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The infallibility of the Church is the belief that the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian Church from errors that would contradict its essential doctrines. It is related to, but not the same as, indefectibility, that is, "she remains and will remain the Institution of Salvation, founded by Christ, until the end of the world."  The doctrine of infallibility is premised on the authority Jesus granted to the apostles to "bind and loose" (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23) and in particular the promises to Peter (Matthew 16:16–20; Luke 22:32) in regard to papal infallibility.
The Roman Catholic Church holds this doctrine,    as do most or all Eastern Orthodox theologians.
However, the Eastern Orthodox churches accept only the Seven Ecumenical Councils from Nicaea I to Nicaea II as genuinely ecumenical, while Roman Catholics accept twenty-one. Only a very few Protestants believe in the infallibility of ecumenical councils, and these usually restrict infallibility to the Christological statements of the first seven councils. Lutheran Christians recognize the first four councils,  whereas most High Church Anglicans accept all seven as persuasive but not infallible. 
A popular view among Eastern Orthodox Christians, especially Greek Orthodox and churches that fall within the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is that an ecumenical council is itself infallible when pronouncing on a specific matter such as Christology, whereas others hold that a council can be considered of full ecumenical authority only once its declarations have been embraced by the faithful, an opinion more common among the Slavic Churches, such as the Russian Orthodox.[ citation needed ]
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Catholicism teaches that Jesus Christ, "the Word made Flesh" (John 1:14), is the source of divine revelation and, as the Truth, he is infallible.  The Second Vatican Council states, "For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through His whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth." ( Dei verbum , 4). The content of Christ's divine revelation is called the deposit of faith, and is contained in both sacred scripture and sacred tradition, not as two sources but as a single source. 
A document signed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Bertone speaks of
... the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed. 
Of the ordinary magisterium, the Second Vatican Council said: "Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent." 
The doctrine of papal infallibility states that when the pope teaches ex cathedra his teachings are infallible and irreformable. Such infallible papal decrees must be made by the pope, in his role as leader of the whole Church, and they must be definitive decisions on matters of faith and morals which are binding on the whole Church. An infallible decree by a pope is often referred to as an ex cathedra statement. This type of infallibility falls under the authority of the sacred magisterium.
The doctrine of papal infallibility was formally defined at the First Vatican Council  in 1870, although belief in this doctrine long predated this council and was premised on the promises of Jesus to Peter (Mat 16:16-20; Luke 22:32). 
The ordinary and universal magisterium is considered infallible when it proposes a doctrine that the Pope and the bishops dispersed throughout the world who are in communion with the Successor of St. Peter universally hold as definitive. 
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Lutheran theology teaches that the Church is indefectible, as with Catholic doctrine.  The Lutheran Churches hold that the "maintenance of this indefectibility as the sovereign work of God." 
The Church of England claimed this type of authority over the people of England, but the idea is no longer popular within the church, owing to a lack of commonly-accepted traditions and to disputes as to some peripheral doctrines. However, Anglicanism holds to a unique ecclesiology: in the Anglican view, churches in the historic episcopate (such as the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Scandinavian Lutheran, Moravian, Old Catholic, Persian, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental churches) that maintained apostolic succession, belief, and practice are all branches of the Universal Church.  Anglicans believe there will always be a section of the Christian Church, although possibly not the Anglican Church itself, which will not fall into major heresy. 
Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe that divine revelation (the one "Word of God") is contained both in the words of God in sacred scripture and in the deeds of God in sacred tradition. Everything asserted as true by either scripture or tradition is true and infallible.
This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.— Second Vatican Council, Dei verbum, n. 2
Methodists and Anglicans teach the doctrine of prima scriptura , which suggests that Scripture is the primary source for Christian doctrine, but that "tradition, experience, and reason" can nurture the Christian religion as long as they are in harmony with the Bible.  
Yves Congar, who thought Catholics could acknowledge a substantial element of truth in the Lutheran and Reformed doctrine sola scriptura, wrote that "we can admit sola scriptura in the sense of a material sufficiency of canonical Scripture. This means that Scripture contains, in one way or another, all truths necessary for salvation." This has led to the tenable position of the "two modes" theory. 
In his book, James F. Keenan reports studies by some academics. A study by Bernard Hoose states that claims to a continuous teaching by the Church on matters of sexuality, life and death, and crime and punishment are "simply not true." After examining seven medieval texts about homosexuality, Mark Jordan argues that, "far from being consistent, any attempt to make a connection among the texts proved impossible." He calls the tradition's teaching of the Church "incoherent". Karl-Wilhelm Merks considers that tradition itself is "not the truth guarantor of any particular teaching." Keenan, however, says that studies of "manualists" such as John T. Noonan Jr. has demonstrated that, "despite claims to the contrary, manualists were co-operators in the necessary historical development of the moral tradition." Noonan, according to Keenan, has provided a new way of viewing at "areas where the Church not only changed, but shamefully did not." 
The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the various Protestant denominations are divided by their different views on infallibility. The ecumenical movement, which hopes to reunify all of Christianity, has found that the Catholic Church's Papacy is one of the most divisive of issues for Protestants and Eastern Orthodox, while Catholics view the Papacy as necessary source of the Church's unity and an indespensible ministry bestowed by Christ on the Church. Papal infallibility has often been misunderstood by many Protestant denominations and among some within Eastern Orthodoxy as well. 
An ecumenical council, also called general council, is a meeting of bishops and other church authorities to consider and rule on questions of Christian doctrine, administration, discipline, and other matters in which those entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.
Sola scriptura, meaning by scripture alone, is a Christian theological doctrine held by most Protestant Christian denominations, in particular the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of Protestantism, that posits the Bible as the sole infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice. The Catholic Church considers it heterodox and generally the Orthodox churches consider it to be contrary to the 'phronema' of the Church.
Ecumenism, also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjective ecumenical is thus applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation and union among Christian denominations and churches.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christian theology:
The magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition". According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and Tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith".
Christian tradition is a collection of traditions consisting of practices or beliefs associated with Christianity. These ecclesiastical traditions have more or less authority based on the nature of the practices or beliefs and on the group in question. Many churches have traditional practices, such as particular patterns of worship or rites, that developed over time. Deviations from such patterns are sometimes considered unacceptable or heretical. There are certain Christian traditions that are practiced throughout the liturgical year, such as praying a daily devotional during Advent, erecting a nativity scene during Christmastide, chalking the door on Epiphany Day, fasting during Lent, waving palms on Palm Sunday, eating easter eggs during Eastertide, and decorating the church in red on Pentecost.
Sacred tradition, also called Holy tradition or Apostolic tradition, is a theological term used in Christian theology. According to this theological position, sacred tradition is the foundation of the doctrinal and spiritual authority of Christianity and of the Bible. Thus, the Bible must be interpreted within the context of sacred tradition and within the community of the denomination. The denominations that ascribe to this position are the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Assyrian churches.
Prima scriptura is the Christian doctrine that canonized scripture is "first" or "above all" other sources of divine revelation. Implicitly, this view suggests that, besides canonical scripture, there can be other guides for what a believer should believe and how they should live, such as the Holy Spirit, created order, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else. Prima scriptura suggests that ways of knowing or understanding God and his will that do not originate from canonized scripture are perhaps helpful in interpreting that scripture, but testable by the canon and correctable by it, if they seem to contradict the scriptures. Prima sciptura is upheld by the Anglican, Methodist and Pentecostal traditions of Christianity, which suggest that Scripture is the primary source for Christian doctrine, but that "tradition, experience, and reason" can nurture the Christian religion as long as they are in harmony with the Bible.
Gymnobiblism is the opinion that the bare text of the Bible, without commentary, may be safely given to the unlearned as a sufficient guide to religious truth.
Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices that are widely accepted by numerous Christian denominations, most notably by those Christian denominations that describe themselves as catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed formulated at the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
The Catholic Church has engaged in the modern ecumenical movement especially since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the issuing of the decree Unitatis redintegratio and the declaration Dignitatis humanae. It was at the Council that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was created. Those outside of the Catholic Church were categorised as heretics or schismatics, but in many contexts today, to avoid offence, the euphemism "separated brethren" is used.
Pastor aeternus, was issued by the First Vatican Council, July 18, 1870. The document defines four doctrines of the Catholic faith: the apostolic primacy conferred on Peter, the perpetuity of the Petrine Primacy in the Roman pontiffs, the definition of the papal primacy as a papal supremacy, and Papal infallibility – infallible teaching authority (magisterium) of the Pope.
The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, describes four distinctive adjectives of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
Ecumenical meetings and documents on Mary, involving ecumenical commissions and working groups, have reviewed the status of Mariology in the Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Churches.
A dogma of the Catholic Church is defined as "a truth revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church declared as binding". The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Church's Magisterium asserts that it exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging Catholics to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church have been in a state of official schism from one another since the East–West Schism of 1054. This schism was caused by historical and language differences, and the ensuing theological differences between the Western and Eastern churches.
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra is preserved from the possibility of error on doctrine "initially given to the apostolic Church and handed down in Scripture and tradition". It does not mean that the pope cannot sin or otherwise err in most situations.
The Shape of Sola Scriptura is a 2001 book by Reformed Christian theologian Keith Mathison. Mathison traces the development of sola scriptura from the early church to the present. He views the Protestant Reformation as a time of recovery of the doctrine that had been under assault from the fourth century. He argues that relativism and individualism permeate present-day teaching on the subject, and that widespread misunderstanding of the doctrine of sola scriptura has been eroding the church from within. This, in Mathison's view, has led to conversions from Protestantism to other religions, and has undermined the relationship among Scripture, church tradition, and individual believers as set forth by the early church and restated by the Magisterial Reformers.
Criticism of Protestantism covers critiques and questions raised about Protestantism, the Christian denominations which arose out of the Protestant Reformation. While critics may praise some aspects of Protestantism which are not unique to the various forms of Protestantism, Protestantism is faced with criticism mainly from the Catholic Church and mainstream Eastern Orthodox churches, although Protestant denominations have also engaged in self-critique and criticized one another. According to both the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy, many major, foundational Protestant doctrines have been officially declared heretical.
Christian devotional literature is religious writing that Christian individuals read for their personal growth and spiritual formation. Such literature often takes the form of Christian daily devotionals. Original excerpts including the Book of Daniel and Leviticus derive from Ancient Roman, Greek and Byzantine culture – and encompass the past relationship of God's Law through the Old Testament. Though these are the most significant accounts, the majority of the literature comprises commentaries to the ever changing social and political reforms of human history – including the impact of censorship, persecution – the reign of Emperor Nero and Diocletian and martyrdom on Christian life through the ages.
For while Lutherans share with Catholics the conviction that the Church of Christ is indefectible, they regard the maintenance of this indefectibility as the sovereign work of God.
The one most talked about is the "Branch Theory," which assumes that the basis of unity is a valid priesthood. Given the priesthood, it is held that valid Sacraments unite in spite of schisms. Those who hold it assume that the Church is composed of Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, eastern heretics possessing undisputed Orders, and Old Catholics, Anglicans, Swedish Lutherans, Moravians, and any others who might be able to demonstrate that they had perpetuated a valid hierarchy. This is chiefly identified with High Church Anglicans and represents the survival of a seventeenth century contention against Puritans, that Anglicans were not to be classed with Continental Protestants.
The United Methodists see Scripture as the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. They emphasize the importance of tradition, experience, and reason for Christian doctrine. Lutherans teach that the Bible is the sole source for Christian doctrine. The truths of Scripture do not need to be authenticated by tradition, human experience, or reason. Scripture is self authenticating and is true in and of itself.
historically Anglicans have adopted what could be called a prima Scriptura position.