Item description for Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church (Modern Apologetics Library) by Steven K. Ray & Stephen K. Ray...
Overview Ray goes through the Scriptures and writings from the first five centuries of the early Church to demonstrate that the early Christians had a clear understanding of the primacy of Peter in the See of Rome. He tackles the tough issues in an attempt to expose how the opposition is misunderstanding the Scriptures and history. He uses many Evangelical Protestant scholars and historians to support the Catholic position.
Publishers Description Ray, a former Evangelical Protestant and Bible teacher, goes through the Scriptures and the first five centuries of the Church to demonstrate that the early Christians had a clear understanding of the primacy of Peter in the see of Rome. He tackles the tough issues in an attempt to expose how the opposition is misunderstanding the Scriptures and history. He uses many Protestant scholars and historians to support the Catholic position. This book contains the most complete compilation of Scriptural and Patristic quotations on the primacy of Peter and the Papal office of any book available. It has over 500 footnotes with supporting evidence from Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and non-Christian authorities.
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Studio: Ignatius Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 1999
Publisher Ignatius Press
ISBN 0898707234 ISBN13 9780898707236 UPC 008987072348
Reviews - What do customers think about Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church (Modern Apologetics Library)?
Scriptural and historical evidence for the primacy of Peter Mar 17, 2008
Anyone familiar with Mr. Ray's style will find what they likely expect in this work. Extensive excerpts from scripture and the early church texts expounded upon in copious footnotes are Mr. Ray's signature. This style may not be the easiest to follow but the point is well made for the primacy of Peter. Instead of cluttering the primary thread of his work with endless commentary telling us what an author said, Mr. Ray let's the author's words stand on their own while giving the more curious reader the level of commentary they desire in footnotes. So, though the organization may seem confusing to some, it is precisely the kind of approach this subject requires. There are countless polemical works from all sides, Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Mr. Ray has stepped back from the polemic to let the source writers convey their agreement on the role of Peter and the bishops of Rome. The evidence is formidable and difficult to set aside in volume alone.
There is clearly evidence for the primacy of Peter in scripture and history - it is our goal to find what that primacy means to us and our relationship to the bishop of Rome today. One could argue the significance of the question but not the relevance to our faith. Pope John Paul II issued a call for evaluating this topic in order to heal the rift between Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic. Mr. Ray's book is a good place to start for the scriptural and historical foundation on which we should build our understanding. Unity of any kind must be based on truth and an attempt at mutual understanding. The role of the Pope is a topic that cannot be ignored if there is any hope of healing the wounds that brought us to this division.
Wonderful book Jun 21, 2007
First I have to say that this is a wonderful book. It's a slow read but full of a wealth of information. I've given away my first copy and have ordered a second for my own use. Though some have complained about the footnotes I find them of great use and one of the reasons why I think the book is wonderful. I would have taken me months (if not years) to research the same information on my own. Thanks Steve.
Decent for dealing with Fundamentalists; otherwise, useless Apr 2, 2007
Supposing there was someone who along with rejecting the doctrine of Apostolic Succession also denied the historical fact that Peter was in Rome and that the Papacy existed, then this book would convert such an individual (assuming he was of good will) to a different opinion. I cannot deny that this is an excellent book for the Protestant polemicist or anyone else of like mind who has not taken the RC papal claims seriously. It is, after all, an undeniable fact that Catholicism is much closer to apostolic Christianity than Protestantism. However, the sad truth is that Upon This Rock (UTR) is, like the Westminster Confession, a proof-text disaster, an exercise in historical revisionism and excessive question-begging.
The fact that Steve Ray has written a lackluster apologetic manual does not imply that the RC papal theory is not true or that better arguments have not been put forward elsewhere; it means only that you will not find those arguments here. Ecclesiastical history as depicted by real Church historians (Catholic & non-Catholic) completely contradicts the claims made by Steve Ray, period. Truth be told, most of my views concerning Church history and papal primacy have been shaped and influenced by Catholic historians; I don't even have to bring in non-Catholic sources to construct a critique.
Steve Ray doesn't appear to have an adequate grasp of the RC papal theory he's defending which would explain why he overestimates the importance of certain quotes, downplays the importance of other quotes, and doesn't notice when the text he has cited actually conflicts with the definitions of Vatican I's Eternal Pastor. It doesn't matter if two of the necessary conditions are met if another four are not satisfied. For example, according to Vatican I, the pope's special perogatives come *immediately* from Christ Himself, not from conciliar decrees, but Ray cites texts which assert that the pope's ecclesial powers were *given* to him through conciliar decrees; this is a very big mistake. Same goes for the basis of Roman primacy. Quotations that he should be trying to explain away he uses as evidence.
He ignores nearly all of the available counter-evidence. He, for the most part, ignores the patristic exegesis of the relevant Petrine texts in the New Testament. He also ignores the opposing statements from the Fathers, along with those from various Local and Ecumenical Councils. This is an extraordinarily one-sided work. Here is some helpful advice for those upcoming Catholic apologists:
"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." (Dorothy Parker)
Good Apologetics Resource Jan 5, 2007
If you can manage to battle your way through the format of this book (%10 text and %90 footnotes) it is a great book to have in your library. It is not a reason-based approach to the issue of the primacy of Rome in the early Church as it is an overwhelming number of references and citations. The argument relies mostly on historical proof, however, it can get a bit tedious at times.
As a soon-to-be Catholic I think this book erased any questions in my mind about how the early Church regarded Rome and it is a nail in the coffin of independent congregationalist fundamentalists.
It is a great reference book which could be used by armchair apologists, if you are into that sort of thing. But it will require a bit of discipline to finish this book.
Borrow or buy used Oct 28, 2006
The book was OK. I wish I'd borrowed it, though.
Let me explain... As a former university academic and a career R&D guy, I think it's important to cite one's sources carefully. However, this book has the oddest "style" of any book I have ever read. Basically, the book is a list of patristic quotations defending papal primacy. That's fine and useful as far as it goes, but the "book" part of the book is in the footnotes. Many, many pages are 80% (or more) footnote and 20% (or less) normal text. That makes reading the book a different sort of experience.
Beyond that, if you already agree with the Roman Church (as I do) about papal primacy, it's a great patristic reference source. Comprehensive, in fact. But if you are wondering about the doctrine, perhaps because you are considering converting to the Roman Catholic Church, I think you'll be very disappointed. I'm sorry I can't recommend a better book as I am a new convert going through the RCIA, but I cannot believe they do not exist. I think Wikipedia does a better job with the Big Picture, and I am not a big fan of Wiki.