[Rector]

Infallibility

 

Religion exists in all races and takes on innumerable shapes and forms. In the middle of this confusion, humanity tries to search out the truth. Thankfully God has not remained silent. In the midst of the confusion He has spoken a word to us. This word came through the prophets of old, and finally through Jesus Christ. Jesus taught that his words, and by implication the words of the Bible, are the words of God.

Christians have overwhelmingly believed that the final authority in all matters of faith rests with the teachings of the Bible. The Westminster Confession of the Presbyterian Church speaks for all of us when it says, that the "authority of the Holy Scriptures depended not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God who is Truth itself, the Author thereof, and therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God."

So the Bible is our infallible guide to all that we should believe. As the psalmist says, it is a light to our path. The Bible says of itself that it is sufficient; it needs no addition to its teachings. It is completely able to equip us for every good work, 2Tim.3:17.

Sadly not all Christians feel they can affirm the authority of the Bible. Sometimes it is modernism which undermines reliance on the Bible, and then at times it is institutionalism. At the first Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church in 1870 the council affirmed the infallibility of the Pope. "The Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra that is when he defines a doctrine regarding faith and morals to be held by the universal church, speaks with that infallibility with which our Divine Redeemer intended that his Church should be endowed....." This ruling, although never accepted in the early church and of course, widely questioned by Roman Catholics today, does serve to undermine Biblical authority.

The only Biblical support for Papal infallibility comes from a particular interpretation of Jesus' words to Peter in Matthew chapter 16, "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." It is argued that the "rock" is Peter who was supposedly the first Pope. Such a view was rarely accepted in the early church. Most saw the "rock" as either Jesus or the confession of Peter itself.

The Bible is God's Word to us. It is complete and sufficient. It conveys its own authority to those who submit to it.