the church’s one foundation

Question #1. If the body of Christ, that is, the church, can be pictured as a building or structure (perhaps a house or temple), who or what is its foundation?

Take note.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,

Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone,

in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22

I stopped for a minute when I read the phrase, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” It was probably the millionth time I read it, mind you. But at least I finally set my sluggish brain into action that time around.

The passage cannot imply that the apostles and prophets assume the place of Jesus. These men were not deity. Christ Jesus Himself is the Chief Cornerstone. The whole structure flows from Him and grows from Him. He is our God. He is the Truth. We worship Jesus Christ and follow Him alone.

But it must be significant that God used apostles and prophets to make Him known (e.g. Eph 3:5). And from their human declaration, the church was born (e.g. Eph 4:11). The apostles and prophets spoke of Christ, pointed to Him, revealed Him, and acknowledged His headship over everything, particularly over His body, the church. If we seek confirmation of the Christ, we need only read their words, see their lives, and heed their inspired instruction.

Let’s take it a step further. #bonuspoints

Question #2. Who or what is “this rock” in Matthew 16:18?

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “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 tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:15-18

“This rock” is Peter’s confession, not Peter himself, right?

Is that what the text is really saying? I haven’t been so sure, and Ephesians makes me wonder further. {For extra homework, compare also with Revelation 21:14.}

Maybe the foundation is more particularly what the apostles and prophets spoke and what was declared through them. So perhaps we’re splitting hairs here.

For my inquisitive mind, the question remains. What if “this rock” is Peter? {His name is mentioned directly prior to the statement, after all.}

And what if Peter, along with the other apostles, plus a few prophets here or there, are, together, the foundation upon which Jesus built His house, the place where God and His people would dwell (Eph 2:22, 3:17)?

Joined to and flowing from the superior Rock, of course: the Cornerstone who started it all and holds it all together.

It’s a thought.

{Disclaimer: This is an “I wonder . . .” post. That is, I’m asking myself a question (or two). And if you have a thought or think you know the answer, please do leave a comment and let me know. Because answers are always awesome.

Also, I’ll risk saying this too many times: Many things posted on this blog are not final conclusions never-to-be-altered. I reserve the right to change my mind. Doubly so with regard to these particular posts. These kinds of entries are categorized “questions,” end with “it’s a thought,” and are expectantly followed by comments.}

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3 thoughts on “the church’s one foundation

  1. I think Peter was the rock in Matt. 16:18. There are plenty of protestants who hold to that interpretation without believing that the office of apostleship (particularly Petrine authority) has been passed down (particularly in the person of the Pope). So seeing Peter as the rock does not one a Catholic make. I think the argument I was raised with (that the rock is the confession) is a reaction to Catholic dogma rather than a sound exegesis of the text on its own terms.

    Good find with Rev. 21. I think it applies.

    It can be incredible to consider how integrally God has used really messed up people in his plans. To think that God would use flawed humans as foundational for the new creation people of God… maybe he could even use me.


  2. Interesting post. I love that you are willing to go out on a limb and post your thoughts without necessarily having a final answer to your question. Good food for thought!

    God bless you, Lydia!

    Liked by 1 person

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