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Monday, October 23, 2017

Some considerations on the primacy of Peter

If Scripture really does imply or state that Peter was the primary/preeminent/most important/lead apostle, then how do you explain the following?

Thirteen or fourteen books of the New Testament are attributed to Paul and only two are attributed to Peter.

Saul/Paul is mentioned 181 times in Scripture and Peter is mentioned 158 times.

Despite Peter having received a vision about what God regarded as clean/unclean and claiming that God had chosen him to deliver God's message to the Gentiles, the New Testament reflects the fact that PAUL (not Peter) was the apostle most responsible for carrying that message to the Gentiles.

Paul criticized Peter's different behavior among Jewish and Gentile converts and openly opposed him on the issue within the church.

A council of apostles and elders was assembled at Jerusalem to settle the matter of just how much of the Law of Moses that the Gentile converts would be required to observe. And, although Peter spoke to the assembly, it is certainly implied in the account of this event that James concluded the matter.

Christ said that anyone who wanted to be preeminent within God's Church or Kingdom had to be the servant of all the others. He also said that he didn't want his followers lording it over each other.

Christ asked Peter three times if he loved him more than the other apostles did and instructed him to take care of his flock after he answered that question three times in the affirmative. 

2 comments:

  1. Maybe your second fact (the frequency of mention) is explained by your first?

    I disagree that the Jerusalem conference was about how much of the law gentiles should keep. James said the church didn't need to fret about it because the gentiles could go and hear the law in the synagogue. Very sensible since the church was still a sect of Judaism then and members were still attending synagogues.

    The issue was whether gentiles should be circumcised. Ouch.

    Anyway, that's how it looks to me.

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  2. In the fifth verse of Acts 15, we read: "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses." Notice that the question did NOT just encompass the matter of circumcision - It was also contended by these folks that Gentiles should be commanded "to keep the law of Moses."
    Likewise, we read in verse 20 of the same chapter that James suggested that the assembly write in very specific terms delineating which provisions of the law would apply to Gentile Christians. Moreover, it is once again made clear that this council was about much more than circumcision in verse 24: "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment..." Indeed the assembly seemed to adopt James' suggestion and concluded their official decision to the Gentile Christians with very specific language about what exactly would be expected of them: "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."
    It is, therefore, simplistic and misleading to say that the only issue before the council was whether or not Gentiles should be circumcised. I certainly understand the need for legalists to limit the applicability of this passage to circumcision in their ongoing mission to redefine grace, but "that dog won't hunt" if we are willing to acknowledge everything that we are told about the Jerusalem Council here.

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