A Response and Challenge to GNRHead
A internet poster named William, going by the handle GNRHead, has posted a series of videos on the internet, in which he defends Roman Catholic theology, with an emphasis on patristic issues. This is a response to his most recent video here (link here, warning, near profanity employed).
I'm not a big fan of the video format, because it is a slow format, particular if a conversation speed of delivery is used.
As GNRHead is discovering, there are many kinds of apologetics out there on the internet, including vile, abusive apologetics. I am sorry that he has been a recipient of those attacks. I also appreciate his apparently sincere belief that the Early Church Fathers held to Roman Catholic doctrines.
On the other hand, I firmly disagree.
Let me provide a single example, and permit GNRHead decide whether he would like to continue the interaction.
GNRHead states that "every single early church father agrees that Peter was the rock" in Matthew 16:18. That's simply not true.
In my own research, every time before the third century that an Early Church Father explains a metaphorical use of the term "Rock" they make that refer to Christ, not Peter.
Likewise, in the Shepherd of Hermas, the rock is Christ, the tower is the church, and the tower is built upon the rock.
Indeed, the first time an "Early Church Father" that might be taken to support the view you suggest is Tertullian in his letter against Marcion, some time around the the turn of the 3rd century.
Yet even Tertullian in later writing comments that Peter was called Peter in order to typify Christ, the Rock. And we look back more carefully at what Tertullian wrote in the single passage where Tertullian makes the connection, you will see that Tertullian writes not that Peter was the rock, but that Peter was called the rock.
Nevertheless, a further time Tertullian appears to call Peter the rock, again against Marcion.
In addition to that Hippolytus (a Bishop of Rome, though not not - according to the modern RCC, a pope, but an anti-pope), in his Discourse on the Holy Theophany, makes two references that could be taken to mean that Peter was the rock. He was writing in the first half of the 3rd century.
Then Cyprian applies the term rock to Peter, but not just to Peter but to all the bishops of the Church. Firmillian, in contrast, applied the term only to Peter, and mocked Stephen for claiming to sit in the chair of Peter. Both would have been writing toward the middle of the third century.
If you are reckoning Early Church Fathers as those before the council of Nicea, I wonder what makes you think that "all" of them held your view: the vast majority make no reference at all to the subject, and the few who mention it do so in very few places.
So here's the challenge to you:
Back up your claim that "every single early church father agrees that Peter was the rock" and then reconcile that with Augustine, who explicitly stated that it was mistaken to say that Peter was the rock.
Finally, note that even Trent does not have your back. After all Trent writes:
"For which cause, this council has thought good, that the Symbol of faith which the holy Roman Church makes use of,--as being that principle wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and that firm and alone foundation against which the gates of hell shall never prevail,--be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches."
Faith, not Peter, is described as being the foundation by Trent, which if you are to remain RCC, you must be bound to accept as true.
What will it be then? Is Peter or Faith in Christ the Rock in Matthew 16:18?