Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John 21:15-17 Does Not Support Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church interprets the words of our Lord Jesus Christ ("feed my sheep") which were directed specifically to the Apostle Peter, as recorded in John 21:15-17, to mean that he was given an exclusive position of primacy to care for the household of God, which is the church. In other words, the Papacy maintains that Christ conferred to Peter a distinctive, greater position of episcopal authority which he allegedly passed on to the Roman bishops of future generations. The text of John 21:15-17 has been used by Roman Catholic apologists to corroborate the notion that the pope has been appointed by Christ to serve in the office of "Chief Shepherd".
  • Refutation Of Papal Argument From John 21:15-17:
          -All leaders of the church have been commissioned by the apostles to care for the church of God (Acts 20:28). The Apostle Peter was not the only one who was obligated to nourish the "flock". Thus, the text of John 21:15-17 does not guarantee a unique position of supremacy to Peter.
          -In addition, the Apostle Peter himself forbade people from becoming lords over God's heritage (1 Peter 5:1-5). In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as being the "Chief Shepherd" (John 10:10-16). The Apostle Peter himself called Christ the "Shepherd and Bishop of our souls" (1 Peter 2:25). According to Hebrews, Jesus is the "Great Shepherd" (Hebrews 13:20), which excludes the Bishop of Rome. There is only one Chief Shepherd over the household of God. Scripture also never records Christ reserving His title for Peter or him being addressed by that title. Thus, this title cannot rightfully be applied to anybody who claims to be a representative of Jesus Christ here on earth or descendant of the Apostle Peter.
          -This passage from the Gospel of John is not about inheriting a position of special primacy. John 21:15-17 was simply a threefold confession of faith articulated by Peter for the three times that he denied knowing our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:33-34). This passage shows us an utter failure on Peter's part. It therefore makes no sense to view this text as one that exalts him in any fashion. Although we know from the pages of the New Testament that the Apostle Peter played a significant role in preaching the gospel, we have no biblical evidence suggesting that he was given a position of supremacy over the church. To call the pope the "Good Shepherd" is outright blasphemy against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the occupation of such a title by a mere man robs Him of the honor that only He deserves.

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