I really enjoy your answers to the many questions asked, learn a lot – but recently you were asked about the Mormon church being the one true church – and in your answer and you stated that the Catholic church also claims to be the one true church and you quoted that Peter was only an apostle never a bishop, but in the scriptures it definitely states the Lord telling Peter that you are the rock, and on that rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it- and I will give to you the KEYS to the Kingdom of heaven and what is sealed upon earth is sealed in heaven and what is loosed upon earth is loosed in heaven. The Saviour would have hardly said that to Peter if He wasn’t establishing some sort of church. And it is in the Scriptures. I am interested in your reply. You simply bypassed that Scripture to make a point – whereas I have been taught and believed for years that it was the true church – then when the dark ages came and the apostasy a lot of truth was lost etc. etc.
I believe as you do that the Savior established His church, and that Peter was the head of it. He was the chief apostle, and together with James and John, comprised the presidency of the church while they were yet alive. However, the scripture that you refer to is subject to various interpretations. You have voiced the Catholic viewpoint, that when the Savior said “upon this rock” he was referring to Peter, whose name in Greek, petra, actually means rock.
However, the interchange between the Savior and Peter just prior to the statement “upon this rock” is very significant. Beginning with verse 13 in Matthew 16, Jesus asks the disciples Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? They answer that different people express different opinions–Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He than asks his disciples, But whom say ye that I am? Peter, the chief apostle, answers for the group, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Now, the Savior’s answer to that statement is very significant. He says, flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Thus Peter knows that Jesus is the Christ because it was revealed to him by God the Father. Now that he has told Peter how he knows who he, the Savior, is, he responds by saying, thou art Peter, and follows with the key statement that upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The rock here referred to is not Peter, but the principle of revelation, as expressed in the statement, flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Christ’s Church is not founded on any given man, but on the principle of revelation, as is definitively declared in 1 Corinthians 2:9-14—
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.*
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
* A more correct rendering of this phrase is but by the Spirit of God. Paul indicates that the apostles have not received their information from the world, but from the spirit which is of God, in other words, the Holy Ghost, that reveals the things of God to man.
Now, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded by direct revelation from God, and is presided over by a prophet of God, with the same priesthood authority that Peter had, and who receives revelations from God to guide the Kingdom and its members. That spirit of revelation is available to all our Father’s children who comply with the conditions upon which revelation is given, and thus the members of the Mormon Church know, in the same sense that Peter and Paul knew, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Savior and Redeemer, and the author of our salvation.