Infallibility – Who has it? Who did Jesus give His authority to? For a Catholic Christian, the answer is, “Peter and the Apostles and the Church he founded. That Church still has the authority to speak for Him in the area of ‘faith and morals’ because of the laying on of hands up until this very day.” But, for many Christians outside the Catholic Church, there is no man who is infallible, much less a Church. The best one could hope for when it comes to a disagreement as to what is or is not authentic Christian teaching between two God-fearing, Jesus-believing, Bible-reading men, is one man’s fallible opinion of what the Bible says vs. the other man’s fallible opinion of what the Bible says. If that’s the case, then no Church would really have the authority to tell a person what is the correct teaching of Christ.
In the Bible we see Jesus giving Peter the power to bind and loose here on earth (Matt 16:18-19). But, in Matthew 18:15-18, We see this power given to all the Apostles. This binding and loosing is something that carries the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, because Jesus tells them, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.” Jesus is telling Peter and the other disciples that He is behind them 100% in whatever it is they bind or loose. Whatever they bound or loosed on earth was also bound or loosed in Heaven. What incredible authority he gave to Peter and His other disciples! We see in Luke 10, Jesus sent out the 70 disciples with his authority, “Behold, I have given you authority…” (verse 19), and told them, “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me,” (verse 16). When the disciples spoke, it was Jesus speaking. And since Jesus is infallible, then His disciples spoke infallibly. If not, then Jesus would have put Himself in the position of having error taught by one who was wielding His authority, and this is simply not possible.
But, for the Christian that believes the Bible is the sole rule of faith, no man or Church can speak with an authority that binds others in the areas of faith and morals. Again, each man is essentially just giving his fallible opinion as to what the truth is or is not, and since he is fallible, he could be wrong. One cannot bind someone to an opinion that just might be wrong. So, because of this way of thinking, we now have thousands upon thousands of Protestant denominations throughout the world and a new one being formed everyday.
The Church of the Bible, through it’s leaders, spoke infallibly on matters of faith and morals with the authority Jesus gave them. They had an infallible authority when teaching and preaching and binding and loosing. So, the question for someone outside the Church would be, “Is there a particular Church that speaks infallibly?” Their answer would more than likely be no. It cannot be yes, because no one within the church is infallible. There is no individual, or group of individuals, within the church that can make an infallible decision on any matter pertaining to faith and morals. If there is no individual, or group of individuals within the church that can make an infallible decision, then that means the only conclusion one can draw is that Jesus founded a church that can, and does, teach error!
So, according to this way of thinking, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Word made flesh, founded a church that teaches error. Jesus, who is Truth (John 14:6); who told us that if we know the truth, then the truth will set us free; this Jesus founded a church that teaches error? How can that be? Yet that is the conclusion we come up with if we take that kind of theology to it’s logical ends. Most Protestants would probably say that, “my particular church might not be 100% correct on all it’s beliefs, but we are right on the fundamentals.” If that is the case, then their church teaches error in some way, shape or form. So, again, “Did Jesus found a church that can teach error in the areas of faith and morals?” If someone answers “yes” to this question, then I would have to ask them how is this possible given that Jesus is the Truth. How could that be if Jesus gave the first leaders of the church His very own authority to teach and preach, to bind and loose? If Jesus’ authority is infallible and, if He is Truth, and He tells us the Truth will set us free, then that means the truth is necessary for salvation. If that is so, then how can you ask someone to believe Jesus founded a church that doesn’t always teach the truth? It just doesn’t make logical sense.
So, what we see in the church of the Bible, was a church that had the authority to bind and loose; a church who had the the authority from Christ Himself; a church who’s leaders spoke infallibly on His behalf; a church whose leaders were told by Jesus “He who hears you, hears me.” That Church still exists today in the Catholic Church.
Until next time, God bless.