When Jesus asked about the people's opinion of Him (Mt. 16), He was really opening a conversation that would determine what the disciples thought. It was they who would carry the main thrust of His gospel to the known world.
Peter's answer, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God", struck at the heart of what our Lord wanted them to know. Jesus responds by telling Peter that he had received a Divine Revelation from His Father and He immediately, metaphorically, called him "Petros", which translates into a "little stone or pebble". Recalling the Divine statement, Jesus then said, "And upon this "Petra" I will establish my "called-out assembly", and "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it". Thus there is no justification for the Roman Catholics to use this statement, or play on words, to claim Peter as the first pope. They are opportunists and although their scholars knew that Jesus was not referring to Peter as the foundation of His called-out assembly, they saw a chance to mislead the ignorant, and gain great prestige.
As you know, "Petros" is a masculine word and "Petra" is feminine. "Petros" means a loose stone or pebble and "Petra" means a large cliff or cragg.
Incidentally, I think the translators who borrowed the old Scottish word "Kirk" (church), and replaced it for "Ekklesia", did the Lord's work a disservice of great magnitude.
Instead of thinking of Christ's people as His "Called-out people", people think of the living organism, that He died for, as an organization or institution it was not meant to be.
For instance, when most of us ride by with our friends we point out a building and say "that's our church". This leads people to think that one church is as good as another because their buildings are similar.
As to what we might do to help bring God's people together in unity, this is much more difficult to accomplish than it should be.
I think we all know the answer but maybe we don't want unity as much as the Lord did as indicated in John 17.
Worthy of note:
1.Consecrate all our efforts on being just a Christian only and forget our partyism.
2.We should climb down from our judgment seats and into our love seats.
3.We cannot legislate unity anymore than we can legislate morality. It is achieved individually in Christ.
4.Let us reach out to our brother no matter what his "position" is and try to teach and love him into a closer relationship with the Lord and with His "Called-out people."
5.Perhaps a serious restudy of the following passages will help us all: John 17:6-21; Prov. 16:19; I Cor. 1:10-13; Psa. 133:1; Eph. 4:1-6, 13; Galatians 3:28; Phil. 2:1-11; John 13:34-35; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Rom. 13:14.
6.More time spent in prayer each day.
Charles, you and others writing in THE EXAMINER are digging up the roots of denominationalism, and these "roots" must be destroyed before we, as God's people, will become united as "Christians only". Keep up your good work and may the tribe be multiplied. - J.M.B.