The Successor to Peter
“Our first word as a delegation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) must be one of welcome in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome to this house. Welcome to this table of conversation. Welcome to this engagement of minds and hearts as we search together to learn the Lord's will for His Church.
We have come to wrestle together with a subject of undeniably great import. It is not too much to say that the shape of the church’s future turns on what the churches make of it. For it is claimed by the Bishop of Rome that he is called to a "particular responsibility" for exercising a ministry of Christian unity. We may struggle to articulate and live out what unity means in a thousand particular situations. But where the unity of the entire church is in question, our understanding of the ministry of the successor to Peter is, finally, critical. Whatever our attitude may be to the institution of the papacy, its importance to the very idea of unity - so long sought by so many - cannot be avoided.”