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 Post subject: Peter as "first" among equals?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Hi all,

I recently added Stephen Ray's book, Upon This Rock, to my library to strengthen my understanding of the role and primacy of St. Peter. However, I've already come across a passage that is confusing me. Stephen Ray states on page 23:

'Peter is repeatedly mentioned by name when the others are referred to simply as "disciples" or "the eleven". He always stands out as the leader, the spokesman, and the chosen "first" among equals.'

I don't understand what he means by "first" among equals. This sounds like the Orthodox Church's understanding of St. Peter, which, if so, troubles me and is giving me doubts on whether I should continue reading the book. My understanding is that Catholics don't view him merely as "first among equals," but someone with a higher authority than the other eleven. Any thoughts on what Stephen Ray meant by this passage and why he used this rendering?


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 Post subject: Re: Peter as "first" among equals?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:57 pm 
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I'm not sure why he phrased it that way, but I'm confident he didn't mean anything untoward by it.

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 Post subject: Re: Peter as "first" among equals?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:24 pm 
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blackbird7 wrote:
Hi all,

I recently added Stephen Ray's book, Upon This Rock, to my library to strengthen my understanding of the role and primacy of St. Peter. However, I've already come across a passage that is confusing me. Stephen Ray states on page 23:

'Peter is repeatedly mentioned by name when the others are referred to simply as "disciples" or "the eleven". He always stands out as the leader, the spokesman, and the chosen "first" among equals.'

I don't understand what he means by "first" among equals. This sounds like the Orthodox Church's understanding of St. Peter, which, if so, troubles me and is giving me doubts on whether I should continue reading the book. My understanding is that Catholics don't view him merely as "first among equals," but someone with a higher authority than the other eleven. Any thoughts on what Stephen Ray meant by this passage and why he used this rendering?


I have heard this phrased used by both good Catholics and EO. They obviously use it in different ways. For the Catholic, they mean that all of the apostles are apostles, but that Peter is first among them and enjoys a special authority. EOs mean that all are apostles, and while there is a special courtesy given to Peter to perhaps speak on their behalf or run a council, that he is just as authoritative as anyone else. He still only gets one vote. Sort of like the president of a BOD. So, either we need to agree on what the phrase means, or Catholics need to stop using it in apologetics.

FJ

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 Post subject: Re: Peter as "first" among equals?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:35 pm 
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To add one thing, in defense of Steve Ray. His apologetics was much more geared to protestants who had a very loose ecclesiology, and therefore the goal was to show Peter's special place. So, a gentle "first among equals" is helpful because it retains the idea that apostles are apostles, but starts to open up the readers mind that Peter did indeed have a special role.

But, in the larger aspect of the whole of Christian thought, which includes the EOs, then the phrase is less helpful, because EOs may accept the phrase but still shrug their shoulders and say "So what?" So, it depends on who you are trying to engage.

FJ

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 Post subject: Re: Peter as "first" among equals?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:08 am 
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Many, perhaps even most, Orthodox don’t agree among themselves on what that phrase means.

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