(This is only one of the Protestant Church of Christ’s protestation to the Catholic Church of Christ’s self-understanding of Matthew 16; you can read about all four popular protestations here.)
The Protestant Church of Christ argues that the rock that Jesus built His Church upon was St. Peter’s “confession of faith”. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). I ask you, for a moment, to think of where you adopted your terminology. For a community that adamantly denies that it is Protestant, it is mysterious that its theological language is clearly adopted from the Protestant camp.
You will not find any Scripture nor ancient Christian commentary that describes the rock as St. Peter’s “confession of faith” in such a simplistic way. True, you will find early Church fathers (= Catholic Church fathers) who would use many, many words to describe the rock as what could be interpreted and distilled as a tidy “confession of faith” (as assigned to the visible person of St. Peter), but there is no ancient usage of language from which your group has derived its modern term and meaning. True, the Protestant reformers (who did not reform the Church, but rather, re-defined “church” to suit their own theory of what Church ought to be), used many words to describe the rock as what could be interpreted and distilled as a simpler “confession of faith” (as assigned to any individual believer), but there is no usage of the term with such meaning in any early Protestant literature. True, the term can be found; not as a condensed exegesis of Matthew 16, but as a general term to replace the Catholic-esque use of the word “creed”.
The term developed and evolved within later Protestant commentary as a means to represent a new concept. The new concept is that a “confession of faith” is the ingredient that inducts a person into the believing body of Christ’s Church—that St. Peter’s “confession of faith” is not about St. Peter’s confession, but about any person’s faith. In other words, Protestantism has effectively deleted part of the Scripture (a trait that your group adopted); essentially removing I tell you, you are Peter from the discourse. Your group is nearly incapable of providing an exegesis of Matthew 16 on its own, depends not on language found within antiquity, but on later Protestant terminology that was in vogue at the time of your group’s birth. The Protestant Church of Christ is immersed within the language that it was born, like an American who thinks he is speaking American and not English, and its use of language reveals a thoroughly Protestant culture that it ungratefully depends upon for its own birth and existence. Again, your group cannot create; it can only imitate (patternism = imitation, even of Protestant traditions).
It is important to know that the Catholic Church of Christ, too, believes that that rock that Jesus built His Church upon is St. Peter’s faith. True, the Catholic Church of Christ is built on St. Peter, but it is built on St. Peter as predicated by his faith—his confession does not negate his physical, visible existence. St. Peter’s faith, manifest in his confession that Jesus is the Christ, was the ingredient that became foundational to Jesus calling St. Peter the foundation; and reveals the beauty of the unaltered text:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”(Matthew 16:16-19 emphasis added).
St. Peter is the subject of verse 18: You are Peter, and on this rock … . St. Peter’s faith is not the subject—his “confession of faith” is two sentences prior. The passage itself shows that Jesus called St. Peter rock, but never was St. Peter’s confession called “rock” (nor does Scripture ever equate “faith” with “rock”). It is impossible for any person, unless enamored with anti-Catholic traditions, to entertain the theory that St. Peter is not the rock that Jesus would build His Church upon; language does not allow it, nor does the Scripture’s context.
The passage’s unaltered beauty consists of three parts: St. Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus stating that He will build His Church on St. Peter, and then proof beyond any reasonable doubt that He was not speaking of a “confession of faith” as the Church’s foundation, but that the rock can only be a subject that will be vested with authority: and whatever you bind on earth … .For a “confession of faith” has no authority on earth, but the King’s prime minister certainly does. This clear truth is undeniable, and some of your members admit that the meaning of the keys to the kingdom can only make sense if St. Peter is given some sort of status beyond that of making a “confession of faith”, and choose to teach that the keys refer to St. Peter’s preaching in Acts 2.
The keys to the kingdom is much greater than only preaching, and is more than an alleged prophecy of St. Peter’s sermon (of which the Bible offers no indication that Acts 2 is some sort of prophetic fulfillment of Matthew 16); it is a term rich with authority and cultural context—authority that the Protestant Church of Christ cannot acknowledge, and a cultural context that understood what the term meant. Those facts will be demonstrated throughout the remainder of this book, but the topic at hand demands that members of your group admit to possessing an unexplainable and contradicting exegesis of the passage. For if the rock, as you say, is St. Peter’s “confession of faith”, then there is no need for you to create a rationale for equating the keys with St. Peter’s Pentecost sermon. Additionally, admitting that the keys do allude to a kind of authority demands that you seek what that authority actually entails, instead of forcing its meaning into a limited future sermon account.
The living Catholic Church of Christ has a memory, and does not require the passage to be deciphered in ways to support modern theories. In addition to its memory, she possesses the remainder of Scripture (as well as ancient commentary that your group stigmatizes) that cumulate into an immovable mass of evidence that can only support her paradigm. Conversely, your group has no memory because it is modern, and denies that the remainder of the Bible supports what can only be a proper (= Catholic) interpretation of the passage, as proved by perverting the structure of the very passage at hand, and an overarching sect-wide denial that the keys allude to an authoritative office of prime minister.
Reason alone proves that the rock is more than a “confession of faith”, and that the keys represent authority over the worldwide Church because St. Matthew’s Gospel would not have received residence in the Bible if the nascent Church were not the Catholic Church—if she had not determined that she had the authority to determine the Christian canon; because only books recognized as inspired by the recipients (successors) of the keys (forth century Catholic bishops) are bound within the covers of even the abridged Protestant Bible from which you argue. In other words, the fact that your group considers the passage to be inspired should also prove to you that the Catholic Church of Christ’s interpretation of the passage is correct, and of course, thatthe keys are with her.
As you have now noticed, any discussion of Jesus’ words, And I tell you, you are Peter, must acknowledge the context in which it is nested. Your group can only discuss portions of the passage, separate St. Peter from his “confession of faith”, or at best, insert unreasonable inferences into Jesus’ spoken word. The Protestant Church of Christ is built on an avoidance of rock; the real Church of Christ is built on rock.
• "Your website is a troll." "You son of Satan."
-Scott J. Shifferd, Dean Road Church of Christ
• "Pax [(he thinks "pax" means "Pat" and not "peace")] cannot do us no harm and that why he wont fly to Martinsville not unless we foot he bill [to debate me on my television show]. . . . Really now I just want you to man up and bring your false doctrine to the airwaves but You and me know that wont happen because all you can do is play book writer and site master. You take that book momey Buy a plane tickey then we post it all on youtube how about that?"
-Johnny Robertson, founder of Church of Christ WDTBS Television Show
• "You are not a model of ethicality."
-Neal Pollard, Bear Valley Church of Christ; instructor at Bear Valley Bible Institute
• "Patrick Vandapool you will pay for your crimes against God." "You and your Church are condemned, better accept the Gospel and leave your Church before you die in your sins. you are an alien sinner!" "Your brainwashed." "Your site is a propaganda site." Your not a true Christian." "Your a fool... . I never called you a fool."
-John Riddle; "well tranned priest of the Lord's Church"
• "Are you an unmarried man under 25? Your writing style and wisdom match such a profile."
-Steve Rudd, Hamilton Church of Christ; founder of CofC propaganda website bible.ca
• "You have to be the most immature person that I've ever "met" in WordPress, and that includes the atheists, by which in overwhelming numbers show more common courtesy and respect that you. Are you 10 years old? ...if that's what your readers enjoy then it says as much about them as it does you."
-Eugene Adkins, Keltonburg Church of Christ