Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John 21:15-17 Does Not Support Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church interprets the words of Jesus Christ ("feed my sheep") which were directed specifically to the Apostle Peter  to mean that he was given an exclusive position of primacy in caring for the household of God, which is the church. 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 support the idea that the pope has been appointed by Christ to serve in the office of "Chief Shepherd."
  • A Refutation Of Papal Argument From John 21:15-17:
          -All bishops 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.
          -The Apostle Peter forbade people from becoming lords over God's heritage (1 Peter 5:1-5). In fact, 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). There is only one Chief Shepherd over the household of God. Scripture never records Christ reserving this 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 is not about inheriting a position of special primacy. John 21:15-17 simply records a threefold confession of faith articulated by Peter for the three times that he denied knowing 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. If this text is about Peter being promoted to a higher position by Christ, then how come we do not see anywhere the usual reaction of a person getting exalted by a superior (rejoicing and excitement)?
          -Although we know from the Book of Acts 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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