The Charism of Truth Handling: Infallibility
Jesus Christ was sent by the Father and was known as an authentic Teacher. Forty times in the New Testament, Christ is called "teacher" (didaskalos, also translated as "Master"). Twelve times Christ is called "Rabbi" (master, the address of teachers):
- Mt 23:8, 10
- As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Messiah.
- Mt 7:28-29
- When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
- Jn 1:17-18
- ... because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
- Jn 13:13-15
- You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.
The Gospels record Christ handing over to the Apostles his own mission, or divine office which he had as man.
- Jn 17:18
- As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.
- Jn 20:21
- (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
- Mt 10:40
- Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
- Lk 10:16
- Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.
- Mt 28:18-20
- Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
Christ is revealed instituting a perpetually enduring truth-teaching, truth-handling authority in the Apostles.
- Mt 28:20
- ... teaching them (all nations) to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
- Jn 14:16-17
- And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.
- Jn 15:26
- When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.
- Jn 16:12-13
- I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.
- Acts 1:8
- But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Roman Catholic Christians believe that Christ's teaching authority and truth charism continues in His Body the Church in the successors both of Peter and then the apostles, and then to their successors: the successor of Peter in the Bishop of Rome, and the successors of the apostles, the episcopoi or bishops from apostolic time to the present.
By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
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Last Updated: January 3, 1997
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