[quote=John Paul III]Its kind of interesting that all Protestants will believe that the Bible is the infallable word of God, even with all the bible versions out on the market today. But when it comes to the Church and Papacy they cannot understand that the Church in fact holds the infallibility.
First of all, not all Protestants believe that the Bible is infallible, and the majority of us who do believe it would differ on just what that means.
In the second place, talking about an infallible/inerrant book is very different from talking about an infallible teaching office. They are two completely different things–which is why many Catholics on these boards say that you should use “inerrant” for the Bible and “infallible” for the Church. (This is confusing to Protestants, because many of us have developed the habit of saying that the Bible is “infallible” rather than “inerrant” to distinguish our position from that of those who believe that every scientific/historical detail in the Bible is necessarily accurate. But that’s a side issue.)
You can’t deduce an infallible Church from an infallible Bible. This argument only works if you think infallibility is necessary in order for us to know the truth. But that’s downright silly, however seductive such a line of thinking may be in an era of doubt and confusion like ours. We believe the Bible is infallible/inerrant in the sense that it is free from error in what it teaches concerning our salvation (recognizing that others would hold stricter definitions–but this is the minimal definition, I think). But we don’t think we can identify some kind of process that will inevitably produce a true result. The Bible was recognized to be free from error in retrospect–as, in a more limited sense, were certain Christian councils. The Protestant *and Orthodox *criticism of “Roman” Catholicism is that you guys have invented an “infallible magisterium” that can be relied on to produce true answers under conditions that you claim to be able to specify beforehand (though in practice the specifications look awfully dodgy). That isn’t anything like the infallibility/inerrancy of the Bible.