Paul vs. Peter, or the Bishop of Rome Fallible After All -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 11:2 (Winter 2002)
Article: Paul vs. Peter, or the Bishop of Rome Fallible After All
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Paul vs. Peter,
or the Bishop of Rome Fallible After All

An Exposition of Galatians 2:11–141

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.a


“Eternal vigilance,” Wendell Phillips said at an anti-slavery meeting in Massachusetts over a hundred years ago, “is the price of liberty.” We can hardly doubt the truth of the sentiment, not only in politics and statesmanship, but also in the domain of spiritual truth. The Apostle Paul, addressing the Ephesian elders and warning them of the coming of wolves into the flock of God, as well as the rise of false teachers from the midst of the body, exhorted the elders, “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20:31). To the Corinthians he said, Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). To the Galatians he wrote, Keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Peter, too, speaks in the same tone, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Vigilance is the price of liberty.

It is not easy, however, to be vigilant in the area of truth, for the truth is not always pleasant to its violators. “Do not be angry with me if I tell you the truth,” Socrates said, according to Plato’s Apology. In the epistle we are studying Paul

plaintively asks the Galatians, “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (4:16).

We shall see these principles illustrated in the section of Galatians to which we have now come. The Pauline churches of Asia Minor had become infiltrated by Judaizers, claiming connections with Jerusalem and demanding circumcision as a necessity for salvation (cf. 1:7; 2:4, 11–12; 3:10; 4:17; 5:2, 7, You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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