Monday, June 7, 2021

A quickie apologetic on Papal Infallibility

I was in a discussion with a Protestant who was arguing that Catholic converts have a mental disorder because they seek a level of certainty that only God is capable of. His goal was to show that seeking after a Infallible Magisterium is nonsense because nobody can know the Bible the way God knows the Bible. Admittedly, that's a bizarre way of objecting to the idea of Infallibility, but it led me to show him how his claim was bogus. I asked him if Peter was infallible when he interpreted various OT passages in his epistles 1 & 2 Peter. He was forced to admit Yes, Peter was infallible when interpreting the OT. I then explained that he just refuted his main thesis, because Peter was able to infallibly interpret the OT on behalf of others.

This Protestant got very embarrassed and to save face kept bringing up that Peter acted sinfully and followed false authority (Judaizers) in the incident at Antioch when Paul rebuked Peter (recorded in Galatians 2). I merely had to reaffirm that Peter acting sinfully in one circumstance doesn't mean he couldn't be infallible in other circumstances, as was already proven. I then pointed out that the Peter example actually supports the Catholic claim on infallibility, whereby we see in the example of Peter that acting sinfully in certain circumstances does not preclude a person from being infallible in other circumstances. The Catholic claim has always been the Pope is only infallible under certain circumstances, never under all circumstances! 

I'll hopefully have another post this month in a week or two.


Talmid said...

Sometimes you need to be sure that the other person even understand your view. A lot of times in discussions one side seems to acidently straw-man the other. It seems that this guys was doing that by acident, for every christian does believe that the apostles were teaching infallible sometimes, as you pointed out on St. Peter case.

Speaking about the pope, that seems a perfect example of acidental straw-man. How many times ive seen people act like catholics see these guys as gods! On average, it seems by mere ignorance, though. Protestants and catholics hardly dialogue outside disputes, so misunderstandings tend to grow.

Nick said...

He is very hardcore anti-Catholic to the point he was becoming irrational. In fact, he only dug in his heels even more with his anger when he saw how wrong he was. I've been slowly working on him and his tag team partner, and I think I'm making progress. They are intentionally avoiding discussing Justification with me, since they are very aware how impossible it is to defend Imputation from the Bible.

Talmid said...

Well, good luck to you them! Seeing how he misunderstood the infallibility i imagine that there could be a lot of other type of errors, so the guy is likey not ready to give catholicism a chance yet.

Avoiding justification them makes sense, for they are hardly capable of considering that protestantism is wrong. I myself did grow up believing the usual caricature about the Church and so i needed to see a lot of the usual misunderstandings being refuted before i could consider catholicism as a option. Maybe correcting they on other matters could prepare the way to the justification debate, one can hope.