From those wacky guys at HowStuffWorks. I just had a feeling that there was some kind of major misconception at work here. Matthew 16 indeed says:
15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
There is apparently an easy temptation to misinterpret verse 19, at least for some. However, Mounce, in Basics of Biblical Greek, uses verse 19 as a beginner’s example of Greek exegesis , especially the phrases “estai dedemenon “ and “ estai lelumenon “, which are future passive pluperfect periphrastic contructions (See also http://www.greekbible.com/, if you have inclinations to 1st-Century Greek). This is also indicated in the NIV text notes. To make a long story shorter, the meaning is “will have been bound” and will have been loosed”— Peter, and the other Apostles, aren’t being given power to give orders to Heaven (or in place of Heaven!), but assurance of Divine Guidance in the decisions of the Church. This is, after all, pretty basic theology, fully consistent with doctrines established in the rest of the Gospel—unless for some reason you really want to mess it up.
Who is the Head of the Church on earth? No Christian would have to ask:
22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Jesus is the Leader of His Church, and His children on earth! All would be well advised to stay out of His Way.