Apart from the nature of Justification, one of the other major issues separating Protestants from Roman Catholics is the issue of authority. Protestants believe that the Bible alone is the only infallible authority on matters of faith and morals. While this doesn’t preclude the possibility of there being other sources of authority, these other sources are secondary and subservient to Scripture.

By contrast, Roman Catholics believe in an infallible magisterium that not only determines the proper interpretation of Scripture, but can even define dogmas that are not taught in Scripture. The centerpiece of this magisterial authority is the Papacy in Rome. The Pope is considered by Roman Catholics to be the head of the universal church, and has the authority to infallibly define dogmas when speaking ex cathedra.

One of the main passages that are used to buttress the belief in the Papacy is Matthew 16:13-20. As such, its interpretation has been a source of contention throughout the history of the Papacy. This essay, “Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church: Matthew 16:13-20 in Protestant-Roman Catholic Dialogue” looks at the interpretive issues surrounding the passage, and shows how defenders and critics of the doctrine of the Papacy approach the passage differently. It also seeks to determine what is the best way to understand this passage.