Overcoming Unwarranted Negativity toward Peter's Apostolic Preaching and Teaching

November 7, 2011

The Bible records many shortcomings and failures in the life of the apostle Peter, including the following:

–Doubting Christ after He had enabled him to walk on the sea (Matt. 14:28-33)
–Reproving Christ concerning His going to the Cross (Matt. 16:21-23)
–Flawed statement to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:4-5)
–Cutting off the servant’s ear (John 18:10-11)
–Threefold denial of Christ (Matt. 26:69-75)
–Hypocritical practice that endangered the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:11-21)

With such a record, it would be easy to understand why not a few people might have at least to some extent a negative predisposition toward Peter that would affect their receptivity to his apostolic preaching and teaching.

I believe, however, that this negative scriptural record does not provide warrant for us to have any negativity toward his apostolic preaching and teaching. In fact, I believe that the Scripture provides us with at least two good reasons why we must overcome all unwarranted negativity in this respect.

First, the record of the Jerusalem Council reveals that the Council gave priority to him and to God’s use of him to preach the gospel to Gentiles at Caesarea (Acts 15; see my post for an explanation of this point). Our understanding of gospel ministry will therefore suffer if we have negativity toward the various records concerning his apostolic preaching of the gospel in Caesarea (Acts 10; 11:1-18; 15:7-9; 14-17).

Second, the Holy Spirit’s choosing to inspire him to write two epistles shows that God deems it necessary that we have ministry from him to be all we are to be for the cause of Christ.

Any negativity, therefore, that we import into our reading of Petrine apostolic preaching and teaching is without validity and will deprive us of God-intended profiting of our lives.

Rajesh

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