January 10, 2009

Keys to the Kingdom

Our first meeting of 2009 found us discussing "the Keys to the Kingdom" and how the early Church has interpreted this passage. The topic was actually suggested by a regular Protestant attendee but the group ended up being entirely Catholic this time.

We divided the discussion into three parts. 1. Examining the text (Matthew 16:18-19 and important OT backdrops such as Daniel 2, Isaiah 22) 2. Examining the early Church interpretations 3. Open discussion.

Text & Backdrop

*Jesus is not speaking cryptically. His audience understands Him.
* 1st century Jew will hear Danielic reference particularly with “rock” & hell not to prevail
* The messianic kingdom is Davidic.
* Kingdom & Church intentionally paralleled
* Binding & loosing to be understood legislatively/judicially as per consistent use
* Joseph, Eliakim “types” of the Petrine office.

Early Church Interpretation

- Understand development organically; Newman's “seven notes” of true development:

1.Preservation of Type
2. Continuity of Principles
3. Power of Assimilation
4. Logical Sequence
5. Anticipation of its future
6. Conservative Action Upon its Past
7. Chronic Vigor

Three major strands of development of the "keys" in the early Church:

1. Authority (Particularly to grant absolution)
2. Defining Mark of Unity
3. Jurisdictional Influence

We examined each of these strands of development from the apostolic age ending with Pope Leo & the Council of Chalcedon in 450 AD and then concluded with open discussion.