lJETS                                                                                                  Dr. Jack L. Arnold



Lesson 4


The Foundation of the Church


I.               THE ROCK:  WHO IS THE ROCK OF MATT. 16:13-18?


A.   Roman Catholic view:  Peter is the rock.  Thus the church is founded on Peter, the first Pope, and his Apostolic authority has been transmitted down to the present day.


1.     If Peter is the rock, why didn’t Jesus say, “Upon you I will build my church?”

2.     This view cannot account for the change in form of the words Peter (petros) and rock (petra).

3.     Even if one grants that Peter is the Rock, how can his authority be transmitted historically?

B.    Protestant view:  The Rock is Christ Himself, as revealed in the confession of Peter.


1      A literal translation might be, “Thou are rock (petros—masculine) and upon this rock (petra—feminine) I will build my church.”  Petros is a pebble or a loose small rock; petra is used of a ledge of rocks or a massive rock.  Peter was a little rock and upon this massive rock, Christ, the church would be built.

2      This appears to be the view of the Apostles (Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-8).  Peter did not understand that he was the Rock, but that he was a rock.

3      This is the view of many of the great Catholic Fathers:  Chrysostom, Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome.


II.             THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE (EPH. 2:19-20).


A.   Jesus Christ is referred to as the living stone (1 Pet. 2:4-8); the foundation stone (1 Cor. 3:9-11) and the Head of the corner (Acts 4:5-12).  But He is specifically called the chief cornerstone of the church in Eph. 2:19-20.  POINT:  The chief cornerstone was a “blueprint” for the entire building.  Upon it all the major weight rested and it determined the angles of the building, what type of building it would be, etc.