No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11)
Once Jesus asked what the disciples thought about him. The apostle Peter answered: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus commended Peter, saying, ‘Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:16-18).
What is ‘the rock’ upon which the Church is built? Some say it is Peter; others think it is Peter’s confession, ‘You are the Christ.’ In a sense, the church is built on Peter, the other apostles, and the prophets (as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:20) because it is founded on their teaching about Christ.
The Denominational claim that the church is built on Peter because he was made the universal bishop of the church is false. Even though he was a prominent apostle, Peter was not considered the head of the whole church. The Vatican teaches that Peter is ‘the Church’s supreme pastor (shepherd)’ (Catechism paragraph 857); but Peter himself would disagree because he identifies Jesus Christ as ‘the Chief Shepherd’ (1 Peter 5:4).
The rock could refer to Peter’s confession about Christ, the Son of God, as St. Augustine and other Fathers taught. Even the Catholic catechism admits that this meaning is correct. ‘Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ built his Church’ (paragraph 424). In either case, the papacy is not proved from Matthew 16.
We need not be in any doubt on the basic questions about the Church because the Bible gives us clear answers.
1. Who is the head of the Church?
Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23).
2. What is the foundation of the Church?
No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11
3. Is there any other Rock besides the Lord?
Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock, I know not one (Isaiah 44:8).
The church of Jesus Christ is Catholic (universal) because it is composed of all the people purchased with his blood from every nation of the world. The church is holy because its members are sanctified by the blood of Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The church is apostolic because it follows the teaching of the apostles as recorded in the Bible. Every assembly of Christians, the local church, that believes and obeys the teaching of the Bible form part of the one, holy and catholic church of Jesus.
So, any bible believing Church and assembly of believers is not only Catholic but also Apostolic!