Relax. The Church is Not Built on Peter

It pleases me that some churches are wrong, for I am told that millions of people across the world consider The Church to be built on the apostle Peter. This is an erroneous belief; one that rears itself to stand directly against Biblical teaching.

On Sunday morning, I heard a moving sermon–simply presented–yet profound in its truth, pertinence, and convicting qualities. The preacher chose Matthew 16:13-18 as his reading, with verse 15 his text scripture. His sermon title was: What will you do with Jesus? The thrust of his message was the question his title stated: What will you–you personally–do with Jesus? He can’t be ignored. His question must be answered…by you, by me, by everyone.

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’

And they said, ‘Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’

He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ vs. 15

And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father Which is in heaven.’

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'” vs 18

Since Sunday, I have done additional study on this scripture, especially concerning verse 18, and I am more convinced than ever that it is misleading to declare The Church to be built on Peter. Such a doctrine is false…and silly.

Perhaps the confusion arises from the fact that the word Peter in Greek is petra, which means rock. However, petra is the feminine form, so it obviously could not apply to Peter. Rather, from what I have read, I am led to the definite understanding that when Jesus said He would build His church “upon this rock,” He was not at all speaking of Peter, but rather of the titanic confession Peter had uttered.

“Who am I, Peter?”

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

How frightening if indeed The Church were built on Peter. How weak would be Its foundation:

1. Peter was impetuous.

2. Peter was foul-mouthed.

3. During the night-time hours preceding the crucifixion of His Master, Peter denied that He even knew Jesus.

4. Peter is dead.

Oh no, God’s Church is not built on Peter, but on the revelation that Jesus Christ is Lord; the Son of the living God.


My other blog is here.


About Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 78 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She has been married to Jerry for 60 years. They have 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church, Devotionals, Faith, Fallen Man, God, Jesus, Matthew, Peter, Word of God. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Relax. The Church is Not Built on Peter

  1. Amen,

    I found a commentary that goes in line with what you state:

    “Jesus was not telling Peter that He would build the church on him. He was comparing Peter, whose name means “a small stone” with Himself, whom he referred to as a huge rock. ”

    Yes, Peter is dead, and Jesus is alive!

  2. cclivingwater says:

    What a fantastic point you make! What I love especially about what you have said is the idea that that church cannot be founded on that which is DEAD. The church is a living entity, the living body of Christ in which we are all members. It is in the recognition of who Jesus is which is the rock of the church – thus, it is Jesus himself who is the cornerstone.

    The fact that Peter was – to put it politely – inconsistent – is a testimony to the beauty of God’s grace, for even the most inconsistent of us may perform miracles through Christ.

  3. Shirley says:

    Good morning, Yvette

    Yes, Jesus is that Rock–a huge, unmovable Rock. Our Hope, our Salvation.

    Bless you.

  4. Shirley says:

    Yes, ccliving water, this post is not at all to minimize the wonderful works of Peter. I love to read about him and his impetuous ways. Indeed it gives me hope. If God can use a rough, burley, cursing fisherman–maybe He can use me.

    Joy indeed!

  5. Cathy says:

    ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ Matthew 16:15

    One Sunday, when we attended the Christian service at my mother’s nursing home, the minister asked that question over and over again as he preached. What a powerful question, one that touches my heart, and hopefully touched the hearts of the many residents that heard it that day.


  6. Ben Maulis says:

    I have heard this same teaching of the saints among whom I fellowship, but sound biblical hermeneutics result in the conclusion that Jesus clearly said that he would build his church on the rock. He was referring to Peter, not to his revelation. Nevertheless, this does not minimize the qualifying significance of the revelation nor does it justify anti-Christ doctrines of papal succession, neither does it minimize the fact that Peter’s foundation could only be Christ, and that the other apostles were also part of the foundation (all upon Christ who is the chief corner). “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

    Unfortunately, refuting the heretical Romanist doctrines of popery has become more important to much of the church than the true words of Christ. If you can take Peter out, can you also remove John, and James? Why not throw out the whole bible because it was written by men?

    The scriptures tell us plainly that the house of God, the temple of the Lord, and the habitation of the Spirit is, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone].” The church is indeed built upon Peter, and without Peter there was not a church that was built that was built by Christ.

    Every believer that has been added to the church since Christ founded it has succeeded Peter and the other apostles by the simple fact that they were first and no one can now go back and supplant them. Only Judas vacated and was replaced by Matthias. Those twelve stones will never be moved.

    It is not the words of Christ that have been misconstrued, but rather the application of the truth. The declaration of Christ does not give Peter preeminence above any other apostle, or above any other man, but makes manifest the work of God whom even Peter declares to be wrought of lively stones, “built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” He speaks of every stone of the temple as, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

    All notions of this implying popery are absurd with no basis in the truth. But the idea of the church being built upon abstract revelation rather than men ultimately results in Gnosticism, even if those who teach that doctrine rarely carry their reasoning farther than necessary to refute popery.

  7. Ben Maulis says:

    Jesus also uses the expression “the gates of Hell” in his declaration. Most bible readers understand that the word “gates” means more than a simple doorway, and that the Greek word “pule” or Hebrew “sha’ar” is often used to refer to the public marketplace or meeting place within a walled city, but can refer to the entire space inside a gated city, tabernacle, temple, castle or palace. Therefore it can be an idiomatic metaphor referring to a seat of authority.

    Unfortunately, because of the fabulous teaching that Satan is the ruler of Hell, reasoning follows that Jesus was telling of the Church’s power against Satan. There is no disputing that Christ gave believers the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, but it is error to believe or teach that Satan is an authority in Hell.

    Never in the scriptures is Satan given authority over Hell. Oftentimes in modern English the word “hell” is used to refer to the ultimate place of eternal damnation which in the scripture Jesus refers to using the Greek word “geenna” and which is referred to in Revelation as the “lake of fire” (Greek, limne pur).

    Satan properly relates to Hell (geenna or limne pur) in that he will be cast there for everlasting destruction. Therefore we can see that God himself is the authority of Hell in that it is his place of eternal confinement and disposal for the wicked. Subsequently, we understand that the Church, being the workmanship of Christ, freely overcomes confinement to Hell as its gates cannot prevail against those who have been declared not to come into condemnation but to have passed from death unto life.

  8. Shirley says:

    Good afternoon, Ben. Welcome to God Things. I appreciate your coming by here, reading what I have written, and taking the time to talk about this.

    I believe we are much in agreement, but at odds in a few areas.
    Let me clarify one thing: In no way did I suggest–or would I– the ousting of Peter, James or John from the Bible. Of course they are important, and though mere men, God worked mightily through them. You agree, I am sure, that the Word of God, though physically scribed by the human hand, emanated from God Himself. And as you so capably note, God continues, even at this time, to work through His people. We are lively stones, we are a peculiar people…etc. It’s an awesome thought–truly humbling to me who has been so blessed to be closely teamed with His Church and with His people for a great number of years.

    Let me also say, that the thrust of this post is not to refute popery–not at all, although the core of this scripture does just that. (That constitutes the reason for the title and the beginning of this writing.) Rather, my object is to elevate Jesus, to acknowledge Him as Lord, to express my continuing joy in this knowledge, to share my excitement about living an overcoming life, and hopefully to entice others to join me. Certainly, I utilize this venue to present what I consider Truth and to examine Its many facets. (I’m far from being an expert on the Bible, and actually am ashamed that I don’t know more than I do, given my great advantages in this area.)

    However, I must persist that the foundation of The Church–That upon which It is built–is Jesus Christ, not Peter–and when Peter spurted out those words of revelation–not an abstract revelation–but one of divine origin, Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock (not upon you) I will build My Church….

    Information from an English Bible published in 1611 (Companion Bible) notes this:

    “It was not Peter, the man, who would be the foundation, for, as we have said, petra is feminine, and must refer to a feminine noun expressed or implied. That noun could hardly be any other than homologia, which means a confession; …”

    This is not a new thought or teaching to me; it is one with which I have been familiar all my adult life. I have known that the Catholic Church views Peter as the foundation of The Church, but ignorantly, I suppose, considered most other Christians to be in compliance with what I have indicated.

    Again, I appreciate hearing from you, and hope you are here often.

  9. helenl says:

    Hi Shirley, Did you get my other comment, leaving the URL for a hymn about Jesus as “the rock”? I bet it went to spam beacuse of the URL.

  10. Shirley says:

    Helen, I did not get your other message.

  11. helenl says:

    Okay. I tried twice to leave the URL for the hymn “In Times Like These” by Ruth Caye Jones.

    Here’s the words:

    In times like these you need a Savior
    In times like these you need an anchor;
    Be very sure, be very sure
    Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

    This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One;
    This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
    Be very sure, be very sure
    Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

    In times like these you need the Bible,
    In times like these O be not idle;
    Be very sure, be very sure
    Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

    This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One;
    This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
    Be very sure, be very sure
    Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

    In times like these I have a Savior,
    In times like these I have an anchor;
    I’m very sure, I’m very sure
    My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

    This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One;
    This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
    Be very sure, be very sure
    Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

  12. inhisgrace says:

    i always like your posts, Shirley. yet another refreshing one. have a blessed week!

  13. Shirley says:

    Helen, I love that song, and am glad you printed out the words. Jesus is my anchor, and to Him I will hold fast.

    Thank you inHisgrace.

  14. Ben Maulis says:

    I agree that we do not seem to be opposed over the essence and the foundation of the Church which is Jesus Christ himself. I don’t think we’re opposed one to another at all, and the scriptures warn not to argue over words to no end. The end upon which we both agree is that Jesus Christ is the foundation, and there is no other foundation.

    The point of my earlier post is that Christ’s words affirm the place of the apostles in the foundation of the church — as Christ’s workmanship, built upon Christ.

    I agree that the scriptures are the Word of God and emanated from God himself — that the Holy Ghost moved the men that wrote them. The inerrant and infallible work of God is proof that God is preeminent and that he has chosen to work through men to will and to do his good pleasure.

    I also appreciate the opportunity to discuss the verses. I love the Word of God and those who share the same passion.

  15. Shirley says:

    Good morning, Ben.

    Yes, we are on the same side, and are both passionate about the things of God, and about His Word. It’s a great place to be–a privileged, holy spot.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  16. helenl says:

    Shirley, one thing I really like about that hymn is the opening, “In times like these.”
    And no matter what “these times” are –
    no matter what is going on with our families and friends,
    no matter whether we feel good or bad,
    no matter if we have money or don’t,
    no matter who sneaks over the border,
    no matter who burns the flag and who pastes it all over their cars,
    no matter who is president,
    no matter who says what about that said president,
    no matter if we carry out our laws,
    no matter whether innocent people are killed for crimes they didn’t commit or mass murdered go free,
    no matter who disagrees with us or hurts our feelings,
    no matter whether we think they meant to or not,
    no matter whether or not they apologize,
    no matter whether people think the church was founded on Jesus or Peter –
    “we need a Savior.”

  17. Shirley says:

    Amen! Helen. And blessed thought, in Christ Jesus, we have our Saviour.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s