An infallible teaching authority?


#1

Do you agree with the following statement? Why?

"If there is to be any true and definitive revelation from God to humanity, then – given that God has plainly not decided to offer this revelation immediately and directly to each individual – He will need to establish a completely reliable intermediary, perennially accessible here on earth to ordinary people like you and me.”

The intent here is not to debate what the “completely reliable intermediary” or “infallible teaching authority” might be. I am simply asking is it not true that a “completely reliable intermediary”, of some type, is necessary, for there to have been or ever be a “definitive revelation” from God to humanity.

Chuck


#2

Well there has already been revelation from God to humanity without an intermediary and that was with Christ.


#3

But Christ is no longer physically present with us, except in the form of Holy Communion. Thus he founded the Church.

I agree with what the OP quoted, but only so far. I would like to know where the statement came from and its context.


#4

I do agree with this statement and mainly for the reasons that it itself gives.

God’s Love and desire to gain as many souls as possible through the use of our own free will means that He isn’t going to “appear” to each person and thereby overwhelm us.

Each person is gifted in different ways and most of us are not so spiritually inclined, or learned, or intellignet as to be able to ponder deeply the depth and intricacies of our faith. Therefore there needs to be a body that is both learned and trusted as well as protected by the Spirit, to provide guidance to the many who cannot discern it by themselves.

Peace
James


#5

I thought about including the source for the quote, but I was afraid it might bias people’s answers.

But since you asked….

I took the quote from an article by Brian W. Harrison “From Constantinople to Rome: Why I did not join the Eastern Orthodox Church” but it is a reference from a previous article where he discusses “Logic and the Foundations of Protestantism” in which he talks about his doubts about Protestantism and the reasons he began a search that eventually led him to the Catholic Church.

But don’t hold that against the statement itself!

When I read this statement, it seemed to me that it was a statement to which a believer in any religious system “should” be able to agree too.

So I was wondering what other thought.

i.e. Whether you believe that a “completely reliable intermediary” exists or not, it is more or less a requirement that we have one if we are to believe that God has revealed something to humanity.

To be more specific, whether you think that the “completely reliable intermediary” is the Magestirum of the Catholic Church, The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Koran, The Pope, The Dali Lama, your local pastor, etc. If you don’t believe that this “completely reliable intermediary” exists, and is necessary, then why would you believe that you have any assurance that you are doing that which God expects of you?

Isn’t this a foundational statement for any religious belief system in which one would have some logical basis for conviction?

Chuck


#6

It depends on what the phrase completely reliable intermediary is referring too. If it’s referring to Christ, then I disagree because Christ wasn’t established, He always was. If the phrase is referring to the Church, calling it an intermediary seems inaccurate to me since the church leads us to God, it doesn’t take the place of God.

Also, the tone of the phrase is uncomfortable to me and if I had to guess, the source is some unbeliever. The whole phrase is like saying, “If you want me to believe in you, God, this is what you have to do”


#7

I think the term “completely reliable intermediary” was simply meant to be a non-specific category. i.e. The gentleman was simply stating in a formal logical way, that if God was going to reveal Himself to us He would do so in a way that was clear, reliable and accessible.

“Intermediary”, I do not think was meant to necessarily mean a “someone” I think it was simply meant to mean, someone or something other than God Himself through which He has left His revelation to humanity.

I think the “uncomfortable” tone may come from the authors starting point. He was applying a “logical” test to a subject that is obviously a very personal and emotional matter.

I don’t think there is any intent to place a “requirement” on what God must do, it is simply an attempt to say “logically” what “would” God do?

I guess that’s really the question at hand. Is there something else that God would do that makes logical sense?

If yes, then the satement may be true, but isn’t necessarily true.

How could we tweak the statement to make it more “comfortable”?

Chuck


#8

In the authors own words: “But logic is of its very nature hard and unyielding; and insofar as truth and honesty are to be the hallmarks of true ecumenism, the claims of logic will have to be squarely faced, not politely avoided.”

Chuck


#9

if there is to be any true and definitive revelation from God to humanity …

public revelation is closed.

What we need is a reliable interpreter of what has been revealed and that is the Church.


#10

So I take it then, you believe the statement to be true.

Chuck


#11

#12

You believe God tells us all directly what is morally right and what we should believe about Him?

How so?

Chuck

"If there is to be any true and definitive revelation from God to humanity, then – given that God has plainly not decided to offer this revelation immediately and directly to each individual – He will need to establish a completely reliable intermediary, perennially accessible here on earth to ordinary people like you and me.”

I do not agree with it because I think the original premis - that God does not reveal himself to individuals - is incorrect. I believe that God reveals himself directly to individuals every day. We don’t need a middle man to get to God and to suggest that God doesn’t speak to each of us is, to me, a contradiction to all I’ve ever learned or experienced about God. So, no, I do not agree.
[/quote]


#13

The fact that people who claim to have no need of a teacher (even though the Apostles were commissioned to teach everyone) believe contradictory things means they aren’t really being inspired by God–contradiction is incompatible with inspiration. Likewise, no such person claims infallibility anyway, which is an admission right there that they don’t know if they are being inspired by God.

God’s revelation has always come through some humans and then given to others. Whether it was Moses, the Prophets, or the Apostles God always taught His people through other humans. Holy Scripture is a perfect example of this. As has been said, the exception is when Jesus walked the earth Himself (but even then He often sent out the Apostles to preach)–but before He Ascended, He made the Apostles teachers of all that He had taught (and since He promised to be with them in this task to the end of time, it follows that the promise extends to those who succeed the Apostles).

As an aside, we do believe Jesus is the Supreme Teacher and Head of His Church, which is His Body–which is why we believe in the charism of infallibility. But, of course, not all members partake of this charism the same way–to different members, different gifts are given for the building up of the Body.


#14

Hi,

Im a little surprised no one mentioned the Holy Spirit:(

God did send us the Holy Spirit as the one and only infallible teaching authority for us human believers on earth.:thumbsup:

The Holy Spirit is the one who guides me and comforts me etc. He also groans for me when I dont know what to pray to God.

Of course, I guess this would sound like non sense to an non believer.


#15

So, your answer would be YES and that authority is the Holy Spirit.

Or NO God reveals Himself to me drectly through the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit alone and directly?

I think this is perhaps what aother meant above.

Chuck


#16

This is a well expressed post to which I would like to make jsut a couple of comments.

This is precisely why I have a problem with the idea of the Bible being the only necessary or desirable authority, or even that the Bible is the primary authority. Those who hold to the “rock” of the Bible tend to see different rocks, or to see the rock in different ways.
To some it is the “only Rock”, to others it is the “best of several rocks”. Some study it to understand it, to measure its size, or weight, or content. Yet all only wind up seeing a portion of the rock, and miss it’s actual purpose.
The Bible is not an authority, but a compass. It is the way we are able to check our course. It allows us to correct ourselves when we begin to go astray. But a compass is is of little use if there is no helmsman; no one to chart the course; no one with the knowledge to use that compass. That is where the learned of the “teaching authority” comes in. It is the well trained navigator that provides us with the right course at the right time.
It is easy to navigate when the waters are wide and the skies are soft and blue, it is quite another when the times are stormy and the waters full of shoals, reefs and sandbars. When the storm comes do you want just a compass, or do you want a trained navigator, helmsman, and captain to help you navigate the treacherous waters.

God’s revelation has always come through some humans and then given to others. Whether it was Moses, the Prophets, or the Apostles God always taught His people through other humans. Holy Scripture is a perfect example of this. As has been said, the exception is when Jesus walked the earth Himself (but even then He often sent out the Apostles to preach)–but before He Ascended, He made the Apostles teachers of all that He had taught (and since He promised to be with them in this task to the end of time, it follows that the promise extends to those who succeed the Apostles).

As an aside, we do believe Jesus is the Supreme Teacher and Head of His Church, which is His Body–which is why we believe in the charism of infallibility. But, of course, not all members partake of this charism the same way–to different members, different gifts are given for the building up of the Body.

Agreed. Even in the Church there have been relatively few with a truly clear understanding of God’s will, and they might just as easily be a poor shepard as a learned scholar.

I won’t gos so far as to say the church is totally infallible, since she is made up of so many imperfect parts, but I will say that she is unlikely to stray far from the path, or for very long, for the “teaching authority”, the magesterium is a remarkable instrument for self correction.

Peace
James


#17

My answer is yes and it is the Holy Spirit:thumbsup:


#18

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