Apostolic Audacity

A new sermon series from 1 Corinthians stimulated thoughts about apostolic greetings in the New Testament. Here are the ones Paul used with Corinth:

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:1-3 ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:1-2 ESV)

Compare that to the first pope (ahem):

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV)

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:1-2 ESV)

Now to round out the comparison, one from John Paul II:

Venerable Brothers and Dear Sons and Daughters,
Greetings and apostolic Blessing

What’s striking about Paul’s greetings is that if Peter were as supreme among the apostles as papal defenders allege, you might think Paul would acknowledge Peter or the wider body of apostles since his status was in dispute. But he claims to be called directly by God and has as much authority as any apostle does. Peter’s claims are even more subdued than Paul’s — an apostle compared to an apostle “by the will of God.”

When you do read the New Testament, Matt 16:18 sure does seem like a slender reed on which to rest all of the Roman See’s authoritative weight. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that confirmed somewhere else in the New Testament? And for the guys who get more pages than anyone else — Paul and Luke (especially if Luke is the author of Hebrews) — you would think they would have gotten the “on this rock” memo.

Advertisements

One thought on “Apostolic Audacity

  1. Peter—“To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

    Peter did not seem to get the John Piper memo about the inequality between those who are justified—“he says right with God by faith alone, not attain heaven by faith alone. There are other conditions for attaining heaven, but no others for entering a right relationship to God. In fact, one must already be in a right relationship with God by faith alone in order to meet the other conditions.”

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/09/15/john-pipers-foreword-to-tom-schreiners-new-book-on-justification-by-faith-alone/

    In A Faire and Easy to Heaven (1978, p 43), William Stoever quotes John Cotton: “We must be good trees before we can bring forth good fruit. If then closing with Christ be a good fruit, we must be good trees before we can bring it forth. And how can we be good trees, before we be engrafted into Christ?”

    John Cotton was NOT teaching that any sinner can be justified before faith or without faith in the gospel. John Cotton was denying that faith is something the elect have before or without God’s imputation of Christ’s death to these elect.

    In his preface to the second edition of Gaffin’s By Faith Not by Sight, Mark Jones accuses John Cotton of being antinomian. Mark Jones falsely identifies Cotton teaching imputation before faith with Cotton teaching justification before faith The assumption for Jones (and Gaffin) is that faith is a condition of something they call “union”.

    Instead of making a distinction between being “in Christ” and “Christ in us”, what Jones calls “union” is a condition for a view of “justification” in which justification continues to have “not-yet” aspects, so that “attaining heaven” is conditioned on our own continuing works of faith.

    But the Apostle Peter addresses us as if all Christians had already been sovereignly given (freely given) all blessings, even faith, on the basis of the extrinsic righteousness of Christ —“To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior.” Jesus Christ.

    Like

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s