It’s a question that requires little thought to answer; are you infallible? It ranks right up there with, “Are you God?” But to Catholic apologists the question is quite serious; that’s because they believe that there is a man on earth who, on the subject of faith and morals, is infallible; they call him, “holy father.” See, it does rank right up there with, “Are you God,” at least when coming from people who think their leader is equal with God on deciding issues of faith and morals.
According to Catholic apologist, John Martignoni, this question should cause Protestants to suddenly doubt everything they believe, and Catholics should take comfort in knowing they and only they, have an infallible leader here on earth. But how can they know? Is there one Catholic person out there, besides the pope of course, who will confess to being infallible? And if a Catholic is not infallible, how can he or she “know” their pope is infallible? They can’t! So if they cannot infallibly declare their pope to be infallible, then their assertion is nothing more than a fallible opinion. And if they are wrong, which my fallible counter-assertion says they are, then they are being deceived.
The logic that so often accompanies claims of papal infallibility goes something like this: “Jesus did not leave His people vulnerable to the doctrinal whims of competing leaders.”
The logic used is quite revealing; it indicates very strongly that those who use it have no idea what it means to have the gift of the Holy Spirit, because if they had the gift of the Holy Spirit they would not be looking to Rome for infallible direction. It also reveals that they think everyone else is like them, wanting to follow the whims of their leaders. It also denies the notion that Christ has relationship with man through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Their magisterium reserves that privilege for themselves and people buy into it. It’s no different than Mormons following their prophet in Utah.
The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but the Apostle Paul explicitly said that Christ is the head of His Church and He reconciles all things to Himself. To wit, Catholics will be quick to agree that Christ is the head, but then immediately contradict themselves by saying, “but He established the papacy through which He reveals His truths .” Based on what? If Christ is the head and we are the body, where does the papacy fit in? I see no evidence of this claim in Scripture or history, so if the evidence is not there the papacy must belong to a different body; one that is not associated with Christ and His church.
In his newsletter on his website where he shares chapter one of his new book, “Blue Collar Apologetics,” John Martignoni instructs his faithful followers to establish the fact that Protestants are not infallible early on in discussions with them. The purpose of doing this is to attempt to convince the Protestant that he could be wrong about what he believes. The funny thing is Martignoni never tells his readers what to do if the Protestant turns the question back on them; and that is most certainly what is likely to happen.
Does Martignoni really not see this coming, or is he simply at a loss for how to address it? Once a Catholic apologist is faced with admitting their own fallibility, they will immediately be forced to deal with the realization that their claim of papal infallibility is itself a fallible opinion; so they must, therefore, admit that they could be wrong as well. And once they realize the playing field is level, the evidence will do the talking.
A Catholic apologist who is willing to concede that his belief regarding papal infallibility is nothing more than a fallible opinion will likely ask another similar question, “What church do you belong to and how old is it?” In their minds this is the true “gotcha” question. They believe, in their fallible opinions of course, that they belong to the church founded by Christ nearly 2000 years ago. But the fact is, and yes it is a fact, there was no Roman Catholic Church 2000 years ago; it took a few hundred years for that to develop. Furthermore, by their own admission, the doctrines they hold equal in authority to the Bible, which they call “sacred traditions,” did not exist at the time of the apostles; that also is a fact.
There is something, however, that is clearly older than any Protestant or Roman Catholic Church and that is the written books of the Bible. If a person bases his or her faith on these written works then no supposed authority that came later can undermine the power of God working through them. It is unfortunate that when a person comes to Christ in faith through reading the Bible, that there are so-called Christians who come along to cast doubt in their minds. For example, in a tract on the Catholic Answers website called, “By What Authority,” it is stated, “In fact, not one book of the Bible was written for non-believers.”
Not according to the Apostle John who explicitly wrote, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name”? He did not say these are written because you believe; he said, these are written that you may believe. John’s gospel is a firsthand written testimony of the ministry of Jesus for the purpose of bringing people to Him, and Catholic apologists are telling us it was never John’s intention for us to become believers by reading it? Amazing; isn’t it? The Catholic Answers philosophy seems to be to make up facts rather than face them.
So for the sake of the next John Martignoni disciple who wants to ask me if I am infallible, the answer is no; and incidentally your answer to my identical question is also no. Thus I am not interested in your fallible opinion that your pope is infallible when speaking on faith and morals. Perhaps one of you can go tell Mr. Martignoni that chapter his one is incomplete, and that he might want to consider adding a realistic response to his question rather than a bunch of scenarios where the Protestant is simply dumbfounded. His current scenarios might have been fun for him to write, but they are only going to embarrass his readers when they go out armed with the Martignoni sword.