I honestly would be happy to see evidence otherwise but closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism. I may be wrong on that though?
This is incorrect; closed communion was the universal practice of the Church from the beginning, not only for the Undivided Church, Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism, but also all early major trajectories stemming from the Reformation, as Fr. James A. Bernstein observes:
"Surprising as it seems, the practice of "closed communion" was adhered to not only by all Eastern and Western churches since the earliest days -in other words, all of ancient Christendom- but it continued to be the standard, not only of the Orthodox Church, but of the Roman Catholic Church, and until recently, most Protestant denominations as well.
For example, until the beginning of the twentieth century, Anglicans and Episcopalians practiced closed communion. The various Lutheran synods did as well, and some of the more conservative still do. Most Baptist groups had closed communion, as do many Southern Baptist congregations to this day. Methodists had to review a "note of admission" to communion from the bishop every quarter. Reformed Presbyterians issued certificates or "sacramental tokens" to those who, after examination, were considered to be in good standing -a practice called "fencing the table."
Why was this careful guarding of Holy Communion, which numerous contemporary believers have ignored so widely, practiced by such a broad spectrum of churches? Let us examine its biblical and historical basis." The original pamphlet is excellent, especially the explanation of why the Orthodox Church maintains this early and universal practice. http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=COMM121
It's an ecclesiology spouted even by His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), in his catechetical work, The Orthodox Church. The longer I've been Orthodox, though, the more I've come to disagree with it. There is but one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, not two overlapping churches, one visible and one invisible.
There has been a variety of opinion on this matter from patristic times. Augustine, in opposition to the Donatist idea of a visible pure Church was cited during the Reformation as affirming an invisible Church. Calvin held to an invisible church including "all the elect from the beginning of the world" (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
, 4.1.7) Many Protestants affirmed an invisible, internal ecclesiology from the Reformation in distinction from the visible Roman Catholic Church which they regarded as corrupt, though this opinion is not universal; e.g. many Baptists, describing such an approach as Platonic, claim the Donatists Augustine opposed as their own ancestors and affirm a visible, local ecclesiology.
An Orthodox perspective which similarly considers even death cannot separate our saints from the one holy catholic and apostolic Church has, I think, room for things invisible and visible in its ecclesiology. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses often unseen.
"From an Orthodox perspective, the Church is both catholic and local, invisible and visible, one and many. To explain what lies behind this Orthodox ecclesiological unity in multiplicity, one has to deal with the Orthodox understanding of the nature of the Church." -Fr. George Dragas "Orthodox Ecclesiology in Outline." http://books.google.com/books/about/Orthodox_Ecclesiology_in_Outline.html?id=bpD9HAAACAAJ
Acknowledging that God can and does work outside the visible boundaries of the Church doesn't change where those visible boundaries are.
Correct, I'm confident you know what I meant but if I must I will clarify it was not built on any fallible man (IE the Apostles or anyone
To the contrary.
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." -Eph 2:19-20
On the other hand,
"...no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." -1 Cor 3:11
The latter is about how one builds with hay stubble and straw to be revealed in the final day; it does not really conflict with Eph 2, IMO.
If the Rock is anything other than the confession we might as well all be Roman Catholics.
In fact many (not all) contemporary commentators who are not Roman Catholic do accept that the Matthean rock probably *is* Peter, but without supposing this entails late Roman Catholic claims about that passage which are neither demanded by exegesis or patristic interpretation of the verse. There are dissenting exegetes, but those affirming are by no means all Roman Catholics (cf. the footnotes for extended discussion and documentation).
The church is... where they confess "You are the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 16:16).
Are not two or three gathered in His name at the Church?
Yes, and in the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints too. I believe Papist has covered this point well.
Also remember Mark 9:38-41....
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
40 for whoever is not against us is for us.
41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
Orthodox would not likely attempt to dissuade a Lutheran from driving out a demon or offering a glass of water in Christ's name.
As has been remarked one may find different opinions on this matter; I favor the explanation of Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky of New York (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) on the Faith of Non-Orthodox Christians
"It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who knowingly pervert the truth… They have been born and raised and are living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The Lord, “Who will have all men to be saved” (I Tim. 2:4) and “Who enlightens every man born into the world” (Jn 1:43), undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation in His own way."
'Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgment of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits; and ... does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded, that is to say, not belonging to her, who exclude themselves. The rest of mankind, whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day' ("The Church is One") -Saint Philaret, Khomiakov
Acknowledging that God can and does work outside the visible boundaries of the Church doesn't change where those visible boundaries are.
Oscar Cullmann (Lutheran), "Petros, petra," in Kittel, TDNT, vol VI, pp. 98, 107, 108:
"The obvious pun which has made its way into the Gk. text as well suggests a material identity between petra and petros, the more so as it is impossible to differentiate strictly between the meanings of the two words. On the other hand, only the fairly assured Aramaic original of the saying enables us to assert with confidence the formal and material identity between petra and petros: petra = Kepha = petros... Since Peter, the rock of the Church, is thus given by Christ Himself, the master of the house (Is. 22:22; Rev. 3:7), the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he is the human mediator of the resurrection, and he has the task of admitting the people of God into the kingdom of the resurrection... The idea of the Reformers that He is referring to the faith of Peter is quite inconceivable in view of the probably different setting of the story... For there is no reference here to the faith of Peter. Rather, the parallelism of 'thou art Rock' and 'on this rock I will build' shows that the second rock can only be the same as the first. It is thus evident that Jesus is referring to Peter, to whom He has given the name Rock. He appoints Peter, the impulsive, enthusiastic, but not persevering man in the circle, to be the foundation of His ecclesia. To this extent Roman Catholic exegesis is right and all Protestant attempts to evade this interpretation are to be rejected."
D.A. Carson (Evangelical Protestant), NIV Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), vol 2, page 78:
"Although it is true that petros and petra can mean 'stone' and 'rock' respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover, the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses ('you are kepha' and 'on this kepha'), since the word was used both for a name and for a 'rock.' The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name." (Carson, The Expositor's Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1984], volume 8, page 368, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 17-18)
"The word Peter petros, meaning 'rock,' (Gk 4377) is masculine, and in Jesus' follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken 'rock' to be anything or anyone other than Peter."
R.T. France (Anglican), New Bible Commentary (IVP, 1994), p. 925f.:
"The name Peter means 'Rock', and Jesus played on this meaning to designate Peter as the foundation of the new people of God. His leadership would involve the authority of the steward, whose keys symbolized his responsibility to regulate the affairs of the household. Peter would exercise his leadership by his authority to declare what is and is not permissible in the kingdom of heaven (to bind and to loose have this meaning in rabbinic writings)... It is sometimes suggested that because the word for 'rock' (petra) differs from the name Petros, the 'rock' referred to is not Peter himself but the confession he has just made of Jesus as Messiah. In Aramaic, however, the same term kefa would appear in both places; the change in Greek is due to the fact that petra, the normal word for rock, is feminine in gender, and therefore not suitable as a name for Simon! The echo of Peter's name remains obvious, even in Greek; he is the rock, in the sense outlined above."
Herman Ridderbos (Evangelical), Bible Student's Commentary: Matthew [Zondervan, 1987], page 303
"It is well known that the Greek word (petra) translated 'rock' here is different from the proper name Peter. The slight difference between them has no special importance, however. The most likely explanation for the change from petros ('Peter') to petra is that petra was the normal word for 'rock.' Because the feminine ending of this noun made it unsuitable as a man's name, however, Simon was not called petra but petros. The word petros was not an exact synonym of petra; it literally meant 'stone.' Jesus therefore had to switch to the word petra when He turned from Peter's name to what it meant for the Church. There is no good reason to think that Jesus switched from petros to petra to show that He was not speaking of the man Peter but of his confession as the foundation of the Church. The words 'on this rock [petra]' indeed refer to Peter. Because of the revelation that he had received and the confession that it motivated in him, Peter was appointed by Jesus to lay the foundation of the future church."
Craig Blomberg (Protestant Evangelical) --
"Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon's nickname 'Peter' (Petros=rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42 [wherein he is called Cephas]), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus' declaration, 'You are Peter,' parallels Peter's confession, 'You are the Christ,' as if to say, 'Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.' The expression 'this rock' almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following 'the Christ' in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter's name (Petros) and the word 'rock' (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification." (Blomberg, The New American Commentary: Matthew [Broadman, 1992], page 251-252, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 31-32)
William F. Albright and C.S. Mann (from The Anchor Bible series) --
"Rock (Aram. Kepha). This is not a name, but an appellation and a play on words. There is no evidence of Peter or Kephas as a name before Christian times. On building on a rock, or from a rock, cf. Isa 51:1ff; Matt 7:24f. Peter as Rock will be the foundation of the future community (cf. I will build). Jesus, not quoting the OT, here uses Aramaic, not Hebrew, and so uses the only Aramaic word which would serve his purpose. In view of the background of vs. 19 (see below), one must dismiss as confessional interpretation any attempt to see this rock as meaning the faith, or the Messianic confession, of Peter. To deny the pre-eminent position of Peter among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence. Cf. in this gospel 10:2; 14:28-31; 15:15. The interest in Peter's failures and vacillations does not detract from this pre-eminence; rather, it emphasizes it. Had Peter been a lesser figure his behavior would have been of far less consequence (cf. Gal 2:11ff)." (Albright/Mann, The Anchor Bible: Matthew [Doubleday, 1971], page 195)
Craig S. Keener (Protestant Evangelical) --
"'You are Peter,' Jesus says (16:18), paralleling Peter's 'You are the Christ' (16:16). He then plays on Simon's nickname, 'Peter,' which is roughly the English 'Rocky': Peter is 'rocky,' and on this rock Jesus would build his church (16:18)....Protestants...have sometimes argued that Peter's name in Greek (petros) differs from the Greek term for rock used here (petra)....But by Jesus' day the terms were usually interchangeable, and the original Aramaic form of Peter's nickname that Jesus probably used (kephas) means simply 'rock.' Further, Jesus does not say, 'You are Peter, but on this rock I will build my church'....the copulative kai almost always means 'and'.... Jesus' teaching is the ultimate foundation for disciples (7:24-27; cf. 1 Cor 3:11), but here Peter functions as the foundation rock as the apostles and prophets do in Ephesians 2:20-21....Jesus does not simply assign this role arbitrarily to Peter, however; Peter is the 'rock' because he is the one who confessed Jesus as the Christ in this context (16:15-16)...." (Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Eerdmans, 1999], page 426-427)
Francis Wright Beare (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
"The play on words -- 'Peter', this 'rock' -- requires a change in Greek from petros (properly, 'stone') to petra. In Aramaic, the two words would be identical -- Kepha the name given to Peter, transliterated into Greek as Kephas (Gal. 2:9), and kepha, 'rock'. The symbol itself is Hebraic: Abraham is the 'rock' from which Israel was hewn, and in a rabbinic midrash, God finds in him a rock on which he can base and build the world..." (Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew [Harper and Row, 1981], page 355)
Eduard Schweizer (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
"The 'rock' is Peter himself, not his confession. Only on this interpretation does the pun make sense." (Schweizer, The Good News According to Matthew [John Knox Press, 1975], page 341)
Ivor H. Jones (Methodist) --
"...in 16.18 Peter is the rock on which the new community could be built, as Abraham was described in rabbinic writings as the rock on which God could erect a new world to replace the old....The arguments have raged across the centuries over the phrase 'on this rock' : does it mean on Peter, or on Peter's confession? But the text is clear: Peter was divinely inspired and this was the reason for his new function and the basis of his authorization. His function was to provide for Jesus Christ the beginnings of a stronghold, a people of God, to stand against all the powers of evil and death...They are God's people, the church...as the church they represent God's sovereign power over evil (18.18b) and rely upon a new kind of divine authorization...This authorization is given to Peter; so Peter is not only a stronghold against evil; he also is responsible for giving the community shape and direction." (Jones, The Gospel of Matthew [London: Epworth Press, 1994], page 99)
M. Eugene Boring (Disciples of Christ) --
"16:18, Peter as Rock. Peter is the foundation rock on which Jesus builds the new community. The name 'Peter' means 'stone' or 'rock' (Aramaic Kepha Cepha; Greek petros).... There are no documented instances of anyone's ever being named 'rock' in Aramaic or Greek prior to Simon. Thus English translations should render the word 'stone' or 'rock,' not 'Peter,' which gives the false impression that the word represented a common name and causes the contemporary reader to miss the word play of the passage: 'You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church.' Peter is here pictured as the foundation of the church....On the basis of Isa 51:1-2 (cf. Matt 3:9), some scholars have seen Peter as here paralleled to Abraham; just as Abram stood at the beginning of the people of God, had his name changed, and was called a rock, so also Peter stands at the beginning of the new people of God and receives the Abrahamic name 'rock' to signify this." (The New Interpreter's Bible [Abingdon Press, 1995], volume 8, page 345)
Thomas G. Long (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
"Since, in the original Greek, Petros and petra both mean 'rock,' it is easy to spot this statement as a pun, a play on words: 'Your name is "Rock," and on this "rock" I will build my church.' Jesus' meaning is plain: Peter is the rock, the foundation, upon which he is going to erect his church...Jesus spoke Aramaic, however, not Greek. In Aramaic, the words for 'Peter' and 'rock' are the same (Kepha)...the most plausible interpretation of the passage is that Jesus is, indeed, pointing to Peter as the foundation stone, the principal leader, of this new people of God...there is much evidence that he also played a primary leadership role in the early Christian church....For the church, the new people of God, Peter was, indeed, the 'rock,' corresponding to Abraham of old, who was 'the rock from which you were hewn' (Isa. 51:1)." (Long, Matthew [Westminster John Knox Press, 1997], page 185, 186)
Richard B. Gardner (Brethren/Mennonite):
"The key question here is whether the rock foundation of the church is Peter himself, or something to be distinguished from Peter. If the latter, Jesus could be speaking of Peter's faith, or of the revelation Peter received. It is more likely, however, that the rock on which Jesus promises to build the church is in fact Peter himself, Peter the first disciple (cf. 4:18; 10:2), who represents the whole group of disciples from which the church will be formed. At least four considerations support this view...." (Gardner, Believers Church Bible Commentary: Matthew [Herald Press, 1991], 247)
"The promise to Peter from the gospel of Matthew (16:18), 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,' which is so central for today's bishops of Rome and which now adorns the interior of St. Peter's in gigantic black letters on a gilt background, is not once quoted in full in any of the Christian literature in the first centuries -apart from a text in Tertullian, and this does not quote the passage in connection with Rome but in connection with Peter. Only in the middle of the third century did a bishop of Rome, by the name of Stephen, appeal to the promise to Peter, he did so in a dispute with other churches as to which had the better tradition. However he was no more successful than Bishop Victor had been fifty years previously. Victor attempted to force through in an authoritarian way a uniform date for Easter, without respect for the character and independence of the other churches, and was put in his place by the bishops of the East and West, especially by the highly respected bishop and theologian Irenaeus of Lyons. At the time the rule of one church over the other churches was rejected even in the West." Hans Kung, The Catholic Church: A Short History, pp. 40-41.
"The “Peter Syndrome” is the automatic (and unjustified) application of anything about Peter to the bishop of Rome exclusively." (Fr. Cleenwerke, His Broken Body,p. 78).
"Cyprian, along with his synod of North African bishops, left no room for doubt: 'For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another' (Acts of the Seventh Council of Carthage under Cyprian, The Judgment of Eighty-Seven Bishops on the Baptism of Heretics). -Fr. Laurent Cleenewerke, His Broken Body
As Fr. John Meyendorff affirms
"...a very clear patristic tradition sees the succession of Peter in the episcopal ministry. The doctrine of St Cyprian of Carthage on the 'See of Peter' being present in every local Church, and not only in Rome, is well-known. It is also found in the East, among people who certainly never read the De unitate ecclesia of Cyprian, but who share its main idea, thus witnessing to it as part of the catholic tradition of the Church. St Gregory of Nyssa, for example, affirms that Christ “through Peter gave to the bishops the keys of the heavenly honors,” and the author of the Areopagitica, when speaking of the “hierarchs” of the Church, refers immediately to the image of St Peter. A careful analysis of ecclesiastical literature both Eastern and Western, of the first millennium, including such documents as the lives of the saint, would certainly show that this tradition was a persistent one; and indeed it belongs to the essence of Christian ecclesiology to consider any local bishop to be the teacher of his flock and therefore to fulfill sacramentally, through apostolic succession, the office of the first true believer, Peter.' (On the Unity of the Catholic Church)
"Origen tells us that it was the standard claim of all bishops to have received the power of the keys: Consider how great power the rock has upon which the church is built by Christ, and how great power every one has who says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”… But when those who maintain the function of the episcopate make use of this word as Peter, and, having received the keys of the kingdom of heaven from the Savior, teach that things bound by them, that is to say, condemned, are also bound in heaven, and that those which have obtained remission by them are also loosed in heaven, we must say that they speak wholesomely if they have the way of life on account of which it was said to that Peter, “Thou art Peter...” But if he is tightly bound with the cords of his sins, to no purpose does he bind and loose." It seems that Origen had traveled extensively by the time he wrote his Second Commentary on Matthew. As a result, we must assume that he accurately reported what he heard: bishops were quoting Matthew 16 to establish the prerogatives of their office.
"Chrysostom also calls Ignatius of Antioch successor of Peter. There is no doubt that his reference to “Peter and his successors” applies to the bishops everywhere, not to the bishops of Rome exclusively. In fact, there is a real possibility that Chrysostom’s perception of Peter’s role stems from his view of the episcopate (not the other way around)." -Fr. Laurent Cleerenwerke, His Broken Body, p. 84.