Stumbling Block for Protestants? V2

Getting this started.

last from Steido01:

"That’s quite the jump. Even a stopped clock is correct for two minutes per day. That Rome made any number of correct discernments is not at all proof of being “protected from error.”

So if the Catholic Church is a working clock that is accurate every minute with regard to teachings, then aligns with a broken clock twice a day, doesn’t this tell more about the broken clock than of the working clock?

I see potential of alignment on all the minutes. But the effort is to get the broken clock ticking.

Last page of the original thread, for context:

Thanks, Eric, for being an awesome moderator and encouraging this mostly-charitable discussion to continue!

The answer is simple. The Church doesn’t claim that because she has made correct decisions that that proves all her decisions are correct. So, he’s set up a straw man and then torn it down. Hardly a valid argument. :slight_smile:

The Church claims infallibility because Christ, her founder, promised her this charism. Plain and simple. It is the Holy Spirit who ensures the Church doesn’t go wrong, not the men who have the charism. The charism comes with the office, not because they are personally worthy of it.

Wow, 64 pages and still going:eek: thanks for providing context, I’m out of here:) carry on.

Just to be clear - I never made that argument. It was made by a Roman Catholic poster in the previous thread. But I’m glad another Roman Catholic can see the silliness of the position. :smiley:

If you’re looking for historical evidence that Jesus founded a Church, it matters. I’m not saying that the word has to be mentioned. Certainly passages in Luke and John that speak of Peter “strengthening the brothers” and “feeding the sheep,” or of Jesus giving the apostles power to forgive sins, also count.

But given the immense importance of the term and concept “ecclesia” in Christian history, the fact that it doesn’t occur in three of the Gospels is pretty significant. It’s not like “Trinity,” which was a “technical term” that early Christians came up with to explain a paradoxical reality in which they had long believed. “Ecclesia” is a common word referring to an assembly of people. Indeed, the difficulty with “ecclesia” is to figure out just what the earliest sources mean by it, because it had such a general, “secular” meaning. So the fact that even this very basic term for an organized community doesn’t occur in Mark, Luke, or John causes many scholars to think that Jesus can’t have given any explicit indication of intending to form any such community. (I grant that the passages in Luke and John to which I referred above are counter-evidence, but the silence of Mark on anything like this is still very significant.)

Note: I’m not saying that Jesus didn’t found a Church. I’m saying that by purely historical evidence one cannot show with even reasonable probability that He did. To accept that Jesus founded a Church you have to accept the authority of the Church in the first place. Again, the spiral argument fails utterly.


Then why would you want to isolate Matthew? How about you isolate the Gospel according to John? How about you isolate the Kingdom of Heaven?

Or, how about you isolate Jesus’ first miracle in turning water into wine? - by your same argumentation is is improbably for us to believe it.

Or maybe we need to make another denomination: The Historical Critical Church - it’s not catholic, not protestant, not orthodox, not even bible - it’s just historical critical… wait… we already have it! - it is secular and their pastors are known as scholars.

Historical evidence is pretty darn evident:

Was there a Church at Rome founded by Christians?
Yes - Paul’s letter to the Romans - not only was there a Church but there Church was heard off throughout the area!

Were Peter and Paul at the Roman Church?

Did they lead this Roman Church?

Is this Church still standing today?

Case is closed. No man made institution can last this long, period. History is immensely against you here.

There is no need to complicate or go secular on what is pretty obvious. Historical criticism is just that - a way to criticize, the evidence speaks for itself. Your argument is self-defeating because the big white elephant in the middle of the room is, in fact, looking at you.

Yup, I just didn’t get back around to the source yet.

In the clock analogy, there would be a cause for the accuracy minute by minute, that cause can’t be because the clock exists, but rather there is a person winding (and watching over) the clock who would be ‘in the know’ and informed others the clock is accurate. (Unless he was selfish and didn’t want to let others know about that amazing timekeeper)

That Person, Jesus. The super ion battery that keeps that clock ever ticking ‘until the end of time’, The Holy Spirit.

Great stuff.

How do YOU know that the Church made the “correct discernment” regarding the canon?

PR wrote:

“I believe that Hebrews is inspired…because the Catholic Church told me it is inspired. There is no other way I could know this. No. other. way.”

“The Catholic Church proclaimed this to be true at
-the Council of Rome in 382
-the Council of Hippo in 393
-the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419
-the Council of Nicea II in 787
-the Council of Florence in 1442
-the Council of Trent in 1546”

Unless I believe that these Councils made a big boo-boo and Hebrews is not inspired, and the Epistle of Barnabas is, then I must believe that the Catholic Church was protected from erring in all of the above councils.”

Therefore, the charism of infallibility has been given to the CC, at least as it applies to the 27 book canon of the NT.

Ok, that’s not quite how I’d lay out an argument, but the bit I’ve bolded will do as your central premise for now. I’d say that you’re quite clearly giving me a false dichotomy.

To put it quite simply: do you really think that I cannot logically affirm that the councils you have listed were correct, but contingently, and not absolutely, so? Because if I *can *do that, then your argument falls.

Are you asking me or Steido? I assume you are asking me because of what seemed like Steido’s position, but the quote is Steido’s.


Are you “absolutely” certain that the 27 books of the New Testament are the inerrant word of God or not? Is it possible that the Church left one out, or included one or two that really are not inspired? Just how do you know?

It is theoretically possible that the Church has left one out. However, on the basis that the vast majority of the Fathers and subsequent Christians have acknowledged the 27 books of the NT to be the full canon, and on the basis that there seems to be a clear difference between the content and provenance of the canonical books and those of the non-canonical NT ‘apocrypha’, I am confident (based on faith) that the Holy Spirit has led the Church into accepting the right books.

This is not the same as believing that the Church could not have erred, or as believing that the (e.g. Roman) Church has not erred with respect to other matters.

I was simply posting against the fallacious argument that was made by a previous poster; acknowledgement of the failed position is required before the question can be fairly turned to me. The burden of proof still lies with the party who holds that: ‘the Church made the correct discernment because it can only make correct discernments’ (not that I would necessarily agree or disagree with the end product of said discernment, anyway). Just making sure the logic used here is sound.

I concur*.

If the Church was led by the Holy Spirit in determining the canon of Sacred Scripture without error, why would God remove the Holy Spirit’s protection in other matters? The same Church, who’s judgment you accept when it comes to the canon of Scripture, also proclaimed the doctrine of the Eucharist, and purgatory, and an all-male priesthood. How do you determine what is true and what is not, other than your own private judgment which no one recognizes as authoritative? And unless you believe that your judgment is infallible, you must admit that you might be in error.

If that’s what you think infallible really means, then yes. But I have a stronger understanding of infallibility than that, which leads me to reject the infallibility of, e.g., the Pope.

With regards to the infallibility of the Church as a whole, I am willing to affirm a limited infallibility. I haven’t got time to explain myself now, but if you remind me of this later tonight / tomorrow, I’d be happy to write something.

Just because something did not error, does not mean it cannot error. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

That particular strawman notwithstanding, I’ll repeat my question: how do you know that the canon is correct?

How do YOU know it did not err?

See post #14, with the understanding that you will likely be disappointed with my rather Lutheran/Eastern/pre-Tridentine response. :blush:

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