Saint Augustine on Peter & The Keys

Today, Roman Catholics teach that Peter, alone, received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, by which one binds and looses.

By them, many claims have been made about Saint Augustine, an early church father, on whether or not he also taught this idea. So, let’s take a look at what he said, about Peter and “the keys.”

Does Peter alone, or does the entire Church, have the keys?

“It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, ‘To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity.”

Is Peter a symbol of all, or is he, alone, the leader?

“So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, ‘To you I am entrusting,’ what has in fact been entrusted to all.”

Who received the keys: Peter alone, or the whole Church?

“To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained’” (John 20:22-23).

Did Christ say "feed my sheep" to Peter alone, or was Peter merely a symbol of oneness and unity?

“Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed (Jn. 21: 15-19). It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us.”