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Windsor Responds to Webster

Greetings Friends, Apologists, Supporters and Challengers,

This round of responses started when I was directed to a William Webster's answer to Steve Ray on the matter of St. Augustine. I had recently been involved in a discussion with James White (see http://www.a2z.org/acts/jrw/aug131.htm) on a similar topic, so I engaged Mr. Webster as well. Webster then responded to me and this response includes Webster's entire argument (on the left) and my answers (on the right).

Webster gives some credence to some form of Petrine Primacy, but does not give Peter any kind of jurisdictional primacy. He has no problem saying Peter had a primacy of number, or representation, but what does "representation" mean? He seems to think that by representation, Augustine means something like "mere representation." Peter only represents the Church, or stands in for the Church, for the sake of practicality perhaps. Augustine means much more when he says that Peter represents the Church or stands in for the Church, or personifies the Church. In othe words, Webster thinks these concepts (representation, personification) prove that authority (such as the keys) rests not with Peter alone, but with all the faithful. However these concepts encapsulate brilliantly the modern Catholic teaching. For it *is* the case that we all have the keys, in a certain respect. We don't have them individually. The Church has them, and we possess them insofar as we are members of the Church...

Peter is the symbol of the Church's unity. For Augustine, being a symbol means more than what it does today. For us being a symbol means being a "mere symbol." But for Augustine, a "real" symbol was actually the thing that it symbolized. For instance, he could call the Eucharist a symbol, and mean by that that is makes present that which it signfies (Christ). It is Christ, and is a symbol of Christ. That is what being a symbol meant. For him to say that Peter is the symbol of unity actually means that Peter *is* the Church's unity. The Church is united in Peter. Thus for Christ to give the keys to Peter *is* for him to give them to the Church, for Peter is where the unity of the Church finds a concrete locus.

As an example of St. Augustine's use of a symbol being more than a "mere symbol" let us quote him:

Was not Christ immolated only once in His very Person? In the Sacrament, nevertheless, He is immolated for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if Sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are Sacraments, they would not be Sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness. Just as the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, therefore, is in a certain way the Body of Christ, and the Sacrament of the Blood of Christ is the Blood of Christ, so too the Sacrament of faith is faith. To believe, however, is nothing other than to have faith. That is why [at Baptism] response is made that the little one believes, though he has as yet no awareness of faith. Answer is made that he has faith because of the Sacrament of faith. (Jurgens, 1424).

When Peter acts, the Church acts. The Church as individual members can't wield the power of the keys, practically speaking. To use an analogy, if you wanted to open a door with a key, you couldn't do it by having 1 billion people using keys to open the door. The Church as a bunch of individual members can't wield the keys. It is not possible from a practical or pragmatic standpoint. That is why we have a symbol of our unity, a personification of our unity. That is why we have the Rock, who represents the Church before Christ, and acts on our behalf. So when Peter wields the power of the keys, he does not wield it as his own personal power. He wields it as the symbol and locus of the Church's unity.

My thanks to "The-Ox" (one of the ops of the CathApol Chat Channel) for contributing insights to this introduction.

The Papacy: A Response to Roman Catholic, Scott Windsor

A Rebuttal of Roman Catholic, Scott Windsor, to William Webster's Rebuttal of Steve Ray's Misrepresentaions of the Teaching of Augustine


William Webster

The Papacy: A Response to Wm. Webster's Response to Scott Windsor

A Rebuttal of Protestant, William Webster's Response to Scott Windsor on the the Teachings of Augustine


Scott Windsor

Scott Windsor has offered a rebuttal to my first response to Stephen Ray entitled An Answer to the Refutation of the Misrepresentations of the Writings of William Webster and of the Church Fathers by Roman Catholic, Stephen Ray, in His Book Upon This Rock, by William Webster . He has, however, apparently failed to realize that I responded a second and third time to Stephen Ray’s response and that most of what he addresses in this ‘rebuttal’ has already been answered. In other words he is going over old ground. But in his rebuttal Scott has made some comments that need to be addressed. Surprisingly, he introduces his rebuttal with a repudiation of the Roman Catholic teaching of papal primacy. He suggests that I personally have misunderstood and have misrepresented the teaching of Roman Catholicism on this subject. But in reality it is he who does not understand what his own Church clearly and dogmatically teaches. He begins by quoting from my response to Steve Ray and then gives his own response. My original statements will be given in blue, Scott Windsor's response will be in red and my response to his comments will be in black:

For sake of clarity, I will not intersperse my comments further between Mr. Webster's and further confuse the reader by attempting to keep track of which color belongs to which author and whether it was the first or second response. Rather, I will post my added comments to the righthand side of the page leaving the left side as Mr. Webster's response, fully intact.

Now, to respond to Webster's first false assumption: I am fully aware that he has further responded to Stephen K. Ray's article(s) - but what Webster fails to note, is that my response was written prior to his follow-up responses to Ray. That being said, I will not be responding to what Webster has to say to Ray directly, rather I will deal with his response to me.

Let us see who understands the Catholic Teaching on this matter of the papacy and see who has it confused.

Windsor:

In an IRC chat with someone, I was asked to read former Catholic, William Webster’s refutation of Catholic apologist, Stephen Ray. That website is: http://www.christiantruth.com/stephenray.html . I agreed to do this and told this person that I would get back to him/her on this.Mr. Ray also has posted his own response to Webster at: www.catholic-convert.com/webster/index.html

I am dividing my response into smaller sections than Mr. Webster’s original, this part will deal primarily with what is being said in regard to St. Augustine.

Webster’s Original Statements:

No father denies that Peter had a primacy or that there is a Petrine succession. The issue is how the Fathers interpreted those concepts.

Please note Mr. Webster's admission that "No father denies that Peter had a primacy or that there is a Petrine succession." Yes, how did the Fathers interpret "primacy" and "succession?" Plus, let us add now, since Mr. Webster readily agrees that there was succession - where is it today? Is it in his schism, or is it still in the Catholic Church? What did the Fathers teach about those who left communion with the Bishop of Rome?
They simply did not hold to the Roman Catholic view of later centuries that primacy and succession were “exclusively” related to the bishops of Rome. They do not apply the special titles they attribute to Peter to the bishops of Rome and what is more they often attribute the same titles to the other apostles. The most explicit denial of a Petrine primacy in the Roman Catholic sense comes from Augustine which I have documented in the book where he states in exegeting the rock of Matthew 16:18 that Christ did not build his Church on a man but on Peter’s confession. He specifically separates Peter’s faith from Peter’s person and if the Church is not built upon the person of Peter there is no papal office. This is not to say that the Rome did not have authority in the eyes of the fathers. But Rome did not have exclusive authority. The ecclesiology of the early Church was one of conciliarity which was shared by all the major patriarchal sees. Rome was the only patriarchal see in the West and therefore held authority in the West, though in the beginning this was not universal but regional, as Rufinus’ translation of the Nicene Council makes clear.

Mr. Ray’s main argument rests on an argument from silence, the fact that the Fathers never denied the primacy of Peter or Petrine succession. Of course they didn’t. As I mentioned in my email they explicitly affirm it. However, in affirming it they do not interpret it in the same way Rome does today. That is the point. When Roman apologists use the term ‘primacy’ they mean universal juridisdiction to rule the Church universal. When they speak of Petrine succession they mean this in an exclusive sense as applied to the bishops of Rome. But when the Fathers speak of a Petrine primacy and succession and the primacy of Rome they mean something quite different. They are not silent on the issue. They never denied that Rome had a primacy, but it was interpreted as a primacy of honor since the Church was located in the capital of the Empire and was the site of the martrydom of Peter and Paul. It was not a primacy of universal jurisdiction. They never denied that the Church of Rome had a right to exercise authority. But that authority was limited in its jurisdiction. But when the meaning of primacy and rule is couched in the language of Vatican I we find a vigorous opposition to such claims by the Church Fathers. There is not silence. The Fathers do speak, and they make it clear what they mean by the terms they use. They also speak by repudiating the unlawful claims of Rome as they began to be expressed in the third century and in all the subsequent centuries of the Church.

Windsor:

Webster charges, “This is not to say that Rome did not have authority in the eyes of the (F)athers. But Rome did not have exclusive authority.” No, Rome did not have exclusive authority, and never had it, and never claimed to have it! Each bishop, in his own diocese, has the equivalent authority of the Pope over his jurisdiction. When the Pope acts in his capacity as Bishop of Rome, he is no different, other than a “first among equals,” than the rest of the bishops over their own jurisdictions. The Pope does also have another title, “Vicar of Christ” wherein he stands in Christ’s place here on earth, over Christ’s Church. This authority is clearly given to St. Peter when “The Good Shepherd” told Peter, “Feed My lambs...Tend My sheep...Feed My sheep” (John 21:16-17). In this sequence, Jesus is speaking directly to Peter, and not to any of the rest of the Apostles, all of whom are also present (minus Judas). So there is something special about Peter, and the see that he would occupy. This isn’t the position of a tyrant, a king, or a dictator, but a shepherd. Clearly Jesus left one of the Apostles “in charge” to “tend (His) sheep,” and that one Apostle is St. Peter. This is not an exclusive authority over the other Apostles - just an added responsibility for Peter and his successors. Having one Apostle to hold this position is the unifying factor for all true Christians.

Webster shows his misunderstanding of the Roman Catholic position and definition of “primacy.” One must speculate that if Mr. Webster had known the true teachings of the Catholic Church, he may never have left it. One has to hope that when he does come to this understanding, he will return home - where he will be welcomed as the Prodigal Son was. I also have the hope that Emanon, also a former Catholic, will also return home. To continue: Primacy is not a position of universal “authority” per se, but of universal responsibility to feed, tend and care for Jesus’ sheep - the Church.

It is encouraging to note that Mr. Webster does not deny that the Roman Pontiff does indeed have a primacy of honor, but Peter’s commission from Christ was more than honorary. Peter was to take Jesus’ place as the Shepherd, the one who watches over the sheep.

Webster:

Scott Windsor states: No, Rome did not have exclusive authority, and never had it, and never claimed to have it. Each bishop, in his own diocese, has the equivalent authority of the Pope over his jurisdiction. When the Pope acts in his capacity as Bishop of Rome, he is no different, other than a “first among equals,” than the rest of the bishops over their own jurisdictions...This is not an exclusive authority over the other Apostles - just an added responsibility for Peter and his successors.

Well, what I said was something a bit different than what Mr. Webster took it as. What I said was the truth. Let us continue and I will explain further.

I am sure that there will be many Roman Catholics who read these words who will be surprised to discover that their Church has never claimed the right of exclusive rule over the universal Church; that primacy merely means a primacy of honor; that the Roman bishop merely functions in the role of a shepherd as teacher and has no universal jurisdictional authority as ruler of the Church; and that he is no different from any other bishop who has responsibility over a specific see. With such statements one has to ask why Scott Windsor is Roman Catholic and not Orthodox. The Roman Catholic Church dogmatically teaches the very opposite of what Scott Windsor is expressing in these statements. The Roman Church has most certainly claimed an exclusive authority to RULE the Church universal. This is what a primacy of jurisdiction means and which was clearly expressed by Vatican I. Scott's opinion, the bishop of Rome is in fact a dictator. He may be a benign dictator, but he is a dictator nonetheless. According to that Council and the claims of Roman Pontiffs historically the primacy of Rome is not merely a primacy of honor and of shepherding but of jusridiction and rule. In fact, Vatican I anathematizes anyone who says that the primacy of the bishop of Rome is primarily one of honor and not of jurisdiction. And Vatican I states that this teaching has been the teaching of the Church from the very beginning.

Notice how Mr. Webster has taken my words, and added to them! What did I say though? I said that the Bishop of Rome had an added responsibility - though I did not go into detail about what that responsibility was. Mr. Webster did not "catch" that part about the Bishop of Rome having this added responsibility and immediately compares me to the Orthodox. Well, the Orthodox would have nothing to do with this "added responsibility" that I clearly alluded to in my first response to Mr. Webster.

Now, where Mr. Webster suddenly jumps to my opinion of the Bishop of Rome being a dictator, well - I don't know where he got that - but certainly not from me. I don't know, there's a word or something missing from his sentence structure though, so perhaps he was not saying that I was saying that? His structure:

"Scott's opinion, the (B)ishop of Rome is in fact a dictator."
Well, let me clarify what "my opinion" is, since Mr. Webster's wording is not so clear. Actually, this is not my opinion at all, but the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Bishop of Rome holds a primacy of office. His authority is not unlike that of each and every other bishop in their own respective diocese. That being said, the Bishop of Rome's "diocese" is the whole world. He has been given the responsibility, as was Peter, to "tend His sheep," and to "feed His sheep." Peter was here given the role of shepherd, to "stand in" or be the "Vicar of" Christ - and no other Apostle was spoken to by Our Lord, as Peter was in this regard. (John 21:15-17)

I would not say the Bishop of Rome is a dictator, for he does not tell individual bishops how to run their diocese, his role is different though, if it is a matter that affects the whole Church, then he is responsible for it.

The following is what I wrote in response to Stehpen Ray, a response which Scott Windsor has apparently not read:

The problem is not whether there was development. The problem lies in the fact that Vatican I says there was no development. In other words there was no acorn. It was a full blown oak from the very beginning and was therefore the practice of the Church from the very beginnning. Vatican I reaffirmed the decree of the Council of Trent on the Unanimous Consent of the Fathers. As Steve rightly points out this has to do specifically with the interpretation of Scripture. It states that it is unlawful to interpret Scripture in any way contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers. Vatican I then proceeds to set forth its teachings on papal primacy and infallibility with the interpretation of Matthew 16:18, John 21:15-17 and Luke 22:32 as the basis for its teachings. And then it states that the interpretations that it gives and the conclusions it draws from these interpretations, in terms of the practice of the Church, has been that which has EVER been taught in the Church and practiced by it.

Well, I hadn't read Mr. Webster's additional responses because at the time I had written my response his had not yet been posted, so his first objection is a bit of a red herring.

Now, I also concur that it was, in Webster's words, "a full blown oak" right from the beginning. I have already provided the biblical reference to Jesus giving the authority of the position of shepherd to Peter, exclusively (John 21:15-17). So, I am not in disagreement with Vatican I.

Here is what Vatican I says:

Chapter I: Of the Institution of the Apostolic Primacy in blessed Peter.

We therefore teach and declare that, according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ the Lord. For it was to Simon alone, to whom he had already said: ‘Thou shalt be called Cephas,’ that the Lord after the confession made by him, saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ addressed these solemn words: ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–Jona, because flesh and blood have not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.’ And it was upon Simon alone that Jesus after his resurrection
bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all his fold in the words: ‘Feed my lambs; feed my sheep.’ At open variance with this clear doctrine of Holy Scripture as it has been ever understood by the Catholic Church are the perverse opinions of those who, while they distort the form of government established by Christ the Lord in his Church, deny that Peter in his single person, preferably to all the other Apostles, whether taken separately or together, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction; or of those who assert that the same primacy was not bestowed immediately and directly upon blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through the Church on Peter as her minister.

If any one, therefore, shall say that blessed Peter the Apostle was not appointed the Prince of all the Apostles and the visible Head of the whole Church militant; or that the same directly and immediately received from the same our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honor only, and not of true and proper jurisdiction: let him be anathema.

Well, I completely agree with this - as every Catholic should and must. In my earlier response I was emphasizing a different aspect of the bishopric. It still must be understood that each bishop is like unto a pope within his respective diocese, but the Bishop of Rome has a greater responsibility in his role as the Vicar of Christ (the one who stands in Christ's place until Christ returns).
Chapter II: On the Perpetuity of the Primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman Pontiffs.

That which the Prince of Shepherds and great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ our Lord, established in the person of the blessed Apostle Peter to secure the perpetual welfare and lasting good of the Church, must, by the same institution, necessarily remain unceasingly in the Church; which, being founded upon the Rock, will stand firm to the end of the world. For none can doubt, and it is known to all ages, that the holy and blessed Peter, the Prince and Chief of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind, and lives, presides, and judges, to this day and always, in his successors the Bishops of the Holy See of Rome, which was founded by him and consecrated by his blood. Whence, whosoever succeeds to Peter in this See, does by the institution of Christ himself
obtain the Primacy of Peter over the whole Church. The disposition made by Incarnate Truth therefore remains, and blessed Peter, abiding through the strength of the Rock in the power that he received, has not abandoned the direction of the Church. Wherefore it has at all times been necessary that every particular Church—that is to say, the faithful throughout the world—should agree with the Roman Church, on account of the greater authority of the princedom which this has received; that all being associated in the unity of that See whence the rights of communion spread to all, might grow together as members of one Head in the compact unity of the body.

If, then, any should deny that it is by institution of Christ the Lord, or by divine right, that blessed Peter should have a perpetual line of successors in the Primacy over the universal Church, or that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.

Hence we teach and declare that by the appointment of our Lord the Roman Church possesses a
superiority of ordinary power over all other churches, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatever right and dignity, both pastors and faithful, both individually and collectively, are bound, by their duty of hierarchial subordination and true obedience, to submit not only in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those which appertain to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world, so that the Church of Christ may be one flock under one supreme pastor through the preservation of unity both of communion and of profession of the same faith with the Roman Pontiff. This is the teaching of Catholic truth, from which no one can deviate without loss of faith and salvation (Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (New York: Harper, 1877), Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council , Chapters I,II, III).

I'll let the words of Vatican I speak for themselves. (Emphasis added was mine).

Vatican I states that from the very beginning Christ entrusted to Peter and his successors in rthe bishops of Rome a primacy of jurisdiction which was subsequently passed down to his successors in the bisops of Rome. It further states that this teaching is part of the content of saving faith. To deviate from this teaching is to incur the loss of salvation. This is an explicit affirmation that outside the Church of Rome there is no salvation.

We are dealing here with Roman Catholic apologists who are seemingly ignorant of the teachings of their own Church and who charge Protestants with misrepresentation, but it is they themselves who are the guilty party. Stephen Ray did this with the teaching of Vatican I and its denial of the Doctrine of Development and now Scott Windsor has done so with the whole concept of primacy. Both of them contradict the plain teaching of that Council. Perhaps it would behoove these gentlemen befor they engage in apologetics to become more familiar with the teachings of their own communion.

Again, I am not in denial of Vatican I and other previous teachings of the Catholic Church on this matter.

Augustine

Windsor:

Next, Mr. Webster turns his attention toward St. Augustine, but it is clear to see that Webster contradicts himself with his main tennant, that “(a)ccording to Augustine the Apostles are equal in all respects. Each receives the authority of the keys, not Peter alone.”

But, Mr. Webster, it is not the keys that are in question here! Though, it can be argued that some of the Early Fathers do indeed say the keys are given only to Peter, let us deal with St. Augustine for now. The authority of the keys, (which is to bind and loose, retain and/or forgive sins - another very Catholic position given that men are able to forgive sins), is given first to St. Peter (Matthew 16:18) and later to the rest of the Apostles (Matthew 18:18). We concur that this authority is truly given to all the Apostles, I am not so sure that we concur that this authority is passed on to their successors, which in Catholic belief, it surely is - but many Protestants believe this “power” ended with the end of the Apostolic Age. (We can take that up in a future debate, if Mr. Webster so chooses to engage me). The point that Webster, and it would seem most other Protestant apologists miss, is that Catholics do not base the primacy solely on Matthew 16:18! The primacy of responsibility is clearly shown in John 21:15-17. And, the point that Mr. Webster is attempting to make here is that St. Peter is not given anything different than any of the rest of the Apostles were given. Hmmm, how about a new name? How about being the only one commanded to “Feed My sheep...?”

(My words to Webster)

Webster:

Scott, according to Augustine, the commission of Christ to Peter to feed His sheep was not a commission given to Peter exclusively but applied to all the apostles and to all shepherds universally in the Church for all time. This is because in Augustine's view Peter is representative of the Church universal and what was said to him was said to all. So your assertion that the commission of Peter applies to Peter alone is incorrect as far as Augustine is concerned. For example, he states:

So let us love him, let there be nothing dearer to us than he. So do you imagine that the Lord is not questioning us? Was Peter the only one who qualified to be questioned, and didn’t we? When that reading is read, every single Christian is being questioned in his heart. So when you hear the Lord saying ‘Peter, do you love me?’ think of it as a mirror, and observe yourself there. I mean, what else was Peter doing but standing for the Church? So when the Lord was questioning Peter, he was questioning us, he was questioning the Church. I mean, to show you that Peter stood for the Church, call to mind that place in the gospel, ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not conquer her; to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 16:18-19). One man receives them; you see, he explained himself what the keys of the kingdom mean: ‘What you all bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what you all loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ (Mt 18:18). If it was said to Peter alone, Peter alone did this; he passed away, and went away; so who binds, who looses? I make bold to say, we too have these keys. And what am I to say? That it is only we who bind, only we who loose? No, you also bind, you also loose. Anybody who’s bound, you see, is barred from your society; and when he’s barred from your society, he’s bound by you; and when he’s reconciled he’s loosed by you, because you too plead with God for him.
We all love Christ, you see, we are his members; and when he entrusts the sheep to the shepherds, the whole number of shepherds is reduced to the body of one shepherd. Just to show you that the whole number of shepherds is reduced to the one body of the one shepherd, certainly Peter’s a shepherd, undoubtedly a pastor; Paul’s a shepherd, yes, clearly a pastor; John’s a shepherd, James a shepherd, Andrew a shepherd, and the other apostles are shepherds. All holy bishops are shepherds, pastors, yes, clearly so. And how can this be true: And there will be one flock and one shepherd (Jn 10:16)? Then if there will be one flock and one shepherd is true, the innumerable number of shepherds or pastors must be reduced to the body of the one shepherd or pastor
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993), Sermons, Volume III/6, Sermon 229N.1-3, pp. 320-321).

So, let's get into a who can quote more from St. Augustine contest?

"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear 'I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.'" St. Augustine of Hippo ("Sermon 295," c. 411 A.D.)

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church...' Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus...." St. Augustine of Hippo ("Letter 53," 412 A.D.)

"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" St. Augustine of Hippo ("Commentary on John," c. 416 A.D.)

Windsor:

Mr. Webster includes several quotes from St. Augustine, which I will also leave in place:

Augustine: This same Peter therefore who had been by the Rock pronounced ‘blessed,’ bearing the figure of the Church, holding the chief place in the Apostleship (Sermon 26).

Windsor:

Hmmm, St. Peter is holding the “chief place in the Apostleship.” This is supportive of the Catholic definition throughout the ages, including the present!

Webster:

Scott Windsor asks, If Peter is referred to as chief how could he be the same as the rest of the apostles? If Scott had taken the time to read all of responses to Steve Ray he would have seen that I have already dealt with that issue. I pointed out in the section on Chrysostom that the term chief was not used exclusively of Peter, but was also used in reference to Paul and the other apostles as well. The Greek term is coryphaeus.

Mr. Webster, I am responding to what you wrote to and about me. You quoted the great St. Augustine making a statement that supports the Catholic point of view on the papacy! That's my point. If you wish to retract that quote or have more to offer it, please present it in a response to me.

I have also read the section you alude to on St. Chrysostom, (in your response to Steve Ray) and you do NOT make a case for Paul, or any of the other Apostles being called, "Chief among the Apostles." We see some equality spoken of - and this too is exactly the same as today. The Bishop of Phoenix, in many ways, has equal authority - over his own diocese. You mentioned St. James having this "chief" authority, which, since he was the Bishop of Jerusalem, he was the "chief" of Jerusalem. The difference comes when the matter involves the entire Church - not just a local event or non-ecumenical council being held in Jerusalem (or any other city).

Augustine: The blessed Peter, the first of the apostles (Sermon 295).

Windsor:

Hmmm, the “blessed Peter, the first of the apostles.” Again, supportive of St. Peter’s “lead” role among the Apostles.

Webster:

Again, if Scott had read my full rersponse to Steve Ray he would have found an explanation of what Augustine means when he refers to Peter as ‘first’ of the Apostles. The following are my comments on this issue:

Here is how Augustine defines what he means when he says that Peter is the first of the Apostles:

As you know, all of you who know the holy scriptures, among the disciples whom the Lord chose while present in the flesh, Peter was the first to be chosen. Paul on the other hand was not chosen among them, nor with them, but a long time afterward, though not for all that unequal to them. So Peter is the first of the apostles, Paul the last; while God, whose servants these two are, whose heralds, whose preachers these two are, is the first and the last (Rv 22:13). Peter first among the apostles, Paul last among the apostles; God both first and last, before whom nothing and after whom nothing. So God who has presented himself as eternally the first and the last, himself joined together the first and the last apostles in martyrdom
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Sermons III/8 (Hyde Park: New City, 1994), Sermon 299.2, p. 229).

The blessed apostles Peter and Paul were called at different times, and crowned on the same day. The Lord called Peter before all the others, Paul after all the others; Peter the first of the apostles, Paul the last; they were led to martydom on one and the same day by the First and the Last
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Sermons III/8 (Hyde Park: New City, 1994), Sermon 299C.1, p. 250).

Note here that Augustine states that Peter is the first and Paul is the last. This has to do with the priority of time, not with official position. He also states that Paul and Peter are equals. The Abbe Guettee, a convert to Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism, in commenting on Augustine’s view of Peter and his primacy states:

He (Augustine)calls Peter the first (primus) as he calls Paul the last, (novissimus,) which conveys only an idea of time. And that this was indeed St. Augustine’s idea, appears from the fact that in this same text, so much abused by Romanists, because in it Augustine grants Peter the primacy, he distinctly asserts that Peter and Paul, the first and the last, were equal in the honour of the apostleship. Therefore, according to St. Augustine, Peter received only the high favour of being called first to the Apostleship. This distinction with which the Lord honoured him, is his glory, but gave him no authority (Abbe Guettee, The Papacy (Blanco: New Sarov, 1866), p. 176).

And I repeat the quotes I made from earlier:
"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear 'I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.'" St. Augustine of Hippo ("Sermon 295," c. 411 A.D.)

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church...' Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus...." St. Augustine of Hippo ("Letter 53," 412 A.D.)

"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" St. Augustine of Hippo ("Commentary on John," c. 416 A.D.)

And I add:
"If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today?" (Against the Letters of Petilani 2:118 [A.D. 402]).

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, "Upon this rock I will build my church . . . " [Matt. 16:18]. Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus . . . " (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

So, we must not look at only those parts of St. Augustine's works that seem to support our cause, but all of that which he wrote. Clearly, St. Augustine saw more than a primacy of time in St. Peter, and in the chair occupied by the successor of St. Peter.

Augustine: Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his, whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, ‘To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 16:19). After all, it isn’t just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged preeminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, ‘To you I am entrusting,’ what has in fact been entrusted to all (Sermon 295).

Windsor:

Here we see Peter, again, being given preeminence, but a similar authority given to the rest of the Apostles. Again, completely in line with current and past Catholic beliefs on the Pope and the college of bishops.

Allow me to again redirect the reader's attention to the fact that Mr. Webster has again quoted St. Augustine in support of the unchanged Catholic view of the see of Peter.

Augustine: Previously, of course, he was called Simon; this name of Peter was bestowed on him by the Lord, and that with the symbolic intention of his representing the Church. Because Christ, you see, is the petra or rock; Peter, or Rocky, is the Christian people (Sermon 76).

Windsor:

Well, first off I cannot let this interpretation of “Peter” to mean “Rocky” go unchallenged. This too seems to be a novel interpretation that is not reflected by the Early Fathers, nor even other apologists before this recent time.

Webster:

This is the translation given by the Roman Catholic translator and publisher of the work, Scott. The translator is a world renowned Augustinian scholar. Are you in the same category, Scott, to offer such criticisms?

Regardless of who the translator is, the use of the name "Rocky" is novel. The fact is the word in Aramaic (likely the language Jesus was speaking at the time) is "Kephas" or "Cephas" (and we see other references to this Aramaic name in other places in the Scriptures: Jn1:42 1Co1:12 1Co3:22 1Co9:5 1Co15:5 Ga1:18 Ga2:9 Ga2:11 Ga2:14) thus indicating the name likely was given to Simon in Aramaic.
John1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter). (NAS)

1Cor1:12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." (NAS)

1Cor3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, (NAS)

1Cor9:5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? (NAS)

1Cor15:5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (NAS)

Gal1:18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. (NAS)

Gal2:9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (NAS)

Gal2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. (NAS)

Gal2:14 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? (NAS)

Now, am I in the same category as this "world renowned Augustinian scholar?" No, but if he used the name "Rocky" instead of "Rock" or "Peter" or "Petros" or "Cephas" then I am quite willing to offer the criticism. When was this author's work published? In the 1970's or 1980's when the big "Rocky" fever was spreading through theaters? Whatever the case may be - "Rocky" is not a good translation of Cephas in Aramaic, or Petros in Greek.

I would also like to point out, this seems nothing more than a distraction tactic. The point I made originally was that even Mr. Webster is presenting us with quotes from St. Augustine that support the Catholic teaching on the papacy!

Let's not look at someone's commentary on St. Augustine, let's look at what he actually said regarding the papacy:

"If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today?" (Against the Letters of Petilani 2:118 [A.D. 402]).

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, "Upon this rock I will build my church . . . " [Matt. 16:18]. Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus . . . " (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

An honest look at St. Augustine reveals that he truly did believe in the See of Peter as the place of unity and authority of the Church, and even documents the successors from Peter to his day that occupied that see.

Windsor:

Second, we find again St. Augustine acknowledging that St. Peter IS the representative for the Universal (Catholic) Church.

Augustine: So then, this self–same Peter, blessed by being surnamed Rocky from the rock, representing the person of the Church, holding chief place in the apostolic ranks (Sermon 76).

Windsor:

Again, St. Peter is shown to be “holding chief place in the apostolic ranks.” If he is “chief” how could he be “the same” as the rest of the Apostles?

Webster:

Again, Scott, to repeat the statements from above, the fathers did not apply these titles exclusively to Peter. As I indicated in Chrysostom’s use of the same title as employed here by Augustine, he also attributes it to the apostle Paul.

Mr. Webster, you have not demonstrated that Sts. Chrysostom or Augustine have used the title of "Chief among the Apostles" to anyone but St. Peter. I have read the section in your response to Steve Ray that references St. Chrysostom, and nowhere in there does it say that Paul or any of the others are "Chief among the Apostles" but we do see him (and St. Augustine) freely giving this title to Peter - and to Peter's successors!

Augustine: For as some things are said which seem peculiarly to apply to the Apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning, unless when referred to the Church, whom he is acknowledged to have figuratively represented, on account of the primacy which he bore among the Disciples; as it is written, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ and other passages of like purport: so Judas doth represent those Jews who were enemies of Christ (Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 119).

Windsor:

Again, St. Peter is being held out as the one to represent the Church because of “the primacy which he bore among the Disciples.”

Webster:

Augustine himself defines what he means by the primacy given to Peter and he does not interpret this in terms of a primacy of jurisdiction. He states: ‘After all, it isn’t just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged preeminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, ‘To you I am entrusting,’ what has in fact been entrusted to all’ (Sermon 295).

Let the reader note, Mr. Webster acknowledges that part of St. Peter's role is that of "universality and unity." Peter's authority is shared among the rest of the Apostles in their respective jurisdictions. The difference is that Peter's jurisdiction is not limited to one city or region. Peter's role is that of "universality and unity" among the whole Church!

Augustine: You will remember that the apostle Peter, the first of all the apostles, was thrown completely of balance during the Lord’s passion (Sermon 147).

Windsor:

Even though St. Peter stumbled (an example that even the popes that would follow him would stumble) he was still regarded as “first of all the apostles.”

This point is not refuted at all.

Webster:

Augustine speaks of Peter as being a representative of the Church so that what was spoken to Peter and granted to Peter was not spoken and granted to him alone, but to him as the representative of the universal Church:

Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his, whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, ‘To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 16:19). After all, it isn’t just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre–eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, ‘To you I am entrusting,’ what has in fact been entrusted to all. I mean, to show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit;’ and straightway, ‘Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained’ (Jn 20:22-23). This refers to the keys, about which it is said, ‘whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven’ (Mt 16:19). But that was said to Peter. To show you that Peter at that time stood for the universal Church, listen to what is said to him, what is said to all the faithful, the saints: ‘If your brother sins against you, correct him between you and himself alone. If he does not listen to you, bring with you one or two; for it is written, By the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every matter be settled. If he does not even listen to them, refer him to the Church; if he does not even listen to her, let him be to you as a heathen and a tax collector. Amen amen I tell you, that whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ (Mt 16:18). It is the dove that binds, the dove that looses, the building built upon the rock that binds and looses (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VI, St. Augustin, Sermon 26.1-4, pp. 340-341).

In this passage Augustine states that the pre-eminence or primacy of Peter is due to the fact that he represents the Church universal. When Christ bequethed the power of binding and loosing to Peter he was bequeathing this power to the entire Church. Augustine then ties together Matthew 16 and Matthew 18 exegetically to demonstrate that what had been entrusted to Peter had in fact been entrusted to all. There are no distinctions between the Apostles in the mind of Augustine. They are all on an equal footing.

Again, Catholics do not deny the role of the rest of the bishops in the Church. They all do have similar authority over their respective jurisdictions. The difference is (again) that St. Peter's jurisdiction was not limited to one city or region - but to the entire Church Universal, or Catholic Church.
In Augustine’s view Peter is a symbolic representative of the Church. While he holds a primacy it is not a primacy of jurisdiction but of honor. As W.H.C. Frend states in referring to Augustine’s view of Peter:

His (Peter’s) primacy was simply a matter of personal privilege and not an office (The Early Church (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982), p. 222).

A commentary from 1982 is not convincing Mr. Webster. What is this distinction of "personal privilege" anyway? What "privilege" are you agreeing that Peter had over the rest of the Apostles? Why did Peter even have this "personal privilege?" Could it be that he was selected to lead?

The following quotations demonstrate how often the theme of Peter’s being a symbolic representative of the Church universal recurs in the writings of Augustine:

Its clear, you see, from many places in scripture that Peter can stand for, or represent, the Church; above all from that place where it says, To you will I hand over the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall also be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt. 16:19). Did Peter receive these keys, and Paul not receive them? Did Peter receive them, and John and James and the other apostles not receive them? Or are the keys not to be found in the Church, where sins are being forgiven every day? But because Peter symbolically stood for the Church, what was given to him alone was given to the whole Church. So Peter represented the Church; the Church is the body of Christ (John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1992), Sermons, III/5, Sermon 149.6-7, p. 21).

The problem we have here is that Biblically, "the keys" are only given to Peter. At the same time Jesus mentions the keys to Peter (Matt. 16:18) He also mentions the power to bind and loose. Later, (Matt 18:18), this power to bind and loose is given to the rest of the Apostles - but in chapter 18, there is no mention of keys.

What also must be looked at in Matthew 16:18 is the fact that "Simon" was his name... and Jesus, seeing that Simon did not come to that revelation alone, but it was through the the Father that Simon received that revelation - Jesus renames Simon, and calls him "Peter" or "Cephas" (and Cephas is likely the actual name given since it is quoted untranslated several other times as Cephas. Cephas being Aramaic, the spoken language of Jesus and the Apostles, and Peter coming to us from the Greek "Petros"). The point being, when God renames someone, it has great meaning behind the name. Cephas literally means "rock" - and in the very same sentence Jesus says, "and upon this rock I will build my Church."

I have already shown St. Augustine supporting the papacy and Peter's primacy several times (above), so I won't requote those citations again.

One problem with St. Augustine, the Calvinist and the Catholic alike can both get quotes that support their arguments - which leads us back to the issue of authority. When was St. Augustine "right?" When was he "wrong?" He was a great and wise bishop of the Catholic Church - even to the point of being called a "Saint" and "Doctor" of the Church, but that doesn't make his work infallible or "right" 100% of the time.

And this Church, symbolized in its generality, was personified in the Apostle Peter, on account of the primacy of his apostleship. For, as regards his proper personality, he was by nature one man, by grace one Christian, by still more abounding grace one, and yet also, the first apostle; but when it was said to him, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.
Let the reader note, Mr. Webster again cites St. Augustine stating "the Apostle Peter, on account of the primacy of his apostleship" and then Augustine continues: by still more abounding grace one, and yet also, the first apostle..." So, Mr. Webster presents the evidence that proves him wrong, but, it would seem, to cover this up he presents volumes of information to diminish the effect of these words from the unwary reader.
For, as regards his proper personality, he was by nature one man, by grace one Christian, by still more abounding grace one, and yet also, the first apostle; but when it was said to him, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven,’ he represented the universal Church, which in this world is shaken by divers temptations, that come upon it like torrents of rain, floods and tempests, and falleth not, because it is founded upon a rock (petra), from which Peter received his name. For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, ‘On this rock will I build my Church,’ because Peter had said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. The Church, therefore, which is founded in Christ received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in the person of Peter, that is to say, the power of binding and loosing sins. For what the Church is essentially in Christ, such representatively is Peter in the rock (petra); and in this representation Christ is to be understood as the Rock, Peter as the Church (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VII, St. Augustin, On the Gospel of John, Tractate 124.5).
What we have here again is yet another secondary source. Schaff is not an unbiased reporter here. We seem to have his commentary on the changing of Simon's name to Peter as Peter being derived from Petros - yet again we must admit that the Jesus likely wasn't speaking Greek here. Aramaic was the common tongue, especially in a less formal atmosphere (like speaking just to The Twelve). I have already documented at least nine other times in the New Testament where Peter is refered to as "Cephas" (the untranslated Aramaic form of his new name).

Still, we have Schaff using the term "first apostle" and the mentioning of the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" being personally used in reference to Peter.

For not without cause among all the Apostles doth Peter sustain the person of this Church Catholic; for unto this Church were the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven given, when they were given unto Peter: and when it is said unto him, it is said unto all, Lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep (A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: Parker, 1847), Seventeen Short Treatises of S. Augustine, De Agone Christiano (The Christian Conflict) 32, p. 184).

Clearly, when Jesus said the words, "Lovest thou Me?" He was speaking only to St. Peter, and it was only St. Peter that responded to Him. Again, Webster is quoting a secondary source of a work from St. Augustine with no reference to the alleged primary source. IF St. Augustine said this, then let's see a reference to the primary source.
One wicked man represents the whole body of the wicked; in the same way as Peter, the whole body of the good, yea, the body of the Church, but in respect to the good. For if in Peter’s case there were no sacramental symbol of the Church, the Lord would not have said to him, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’ If this was said only to Peter, it gives no ground of action to the Church. But if such is the case also in the Church, that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven—for when the Church excommunicates, the excommunicated person is bound in heaven; when one is reconciled by the Church, the person so reconciled is loosed in heaven—if such, then, is the case in the Church, Peter, in receiving the keys, represented the holy Church (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VII, St. Augustine, On The Gospel of St. John, Tractate 50.12, p. 282).
Webster's translation here leaves out an important "and." Let's look at another translation:
Mat16:19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (DRV)
That was a Catholic translation, so how about another Protestant one:
Mat16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." (NAS)
And another:
Mat16:19 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." (RSV)
OK, one more:
Mat16:19 "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (NKJ)
Now, I'll grant that the NIV does not use the "and" separator here, but all these others do, with emphasis being placed on the DRV - the Catholic translation. What's the point? The point is that the keys are one thing and the power to bind and loose is another. In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus is talking to Peter alone, few would dispute this. In Matthew 18:18, Jesus is speaking to ALL the Apostles - but in the latter verse, Jesus does not mention the keys! Hence, the "and" statement that is contained in most English translations is appropriately placed and coincides with the Catholic understanding and does not contradict Matthew 18:18.
Peter was the only one that answered, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;’ and to whom it was said, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ as if he alone received the power of binding and loosing: seeing, then, that one spake in behalf of all, and received the latter along with all, as if personifying the unity itself; therefore one stands for all, because there is unity in all (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VII, St. Augustin, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, Tractate 118.4, p. 431).

Again, this does not deny that Peter alone is given the keys, while Peter and the rest are given the authority to bind and loose.

The theme of symbolic representation is applied by Augustine to Christ’s commission to Peter to feed his sheep in John 21. Augustine interprets this commission to Peter as representative of a commission to all shepherds and pastors in the Church. It is not a commission given to Peter alone. When Christ speaks to Peter he is speaking to the universal Church. Peter is viewed as symbolically representing the Church and its shepherds:

Again, we do not deny that the commission to bind and loose is given to all the Apostles.

So let us love him, let there be nothing dearer to us than he. So do you imagine that the Lord is not questioning us? Was Peter the only one who qualified to be questioned, and didn’t we? When that reading is read, every single Christian is being questioned in his heart. So when you hear the Lord saying ‘Peter, do you love me?’ think of it as a mirror, and observe yourself there. I mean, what else was Peter doing but standing for the Church? So when the Lord was questioning Peter, he was questioning us, he was questioning the Church. I mean, to show you that Peter stood for the Church, call to mind that place in the gospel, ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not conquer her; to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 16:18-19). One man receives them; you see, he explained himself what the keys of the kingdom mean: ‘What you all bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what you all loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ (Mt 18:18). If it was said to Peter alone, Peter alone did this; he passed away, and went away; so who binds, who looses? I make bold to say, we too have these keys. And what am I to say? That it is only we who bind, only we who loose? No, you also bind, you also loose. Anybody who’s bound, you see, is barred from your society; and when he’s barred from your society, he’s bound by you; and when he’s reconciled he’s loosed by you, because you too plead with God for him.
We all love Christ, you see, we are his members; and when he entrusts the sheep to the shepherds, the whole number of shepherds is reduced to the body of one shepherd. Just to show you that the whole number of shepherds is reduced to the one body of the one shepherd, certainly Peter’s a shepherd, undoubtedly a pastor; Paul’s a shepherd, yes, clearly a pastor; John’s a shepherd, James a shepherd, Andrew a shepherd, and the other apostles are shepherds. All holy bishops are shepherds, pastors, yes, clearly so. And how can this be true: And there will be one flock and one shepherd (Jn 10:16)? Then if there will be one flock and one shepherd is true, the innumerable number of shepherds or pastors must be reduced to the body of the one shepherd or pastor
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993), Sermons, Volume III/6, Sermon 229N.1-3, pp. 320-321).

Here again Webster refers to Sermon 229. I do not have Rotelle's compilation of St. Augustine, and this particular sermon is nowhere to be found on the Internet (I have searched many times in many places). I will assume this is an accurate rendition of this sermon, but as such - this is St. Augustine expressing his personal, and quite fallible, feeling. With regard to " ‘Peter, do you love me?’ think of it as a mirror" and relating that statement to all Christians, in light of the way this scripture is translated by most (if not all) other Fathers (that even deal with this verse) we must conclude that St. Augustine is wrong here. Again, St. Augustine, as great as he was, was not infallible and is capable of presenting an error here or there in his writings. I will refrain from further comment until I see the actual context of this statement from Sermon 229.

Let us also point out how ironic it is that so many Protestants cling to Augustine so strongly, when clearly St. Augustine was a Catholic. Please take a moment to look over the link below that shows how "Catholic" St. Augustine was and you too may ask why Protestants turn to him.

http://www.a2z.org/acts/augustinecatholic.htm



What now on this occasion? The Lord questions him, as you heard when the gospel was read, and says to him, Simon son ofJohn, do you love me more than these? He answered and said, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. And again the Lord asked this question, and a third time he asked this question. And every time in reply he affirmed his love, he entrusted him with the care of his flock. Every time, you see, that Peter said I love you, the Lord Jesus said to him, Feed my lambs, feed my sheep (Jn. 21:15-17). the one man Peter represents the unity of all the shepherds or pastors of the Church—but of the good ones, who know how to feed Christ’s flock for Christ, not for themselves
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Sermons III/4 (Hyde Park: New City, 1994), Sermon 147.2, p. 448).

In Sermon 147 St. Augustine opens that sermon with: "1. YE remember that the Apostle Peter, the first of all the Apostles." Right from the very beginning of this sermon, St. Augustine recognizes that Peter is "first of all the Apostles." Then the CONTEXT of this sermon relates the threefold renewing of St. Peter (alone) was due directly to the threefold denial of St. Peter (alone).

So he is a pastor, a shepherd, to whom you entrusted your sheep, with the task of feeding them. You yourself appointed him, he’s a shepherd. Let’s see now if he’s a good one. We find out in this very exchange of question and answer. You inquired whether he loved you, he answered, I do. You saw into his heart, that he answered truthfully. So isn’t he good, seeing that he loves so great a good? ...So he was both a shepherd and a good shepherd; nothing to compare, of course, with the authority and goodness of the shepherd of shepherds, the pastor of pastors; but all the same he too was both a pastor and a good one, and the others like him were good pastors.
So why is it that you draw the attention of good shepherds to the idea of one shepherd? For what other reason could it be, but that in the one shepherd you are teaching the lesson of unity? And the Lord explains the matter more clearly through my ministry, as he reminds your graces from the gospel and says, “Listen to what I have drawn attention to: I am the good shepherd, I said; because all the others, all the good shepherds are my members, parts of me; one head, one body, one Christ. So both the shepherd of the shepherds, and the shepherds of the shepherd, and the sheep with the shepherds under the shepherd, are one. All this is only what the apostle says: Just as the body is one and has many parts, but all the parts of the body, though they are many, form one body, so too is Christ (1 Cor 12:12). If, then, so too is Christ, it was quite right for Christ, who contains all the good shepherds in himself, to draw attention to one by saying, I am the good shepherd. I am, I am one person, with me all in the unity are one. Anyone who feeds the sheep outside me feeds them against me. Anyone who does not gather with me scatters
(Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VII, St. Augustin, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Tractate 123.5, pp. 445-446).

Again, Catholics agree with this statement from St. Augustine! It is when one "feeds sheep outside (of Him)" that they are against Him. Where is the unity in Protestantism? To which bishop do Protestants turn to for unity? Throughout the Early Fathers we see them turning to One Place for Unity - the See of Peter.

Quite rightly too did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It’s not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1994), Sermons, Volume III/8, Sermon 295.4, p. 199).

Amen and amen! Peter is "first among the Apostles!" This is why we turn to the See of Peter for unity.

So the Lord entrusted his sheep to us bishops, because he entrusted them to Peter; if, that is, we are worthy with any part of us, even with the tips of our toes, to tread the dust of Peter’s footsteps, the Lord entrusted his sheep to us. You are his sheep, we are sheep along with you, because we are Christians. I have already said, we are fed and we feed
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1994), Sermons, Volume III/8, Sermon 296.13, p. 211).

And again I say AMEN! Please make note that St. Augustine is STILL speaking of a unity with St. Peter.

But when he declared his love once, and again, and a third time, the Lord entrusted him with his sheep. Do you love me? He said. Lord, you know that I love you. Feed my lambs. This once, and again, and a third time, as though the only way Peter could show his love for Christ would be by being a faithful shepherd and pastor under the prince of all pastors...
(John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (Brooklyn: New City Press, 1992), Sermons, Volume III/4, Sermon 147A.1-2, pp. 451-452).

This citation does not negate the primacy of Peter or the unity we seek in looking to Peter's see. Catholics have no problem with this statement in this context.

According to Augustine, when Christ entrusted the sheep to Peter he was not making him the supreme ruler of the Church. He and all the shepherds of the Church are under Christ, the chief shepherd. There is only one head, Christ, and all the Apostles are of equal status under Christ as the chief shepherd. In addition, when Christ entrusted His sheep to Peter he was not entrusting the other Apostles to him, but the converts who would be the fruit of his preaching. The Apostles are equally shepherds with Peter.

Nope, we don't quite get to Webster's conclusion from the texts he's quoted for us here. We agree that all the bishops of the Catholic Church share an equal amount of authority over their respective jurisdictions. The Bishop of Rome though, as the Successor of St. Peter, has an added "role" to play, and that is one of a unifier of the Church. A theme I repeat often in this response - the role of the Bishop of Rome is for that of unity in the Church. Throughout the Early Fathers and Early Councils we consistently see this unity being spoken of and the role of Peter's successor to provide that unity.

Therefore, the logic of Augustine and of the fathers as a whole is as follows:

Webster cannot assert that his arguments are representative of "the fathers as a whole" for he has not even cited one other Father in this entire argument!

1) Peter holds a primacy, but it is not a primacy of jurisdiction.
What sort of "primacy" does Peter then hold? Webster admits to "a" primacy, but (tactfully) does not expound on what that means.
2) Peter is not the rock but his confession of Christ or Christ himself and therefore the Church is not built on Peter personally but on his confession of faith which points to Christ.

I do not deny that some of the Fathers make this argument. Still, others do not, and the authority of the Church, in which rests the "pillar and ground of Truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), states that it is indeed upon which Peter that the Church is built. I would go on to say that even if one argues "It's Peter's confession..." that it is still Peter's confession, and as one confesses, so also one is.
3) All the Apostles are equal.

In some senses, yes - others no. Were all equal to Judas in every respect? Clearly not.
4) Peter is a symbolic representative of the Church as a whole. What was spoken to Peter and granted to him by Christ was spoken and granted to all the Apostles equally and through them to the Church universal.

This is not stated in the Scriptures, only in commentaries after the fact. Hence, this is an extra scriptura tradition that Mr. Webster is clinging to. If we stick to the Scriptures alone, as would be one of Mr. Webster's primary tenants, we'd have to reject this teaching. Now, in part I can agree - St. Peter IS representative of the Church as a whole - and can speak for the Church as a whole! It is only the second part that gets Mr. Webster in trouble, when he tries to say that ALL that Jesus spoke to Peter was meant for the entire Church.

The citation he makes from Sermon 147 rejects the notion that everything Jesus said to Peter was for the entire Church. Sermon 147 clearly points out that the threefold restoration of St. Peter was to counter the threefold reject that Peter (alone) made regarding the Christ.

5) All the bishops are successors of Peter because they are the successors of the Apostles, all of whom were equal.

Again, in some senses, yes - all bishops are equal. St. Augustine himself was a bishop, and a true successor to the Apostles - to whom does Mr. Webster look to as a bishop? Where is the succession to the Apostles for this bishop? Is that bishop in union with the chair of Peter?
6) All the bishops sit on the chair of Peter.

Nowhere has Mr. Webster even come close to making, let alone proving this assertion!
7) Therefore, the exalted titles applied to Peter do not apply to the bishops of Rome because the fathers never make that application in their writings.

Again, Mr. Webster asserts that this is true for all the Fathers - yet he has not quoted any other Fathers!

Now, is that held by all the Fathers? Let's try a few others:

The Letter of Clement to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus Himself, with His truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221])

The Clementine Homilies

"[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).

Origen

"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? 'Oh you of little faith,' he says, 'why do you doubt?'" [Matt. 14:31] (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: 'I say to you,' he says, 'that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ' [Matt. 16:18-19] On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

Firmilian (A statement in 253ad establishing that Stephen, at least, has claimed succession).

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18] . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (collected in Cyprian's Letters 74[75]:17 [A.D. 253]).

Pope Damasus I

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ' [Matt. 16:18-19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Jerome

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark on Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine (Yes! St. Augustine himself against the imposter Donatists!)

"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.' Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement . . . In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

Council of Chalcedon

"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).

(Source: http://www.catholic.com/ANSWERS/tracts/_p_rock.htm [more quotes there too!])

Now, can Mr. Webster honestly state that "the whole of the fathers" agrees with his position? Clearly we have shown he cannot.

Augustine: Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer. (Sermon 229).

And yet again, (repeating myself because Mr. Webster is repeating this claim), in a sense we can agree that it is upon Peter's confession that the Church is built - and like I said earlier, as a person confesses, so also IS that person.
Windsor:

This is a figurative passage. The Church was not physically built upon “the man” of St. Peter, for he would be crushed in the literal sense. Jesus foundationally lays the groundwork for the Church on Simon’s confession, but there’s more to this chapter! Simon Bar Jona is renamed Peter here! When God renames someone, there is great significance! (Noting: Abraham, Israel, etc.) None of the other Apostles were so honored or held up as Simon Bar Jona!

Webster:

Yes, Peter’s name was changed. But it is quite clear that Augustine does not interpret the change of the name in the same way you do becuase he says in that context that Christ did not build his Church on a man, i.e. on Peter, but on Peter’s confession of faith in Christ. Augustine himself explains the sinificance of the change of Peter’s name, Scott, and it is not consistent with your position. He states:

‘Previously, of course, he was called Simon; this name of Peter was bestowed on him by the Lord, and that with the symbolic intention of his representing the Church. Because Christ, you see, is the petra or rock; Peter, or Rocky, is the Christian people (Sermon 76).

I'm not real sure which sermon of St. Augustine that Mr. Webster is quoting from here. I have gone through the entire text of Sermon 76 (A href="http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160376.htm" target="_blank"> http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160376.htm) and can find only one mentioning of the name "Peter." That being:
The Apostle Peter says, "We have a more sure word of prophecy, where-unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts." (SERMON LXXVI. paragraph 1).
Sermon 96 comes close: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160396.htm; and Sermon 97 comes even closer:
3. Peter then was true; or rather was Christ true in Peter? Now when the Lord Jesus Christ would, He abandoned Peter, and Peter was found a man; but when it so pleased the Lord Jesus Christ, He filled Peter, and Peter was found true. The Rock (Petra) made Peter true, for the Rock was Christ. And what did He announce to him, when he answered a third time that he loved Christ, and a third time the Lord commended His little sheep to Peter? He announced to him beforehand his suffering. "When thou wast young," saith He, "thou girdedst thyself, and wentest whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thine hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." The Evangelist hath explained to us Christ's meaning. "This spake He," saith he, "signifying by what death he should glorify God;" that is that he was crucified for Christ; for this is, "Thou shalt stretch forth thine hands." Where now is that denier? Then after this the Lord Christ said, "Follow Me." Not in the same sense as before, when he called the disciples. For then too He said, "Follow Me;" but then to instruction, now to a crown. Was he not afraid to be put to death when he denied Christ? He was afraid to suffer that which Christ suffered. But now he must be afraid no more. For he saw Him now Alive in the Flesh, whom he had seen hanging on the Tree. By His Resurrection Christ took away the fear of death; and forasmuch as He had taken away the fear of death, with good reason did He enquire of Peter's love. Fear had thrice denied, love thrice confessed.
Still we have no mentioning of "Rocky" here. So it would be interesting to see just which sermon Mr. Webster is refering to.

Augustine: And this Church, symbolized in its generality, was personified in the Apostle Peter, on account of the primacy of his apostleship. For, as regards his proper personality, he was by nature one man, by grace one Christian, by still more abounding grace one, and yet also, the first apostle; but when it was said to him, I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven,’ he represented the universal Church, which in this world is shaken by divers temptations, that come upon it like torrents of rain, floods and tempests, and falleth not, because it is founded upon a rock (petra), from which Peter received his name. For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, ‘On this rock will I build my Church,’ because Peter had said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. The Church, therefore, which is founded in Christ received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in the person of Peter, that is to say, the power of binding and loosing sins. For what the Church is essentially in Christ, such representatively is Peter in the rock (petra); and in this representation Christ is to be understood as the Rock, Peter as the Church (Commentary on the Gospel of John, Tractate 124.5).

Well, to begin with, this whole comparison in Tractate 124.5 is not merely about Peter, but also about John. There is quite a deep analogy going on here that Mr. Webster has taken out of context. This is not a prooftext against Peter as having primacy, rather it is a comparison of Peter, whom loved Christ and John, whom Christ loved. The tractate then shows how this analogy works. Mr. Webster should read the whole tractate - it's a beautiful message, and I provide the link here for him, as well as others reading this rebuttal:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1701124.htm

Windsor:

Again we are shown that St. Peter is given primacy and is the single Apostle shown to represent the Church. Where were the other Apostles at this time? The were right there with St. Peter! Why then does the Lord single out Simon and give him the name of Peter? If this were merely an act of symbolism, then why, from this time forward, is Simon refered to as “Peter?”

Webster:

Augustine states that Peter is the first and head of the apostles and that he holds a primacy. However he does not interpret that primacy in a Roman Catholic sense. He believes that Peter’s primacy is figurative in that he represents the universal Church. Again, he explicitly states that Christ did not build his Church upon a man but on Peter’s confession of faith. Peter is built on Christ the rock and as a figurative representative of the Church he shows how each believer is built on Christ. In Augustine’s view, Peter holds a primacy or preeminence, but none of this applies to him in a jurisdictional sense, because he says that ‘Christ did not build his Church upon a man.’ We can not get a clearer illustration that the fathers did indeed separate Peter’s confession of faith from Peter’s person.

The citations from the Early Fathers I quoted (above) clearly state otherwise. Peter and his successors hold more than this "figurative" primacy - it is a real primacy and one of unity. If one is not in union with the Chair of Peter - then we should not even consider them Christian, for they are among those that scatter the Church (from St. Cyprian, above).

Windsor:

This would be a logical argument, IF not for the fact that at the begining of Matthew 16 this Apostle is known as “Simon” and after verse 18 he is known as “Peter.” Mr. Webster is attempting to put a 16th century spin on an ancient text - but wait, that’s what he accuses Catholic apologists of doing!

Webster:

Scott, if you are going to deal with Augustine you have to deal with what he personally has to say. He does not draw the conclusions you draw from his words. Again, Augustine does not place the significance on the change of name that you do. As we have seen, Augustine is aware that Peter’s name has been changed but that did not bring him to the conclusion that Peter was established as the universal ruler of the Church or as the rock upon which the Church would be built. If you want to call this a spin, fine, but it is a spin that is found in Augustine in the early 5th century, thereby preceeding the 16th century by a significant amount of time! I am putting an Augustinian, 5th century “spin” on the text, a spin that can be further applied to other fathers in the 3rd (Origen and Cyprian) and 4th (Chrysostom) centuries. So I am putting a patristic spin (interpretation) on the text. As Oscar Cullmann points out, the view of the Reformers was not a novel interpretation invented by them but hearkened back to the patristic tradition:

Well Bill (I guess we're on a firstname basis now) I have presented several citations from the 5th century and previous that deny your conclusions! Here, I missed Origin earlier:
Origen

"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? 'Oh you of little faith,' he says, 'why do you doubt?'" [Matt. 14:31] (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

How about St. John Chrysostom?
For example Chrysostom writes:

"For He that has built His church upon Peterís confession" (Homily 82 on Matthew, NPNF1 X:494).

"[H]aving promised to lay the foundation of the Church upon his [Peterís] confession" (Chapter 1 on Galatians, NPNF1 X111:1).

Chrysostom extends the meaning of Matthew 16:18 to Peterís faith by his use of such words as built, foundation, and rock.

However, this did not prevent Chrysostom from directly equating Peter the person with the rock. Chrysostom provides us with these equally forceful passages:

"[H]e [Peter] became a foundation of the Church"(Homily 3 on Matthew, NPNF1 X:19).

"[T]o exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him..."(Homily 54 on Matthew, NPNF1 X:334).

"Peter ... the foundation of the faith" (Hom. de decem mille talentis, Chapman 74).

"Peter, that the head of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who received the revelation not from man but from the Father ... this Peter, and when I say Peter, I mean the unbroken rock, the unshaken foundation, the great apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey" (Almsgiving 3:4, Chapman 74).

(Source: http://www.catholic-convert.com/webster/gallagos.html [Steve Ray's response to the same argument from Webster])

‘We thus see that the exegesis that the Reformers gave...was not first invented for their struggle against the papacy; it rests upon an older patristic tradition (Oscar Cullmann, Peter:Disciple–Apostle–Martyr (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1953), p. 162).

Your appeal to Augustine, Scott, to support a Roman papal primacy cannot be supported from the facts. It is not enough to simply cite quotations. You must be able to give a proper interpretation of what the fathers mean by the words they use. They, themselves, provide us with such an interpretation if we give the full context of their teaching.

Bill, my response is grounded in the unchanged teaching of the Catholic Church that preceeded the Innovators of the 16th Century (you call them "Reformers" but they "reformed" nothing. They created new churches, none of which are even in full communion with each other, much less Rome - and as St. Cyprian said, "Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering." Bill, you're clinging to traditions of men that have scattered the Church, men who have appeared to be sheep, but were truly wolves in sheeps clothing.

If you take an objective look at the Fathers - you will see what I am saying is true.

Windsor:

Webster also states: “We can not get a clearer illustration that the fathers did indeed separate Peter’s confession of faith from Peter’s person.”

Let’s take a look at what a few of the other Early Fathers said:

St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Unity of the Catholic Church:

The Lord says to Peter: “I say to you,” He says, “that you are Peter, and upon this rock will I build My Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound in also in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven.” [Cyprian’s first edition:]

And again He says to him after His resurrection: “Feed my sheep.” On him He builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep; although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed all by the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church? The episcopate is one, of which each bishop holds his part within the undivided structure. The Church also is one, however widely she has spread among the multitude through her fruitful increase ... The Church is bathed in the light of the Lord, and pours her rays over the whole world; but it is one light that is spread everywhere, and the unity of her structure is undivided. [Jurgens 555-556]

Now, does this sound a bit like Protestantism?! Where is the unity in Protestantism? Today, who would St. Cyprian say is sitting in the “one chair” of the Church?

Webster:

When Cyprian came into conflict with Stephen, Scott, he and Firmilian stated that Stephen had lost his chair and had cut himself off from the unity of the Church. Preciselty what the Protestant and Orthodox Churches say about Rome today.

First off, Bill, you haven't answered my question! "Who would St. Cyprian say is sitting in the ONE CHAIR of the Church?"

And what of Firmilian?:

"But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: 'Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven' [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian's Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18] . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).
(Source: http://www.catholic.com/ANSWERS/tracts/_p_rock.htm)

Windsor:

St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter without heading, of Cyprian to the Lapsed. A.D, 250:

Our Lord, whose commands we ought to fear and observe, says in the Gospel, by way of assigning the episcopal dignity and settling the plan of His Church: “I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they will be loosed in heaven.”

From that time the ordination of bishops and the plan of the Church flows on through the changes of times and successions; for the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by the same rulers. Since this has indeed been established by Divine Law, I marvel at the rash boldness of certain persons who have desired to write me as if they were writing letters in the name of the Church, “since the Church is established upon the bishop and upon the clergy and upon all who stand firm in the faith.” [Jurgens 571]

St. Cyprian again asserts that the Church is founded upon St. Peter, and that the plan of the Church, “through the changes of times and successions.” Please note that he specifically mentions successions clearly indicating this “ability” was handed down from the Apostles to the current time.

St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter of Cyprian to Quintus, Bishop in Mauretania. A.D. 254/255:

...For Peter, whom the Lord chose first and upon whom He built His Church, when Paul later disagreed with him about circumcision, did not claim anything for himself insolently nor assume anthing arrogantly, so as to say that he held the primacy and that he ought rather to be obeyed by novices and those more recently arrived. [Jurgens 592a]

Here we find St. Cyprian again asserting that the Church is indeed built upon Peter.

Webster:

I dealt with the whole issue of Cyprian and his view of Peter in a detailed response to Steve Ray demonstrating from the writings of Roman Catholic historians that Cyprian did not embrace the view of papal primacy. When he states that the Church is built upon Peter he means this in the same way as expressed by Augustine—Peter is a figurative representative of the Church. The bishop of Rome does not possess a position of authority over any see but his own. In Cyprian’s view, all bishops are on an equal footing with one another.

Well Bill, your citations of St. Cyprian seem lacking, and taken within the context of ALL the Early Fathers - (from which your citations of are extremely lacking in this response) - your position is completely untenable. Well, not completely. We do concur that each bishop within his own diocese does have an "equal power" as does the Bishop of Rome. Each bishop within his own diocese does indeed "rule" and "guide" his portion of The Flock as the shepherd of that portion. The difference arises when the Bishop of Rome is called on to speak in his position from the Chair of Peter - or "ex cathedra" - and this, in reality, happens VERY seldomly. The last time this happened was over 40 years ago, in 1950, (Munificentissimus Deus), when the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was infallibly defined so as to remove further dispute from this ancient teaching (the Dormition of Mary being one of the most ancient of feast days in the Eastern Church as well as the West/Latin Church).

When it comes right down to it, to steal a line from Shakespear, this is "much ado about nothing" for when it comes down to just how many times in nearly 2000 years of Church history that the Pope actually utilizes the Cathedra Petri - it is rather insignificant, yet this is one of the major precepts that the Protestants (and Orthodox) hold against the One, True Church, (and there truly can only be One, True Church - for there can logically only be One Truth).

The following statements by Roman Catholic patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten, affirms these conclusions:

To defend ecclesiastical unity, when it was threatened by schisms, Cyprian wrote De unitate ecclesiae and many of his letters, founding it, so far as the members of the Church are concerned, on adherence to the bishop. ‘You should understand that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop and that whoever is not with the bishop is not in the Church’ (Epist. 66.8). Thus the ordinary is the visible authority around which the congregation is centered.

The solidarity of the universal Church rests in turn on that of the bishops, who act as a sort of senate. They are the successors of the apostles and the apostles were the bishops of old. ‘The Lord chose the apostles, that is, the bishops and rulers’ (Epist. 3.3). The Church is built upon them. Thus Cyprian interprets the Tu es Petrus (You are Peter) as follows:

"Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: 'I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not preval against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers. Since then this order has been established by divine decree, I am amazed that some individuals have had the bold effrontery to write me and send letters in the name of the Church, seeing that the Church is composed of the bishop and the clergy and all who are steadfast’ (Cyprian, Epistle XXXIII, 1).

Thus he understands Matth. 16:18 of the whole episcopate, the various members of which, attached to one another by the laws of charity and concord (Epist. 54.1; 68.5), thus render the Church universal a single body. ‘The Church, which is catholic and one, is not split asunder nor divided but is truly bound and joined together by the cement of its priests, who hold fast one to another’ (Epist. 66.8).

The Primacy of Rome

Cyprian is convinced that the bishop answers to God alone. ‘So long as the bond of friendship is maintained and the sacred unity of the Catholic Church is preserved, each bishop is master of his own conduct, conscious that he must one day render an account of himself to the Lord’ (Epist. 55.21). In his controversy with Pope Stephen on the rebaptism of heretics he voices as the president of the African synod of September 256 his opinion as follows:

“No one among us sets himself up as a bishop of bishops, or by tyranny and terror forces his colleagues to compulsory obedience, seeing that every bishop in the freedom of his liberty and power possesses the right to his own mind and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. We must all await the judgment of our Lord Jesus Chirst, who singly and alone has power both to appoint us to the government of his Church and to judge our acts therein’ (CSEL 3, 1, 436).

From these words it is evident that Cyprian does not recognize a primacy of jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome over his colleagues. Nor does he think Peter was given power over the other apostles because he states: hoc erant et ceteri apostoli quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio praediti et honoris et potestatis (De unit. 4). No more did Peter claim it: 'Even Peter, whom the Lord first chose and upon whom He built His Church, when Paul later disputed with him over circumcision, did not claim insolently any prerogative for himself, nor make any arrogant assumptions nor say that he had the primacy and ought to be obeyed' (Epist. 71, 3)."

On the other hand, it is the same Cyprian who gives the highest praise to the church of Rome on account of its importance for ecclesiastical unity and faith, when he complains of heretics ‘who dare to set sail and carry letters from schismatic and blasphemous persons to the see of Peter and the leading church, whence the unity of the priesthood took its rise, not realizing that the Romans, whose faith was proclaimed and praised by the apostle, are men into whose company no perversion of faith can enter’ (Epist. 59, 14). Thus the cathedra Petri is to him the ecclesia principalis and the point of origin of the unitas sacerdotalis. However, even in this letter he makes it quite clear that he does not concede to Rome any higher right to legislate for other sees because he expects her not to interfere in his own diocese ‘since to each separate shepherd has been assigned one portion of the flock to direct and govern and render hereafter an account of his ministry to the Lord’ (Epist- 59, 14)...If he refuses to the bishop of Rome any higher power to maintain by legislation the solidarity of which he is the centre, it must be because he regards the primacy as one of honor and the bishop of Rome as primus inter pares (Johannes Quasten, Patrology (Westminster: Christian Classics, 1983), Volume II, pp. 374-378).

Quasten seems to support Webster's conclusions, but does he really? No, not quite. From the same text Webster quotes: "on account of its importance for ecclesiastical unity and faith" in regard to the See of Peter. The See of Peter is looked to for unity and faith, and that's our contention and has been my argument all along. The Bishop of Rome is not a dictator over the other bishops - for they are like unto the Pope within their own jurisdictions. Again I assert that the Cathedra Petri, or Seat of Peter, is utilized very rarely so rarely that one truly has to wonder why such a big deal is made of it. This being said, the interesting question to be put to Quasten would to ask if the Pope has the authority to make an ex cathedra statement, (like 1950 Munificentissimus Deus), if Quasten denied such an authority exists, then Webster would have a point in using Quasten's arguments - otherwise Webster just is making a lot of smoke.

IF Quasten were to deny this authority, then respectfully, all scholarship aside, I would conclude that Quasten is not a Catholic. Denial of this would put him in direct contradiction of the current teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 881:

881. "The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the 'rock' of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.[Cf. Mt 16:18-19 ; Jn 21:15-17 .] 'The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.'[LG 22 # 2.] This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the PRIMACY of the Pope." (Source: http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html then search for "primacy").
He would also be in denial of the Code of Canon Law (CIC 330-331):
PART II : THE HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
SECTION I: THE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER I : THE ROMAN PONTIFF AND THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

The Supreme Authority

Can. 330 Just as, by the decree of the Lord, Saint Peter and the rest of the Apostles form one College, so for a like reason the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are united together in one.

ARTICLE 1: THE ROMAN PONTIFF

Can. 331 The office uniquely committed by the Lord to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, abides in the Bishop of the Church of Rome. He is the head of the College of Bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the Pastor of the universal Church here on earth. Consequently, by virtue of his office, he has supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, and he can always freely exercise this power.
Source: http://www.prairienet.org/nrpcatholic/e204-459.html#5

These are teachings that no Catholic can deny.

These comments by Quasten are significant. They demonstrate the importance of what I stated about Augustine where I mentioned that it is not enough to simply cite quotations. One must seek to understand what the fathers meant by the words and terms they used, to understand their historical context. Cyprian states that Peter is the rock of the Church. The Roman Catholic, as Scott Windsor has demonstrated, immediately jumps to the conclusion that Cyprian must mean what present day Roman Catholics mean by those words. Is that the case? According to a world renowned Roman Catholic patristics scholar, it certainly is not the case. Quasten gives us the historical context and interpretation of Cyprian's words which are not supportive of a Roman, papal ecclesiology. Thus, to appeal to Cyprian in support of such a concept is to misinterpret and distort the facts. It is to read into his words a theology he personally did not embrace.

Have I appealled to St. Cyprian alone? Have I appealed to St. Augustine alone? No, I have not. I have supported my conclusions with many other Church Fathers and even the Council of Chalcedon, one of the earliest of the Church Councils - wherein also is defined the Two Natures of Christ. Where in Scripture are the Two Natures of Christ defined or even implied? This teaching is completely foreign to the Scriptures - yet is infallibly defined by the Church at this council, which also declares that Peter, through Leo, is the Rock upon which the Church is built:
"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).
Now, I believe Bill would agree with me that the Council of Chalcedon did infallibly teach the Two Wills of Christ - and that it would be a heresy to deny the Two Wills - was this council less authoritive when it declares the above quote?

Another repeating theme in Webster's argument is that the papacy was some later invention, yet here we have the Council of Chalcedon recognizing Pope Leo as one and the same with Peter the Apostle. I have shown St. Augustine citing the succession of the Bishop of Rome in denial of the Donatists bishops. Since the Donatists were not in union with the Roman Bishop, they were outside the faith.

In conclusion:

Mr. Webster (Bill) has attempted to say that there is no significance of Peter's See over that of any of the other Apostles. Webster concludes that Peter's primacy is not a primacy at all, that ALL the Apostles share equally in everything - yet in one section he (Webster) admits to a primacy of some sort. Well Bill, what IS that primacy? I have shown from several Early Fathers and from one of the earliest of the Church Councils (Chalcedon) that clearly there is more than symbolism to Peter's primacy and to the See of Peter. It is in the See of Peter that ALL the Early Fathers, and all the Fathers and Doctors of the Church since the Patristic times, have turned to for unity, guidance and leadership. The great St.Ambrose stated it well,

"Where there is Peter, there is the Church."


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