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Topic: Knowing and Being Right

Infallibility and Corruption

by Darrel Cline

Being right is important. We live in a cause-and-effect universe in which decisions create repercussions that often explode beyond our control. Once that happens, we simply have to live with what comes crashing down on our heads.

Being right about ultimate reality is even more important. The cause-and-effect universe extends beyond our experience in time. If we make the wrong decisions about God and ultimate reality, the crash that comes may well be indescribable in terms of pain, horror, fear, and humiliation.

In another article (010) we mentioned a catechism in which a certain block of people on this planet are taught that their church has the infallible interpretation of the true God's revelation to man. We did this to ask the question: why does any church claim to have a corner on the truth? In that article, the answer was: they want to be right. An admirable goal. But we also said that the claim to infallible understanding is not a legitimate claim. It cannot stand the test of history (only one bona fide mistake debunks the claim); it cannot stand the test of rationality (God needs no additional human mediator to make Himself known to men); it cannot stand the test of Scripture (neither Jesus, nor any of the prophets and apostles, taught the need for an inspired human interpreter); and it cannot stand the test of psychology (infallible interpreters cannot change human hearts). So, the claim is simply that: a claim.

Since the claim is not true, there has to be another reason for making it other than simply the desire to be right. I would suggest there is: the desire to be seen as right. There is a world of difference between the two. The desire to be right implies a desire to make the right kinds of decisions and do the right kinds of things. But the desire to be seen as right implies the desire to control and dominate others. The former desire is a desire for personal holiness; the latter desire is simply a naked bid for the power to dominate.

Once a church gets its people to believe in its infallibility, it is already corrupt. The claim is a claim to deification. Any church that sets itself up to be God in the place of God is corrupt beyond redemption.

And, once a church gets its people to believe in its infallibility, those people are hopelessly lost because they will no longer hear God speak (they can only have ears for their infallible church). And, besides that, those people can then be told anything that the leaders of that church want them to believe (true or not) and they will believe. This is spiritual bondage to the max--there is nothing worse than religion that removes people from genuine interaction with the God who made them.

So, I am calling for a return to Jesus and the Bible. Every one of us will stand alone before God to answer for ourselves. No infallible interpreter or infallible churchman will stand there to take the responsibility that we have for ourselves. God won't let them.

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This is article #011.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.