KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
BASIC R.C. BELIEF
The spiritual jurisdiction of the Church, in virtue of which power sins may
be forgiven, indulgences granted and penalties inflicted.
The binding and loosing power (Matthew 16:19; 18:18) is identical to the
jurisdiction exercised by the Pope as the head of the Church and the priest
in the Confessional.
The "power of the keys" was given to Peter; the Pope, as successor to
Peter, has full power of the keys. All priests participate in this power to
a lesser degree.
POST VATICAN II
These same scriptures are cited in Vatican II document Lumen Gentium as
basis for the Pope's absolute and the Bishops' relative power over the
The Apostles couldn't have understood the above to be the case, as they
didn't have any Confessional in the early Church. They proclaimed the
Gospel, which was the power of God to the loosing of the sins for all who
believed, and to the binding of the sins of those who rejected (Romans
There are two suppositions that must be proved if we are to accept the
Roman Catholic position. It must be proved that the keys represented
absolute jurisdiction for Peter, and that this jurisdiction passed, by
Apostolic Succession to other Bishops of Rome. There is no evidence that
whatever prerogatives were given to Peter were to be perpetuated in Rome.
The Bishop of Rome achieved supremacy because he was in the chief city, and
in response to his own ambition. Peter received his ministry directly from
the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Peter alone is mentioned as having received keys, there must have
been a privilege that was uniquely his. A key is of great need when a door
is locked, but once a door is unlocked, the key loses it's importance.
Peter used the key to open the door to the Church to the Jews (Acts 2) and
the Gentiles (Acts 10). The door was never again locked, so the keys were
never again used. After using the keys, Peter himself fades from view.
Peter's loss of prominence in the latter part of Acts is God's way of
showing that, like all godly men, Peter had a definite ministry, but that
he wasn't eternal. As he declined, God raised up others to carry on the
task of preaching the Gospel.
Jesus Christ is Giver of ministry gifts in the Church (Ephesians 4:8-
13). The office of the Papacy was first bestowed by Imperial decree and is
now voted on by men.
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