Church Age, healing a lame man (Acts 3:6-12).

Wow! Peter performed a miracle; therefore, Peter was pope! It is increasingly difficult to think that anyone reads this citizen’s articles without being for comic reasons… Again, if you have an evangelism group, be very careful about performing a miracle – you don’t want someone to identify you as the pope.

He repeats the same basic, elementary noncomprehension of the nature of each individual argument, per my explanation immediately above. He notes that Paul performed seven miracles in the book of Acts, to Peter’s four. But this is perfectly irrelevant; my point being that Peter being the first has a symbolic meaning, according to the nature of biblical portrayals.

As a matter of fact, we have no way of knowing whether the first miracle was really the one performed by Peter in Acts 3; all we know is that it was the first recorded miracle. 

That’s right, and this is a valid point. But this is part of my argument, too: there is a reason why Peter either performed the first or is the first person recorded as having done so.

Or maybe Dave thinks that only doing the “first” miracle is important,

Yes it is, insofar as it is viewed in conjunction with 49 other proofs: all leading to the same conclusion: Petrine primacy.

In summary, from the moment that Paul is converted, Luke focuses almost entirely on him, and Peter is practically forgotten.

Since Peter and Paul were the most important figures in first century Christianity, Luke devotes the first half of his book to Peter and the second to Paul: exactly as we would expect. Once need not pit them against each other. There is no warrant to use the polemical language of Peter being “forgotten.” His deeds and words were simply recorded first in the book and then Paul’s.

14. Peter is regarded by the common people as the leader of Christianity (Acts 5:15: “as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.”).

It’s hard to know for sure whether it’s dishonesty or backwardness (probably a combination of the two, from what we know of him). Dave picks up a text that says Peter’s shadow healed, and says that makes him the “leader of Christianity.” If he weren’t so dishonest, I’d say it’s a serious case of psychiatric impairment. . . . it’s hard to know the line between stupidity and dishonesty. 

See my explanations above, under #12. Apparently, it’s impossible to have any honest differences with anti-Catholics, without being accused of being nuts (James White, James Swan, Steve Hays all having made this charge), as well as good ol’ dishonesty.

We see Banzoli (in his reply here and often elsewhere) constantly pitting Paul against Peter, in the same manner that Jason Engwer tried to do. I answered all of that years ago:

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15. Peter was the first traveling missionary, and first to exercise the “visitation of the churches” (Acts 9:32-38, 43). Paul’s missionary journeys begin in Acts 13:2.

Dave’s ability to expose himself to ridicule is impressive. It even looks like he took a course on how to embarrass himself for free on the internet. I confess I have never seen anything like it before. . . . It really does sound like a five-year-old arguing . . . It is only in Dave Armstrong’s bewildered mind that whatever Peter does first is used as “proof” that he did it first because he was pope . . . In the end, anyone with a minimum of mental capacity is capable of realizing that these “arguments” are nothing more than crude, barbaric and senseless tricks to make Peter a pope at any cost – even if all logic and common sense have to be sacrificed in the process. Anything Peter does is used as “proof” of his primacy . . . and what others do is largely ignored, like the good con man that Dave is. If there are those who fall for this ruse, it’s only because his readers tend to be as ignorant as he is.

We often note and honor people who were the first to do something: the first to sail around the world, or to fly in an airplane, or the first to reach the North and South Poles, or to discover radioactivity, or to climb the highest mountain in the world (Mt. Everest) or walk on the moon. It would be reasonable to note that all these people were the “leaders” in their fields when they accomplished these things.

Likewise, there is nothing unreasonable in the slightest in making a cumulative argument about Petrine primacy which includes many items where Peter was the first, or first recorded to have done something important related to Christianity. This is a relevant factor, regardless of how much Banzoli wants to mock and ridicule, having not grasped the very nature of my overall argument in the first place. Solomon predicted such things in the tenth century BC:

Proverbs 29:9 (RSV) If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.

16. Cornelius is told by an angel to seek out St. Peter for instruction in Christianity:

Acts 10:21-22 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” [22] And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house, and to hear what you have to say.”

That is, Peter is pope because an angel sent Cornelius to look for Peter. 

Nope. That isn’t my argument, which would accurately be described as: “Peter is so important in early Christianity that an angel sends an open-minded inquirer to him. This clearly suggests that (or is at the very least consistent with the notion that) Peter was the leader, which in turn suggests (or is at the very least consistent with the notion that) he was the first pope (as the first leader of the Church), when understood in conjunction with 49 other indications of his primacy, forming together a cumulative argument.”

17. Peter is the first to receive the Gentiles into the fellowship of the Christian Catholic Church, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48).

It is also based on the same logic already refuted in the penultimate argument, which is that if someone did something first, this someone must be superior to the others . . . 

See my answer under #15 above.

18. Peter presides over and is preeminent in the first Church-wide council of Christianity (Acts 15:7-11).

If the other arguments were simply silly, this one is an outright lie. It’s surreal that someone reads Acts 15 and still thinks that Peter led the council. Although Peter was present at the council, he neither opens nor closes it; he only speaks “after much discussion” (Acts 15:7), and after him the debate continues, with the speeches of Paul and Barnabas (v. 12). Who gives the final word (a typical attitude of those who preside over an assembly) is James, the brother of Jesus (vs. 13-20). His speech extends over 9 verses (vs. 13-21), four more than Peter’s (vs. 7-11). More importantly, the letter sent to the churches with the council’s decisions is based entirely on his words, not Peter’s: . . . 

James does most of the talking, James has the final word, James’ words are literally the council’s decisions (copied almost directly from what he said ) , but even so, in this troubled mind, it is Peter who “presides and is pre-eminent” in the council. It just reinforces the fact that his mind is so conditioned to deception and used to lying that it does it out of habit, even when all the evidence weighs to the contrary.
 
Apologists like Dave aren’t the least bit concerned about what the text says; they are only concerned with how to distort it to use it in favor of their previous views, to which they are psychologically conditioned. So, instead of doing exegesis, which is extracting from the text what it actually says, all they know is doing eisegesis – when someone tries to graft their own ideas into the text, even if the text doesn’t say any of that. So if a verse doesn’t say what Dave would like it to say, he tortures him until he says what he wants to hear. This is how Catholic apologetics works as a whole, which Dave exemplifies so well.

From Acts 15, we learn that “after there was much debate, Peter rose” to address the assembly (15:7). The Bible records his speech, which goes on for five verses. He was the first to speak definitively, and with authority. Peter claimed authority in a special way: “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” (15:7). Peter sternly rebuked the opposing view of strict observance of ceremonial law: “Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (15:10).
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After Peter spoke, the debate was essentially over, and it’s reported that “all the assembly kept silence” (15:12). Paul and Barnabas speak next, not making authoritative pronouncements, but confirming Peter’s exposition, speaking about “signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles” (15:12). Then when James speaks, he refers right back to what “Simeon [Peter] has related” (15:14). James did not hand down the main decree or add anything new to what Peter had already proclaimed. To me, this suggests that Peter’s talk was central and definitive. James speaking last could easily be explained by the fact that he was the bishop of Jerusalem and therefore the “host.” Those who talked after Peter did not disagree with his decision, and merely confirmed it (15:12-21).
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James states, “Therefore my judgment …” but this does not prove that he presided, as anyone could say that (similar to saying, “my opinion is …”). The judgment was reached by consensus (“it seemed good to the apostles and elders, with the whole Church” in 15:22; “it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord” in 15:25; “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” in 15:28; cf. 16:4). This, too, is exactly like Catholic councils throughout history: they decide matters as a group, yet popes preside. Nothing in this text suggests anything other than St. Peter being the leader.
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Peter indeed had already received a relevant revelation, related to the council. God gave him a vision of the cleanness of all foods (contrary to the Jewish Law: see Acts 10:9-16). Peter is already learning about the relaxation of Jewish dietary laws, and is eating with uncircumcised men, and is ready to proclaim the gospel widely to the Gentiles (Acts 10 and 11). This was the second major decision of the Jerusalem Council, and Peter referred to his experiences with the Gentiles at the council (Acts 15:7-11). The council then decided — with regard to food –, to prohibit only that which “has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled” (15:29).
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Paul is not shown as having any special authority in the council. (Many think he had more authority in the early Church than Peter). Instead, we learn that he and Barnabas “were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question” (15:2). Paul and Barnabas merely give report of their experiences (15:12) and then they are sent by the council to report what had been decided (15:25, 30; 16:4).

This raises several questions for Protestants. When was the last council held a particular location, with the elders of the entire Church — at that time, Paul and Peter and others — binding for Protestant Christians at large in other locations, far away? Don’t Protestants always have the right to say that it was in error, since Scripture alone is their rule of faith? After all, that’s precisely what Luther said (councils can err, so he went by Scripture and plain reason), so why couldn’t Christians reject the decisions of Acts 15 and defy Paul’s injunction, described in Acts 16:4? Could or should a Protestant dissent from the decisions of the Jerusalem council (i.e., before portions of it became part of the New Testament? Martin Luther’s “councils err” notion doesn’t apply to it?

Instead, Paul and Timothy traveled “through the cities” (in Turkey; then called Asia Minor) and “delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.” Thus Paul proclaimed teaching that was binding, that was formulated by Peter as the leader of the first Christian council in history.

So there we have two competing interpretations of this council. Let the reader decide which is more plausible and accurate and true to the biblical account.

Banzoli shows himself utterly incapable of s=understanding the nature and subtlety of #19, so I won’t even bother repeating his inane “replies”; my patience hanging by the thinnest of threads by now, and utterly sustained only by God’s merciful grace.

20. St. 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.

What Dave forgot to inform his readers (he forgot nothing, he left it out of purpose to bait them) is that Paul (and “Saul”, his other name) is mentioned by name no less than 240 times (not counting all the times appearing by the pronoun “he” and the like). . . . This is the typical dishonesty of Catholic apologetics and even more typical of Dave Armstrong, . . . he leaves not the slightest margin of doubt that he is dishonest.

What Banzoli forgot to inform his readers is that his argument is not a response to mine. I was comparing the mention of Peter’s name compared to the other disciples, meaning the original twelve disciples. Paul was not one of these, so his example is utterly irrelevant to my point, which is (as throughout my 50 Proofs) that Peter is presented as a leader of the disciples, therefore, by logical extension and analogy and the usual typological and prototypical understanding of Holy Scripture, he is to be regarded as the leader of the Church: particularly since Jesus said He would build His Church upon the Rock of Peter.

As we read the NT, it seems clear that Peter was more prominent than the other eleven disciples, 

Exactly! At last Banzoli actually makes some sense, and this is precisely what I was trying to establish with my 50 Proofs, so he winds up conceding the argument I made there. I wrote, “The Catholic doctrine of the papacy is biblically based, and is derived from the evident primacy of St. Peter among the apostles.” What I stated was “evident” Banzoli agrees is “clear.”  He obviously then denies that this primacy suggests the papacy, but that becomes a separate argument of a different epistemological nature and with different parameters and specifics.

He would have to understand my initial argument before we went on to that stage, but he shows no signs of doing so. He’s not even aware that he just conceded, above, the central point of my 50 Proofs. Peter, in his own words, “was more prominent than the other eleven disciples”. Thus far, we agree. I go on to say that this means something, that it has further implications, according to biblical prototypical and typological thinking, and that what we Catholics conclude from it is that Peter is being presented as the first leader of the Church: the first pope.

Of course that can be discussed and disagreed about, like any other topic (and has been these past 500 years), but in order to sensibly, rationally do so, those who disagree with my overall argument and its particulars, construed within the larger framework, must first understand both. Banzoli does not. Therefore, mostly what he does is mock and reiterate how supposedly stupid and/or dishonest I am, whereas I simply make my argument, presented so that anyone can make up their own mind as to whether I am onto something in this line of thinking or not.

Armstrong . . . exposes like no one else the notorious weakness of Catholic apologetics, with its famous poverty of arguments that leads it to manipulate the simplest texts in the most bizarre way possible. Although it serves as a source of entertainment, it is at the same time a sad and shocking portrait, which makes us reflect a lot on the extent to which a human being is capable of going to support his ideological fanaticism. Dave’s articles are all of these things at once, blending the comic with the surreal, and bringing out the worst in apologetics.

May God bless Lucas Banzoli with all good things, and bring him into the knowledge that Jesus is God, so that he can come back to Christianity again. He’s got the zeal in spades; he just needs God’s saving grace and the knowledge of what is true. If Paul could come to the true Jesus and become one of the greatest Christians ever, Banzoli can be made to see that Jesus is God, and to give up his unbiblical view of the soul, that caused him to reject the divinity of Jesus. Please pray for him and for God to fill him with His Spirit and educate and correct him where he is wrong.

He thinks I am his enemy and that I hate him. I’m not and I don’t. I want the best for him. I want him to be saved. This is what all Christians are commanded to do with regard to all people and I try my best, with God’s help and by His grace, to maintain this outlook. If he has made himself my enemy, then I love him all the more, according to Jesus’ command. One way to love is to correct someone when they are in theological error. That’s what I am educated to do as an apologist.

It does no one any good at all to believe in falsehood, and writers like Banzoli will be responsible for those whom they lead astray: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). I tremble over that verse every time my fingers touch my keyboard, in order to teach. 

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Practical Matters: Perhaps some of my 4,000+ free online articles (the most comprehensive “one-stop” Catholic apologetics site) or fifty-one books have helped you (by God’s grace) to decide to become Catholic or to return to the Churchor better understand some doctrines and why we believe them.

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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 anti-Catholic apologist and polemicist Lucas Banzoli responded to my “20 Biblical Proofs for the Papacy”. This is Part II of my systematic counter-reply.

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