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Papal Infallibility

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
October 18, 2022 12:01 am

Papal Infallibility

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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October 18, 2022 12:01 am

Where did the Roman Catholic papacy come from? Today, R.C. Sproul looks at the historical developments that have contributed to the rise of the succession of popes and their influence.

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Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul

Today on Renewing Your Mind.

It's interesting I think for Protestants to understand that the notion of doctrine of papal infallibility is of recent definition is only a little over 100 years old.

Did you realize that the Pope is regarded by Rome as the chief pastor of the whole church, the Vicar of Christ upon the earth. If you read the headlines watch the news, you realize the Pope's influence extends far beyond the church is fairly new notion of the popes infallibility is a claim that we need to examine nursing school.

Does that today. This is part of a series in which he carefully and respectfully looks at the documents at the heart of the Roman Catholic, Protestant today were going to continue our recent lectures on Roman Catholic theology in the same of our concern in this session will be the doctrine of papal infallibility, let's proceed then with our examination of the question of papal infallibility. After we open with prayer our father we come into your presence with praise and adoration. Knowing that in the there is indeed infallibility, and in thy son and in thy spirit and also in thy word. We thank the father that in the midst of confusion in the midst of error in the midst of mistakes but there is a solid ground of truth that is rooted in the way with us.

Now we mistakes they and the power and presence of thy spirit as we consider this very crucial notion of the infallibility of the church and of the papacy. We ask these things in the name of Christ. Papal infallibility as an official doctrine of the church, a doctrine that became of the status called Bay file that is to be embraced by all true and faithful Catholic people was declared on July 18, 1870 by Vatican Council number one Vatican Council number one or the first Vatican Council had as its presiding Pope, Pope Pius IX, Pius IX and Vatican Council number one declared the doctrine of papal infallibility.

July 18, 1870 by a vote. Incidentally, of 533 four and two against both the vote was not unanimous, but it certainly was overwhelming 533 to 2.

Now it's interesting I think for Protestants to understand that the notion the doctrine of papal infallibility is of recent definition is only a little over 100 years old.

Since the Roman Catholic Church has declared papal infallibility. Also, I want you to understand that this concept of papal infallibility is a post-Reformation definition.

That is, with all the controversies involved between the reformers and the papacy. During the 16th century.

At that period of church history, papal infallibility, though it was espoused by many and believed by many and assumed by even still more nevertheless had not become the official declared doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. However, it's important for us to remember as well that even though the doctrines definition is only a little over 100 years old.

The concept and indeed the working conviction has its roots very very early in church history.

So before we look at the actual decrease of Vatican one and their significance and later formulations and developments. I like to spend a few moments this morning on historical background leading up to Vatican one. The notion of the monarchical episcopacy that is the idea of a raining primate of the church. As I mentioned a moment ago has its roots in very early developments in church history. The church at Rome the Fellowship of Christian people in the city of Rome has been prominent in the history of Christendom. Since the very first century.

Indeed, since apostolic days.

We notice that the epistle to the Romans.

In the New Testament is of great weight and of great significance and tradition has it and this is one tradition that most evidence that we do have at least extra biblically would tend to confirm is that both the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul were martyred in the city of Rome in the year 65 A.D. during those persecutions of the church under the leadership of the Emperor Nero again in terms of extra-biblical literature. One of the most important documents that survives from the first century is the epistle of Clement which is dated, usually from 93 to 97 and for general purposes week, so to say around the year 95. The epistle of Clement written at the end of the first century by one who is identified as the bishop of Rome indicates something of the very early strength of the position of the Bishop of Rome in the Christian church.

How many of you have read the epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, written around 95 A.D. anyone here in this room. Fred first Clement longtime account liable just give you a little background on that first of all, Clement is usually thought to be by the Roman church. The third Bishop of Rome or in their order of papal succession. Consequently, the third Pope Peter being first uglies awesomeness for second and then Clement. But the interesting thing about Clement's letter to the Corinthians was that it follows to epistles by the apostle Paul, there are at least two epistles that Paul wrote to this troublesome congregation in Corinth, first and second Corinthians, and I think we often are left with bated breath after reading the Corinthian correspondence in the New Testament the see how the Corinthian community responded to the apostolic admonitions and redo concentric that came in those two epistles, a lovely read first Clement the indication would be is that the Corinthian church did not do too well after their admonition from the apostle Paul because it became necessary. 30 or 40 or 50 years later for the Bishop of Rome to intervene in a local situational problem in the Corinthian church, and there was a problem of ecclesiastical organization and presumably a revolt that had taken place in the church between those who were in a new charismatic orientation who believe that they were gifted immediately and directed by God with certain guests who wanted to overthrow the ordinary, normal, regular officers of the church and so the Bishop of Rome writes a letter beseeching these people who were carried away and there religious zeal to acts of anarchy in the church. They beseeches them to get their act in order and calls attention back to the apostolic admonition that they had received from Paul one church historian.

In analyzing first Clement says that the latter is written in the spirit of brotherly love and admonition, which indeed it is, rather than the spirit of an autocratic tyrannical glossy syndrome, but the historian says, though it's written in a brotherly motif is a big brotherly mood of the letter and I think that's a very excellent description of the tone of the epistle of Clement Clement does not sound like a 20th-century Pope giving ultimatum or an encyclical commanding on the strength of his own office that the Corinthian people repent, but he does justify his own pastoral concern for the local situation in Corinth through a more or less pastoral shepherding type of a mood, but it is interesting that we have this incidence of the Bishop of Rome giving pastoral admonition to the church at Corinth, which would be out of his immediate geographical jurisdiction, then we see after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and consequent further catastrophic developments within Palestine. In terms of their revolt against the Roman government. At the beginning of the second century that the diminished importance of Jerusalem is obvious the book of acts begins with the church concentrated in Jerusalem and ends with Paul going to Rome the first century, Christian church begins with its focal point in Jerusalem and ends with its focal point in her own.

So there are historical reasons why the development of the Roman church moved in the way that it did, for example, Hans Kern being critical of some arguments that the church is used to declare papal infallibility argues that the primary reason why the Roman Catholic Church developed in the direction of a monarchy or episcopate in the direction of papal primacy was it was carried along on the coattails of the developing Roman legal system and being at the church entrenched in the power structure of the ancient world. Rome and adopting very many of the political structures and juridical structures of the Roman legal organization that church along with the nation of Rome emerged as the center of Christendom. We have to stand in awe at the ability of the Roman center of religion to survive as long as it hash.

That's one of the most incredible dimensions of Roman Catholic history that there has been a Christian church functioning in Rome in that city. From the very first century and that there has been a succession of bishops in that city. From the first century. No Protestant can deny that's an interesting phenomenon in terms of the development of church history where all the rest of the churches that we hear about being established in the New Testament do not survive to this day.

Where is the church of Corinth. Where is the Ephesian community where is the church at Philippi. Now where's the church of Thessalonica or at Pergamum or Sarkar or the seven churches. You see of the apocalypse where I the church of Philadelphia. It's not 10th St. down there in the city of brotherly love. But the church of still there at least eight church is still there. So that phenomenon has also something to do with the increasing significance that is attached.

Over the years to the Roman state at the mention the crisis of the Germanic invasions were Rome was able to survive the hoards of barbarians that descended upon the Western world ravishing them and we remember Attila the Hun coming to the very gates of Rome and what was it that prevented Attila from stacking and destroying the city. It was met at the gates of the city by who, by Leo the first and Leo the first ability to withstand this barbaric Hun Attila is become a moment of great glory in the history of the papacy. Now over the centuries, there was a gradual consolidation of power and authority connected with the Roman see the controversies of the fourth century example involved Augustine and Issues Taking Pl. in North Africa were solved. At one point, when the church appealed for a decision to the Bishop of Rome, and that issue in the fourth century, serve to increase the accepted power on primacy of the Roman bishop. But again, there is a gradual process of development towards the authority and primacy of the Roman bishop in the church.

The real first great crisis of primacy. That is the preeminence given to the Bishop of Rome took place in the 11th century. In the year 1054 when the Roman bishop was seen and declared to be of preeminence over the Eastern bishops and this was one of the most significant contributing factors to the so-called great schism. The division of the Eastern church, Eastern orthodoxy, and the Western church in 1054 and then through on the century we have again and very interesting history of the ups and downs of the papacy, which I'm not going to give any kind of overview of medieval problems that emerged. But I want to set the immediate historical context for Vatican Council number one, namely the events of the 19th century that were crucial in producing this counsel. First of all, there were two-isms that were part of the political and the cultural situation of 19th century Europe that I think are important to understand as background for Vatican one.

First of all, there was the phenomenon of Gallic in his last time he would Gallic and is and was, as a do with France and it really Gallic and is began in 13th century France, but the movement reached its peak in the 19th century and by the time the 19th century came Gallic and is incorporated a lot more than France but we thinking of Gaul in connection with France. It was a resistance of French Christians to Roman intervention and Roman rule.

The Gallic in church. The church of Gaul, the church of France wanted to be able to have their own ultimate power and authority for self-government, rather than taking their orders from the Roman see that effort failed initially in France but Gallic and is him as an is and began through the ages to take on momentum and applied to countries far beyond the boundaries of France, the Gallic, it is about the 19th century meant really an attempt of nationalistic home rule without papal intervention. This had political and ecclesiastical ramifications.

So along with the whole 19th century spirit of nationalism growing out of the French Revolution. There was an increasing spirit of independence from Italian Roman political and ecclesiastical dominion in the churches. As I said this was not merely an ecclesiastical power struggle, but it was an ecclesiastical political power struggle because in many of the nations. There was no separation of church and state, and at this time. Still, the papacy had considerable political power as well as ecclesiastical power in Europe. Then it the forces of Gallic Knutson, who were really the 19th century liberals politically, socially, theologically, were in conflict with the so-called ultra Montanists, the ultra Montanists. Are you familiar with ultra Mountain is him ultra modernism means literally on the other side of looking at it from the perspective of northern Europe that ultra modernism is the opposite of Gallic and is the ultramodern of this movement was a movement that preferred the authority to come from outside amounts from wrong ultra modernism favored a strong centralized ecclesiastical government in the Catholic Church emanating out of Rome. So we have this constant struggle through the ages that reaches a peak in the 19 century between the forces of Gallic and is him on the one hand, and the ultra Montanists of the other ultra modernism stood in clear opposition to the nationalistic tendencies of Roman Catholic countries and they champion the cause of papal supremacy not prior to Vatican one in 1846, Pius IX was elevated as quote interesting that in 1846, Pius IX came to papal power. As one who was thought to be somewhat liberal and certainly not thoroughly ultra Montanists, but during the early years of his papacy. Several the programs of reform that he tried to institute failed and he went through a personal crisis. Certainly, an intellectual crisis and became a total reactionary to his earlier thinking and to the Gallic in this movement and became very, very strong in his attempt to consolidate the strengths of the papacy, almost to the point, if not to the point of hysteria. The immediate crisis was the threatened loss of the papal states. That is, those lands that were governed owned and controlled by the papacy in 1854 Pius IX unilaterally without consultation with the College of Cardinals or of the bishops declared by way of papal encyclical the immaculate conception of Mary and declared this a matter of day feed a doctrine. I will look at the significance of that encyclical later on in the week as we consider Mary ologies. Virtually all of the encyclicals that elevates Mary to positions of doctrinal content that are nonnegotiable items with Protestantism, incidentally, have also taken place since the Reformation and in fact, within the last hundred hundred 50 but anyway this is through the beginning of it with. In 1846, Pius IX in 1864. Again, a very reactionary movement Pius IX had published the syllabus of air which condemn just about every is and there was the world condemned naturalism men evolutionism and liberalism, and separation of church and state, and a host of things were on the syllable of errors in the Protestants were considered to be the basic cause for all the modern heresies and it was a scathing denunciation of Protestantism as well as these other-isms in 1870 the council was called but also in the same year. In 1870 Victor Emmanuel well captured the city of Rome and at that point he conquered the papacy in a military way and took away from the pope, all of the papal states and all that he left the Pope was the Vatican in a couple of other very minor geographical holdings, Victor Emmanuel well was promptly greeted by the Pope with the bull of excommunication for having done that, but the director of SQL, despicable, and the land and that was that was it.

But that crisis had an interesting effect on the papacy. Even though there was an enormous loss of holdings of financial worth of military worth of political work. This defeat of the Pope. Somehow, in addition to his own personality sparked an enormous movement of popular sympathy for the poor Pope who is just lost all of these great states and financial campaigns were established public donations were given so that by the time it was all done. The Pope had more finances than he had before he lost the papal states.

It's incredible chapter in church history, but the significant thing was the popular support and kind of a cultic movement of veneration of the holy father swept the Catholic nations. At this point and I like to read a very revealing paragraph that Ponce Cohen writes being a Catholic scholar and being somewhat critical papacy. Here's what he says and I quote, although Pius IX.

In this way is talking about other matters brought the Italian Catholics into unnecessary severe conflicts of conscience. He won tremendous sympathy for his person and his office in the role of a man persecuted by unchristian powers. The dogmatic bond of Catholics to the Pope now acquired a sentimental touch a completely new phenomenon arose a highly emotional veneration of the Pope which was considerably strengthened by the now customary papal audiences and mass pilgrimages to Rome, Pius IX, a philanthropic very eloquent strongly radiant personality but dangerously emotional, superficially trained in theology and completely unfamiliar with modern scientific methods badly advised were over by zealous but mediocre, unrealistic, and dogmatically minded Associates saw the crisis of the papal states simply as an episode in the universal history of the struggle between God and Satan and hope to overcome it with an almost mystical confidence in the victory of divine Providence. This is the atmosphere. This is the mood of the Roman situation at the time the Vatican studying the history of the papal office reveals political intrigue, ecumenical infighting and seasons of great corruption. Those who were careful students of the Bible were concerned about all of that and by the 16th century the Protestant Reformation was born.

Why are we still concerned about this about the doctrinal differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants will simply put, the gospel itself is at stake and that's why we want you to be able to continue your study on this important topic. Door making available a large number of resources for a donation of any amount today. We will send you the Reformation resource drive USB drive that contains six e-books seven full audio teaching series, and several digital editions of table talk magazine plus will provide a digital download of the series that were hearing this week you could make a request and give your gift when you call us at 800-435-4343. You can also do that online if you prefer, at Renewing Your Mind toward Bellevue Manor is familiar with the subject as Leonardo the Carico. He is the pastor of an evangelical church in Rome. Just steps away from the Vatican, which of course is that the center of the Roman Catholic universe pastor. The Carico spoke at one of our national conferences and I had the privilege to interview him and I asked him to assess this divide between Roman Catholics and Protestants, especially over the last 50 years there has been a decreasing ability by evangelicals to discern what is and what was at stake with the church of Rome and what is at stake with it in our contemporary world. And so there is manager and erosion of the ability to articulate a clear assessment and therefore lines have been blurred and distinctives have been fused to the point of people's minds. There is a big gray area. There is no longer to clear cut difference less discouraging to hear is in it, but it's why we consider this series so important is a series that's on this special Reformation resource drive along with six others, including God alone justified by faith alone and what is reformed theology. We hope you request this resource with your donation of any amount. Our phone number again is 800-435-4343 in our online address is Renewing Your well at the heart of this issue is what Roman Catholics believe about salvation. What do they claim it takes to get into heaven.

It is just as necessary for salvation to occur in the life of a person that they be concretely really and visibly within the membership of the Roman Catholic Church as it was concretely necessary for people to be in the art. In order to be rescued from the flood policy will critique in review tomorrow and we hope you'll join us for the Wednesday edition of Renewing Your Mind

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