This is really good. It is perhaps the best summary of the Biblical foundation for both Apostolic succession and the primacy of Peter that I've read. At least, I can never recall having been excited to read this topic before, and this was captivating, told with a dramatic flair.
By now my friends—most of them wiser and more learned than myself—are raising their eyebrows. I nervously tap my tobacco pipe and press on.The argument is well laid out and its basic thread I've read before. But there are bits that just grab me to make me think this over in new ways.
“The New Testament lies hidden in the Old,” wrote St. Augustine, “and the Old is unveiled in the New.” It could also be said that the Church lies hidden in Israel and Israel is unveiled in the Church. Raymond Brown says: “The kingdom established by David was a political institution to be sure, but one with enormous religious attachments (priesthood, temple, sacrifice, prophecy)…. It is the closest Old Testament parallel to the Church.”But there are surprises, like the connection of the end of Chapter 9 in Matthew's Gospel and the beginning of Chapter 10 linked to the restoring of the scattered tribes of Israel. The use of the image of Denethor from Lord of the Rings to explain the chamberlain in the Davidic Kingdom, and Peter in the Heavenly Kingdom. And ultimately, what could be considered a dry argument for the papacy becomes no less that submission to our Lord and King.
King Jesus deserves our total obedience. If the Kingdom of God is nothing less than the gathered tribes of Israel then I don’t see how we can justify being out of communion with Christ’s appointed “prime minister,” the keeper of the keys, Peter and his successors. King Jesus deserves our total allegiance. Schism is sin, no matter how eloquent our excuses. To those scattered national churches and independent provinces who remain out of communion with the pope, St. Paul’s question is a challenge: “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13).