Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
"We Have Apostolic Tradition"- The Unofficial Catholic Apologist Commentary #4
03/05/2009 - James Swan
Catholic apologists often let us know how crucial it is to have an infallible magisterium and church Tradition in order to interpret the Bible correctly. With so many Catholic apologists now commenting on sacred scripture, I thought it would be interesting to provide their commentary on the Bible. Let's see how they've been able to rightly divide the word of truth. I'll post their interpretations as I come across them.
In this MP3 clip, Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin explains why Luke 10:16 can't be used to substantiate papal infallibility:
Luke 10:16 states, "The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me." Akin explains this passage can't be used to prove the infallibility of the church. The passage was directed to the "seventy others" (Luke 10:1). Akin says because "they didn't have the kind of ongoing status in the church that would result in them being...you know... a distinct grade of ordination, for example... um, they're not like along side apostles and bishops and priests and deacons... so they had some kind of temporary role uh, in the church at least before the crucifixion." Akin says of this passage, "I don't think it's possible to derive full blown ecclesiastical infallibility out of this passage in any simple way." Akin says he would not recommend Catholics use Luke 10:16 to prove ecclesiastical infallibility: "I wouldn't just plop it down in front of somebody and say this proves without a doubt the church is infallible."
Yet Catholic Answers (the very organization Mr. Akin works for) host a web page entitled,Papal Infallibility. This document states,
The Catholic Church's teaching on papal infallibility is one which is generally misunderstood by those outside the Church. In particular, Fundamentalists and other "Bible Christians" often confuse the charism of papal "infallibility" with "impeccability." They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin. Others, who avoid this elementary blunder, think the pope relies on some sort of amulet or magical incantation when an infallible definition is due.
Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin. Nor is it a charism that belongs only to the pope. Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in doctrinal unity with the pope, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true. We have this from Jesus himself, who promised the apostles and their successors the bishops, the magisterium of the Church: "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16), and "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matt. 18:18).
And then later:
If the Church is the foundation of religious truth in this world, then it is God's own spokesman. As Christ told his disciples: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Luke 10:16).
So Catholic Answers does exactly what Akin says not to do: they "plop" down Luke 10:16 to prove the Roman Catholic Church is infallible. Karl Keating does this, so does Patrick Madrid. I have a strong suspicion that I could come up with quite a number of Catholic apologists who do exactly what Akin says not to. Who's right? Well, pick your favorite Catholic apologist.