Circular Reasoning: Matt. 16:18 and Infallibility

During our discussions of dissent, infallibility, and Matt. 16:18, it became apparent to me that there is some circular reasoning here.

The Church “infallibility” interprets the verse to support the fact that it can infallibly interpret the verse. The verse itself is somewhat ambiguous, indicating that the gates of Hades will not prevail agains [the Church]. The Church interprets this to mean that she will never be in error in the interpretation of scripture and will never err in dogma, doctrine, and morals. If the scripture explicitly said “the Church will never be in error in the interpretation of scripture and will never err in dogma, doctrine, and morals” it would be apparent to all and it would prove infallibility without circular reasoning. But in this case, we must believe in such infallibility before any proof is offered.

Circular arguments are logical fallacies. As such, we must eliminate this argument as proof of the Church’s infallibility. We must look to other proofs instead. What might those be?

[quote=petra]During our discussions of dissent, infallibility, and Matt. 16:18, it became apparent to me that there is some circular reasoning here.

The Church “infallibility” interprets the verse to support the fact that it can infallibly interpret the verse. The verse itself is somewhat ambiguous, indicating that the gates of Hades will not prevail agains [the Church]. The Church interprets this to mean that she will never be in error in the interpretation of scripture and will never err in dogma, doctrine, and morals. If the scripture explicitly said “the Church will never be in error in the interpretation of scripture and will never err in dogma, doctrine, and morals” it would be apparent to all and it would prove infallibility without circular reasoning. But in this case, we must believe in such infallibility before any proof is offered.

Circular arguments are logical fallacies. As such, we must eliminate this argument as proof of the Church’s infallibility. We must look to other proofs instead. What might those be?
[/quote]

Christ founded a Church, not a book. That is why we can’t interpret scripture infallibly on our own. There must be an outside authority. That is the Pope, Chirist’s prime minister.

There’s no circle. Both the Church and Scripture uphold each other’s authority.

Nothing circular about that verse or its interpretation if we take the entire passage in context.

Think it through, the statement that Peter would receive the keys to the kingdom is an extremely powerful proof. It would be an utter waste for Jesus to give Peter the keys if Jesus had no intention on protecting Peter from error. I also feel you are taking too lightly Jesus’ statement that the gates of hades will not prevail. Again, think it through, if Peter taught even one error that can lead people to commit mortal sin, then the gates of hades prevailed!

For a reinforcement of the above, continue to Mt 16:19. Binding and loosing is pretty unambiguous, as it was an important rabbinical precept. Except binding and loosing in heaven is something new, and only Jesus could confer that power.

God bless

There is no circular reasoning because no Catholic doctrine is BASED on scripture. The bible is based on the Church, not the Church on the bible. The bible acts as witness to the truth, not as judge. The bible merely records truths which already existed in the Church.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]There is no circular reasoning because no Catholic doctrine is BASED on scripture. The bible is based on the Church, not the Church on the bible. The bible acts as witness to the truth, not as judge. The bible merely records truths which already existed in the Church.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Nancy has knocked the nail on the head. For a clear delineation, see Karl Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism. The reasoning goes like this (correct me if I err): The New Testament is a credible text because of its well-known and authenticated provenance. It describes certain highly improbable and unbelievable events, among them the Resurrection of Jesus. When you look at the history of the early Church, the only thing that could possibly explain the behavior of the early Christians, especiallly of the martyrs, is that they believed without any taint of doubt that they knew Jesus and that they knew he had been resurrected from the dead. This they affirmed unfailingly. If Jesus was resurrected from the dead, then it is reasonable to say that he is God, and if he is God, then he does what he says he will do. One thing he said he would do is found a Church against which the gates of hell will not prevail. For that, the Church must possess the mark of infallibility. The Church asserts the inerrancy of Scripture based on her own early experience. As Nancy points out: The Church wrote the New Testament. One can presume, therefore, that she has the primary entitlement to its interpretation.

You have misunderstood circular argument. Here is a definition: “Circular reasoning is the practice of assuming something, in order to prove the very thing that you assumed.” An example might be “the Bible is all a Christian needs because the Bible says so.”

But that is not the case with Matt 16:18. The reasoning goes as follows: “Christ established His Church (as described in the post above by historical veracity), the Church verifies the authenticity of Scripture.” This is an example of a SPIRAL argument.

Peace

Christ--------> Church---------> Scripture

That’s linear.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

oops, thanks I left out the last step::o

Christ ----> Church ----> Scripture ----> Christ (since Scripture attests to Christ)

It’s hard to show how it spirals on a two dimensional page but you have to imagine it like a coiled spring if that makes sense. :whacky:

The infallibility of the Church is not built on just 1 verse.

Jn 16:13 - guided by Holy Spirit into all truth
Jn 14:26 - Holy Spirit to teach & remind them of everything
Lk 10:16 - Apostles speak with Christ’s own voice and authority
1Tim 3:15 - Church called "pillar and foundation of truth"
1Jn 2:27 - anointing of Holy Spirit remains in you
Acts 15:28 - Apostles speak with voice of Holy Spirit
Mt 28:20 - I am with you always

[quote=petra]During our discussions of dissent, infallibility, and Matt. 16:18, it became apparent to me that there is some circular reasoning here.

Circular arguments are logical fallacies. As such, we must eliminate this argument as proof of the Church’s infallibility. We must look to other proofs instead. What might those be?
[/quote]

Dear petra,

When you first posted this message I exactly agreed with you and was anxious to see what you would get back.

Based on what has been posted so far, it sounds like there may be no circular reasoning. Some of us have been looking to Bible to judge the Church’s teachings, even though we knew the Church wrote the Bible. Wouldn’t that then imply that the Bible has no more authority than the Church? If so, then I tentatively concede that the Church may interpret the Bible however she wants, since she wrote it.

Either way, circular reasoning or no, Matt 16:18 cannot be used to judge the Church’s teaching on infallibility. If we believe the Bible over the Church, then we must still rely on the Church’s say so in how she interprets it to get the “infallibility” thing as you said. If we assume the Church wrote the Bible and therefore has authority (meaning “authorship”) over the Bible, then it doesn’t matter what the actual words in the Bible even are in terms of this discussion. In the latter case Matt 16:18 could have read “the moon is made of green cheese” and if the author of the Bible says it means she is infallible, then that’s what it means.

Wow. I’ve never looked at it this way before. I’m glad I came here today for I have an entirely different outlook. I’m not sure what it’s going to mean because it can go both ways. If the Church has authority over the Bible rather than the other way around, and if that means the Bible cannot be used to disprove the Church’s teachings, then logically neither can the Bible be used to support her teachings. This is going to be fun; now I get to rethink practically all my beliefs that have to do with the Bible and see what comes of it!

Alan

The underlying (false) notion of this thread is that the we can’t trust magisterium.

Distrust of the magisterium fuels feminism, dissent and Protestantism. The Magisterium isn’t here to keep political power, hide the real truth, to make you have babies, prevent scientific development etc.

The magisterium is here to show you TRUTH and to bring you closer to HIM. Why, because Jesus said so.

“Upon this rock ‘I’ will build my Church.”

Then he gave Peter the keys and reestablished the office of “steward” or “one who is over the house” (in modern parlance, the prime minister). Is 22:22

Christ promised to guide and protect his Church and to send the Holy Spirit to lead it into all truth. (Mat 16:18-19, 18:18, 28:20; Jn 14:16, 25, 16:13).

The Holy Spirit guided the Church when it decided which books were to be included in the Bible. I see it as protecting the TRUTH from false teachings in other books.

The Magisterium is there to protect against a thousand different interpretations of scripture. (all claiming to be right) This promotes unity. (Jn 17:20-23, 1 Cor 1:10; 12:25 Phil 1:27 Eph 4:13-15, Eph 4:5).

Individual interpretation is OK but it can’t be against the Church. The Holy Spirit would not allow the truth of the Magisterium to contradict the the truth of scripture.

Trust the Magisterium, the Holy Spirit is at work! Infallibility protects the truth and promotes unity.

Hope this helps but I warn you I have no formal training.

davidmacd.com/catholic/index2.htm

Cool. Is this your web site?

Alan

Circular?

The Bible is inspired because it says it is inspired.

Now that’s circular!

Can we all agree that God’s Church, God’s Church prior to the Catholic Church, did not have infallibility as a virtue? A Church, the Israelite Church, that the Father and Jesus loved equal to the Catholic Church, still did not have infallibility. Do we believe this?

NAB MAT 26:59

The chief priests, with the whole Sanhedrin, were busy trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus so that they might **put him to death.**NAB MAR 7:9

He went on to say: "You have made a fine art of setting aside God’s commandment in the interests of keeping your traditions! For example, Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and in another place, ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death.’ Yet you declare, If a person says to his father or mother, Any support you might have had from me is korban’ (that is, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. That is the way you nullify God’s word in favor of the traditions you have handed on."

**NAB EXO 21:17 **

[indent]**“Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.” **[/indent]**NAB LUK 13:10 **

On a sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues. There was a woman there who for eighteen years had been possessed by a spirit which drained her strength. She was badly stooped–quite incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called her to him and said, “Woman, you are free of your infirmity.” He laid his hand on her, and immediately she stood up straight and began thanking God.

The chief of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus should have healed on the sabbath, said to the congregation, "There are six days for working. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath." The Lord said in reply, “O you hypocrites! Which of you does not let his ox or *** out of the stall on the sabbath to water it? Should not this daughter of Abraham here who has been in the bondage of Satan for eighteen years have been released from her shackles on the sabbath?” (JOH 5:8)

**NAB MAR 14:60 **

The high priest rose to his feet before the court and began to interrogate Jesus: “Have you no answer to what these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent; he made no reply. Once again the high priest interrogated him: “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Then Jesus answered: “I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” At that the high priest tore his robes and said: “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They all concurred in the verdict “guilty”, with its sentence of death.



NAB JOH 7:22

"Moses gave you circumcision (though it did not originate with Moses but with the patriarchs). And so, even on a sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man can be circumcised on the sabbath to prevent a violation of Mosaic law, how is it you are angry with me for curing a whole man on the sabbath? Stop judging by appearances and make an honest judgement.

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com

[quote=gsaccone]oops, thanks I left out the last step::o

Christ ----> Church ----> Scripture ----> Christ (since Scripture attests to Christ)

It’s hard to show how it spirals on a two dimensional page but you have to imagine it like a coiled spring if that makes sense. :whacky:
[/quote]

How about this?

Christ ----> Church ----> Scripture
…I
… \ …I
… V…V
…Christ <---- Secular sources

Of course non-Catholics would discount secular sources as sources of Truth, just as they would discount the Church as a sourch of Truth

[quote=Steven Merten]Can we all agree that God’s Church, God’s Church prior to the Catholic Church, did not have infallibility as a virtue? A Church, the Israelite Church, that the Father and Jesus loved equal to the Catholic Church, still did not have infallibility. Do we believe this?

[/quote]

Um. Pentecost?

[quote=gsaccone]oops, thanks I left out the last step::o

Christ ----> Church ----> Scripture ----> Christ (since Scripture attests to Christ)

It’s hard to show how it spirals on a two dimensional page but you have to imagine it like a coiled spring if that makes sense. :whacky:
[/quote]

Well, Christ IS the Alpha and the Omega…the first and the last!! :wink:

How would you draw YOUR reasoning continuum?

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Cool. Is this your web site?

Alan
[/quote]

no
I was just trying to spread info from different sources

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