In his most recent book, seasoned and respected New Testament scholar, Robert H. Gundry, presents the bold thesis that the Gospel of Matthew presents the Apostle Peter as an apostate who is irredeemably damned: Peter: False Disciple and Apostate according to Saint Matthew (Eerdmans, 2015; publisher’s online description here).
Most readers of Matthew by far (to put it mildly) have judged that the text presents Peter prominently and, largely, favourably. Indeed, Matthew 16:13-20 has typically been seen as bestowing upon Peter a particularly positive significance and role. In Roman Catholic tradition, this text has been proffered as a biblical basis for the primacy of Peter and, by extension, the Pope as Peter’s successor.
Protestants, on the other hand, have tended to see the “rock” upon which Jesus says he will build his church as Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). …
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