Credo in Unum Deum

I Believe in One God

Inspired Bible Known by Us Requires Infallible Council-Revised

So if Protestants can agree with us that if Prophet A says “Thus saith the LORD” means that Prophet A must be infallible at the time Prophet A reported God’s word, then it seems that our Protestant friends must grant infallibility to the Church at least once; that is, when She declared the Canon.
Here is the reasoning:
(1) If Prophet A says “Thus saith the LORD” (and truly is declaring God’s word), then Prophet A must necessarily be infallible during the declaration.
(2) Prophet A says “Thus saith the LORD” (and truly is declaring God’s word).
(3) Therefore, Prophet A is infallible.

For “Prophet A” let us use instead “the Catholic Church”.
(4) If the Catholic Church says “Thus saith the LORD” (and truly is declaring God’s word), then the Catholic Church must necessarily be infallible during the declaration.
(5) The Catholic Church says “Thus saith the LORD” (and truly is delcaring God’s word).
(6) Therefore, the Catholic Church is infallible when she truly declares God’s word.

Let’s just refer to the Church’s declaration of the New Testament and leave the OT out of the equation (which is silly really since the OT was declared the same time the NT was, but…). If the New Testament is the inspired word of God, and we are to have certainty that it is- so much certainty that we base our religious and moral life (and of course our SALVATION!) on the content of the NT, then we sure the heck better know that it really is the Word of God.

Many Protestants do say that they know with certainty that it is inspired. OK. When the Church says “These are the books of the NT” it is effectively saying, “Thus saith the LORD.” Put that into the “If-Then” argument above and you have to grant infallibility to the Church on at least one occasion.

For “Thus saith the LORD” let us use instead “This is the New Testament”
(7) If the Catholic Church says “This is the New Testament” (and it truly is the NT), then the Catholic Church must necessarily be infallible during the declaration.
(8) The Catholic Church says “This is the New Testament” (and it truly is the NT).
(9) Therefore, the Catholic Church is infallible when she says “This is the NT (and it truly is the NT).

The old “A fallible collection of infallible books” is insanity. It is a proposition that destroys the possibility of publicly knowable revelation. Or it is a proposition that eventually refutes itself. It really depends on how you understand and work out that proposition.

Now if our Protestant friends say that the Church discovered the Canon and did not declare it, then we have to ask how reason unaided by supernatural grace could possibly reach into a realm that it is closed off to and “discover” what is supernatural in origin. Or it means that the Bible is not Supernatural if it can be “discovered” and it is merely a human book. Can’t have it both ways!

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August 11, 2007 - Posted by | Catholicism, Controversial, Protestantism, Religion

8 Comments »

  1. Forgive me if I’m wrong. I just browsed this post briefly. But, is your point that the Catholic church was temporarily infallible? If so, what’s your point? The church has always consisted of humans and is, subsequently, fallible. Just because I say the grass is green doesn’t mean that I’m right about everything. I am fallible just like every other person that has ever walked the face of the earth (all popes included) – except for Christ Himself.

    Comment by graceMark | August 11, 2007

  2. Yes my point is that Protestants must admit on at least one occasion that the Roman Catholic Church was infallible.
    Of course, as a Catholic I believe in the infallibility of the Church. I am not saying that the admitting of the Church being infallible one time means that it is infallible every time. But usually Protestants have an “in principle” problem with the Church being infallible. Now they can’t so they will have to argue more intellectually and cogently against it. Not just asserted absurd claims to the contrary.
    Just because I say the grass is green doesn’t mean that I’m right about everything. Yeah, I’d reread the post as well as the post before this entitled “Divine Special Revelation Requires Infallibility of Revealer”.
    Thanks for your comment!

    Comment by Credo | August 11, 2007

  3. To begin, your logic seems flawed. You move to the conclusion that Prophet A is infallible on the premise that Prophet A made an infallible statement. You are making a universal out of a particular and that just seems wrong to me. Secondly, your presuppositions are very evident. You presuppose that Prophet A is declaring the truth of God and you presuppose that the Catholic church is declaring the true Word of God. Also, if the Catholic Church “does” proclaim the true Word of God than it is not the Catholic Church who is infallible it is the Word of God which is infallible. You are attributing to the Catholic Church what should only be attributed to the Word of God. A child molester, serial killer, bank robbing thug could read the NT out loud, we’ll say in Greek. Now the words that he is declaring are infallible because they are the Word of God, but that does not for one minute mean that the one who reiterates th word is infallible, that’s just nonsense.
    Not to mention the biggest of your presuppositions which is, the Church precedes Scripture (as if Scripture needed some fallible men to declare it’s authority). But of course, when we understand the nature of the Church we find that the Church is built off of the Divine Word (Genesis 3:15). The Word preceded the forming of the Church…it just baffles me when Rome says it doesn’t. I mean, even if I were to grant that the Church precedes Scripture, then where the heck does the Church come from?

    Comment by Kyle | August 13, 2007

  4. I am not sure that you read what I wrote with a mind to understand what I was saying. Try again please. Please argue specifically with my argument. If my first premiss is correct and my logic is valid, then the conclusion follows. Is my first premiss false? Do you believe for instance that when Isaiah was proclaiming God’s Word that he could have mixed some error with it? If so, then you can disagree with my conclusion. If you agree that he was preserved from error, that he was “inspired” then you believe that a mere man was divinely protected and INFALLIBLE.
    In order for us to know with absolute certainty that the NT we have is THE NT, then divine protection is required for the party declaring it to be so.
    Now maybe you are unaware of the absolute chaos concerning the “real” books of the NT before the official canon was proclaimed. Check the history and then tell me that the Bible preceded the Church. Of course the Word preceded the Church, the Word being Christ. But who disputes that? Just check out the facts of history… just the facts, man, just the facts.

    Comment by Credo | August 17, 2007

  5. “In order for us to know with absolute certainty that the NT we have is THE NT, then divine protection is required for the party declaring it to be so.”

    The Word (Jesus Christ) is infallible and not any person or group of people on earth. Romans 3 says, “22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

    Therefore, nobody but Jesus Christ is infallible. That is why my faith resides in Him and Him alone. It is not dependent on anybody else. The POPE is just as much of a sinner and just as unworthy as YOU and I.

    “Under Justinian, of all emperors, Pope Vigilius presented such contradictory theological viewpoints in the face of the heretical monotheism at the Fifth Ecumencial Council, in Constantinople, in 553 that he lost all credibility. Later he was not even buried in St. Peter’s, and down the centures was ignored even in the West. Pope Honorius I was even worse. At the Sixth Ecumenical Council, in Constantinople, in 681, and then also at the Seventh and Eighth Ecumenical Councils he was condemned as a heretic; this was confirmed by his successor Leo II and by subsequent Roman popes. Historical research, notably that of Yves Congar, has shown that down to the twelfth century, outside Rome the significance of the Roman church was not understood as a real teaching authority in the legal sense (magisterium) but as a religious authority, which was given with the martyrdom and tombs of Peter and Paul. No one in the whole of the first millennium regarded decisions of the pope as infallible.”
    -THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: A SHORT HISTORY by Hans Kung, Pp.60-61

    Comment by graceMark | August 17, 2007

  6. “Therefore, nobody but Jesus Christ is infallible.”
    So you assert then that Paul was not infallible and that there is a good chance, being an unworthy sinner and totally fallible, that he mixed false manmade doctrines with the true doctrines, for instance, in the very passage you quoted from Romans? What is your assurance that he didn’t make any mistakes? Jesus never said that Paul would be infallible, which is why I suppose you would say that he was fallible and made mistakes in writing Scripture. Sorry, I can’t go there… As I have said before, I love the Holy Scriptures too much to be a Protestant.
    Your citing of Hans Kung to show that there have been some idiot and heretical popes is to what end? You might as well have chosen a Protestant leader like John MacArhtur and cited him. Hans Kung is hardly a spokesman for orthodoxy or the Catholic Church or her self-understanding. Even if he were, since citing “authority” is a misguided enterprise in your mind, it seems self-defeating for your case.
    BTW, I agree that Jesus is infallible.. you know being God and all, he can’t really help it!
    I always like to agree at the end… it makes me feel better. 😉

    Comment by Credo | August 18, 2007

  7. “Even if he were, since citing ‘authority’ is a misguided enterprise in your mind, it seems self-defeating for your case.”

    What this all comes down to is our own differing views on who the real authority is. You choose to follow the dictates of men in a human organization – long removed from the apostles that lived with Jesus – with a long history of sin, oppression, and hypocrisy as your leader.

    I choose God.

    My original motive in responding to your original post was to caution you to be wary of traditions and directives originating from and sustained by men. The Catholic church is fallible.

    God can, however, work through, and reveal Himself to, anyone or anything (e.g., possibly the Catholic church canonizing the New Testament) that He likes.

    But, if God does choose to use people and/or organizations, it doesn’t necessarily make that person or organization eternally infallible. The spirit of God working through them is the infallible part.

    It would also make logical sense to suppose that someone who God has authentically worked through (e.g., Paul) would be less inclined, after being used by God, to work actively against God afterward. But, I’m talking about a particular person here…not a long-deluded line of humans claiming to still maintain some kind of higher-level understanding that God has supposedly not deemed necessary for the rest of His creation. In fact, Jesus sought to counter that whole mindset (Matthew 18:1-4).

    I am also confident that our focus should be steady on the life and words of Christ Himself. All other NT scripture is complimentary to the gospel of Jesus. Because ALL men (yes, including Paul) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) it makes sense to focus on the life of Christ and His directives as recorded. God is the only one who knows the hearts of all men. We, as men, don’t know it all now, whether we want to admit it or not, but, we can have faith in He who does until He returns (1 Cor. 13:12).

    I’m not saying that there aren’t great things happening in the Catholic church, just that it is not infallible. If you are honestly seeking truth, then what do you have to lose by praying to God for understanding of His truth and then delving into the account that we have of His words – maybe starting with Mark 7:1-13?

    I am very confident that He will make His truth known to you if you seek it. Whether you do, or not, isn’t for me to know. Therefore, I won’t be checking ‘my comments’ any more for a while to see what your response is. I just pray, honestly, that we all can serve Him and glorify His name more.

    Thanks for the dialogue.

    Comment by graceMark | August 19, 2007

  8. “Therefore, I won’t be checking ‘my comments’ any more for a while to see what your response is.”
    Well, I guess that is that!
    If anyone else cares…
    I am always in a state of marvel when I speak with Protestants about infallibility. You can calrify and clarify and repeat over and over that “if God does choose to use people and/or organizations, it doesn’t necessarily make that person or organization eternally infallible” is no where near what I have been arguing for, but they insist that it is and continue to argue against what I would argue against too. Willful blindness I guess.. But I know it all too well. And it sickens me to know that I was there and yet causes me to rejoice in the grace of Christ which allowed to me to see His glorious truth.

    Comment by Credo | August 20, 2007


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