Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Galatians 2:11-14: A Rebuke Of Papal Infallibility

  • Discussion:
         -"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Galatians 2:11-14)

         In this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Paul states that Peter normally ate with the Gentiles, which was proper and suitable considering that he knew the teachings of the gospel. This scenario, however, records the arrival of the Judaizers, who taught that Christians needed to observe Jewish customs. This fact conveys great support to the matrix of this argument because the context of the entire epistle to the Galatians serves as a profound condemnation of Christians reverting from the gospel and reintroducing the laws of the Old Covenant. Consequently, the Apostle Peter separated himself from the presence of the Gentiles out of fear of having a poor reputation among the Judaizers. He was afraid of what he might look like from their perspective, which made him a hypocrite. This caused others to follow in his footsteps, making the same grievous error of retreating and compromising for the Judaizers in their attempts to force Mosaic customs upon non-Jewish people. Peter himself was guilty of misconduct in the eyes of God by aligning himself with men that he knew to be in the wrong, and therefore caused much harm and confusion to the accompanying brethren. If the Apostle Peter truly was endowed with an office of infallible teaching authority, then it surely is ironic that he was susceptible to such deception. The text clearly shows that Paul and Peter had equal authority because the former confronted the latter for his sin. Peter is not in an exulted position. Any person courageous enough to publicly repudiate the claims of a Roman bishop in later centuries would most probably get himself or herself executed, if done in the manner as Paul did in the text of Galatians 2:11-14.

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