Jesus Appoints a Pope: Part II

After Jesus made that promise, He then says that, ”I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Peter alone is given the keys of the kingdom, for we see later that all the disciples were given the authority to bind and loose (Matt. 18:18) and all the apostles were given the authority to forgive sins (John 21:21-23).


The key to understanding this part of the passage is the keys. Jesus will actually give Peter His authority, when He ascends to His Father. The keys are the sign of authority. For us to sit here in the twenty-first century and try to say that Jesus wasn’t really talking to Peter but to all the disciples down through history is absurd! The keys [authority] were given only to Peter as the primeminister of the kingdom of heaven, in the absence of Christ, who would [shortly], ascended to the heavenly kingdom. Just as we are taught to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”


We must also understand the early Church Fathers referred to the see [chair] of Peter in Rome as the Authority in doctrinal matters and other problems that arose.


Bishop of Antioch, Ignatius wrote to the church in Rome in 110 AD: “You are a credit to God: you deserve your renown and are to be congratulated.You deserve praise and success and are privileged to be without blemish. Yes, you rank first in love, being true to Christ’s law and stamped with the Father’s name.”  Ignatius of Antioch  Letter to the Romans.


In 150 AD Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, (a disciple of the Apostle John) traveled to Rome to confer with Pope Anicetus, about the proper date for the celebration of Easter.


Irenaeus of Lyons (a disciple of Polycarp) refuted false teaching by referring to; “the tradition which that very great, oldest, and well known church, founded and established at Rome by those two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul, received from the apostles… every church must be in harmony with this church [the church in Rome] because of it’s outstanding pre-eminence…” Against Heresies, Book III 3:2.


In 250 AD, Cyprian Bishop of Carthage wrote this of the one who held the “chair” or office of Peter- the Bishop of Rome:


“It is on him [Peter] that He [Jesus] builds the church, and to him He entrusts the sheep to feed. And although He assigns power to all the apostles, yet He founded a single chair, thus establishing by His own authority the source and hallmark of the churches’ oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter and it is thus made clear that there is but one church and one chair… If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the church.” On the Unity of the Catholic Church.


I mention these specifically because these letters were written before the Council of Carthage in 367 A.D. Why would that make a difference?


Well, this shows the authority that the Church had before the canonization of Scripture.


For at this Council, the Pope St. Damasus, along with the other bishops and priest of the day, discerned which books were inspired and which were not. The New Testament we have today is a collection of these books, which the Catholic Church declared to be authoritative.

            “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired they are truly The Word of God.”  Dei Verbum 24 

All Councils were modeled after the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Here we see clearly, Peter’s undeniable and unique leadership (Acts 15:7-12). It was also Peter who called for a replacement for Judas in Acts 1 (15-26).

This certainly looks like Church authority, the ability to mandate and interpret the will of God, through ecumenical dialogue, common sense and most importantly, prayer.


Some will believe, some will doubt and some will even deny that the Church has authority over our lives. That leads to the question, “Why did He even create the Church?”


3 Responses

  1. Where can I find more facts of Church Fathers expressing the primacy of bishop of Rome before the canon of the Bible was established? Do you recommend a site?

    Thank You.

  2. Iwka,
    Go to and search “Pope” you will get plenty of info there…Also check out my recommended sites, New Advent and Early Christian Writings and Early Church Fathers.

    I hope that helps get you started. May God Bless you.

  3. Thank You.

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