Catholics see this passage as evidence that Jesus made Peter the first pope.
Many Evangelicals look at it as just the opposite.
Who is right?
It's an interesting question, and I've been on both sides of the question. In fact, this passage played a pivotal role in my conversion to the Catholic Church.
You may think you've heard all the arguments about whether Peter is the rock, but I'm going to show you the one that convinced me, and you probably haven't heard it anywhere else . . .
The Basic Argument
A common claim in Protestant apologetics is that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus is actually contrasting St. Peter with the rock on which he will build his Church.The argument is based on the fact that in Greek the word for Peter is petros, while the word used for "rock" here is petra.
It is often claimed that these words meant two different things--that petros meant a small stone or a pebble, while petra meant a large rock.
The idea is that Jesus is contrasting Peter--a tiny, insignificant stone--with the great rock on which he will build his Church, which is often said not to be Peter but Peter's faith.
How well does this argument work?
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In the meantime, what do you think?