In an article replying to me (http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ487.HTM), Dave Armstrong writes in defense of his 50 New Testament proofs for Petrine primacy and the papacy:
I approached the Petrine list with the thought in mind: "Paul is obviously an important figure, but how much biblical material can one find with regard to Peter, which would be consistent with (not absolute proof of) a view that he was the head of the Church and the first pope?" Or, to put it another way (from the perspective of preexisting Catholic belief): "if Peter were indeed the leader of the Church, we would expect to find much material about his leadership role in the New Testament, at least in kernel form, if not explicitly."...
Apart from the first three evidences of the 50 being far more important (as indicated by the space given to them), many of the others are not particularly strong by themselves, but they demonstrate, I think, that there is much in the New Testament which is consistent with Petrine primacy, which is the developmental kernel of papal primacy.
Dave has conceded, in his response to me, that some of his wording in his original article went too far. He's changed the wording. That's a step in the right direction. But it's not enough. Let me explain why.
Development of Doctrine
The First Vatican Council refers to the universal jurisdiction of Peter as a clear doctrine of scripture that has always been held by the Christian church. The same Roman Catholic council claims that the bishops of Rome were always perceived as having universal jurisdiction as the exclusive successors of Peter. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that all Christians of the first century viewed the Roman church as their only basis and foundation. Dave is therefore contradicting the teachings of his denomination when he suggests that the papacy could be "in kernel form" and "not explicit" in the New Testament.
Dave claims, in his reply to me, that the papacy developed in a way comparable to the development of Trinitarian doctrine and the canon of scripture. He writes:
Does Jason really think it's reasonable to expect me to explain to him why passages like 1 John 5:7 and Isaiah 9:6 and Zechariah 12:10 don't logically lead to Chalcedonian trinitarianism and the Two Natures of Christ?
I never made the argument Dave is responding to. I never argued that 1 John 5:7, Isaiah 9:6, and Zechariah 12:10 teach every aspect of Trinitarian doctrine Dave has mentioned. What a passage like Isaiah 9:6 teaches us is that Christ is God and man. Other passages refer to the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4), refer to all three Persons existing at the same time (Matthew 3:16-17), and refer to Jesus being made like us (Hebrews 2:17), learning (Luke 2:52), being tempted as we are (Hebrews 4:15), not knowing the future (Mark 13:32), having two wills (Luke 22:42), etc. Some disputes arose in the post-apostolic centuries regarding the implications of Jesus' manhood, for example, but no Christian today is dependent on those later disputes in order to know the truth. If scripture teaches concepts such as monotheism (Isaiah 43:10), the deity of the three Persons (John 1:1, Acts 5:3-4), and the co-existence of the three Persons (Matthew 3:16-17), those doctrines have logical implications. If later church councils accurately describe those implications, then Christians should accept the teachings of those councils. If the councils don't accurately describe the implications of those Biblical doctrines, then Christians should reject what the councils have taught. Since there's nothing in the Bible that logically leads to the concept that Roman bishops have universal jurisdiction, the comparison between the papacy and Trinitarian doctrine is fallacious.
Under what circumstances would Trinitarian doctrine be comparable to the doctrine of the papacy? Let's say, for the sake of argument, that passages like Matthew 28:19 and Acts 5:3-4 didn't exist. Let's say that there were no such passages referring to the deity of the Holy Spirit. And let's say that I argued that we should believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit because of evidence similar to what Dave has cited to argue for the papacy. What if I was to argue for the deity of the Holy Spirit by counting how many times the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Bible? What if I was to argue that the Holy Spirit is God by pointing out that the Holy Spirit is given the title of Helper? Would such arguments logically lead to the doctrine of the deity of the Holy Spirit? No. They wouldn't lead to that conclusion individually or cumulatively. When Dave counts how many times Peter's name is mentioned in the New Testament or refers to Peter being given a name that means "rock", such arguments don't logically lead to the conclusion that Peter and the bishops of Rome have papal authority.
Dave asks that we consider the cumulative weight of his list of Biblical proofs. But you can't produce a good argument by stringing together 50 bad arguments. There isn't a single proof Dave has cited that logically leads to a papacy by itself. But Isaiah 43:10 does lead to monotheism by itself. John 1:1 does lead to the deity of Christ. Hebrews 2:17 does lead to the manhood of Christ. Etc. When a Christian concludes that Jesus has two natures, he's following the teachings of Jesus and the apostles to their logical end. The same is true when a Christian concludes that Jesus has two wills, that the three Persons co-exist, etc. If any teaching of a post-apostolic council isn't a logical conclusion to what Jesus and the apostles taught, then Christians can and should reject what that council taught. We accept the Trinitarian conclusions of post-apostolic councils because Biblical teaching leads to those conclusions, not because of some alleged Divine inspiration or infallibility of those councils. Trinitarian doctrine is the logical conclusion to Biblical teaching. But nothing in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles logically leads to the doctrine of the papacy.
Here's the reasoning evangelicals follow with regard to Trinitarian doctrine:
1. Jesus and the apostles taught that X is true of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and/or God in general.
2. X logically leads to Y.
3. Therefore, Y is true of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and/or God in general in a way that's consistent with everything else Jesus and the apostles taught.
For example, Jesus and the apostles taught that Jesus became a man. Being a man involves a number of things. We therefore reach some conclusions about Jesus as a result of His manhood, whether something as insignificant as Jesus having fingernails or something as significant as Jesus having a human nature.
Dave's reasoning with regard to the papacy is:
1. Jesus and the apostles taught that X is true of Peter.
2. X logically leads to Y.
3. Therefore, Y is true of Peter in a way that's consistent with everything else Jesus and the apostles taught.
For example, Jesus and the apostles taught that Peter was given a name that means "rock". But here's where Dave's comparison to Trinitarian doctrine fails. Being given the name "rock" does not logically lead to the conclusion that a person has universal jurisdiction in the Christian church. Likewise, being given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven doesn't logically lead to the conclusion that a person has papal authority, and the keys aren't unique to Peter anyway. Dave can't cite any teaching of Jesus and the apostles that logically leads to papal authority for Peter, much less for Roman bishops. This is why I told Dave, in my first discussion with him two years ago, that we ought to distinguish between possibilities on the one hand and probabilities and necessities on the other hand. Drawing papal conclusions from the name "rock" or possession of the keys of the kingdom of Heaven is neither probable nor necessary.
Dave's comparison to Trinitarian doctrine also fails at step three of the argument described above. Peter having papal authority is not consistent with all that Jesus and the apostles taught. The New Testament repeatedly uses images of equality to refer to the apostles: twelve thrones (Matthew 19:28), foundation stones of the church (Ephesians 2:20), the first rank in the church (1 Corinthians 12:28), twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14), etc. Paul's use of the word "reputed" in Galatians 2:9 suggests that he considered it inappropriate to single out some of the apostles in the context of authority. The apostles had equal authority, which is why Paul repeatedly cites his equality with the others. He came to Jerusalem for the right hand of fellowship (Galatians 2:9), for coordination, not subordination (Galatians 2:6). That Peter would be grouped with two other people, and would be named second among them in this context (Galatians 2:9), makes it highly unlikely that he was viewed as the ruler of all Christians on earth.
Dave is correct when he says that Peter is named "rock", that Peter was given the keys of the kingdom, etc. But his argument fails when you get to steps two and three in the argument I've described above. The papacy is not in the same category as Trinitarian doctrine.
Dave's comparison to the canon of scripture is likewise erroneous. I discuss this issue in a reply to Dave elsewhere at this web site (http://members.aol.com/jasonte3/devdef4.htm). To go from the unique authority of the apostles to the unique authority of apostolic documents isn't the same as going from Matthew 16 to the concept of Roman bishops having universal jurisdiction. Concepts such as the canonicity of Paul's writings and God's sovereignty over the canon are logical conclusions to what Jesus and the apostles taught. The idea that Peter and the bishops of Rome are to rule all Christians on earth throughout church history is not a logical conclusion to what was taught by Jesus and the apostles.
Were there Trinitarian and canonical disputes during the early centuries of Christianity? Yes. But evangelicals don't claim that all aspects of Trinitarian doctrine and the 27-book New Testament canon were always held by the Christian church. The claims the Catholic Church makes about the papacy are different than the claims evangelicals make about the Trinity and the canon. Dave said that some evangelicals do make claims about Trinitarian doctrine and the canon always being held by the Christian church. Then those evangelicals should be corrected. But how is Dave going to correct the false claims the First Vatican Council made about the papacy?
Matthew 16 and the Names of Peter
Dave says that Matthew 16 contains "the most explicit biblical evidences for the papacy, and far away the best". By Dave's admission, the best Biblical evidence for the papacy is a passage that mentions neither successors nor Roman bishops. Not only does the passage not mention successors or Roman bishops, but everything said of Peter in the passage is said of other people elsewhere. And Dave acknowledges, in response to Luke 22:24, that the disciples didn't understand the papal interpretation of Matthew 16 as late as the Last Supper. The earliest interpreters of Matthew 16 (Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, etc.) not only didn't advocate the papal interpretation, but even contradicted it. Origen wrote that all Christians are a rock as Peter is in Matthew 16, and he said that all Christians possess the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Cyprian said that all bishops are successors of Peter, and that Peter's primacy consists not of authority, but of his being symbolic of Christian unity. It logically follows, then, that what Dave Armstrong describes as "far away the best" Biblical evidence for the papacy:
Yet, the First Vatican Council calls the papacy a clear doctrine of scripture always held by the Christian church, one that people with perverse opinions deny. If Matthew 16 doesn't logically lead to a papacy, and the earliest interpreters didn't see a papacy in the passage, and this passage is by far the best Catholics can produce, what does that tell us?
Jesus didn't say He would build His Church upon anyone else but the Rock of Peter. No one ever claimed that he said this to St. Paul (least of all St. Paul himself).
Ephesians 2:20 says that all of the apostles are foundation stones of the church. Whether it's said by Jesus or by the Holy Spirit, it's a fact that Peter isn't the only foundation stone of the church. Peter is spoken to in Matthew 16 because he was the one who answered Jesus' question (Matthew 16:16). Likewise, Jesus singles out James and John in Mark 10:39 because they were the ones talking with Jesus at the time, not because what He was saying applied only to them. Is it possible that Jesus would single out Peter because he was being made a Pope? Yes. Is it necessary? No.
Just as Peter isn't the only foundation stone of the church, he's also not the only one who has the keys that let him bind and loose. The other disciples had those keys as well (Matthew 18:18). The Catholic claim that the keys of Matthew 16:19 are separate from the power of binding and loosing is speculative and unlikely. When we read the passages of scripture that mention keys, we see a pattern in the structure of those passages. A key is mentioned, followed by a description of what the person can do with the key (Isaiah 22:22, Luke 11:52, Revelation 3:7, 9:1-2, 20:1-3). Sometimes a key is mentioned without such a description of what the key does (Revelation 1:18). And sometimes the function of the key is described without the key being mentioned (Matthew 23:13, Revelation 20:7). What do we see in Matthew 16:19? We see the keys mentioned, followed by a description of what they're used for. The keys are used to bind and loose. The keys of the kingdom of Heaven are used to bind and loose what's bound and loosed in Heaven. It logically follows, then, that the binding and loosing is part of the imagery of the keys. Binding and loosing is what's done with the keys. Therefore, when Matthew 18:18 refers to all of the disciples binding and loosing, it logically follows that they all have the keys that let them do it. Similarly, we know that keys are being used in passages like Matthew 23:13 and Revelation 20:7, even though only the function of the keys is described. In Revelation 20, for example, we know from verse 1 that Satan was imprisoned with a key. We can conclude, then, that the key was involved in his being released in verse 7, even though the key isn't mentioned in that verse. To separate the key from its function, as though they represent two separate powers, is speculative and unlikely. Outside of Matthew 18, every use of a key involves one entity. The person who has the key also opens and shuts or binds and looses. It's unlikely, then, that Matthew 18 is referring to one person having the keys and somebody else binding and loosing. The most reasonable interpretation of Matthew 18:18 is that all of the disciples possess the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And we know from church history that the earliest interpreters of Matthew 16 viewed the keys as belonging to multiple people, not just Peter and Roman bishops. The Catholic claim that the keys are unique to Peter is therefore unreasonable and contrary to the earliest post-apostolic interpretations of the passage.
Peter isn't the only foundation stone of the church. And he isn't the only one who has the keys that let him bind and loose. Matthew 16 doesn't logically lead to the papal authority of Peter, much less the papal authority of Roman bishops.
But what about Peter's name meaning "rock"? Isn't that evidence that he was a Pope? I don't discuss Peter's name in the context of Matthew 16, since we don't know that he was given the name at that point in time. We know that Jesus mentioned the name earlier than Matthew 16 (John 1:42). Peter was still referred to as Simon at times, even after the words of Matthew 16 were spoken. He was given an additional name, not a replacement of his old name. Mark mentions Peter's new name in the same context as the new names given to other apostles (Mark 3:16-18). Why was Peter called "rock" (Mark 3:16)? We don't know, but it may have had something to do with his personality or behavior. Why were James and John called "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17)? We don't know, but it may have had something to do with their personality or behavior. Why was Simon called "the zealot" (Mark 3:18)? We don't know, but it may have had something to do with his personality or behavior. Even if we assume that Peter's new name was given because of what occurred in Matthew 16, would that lead to the conclusion that Peter was a Pope? No. Peter could have chronological primacy or a primacy of importance, for example, without having a primacy of jurisdiction. You can be the first rock, the most important rock, and even the only rock without being a Pope.
There isn't anything in Matthew 16 that logically leads to the concept that Peter was a Pope, much less that Roman bishops are Popes. And Dave's arguments from Matthew 16 are what he cites as "the most explicit biblical evidences for the papacy, and far away the best".
The Less Explicit and the Worse
From here, Dave's arguments go from bad to worse. My list of 51 Biblical proofs for a Pauline papacy should have made Dave aware of some of the problems with his list of Biblical proofs. Instead, he kept using the same fallacious reasoning. Let me give some examples.
Keep in mind that I deliberately used erroneous reasoning similar to Dave's. I said, just before listing my 51 proofs, that I was using fallacious logic similar to Dave's. Yet, Dave repeatedly criticized my reasoning in the list of 51 proofs. Does he realize that he was therefore criticizing himself? Here are some examples of Dave criticizing me for using the same logic he used.
Regarding what's said of Paul in Acts 9:15, Dave wrote:
The RSV reads "a chosen instrument of mine," not "THE chosen instrument . . . " Nor is it even used as a title or name, like Rock (Petros) is. And it is not exclusive. Peter certainly did both as well.
Dave is being inconsistent. When Peter is singled out in Matthew 16, Dave sees papal implications, even though what's said of Peter in that passage is said of other people in other passages. But when Paul is singled out in Acts 9, Dave sees no papal implications. If being singled out has papal implications for Peter, then why not for Paul? Is it possible to see papal implications in Matthew 16 and Acts 9? Yes, but it's not likely or necessary in either case.
Paul himself said that "I am the least of all the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God" (1 Corinthians 15:9).
And Peter calls himself a "fellow elder" in 1 Peter 5:1. If Catholics can explain that passage as Peter being humble, not a reference to Peter having no more authority than other elders, then why can't we interpret 1 Corinthians 15:9 as Paul being humble? Again, Dave is being inconsistent.
Regarding Paul citing his authority over all the churches (1 Corinthians 4:17, 7:17, 2 Corinthians 11:28), Dave wrote:
That's an authority all apostles had, but it was a temporary office, and so has nothing to do with the question of the papacy as an ongoing office.
Yet, Dave cited Peter's authority over bishops (1 Peter 5:2) as a Biblical proof of his papal authority. All of the apostles had authority over all bishops, yet Dave included 1 Peter 5:2 in his list of Biblical proofs for Peter's unique authority. If Dave can include things that aren't unique to Peter in his list, then why can't I include things that aren't unique to Paul in my list?
Concerning how many times each apostle is mentioned in the Bible, Dave wrote:
I believe Peter gets the nod. By my (admittedly fallible) reckoning, he appears 191 times (162 as Peter or Simon Peter, 23 as Simon, and 6 as Cephas). Counting up Paul, Paul's, and his earlier name Saul in my Strong's Concordance (the good old-fashioned way), I come up with 186. Close, but somebody's gotta win
My numbers for the names are different than Dave's. Paul comes out ahead in my count of the names. But I didn't refer to names. I said that Paul is mentioned more often. That would include terms like "he" and "I". That gives Paul an advantage, since he wrote so many epistles in which he mentions himself frequently. But Peter has the advantage of appearing in four gospels that cover much of the same material repeatedly. My point was that there are numerous ways you can do this sort of counting. And using such a count as evidence of papal authority is unreasonable. Dave should have learned that. Instead of learning from his mistake, he tells us again that Peter's name being mentioned a few times more than Paul's has papal implications. Should we count names in the Old Testament to see who was the Pope of Israel?
Dave included a lot of people other than the apostles in his response to me:
Job...Walter Martin...Hank Hanegraaf...James White...St. Thomas Aquinas...St. Augustine...John the Baptist...Jeremiah
What would people like Walter Martin and Thomas Aquinas have to do with Biblical evidence? And why would Dave mention people from the Old Testament, such as Job and Jeremiah? I was comparing Paul to the other apostles, not to radio talk show hosts and Old Testament prophets. If Dave is going to bring up such people in response to my arguments about Paul, then why can't I bring up these people in response to his arguments about Peter? Does Peter's name appear 191 times in the Bible? Then why can't I count how many times Moses' name is mentioned in the Bible or how many times John Calvin is mentioned in a book on Calvinism? If we're discussing Biblical evidence of primacy among the apostles, then why bring up non-Biblical material and non-apostles? Does Dave want me to apply the same standards to his list of Biblical proofs?
Concerning the bishops of Ephesus as Paul's successors, Dave wrote:
What does this have to do with "papal authority," since Paul was speaking to bishops (see 20:17)? How do a bunch of bishops represent "papal authority"? This is collegial, or (potentially) conciliar, or episcopal authority, but not papal. Nor is there any word about succession here. He is merely exhorting bishops, as Peter does in 1 Peter 5:1-4. The real (apostolic) succession in Scripture occurs when Judas is replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:15-26). There is also a strong early tradition of the succession of bishops at Rome, and some sort of papal primacy (though it is not a biblical one; i.e., it is not detailed in the New Testament, since most of it was written before the succession in Rome commenced). We see this in the letters of St. Clement of Rome, early on.
Dave refers to First Clement, a document written in the name of the Roman church, not the bishop of Rome. If a letter from the Roman church, which was likely led by multiple bishops at the time, can represent papal authority, then why can't Paul speak to multiple Ephesian bishops about papal authority? Dave is being inconsistent again.
Regarding Acts 15, Dave wrote:
This is inaccurate. In 15:2-3 we are told that "Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So being sent their way by the church . . ." That is hardly consistent with Paul being the pope, because he was directed by others, as under orders....
After "much debate" (15:7), Peter (of all people!) rose and gave his statement on the matter (15:7-11), after which there was "silence" (15:12). Then Barnabas and Paul "related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles" (15:12). It was "confirmed" by James, the local bishop, who, in his remarks, immediately appealed to "Simeon" (i.e., Peter, because he had the highest authority). Later, the "apostles and the elders" again send Paul and three other men to report to their charges what had been decided in Council (15:22-25). If Paul is pope anywhere in this narrative, I sure don't see it.
Dave is being inconsistent again. Does Acts 15:2-3 refer to Paul being sent by other people? Yes, and Acts 8:14 refers to Peter being sent by other people. According to Dave's logic, "that is hardly consistent with [Peter] being the pope".
Dave arbitrarily suggests that things like the silence in Acts 15:12 and James mentioning Peter in Acts 15:14 are evidence that Peter presided as Pope. But all that Acts 15:12 mentions is that the people remained silent as Paul and Barnabas spoke. If Dave wants to argue that the people became silent in verse 12, then should we conclude that they were talking while Peter was talking? Were they unconcerned with what Peter had to say? What about James citing the earlier comments of Peter? James also cites scripture (Acts 15:16-18). Should we therefore conclude that scripture had the primary authority in Acts 15? Or, since James uses the most authoritative language ("it is my judgment"), he has the last word, and his words are the ones incorporated into the letter that's sent out, should we conclude that James was a Pope? (The Protestant historian Oscar Cullmann made a historical case for a primacy of James in his Peter: Disciple - Apostle - Martyr [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster, 1953], pp. 224-226.) The truth is that we have no evidence of anybody in Acts 15 acting as Pope. Just as my argument for Pauline primacy in Acts 15 is fallacious, so is Dave's argument for Petrine primacy. Instead of getting the point, Dave missed it again. He continues to see Petrine papal implications where they don't exist.
Concerning the miracles performed through Paul's clothing (Acts 19:11-12), Dave wrote:
Peter's shadow works miracles (Acts 5:15), which is far more impressive.
Dave should realize by now that neither Paul's clothing working miracles nor Peter's shadow working miracles belongs in a serious list of Biblical proofs for a papacy. The difference between Dave and me is that I don't take such erroneous arguments seriously, whereas he does.
Dave claims that the post-Biblical development of the doctrine of the papacy supports his papal interpretation of the Bible. But, as I've documented, the earliest interpreters of Matthew 16, the passage of scripture Dave cites as his best Biblical evidence, didn't interpret the Bible the way Dave is interpreting it. A papacy did eventually arise in Rome, and Roman bishops eventually began citing passages like Matthew 16 and John 21 in support of their increasing claims of authority. But if the doctrine of the papacy and its accompanying scripture interpretations don't arise until long after the apostles are dead, why should we believe that the papacy is apostolic? Even after the doctrine of the papacy arose in Rome, many bishops and councils continued to claim just as much authority as the bishop of Rome, sometimes even more authority. Using reasoning similar to Dave's, somebody could argue that passages like Acts 15 and 1 Timothy 3:15 are an acorn that would later develop into the oak tree of the supremacy of councils, not Popes.
Dave is mistaken when he claims that I can't cite any support from the church fathers for a Pauline papacy with Ephesian successors. Not only can I cite support from the church fathers, but I've had material on this subject at my web site for years. My list of 51 proofs is just a development of what I had argued earlier. (See the closing section of http://members.aol.com/jasonte2/denials.htm, where I use the reasoning of Catholic apologists to argue for a Pauline papacy in some of the earliest church fathers.) From the late second century onward, there's more evidence for a Petrine papacy in Rome than a Pauline papacy in Ephesus. But if we were to examine the first 100 years of church history, not only would we see no Petrine papacy, but we would even see Paul being more prominent than Peter. The Protestant historian Terence Smith comments:
there is an astonishing lack of reference to Peter among ecclesiastical authors of the first half of the second century. He is barely mentioned in the Apostolic Fathers, nor by Justin and the other Apologists (cited in Robert Eno, The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 15)
That would change with the passing of time. The Roman church was located in the capital of the empire. It was the wealthiest church. Paul and Peter were martyred there. The Roman church gradually became more and more prominent, and claims of papal authority were eventually made by Roman bishops. But the concept of the papacy was never taught by Jesus and the apostles. When it did arise later in church history, it was widely rejected, including in the West (http://members.aol.com/jasonte3/devdef6.htm).
There were numerous forms of church government that arose before and after the papacy. How does Dave know that those other forms of church government are incorrect developments, whereas the papacy is the development God wants us to accept? Dave doesn't know that. He just acts as though he does. Similarly, many other entities down through the centuries have made unlikely, unverifiable claims of authority, and millions of people have followed them. The bishop of Constantinople often claimed that he should have a leading role in church affairs, even though Jesus and the apostles said nothing about Constantinople having such authority. Numerous ecumenical councils were convoked by government officials, a concept which is itself problematic, and some of these councils claimed authority over all Christians on earth, including the bishop of Rome. The Eastern Orthodox, the Copts, the Anglicans, the Mormons, and other groups make authority claims and claims of doctrinal development. Dave can't just cite the eventual development of the papacy to justify his claim that the papacy is Divinely approved. He needs earlier evidence. The weakness of his list of 50 Biblical proofs is itself a proof that such evidence can't be produced.
The Catholic Church tells us that the papacy is a clear doctrine of scripture always held by the Christian church. If these claims of the Catholic Church were true, would Dave Armstrong be telling us about an acorn growing into an oak tree, the possible papal implications of Peter's name, and the ability of Peter's shadow to work miracles? Or would we expect him to have something better to offer?