The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church

When Jesus told St Peter that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church why do we assume that all the teachings of the Church are infallible. This is what the DR bible says about this:

18 “The gates of hell”… That is, the powers of darkness, and whatever Satan can do, either by himself, or his agents. For as the church is here likened to a house, or fortress, built on a rock; so the adverse powers are likened to a contrary house or fortress, the gates of which, that is, the whole strength, and all the efforts it can make, will never be able to prevail over the city or church of Christ. By this promise we are fully assured, that neither idolatry, heresy, nor any pernicious error whatsoever shall at any time prevail over the church of Christ.

When Jesus said that the gates of Hell will not prevail… what is the reasoning that this means that “by this promise we are fully assured, that neither idolatry, heresy, nor any pernicious error whatsoever shall at any time prevail over the church of Christ”?

Why couldnt someone justly say that this is reading too much into the text? Surely why the Church is infallible in its teachings is explained elsewhere.

Why isn’t that enough?

The guarantee that the devil would never conquer the Church means that it will always be around to teach the Truth. If there were no protection from error (i.e., infallibility on faith and morals), it’s conceivable that a time could come at which the Church taught error. If that persisted as it has in many non-Catholic Churches, the result would be disunity – and thus, a further fracturing of the Church.


According to your thinking the consequences of disunity equals the gates of hell prevailing against the Church? But there has been sects who left the Church as we know.

Well, you might think that, if you isolate that verse from the rest of the Bible. But link it to Matthew 16:19:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

That expression - the keys of heaven, and to bind and loose is a rabbinical term used to describe the power of moral and teaching authority. It’s linked to Isaiah 22, 22, if I’m not mistaken…

Also, check John 14, 26:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Well, He did send the Holy Spirit, by whom he guarantees doctrinal infallibility.

It in John 16:13, too:

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

God bless.

Excellent :thumbsup:

Yeah I forgot about the verse Matthew16:19, and also about John 16.

Gotta keep reading in context, gotta keep reading in context, gotta keep reading in context…

My view of this passage is not one of infallibility. Rather it is one of victory. Jesus does not say that the forces of Hell would not overcome the Church. It uses the words the gates of Hell (Hades) will not prevail against (withstand) the Church.
Gates are not an offensive device. They are defensive, meant to keep something in or something out. What we are being told is that Hell (Hades) or death will not be able to withstand or keep out the assault of the Church. The Church will enter the domain of Satan and conquer it.

Even if it did refer to the devil attacking the Church, it does not necessarily mean that the Church will not err. All would be necessary is that there would be a believing remnant that remain unconquered, in the same way that God kept for Himself a remnant in the Old Testament church.

Did you read post #4?

Disunity is the gates of Hell prevailing, I suppose, if that includes making Jesus out to be a liar.
On the night before he died, in his high priestly prayer:
Father, may they be one, as you and I are one, **so that the world might believe!
So, Jesus is God, agreed?

When God speaks, does something happen? (Hint: the creation narrative.)

So God prays that His followers be One - expressed will of God, yes? And His creative Word makes that come into being (just like in Genesis?)

So disunity is against the expressed will of God and makes Jesus out to be a liar, and ever-accelerating disunity is accompanied by the ever-accelerating spread of disbelief.

It’s heartbreaking. :mad:

Yes I read the post. I do not believe that the institutional church is guaranteed infallibility anymore than the Mosaic church was guaranteed infalibility.

The Spirit of Truth is with us but that does not guarantee that the church as an institution will be free from error. All it guarantees is that there will always be a spiritual group that has the truth. Jesus prays that we be one but does that mean that we will be one institution? The members of the true, spritual church are one. But man has from the start not done what God desired. We are told in 1 Timothy 4 that God wants all men to be saved. Does that mean that all men will be saved anymore than the true church will be identical with one institution?

In fact, I think that claims of infallibility are the greatest threat that Christianity faces. We are told that the man of lawlessness wil come. We are also told about the beast, the false prophet and the image of the beast in Reveleation. How convenient would it be to have Christianity united under one leader believing that their church and leader cannot teach error and conditioned not to question the church or its leader?

Jesus did not say I want to give you (St Peter) the keys to the kingdom, he said I give you the keys:

Matthew16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

In the last paragraph you seem to be implying something I don’t think any Catholic is comfortable hearing. How come Christians were more united before the Reformation? Now we have tens of thousands of sects, 3000 versions of the bible, and all of us are threatened by atheism. Now is the time for unity, not division.

If you believe the Holy Spirit is with the Church you should have no problems acknowledging the Pope, but if you don’t, then obviously you would be concerned.

Think of the Pope as being a prime minister of the Church who is appointed by Christ the King to guide the flock. Isnt it better to turn to an appointed leader, then turn to self-appointed preachers and evangelical pastors? I mean, to which one do you turn to when you need help in interpreting the Scriptures, or guidance in dealing with moral issues. There are too many of them who all teach something different.

What mosaic church?
There was no church.
There were the chosen people.
But they indeed were free from any grave error, since Yahweh himself chose his people.
Indeed, it was quite different from the NT times, but still, whenever the Hebrews fell in faith, a prophet came about.

It’s all very nice, for you to have your view of it, but that’s far from the truth. Like I said in my previous post, the rabbinic expression to bind and to loose is a statement of doctrinal authority. By Christ. And Christ is true to his words.

And the Church is not an institution, not primarily, anyway. It’s the mystical body of Christ.
And that body is not only a spiritual one. For then, we would have anarchy and a hundred thousand denominations, every man setting his own doctrines. How would you know which is true?
Why are the heretics heretics?
If THE Church has no infallible doctrinal authority, then how are you to argue the most basic of the truths of Christianity? Like Christs divinity?
Protestants only have (at least mainstream ones) such truths because they inherited them from the Catholic church.

About false prophets - well, one might just turn the tables against you and say that the claims against infallibility are the most dangerous to the Christian world.
If you have no ecclesiastic authority, then we can debate this ad infinitum.
But we, in fact, DO have objective, infallible ecclesiastic authority.

Because Christ said so.

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