Primacy of Peter

Good questions.

JB: While it appears that Jesus is giving Peter the singular authority to permit and bind in Math 16:19, he gives the same authority to a much larger audience, in Math 18:18.

BFHU: Let’s take a look at the scriptures.

Mt. 16:19 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;  whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Mt 18:18 (At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked)… 18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

You see that Jesus did give the same authority to all the apostles to bind and loose, which was a Rabbinic idiom for “the authority to rule”. Which is absolutely still true for our Bishops. However, Jesus also gave Peter a greater responsibility by giving Peter and only Peter the Keys of the Kingdom.

Jesus give Peter the Keys to the Kingdom

You may dismiss this as irrelevant or just an omission from the Mt 18 passage but we see this as significant.  But remember, the Catholic Church did not look at this verse and say, “Ah ha! Peter is greater than the other disciples.”
No, historically the bishop of Rome was the final authority in the Christian Catholic Church. It is easy to find. But you have to have eyes to see. Apologists for the Catholic Church point out this verse because Protestants demand scripture even though their teaching of Sola Scriptura is not found in the Bible.

JB: I understand that the argument for Peters sole authority would then deduce that Math 18:18 would suggest that all spoken to at that time understood Peter to be prime, but that is still a stretch and really only can be seen if the reader assumes Jesus was establishing Peter as the ‘Rock’ of the Church.

BFHU: Here you touch on a very important difference between the Catholic Church and Protestant churches. For Protestants, there exists in their minds an either-or mentality. Such as, either Peter is the Rock or Jesus is the Rock. If Peter is the Rock then that detracts from Jesus/God who is designated often in the OT as the Rock of Israel, etc. Therefore Peter CANNOT  be the Rock Jesus is talking about.

But, for Catholics this mindset is not foundational as it is in Protestantism. We have a both-and mentality. Jesus/God is certainly the Rock of Israel/ God.

1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a <strong>spiritual rock</strong> which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the  Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Isaiah 30:29You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival,And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute,To go to the mountain of the LORD, to the  Rock of Israel .

But In Matthew 15 Jesus changes Simon’s name to Rock/Peter/Cephas and tells him He will build His Church on Rock/Peter. Of course, Jesus is also Rock. Both Peter and God are Rock, a strong foundation. We don’t have to choose either one or the other but both. And, there is no Scripture that demands that the title Rock can only be applied to God.

JB: In addition; 1 John 4:1 creates a problem in that the Catholic church teaches (you need to understand that I spent the first 28 years of my life in the Catholic church and received the first 5 Sacraments), that Catholics are to accept the teaching of the church by faith. I was also told on numerous occasions, that the reading of the Bible was for the church leadership (Priests, Bishops etc.) and not for the laity…I am not asking your opinion on this point; I am telling you that was the teaching I received from the four churches I attended, three in Massachusetts and one in New Brunswick.

BFHU: The Catholic Church does not forbid following I Jn 4:1. The Church is our Mother. If the Mother of a child tells him not to run out into the street it is to protect her child. Should the child test the truth of his mother’s instruction and run out into the street to see if it is true? It is the same for the Catholic Church. The young and immature in the Faith need to trust the teachings of the Church because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Because levels of maturity vary it is safest for the Church to encourage her children to trust rather than test every doctrine. However, any well instructed and faithful Catholic who seeks the truth can certainly explore and test what the Church teaches. I did and converted from being a zealous Protestant to a zealous Catholic. All her Doctrines are sublime.

But, many Catholics explore and test with an agenda, perhaps even an agenda hidden from themselves. They really want a good excuse to free themselves from certain Catholic Doctrines that they don’t like. Unpopular doctrines like the prohibition of contraception, sinfulness of homosexual intercourse, prohibition of divorce, obligation to attend Church every Sunday and Holy Day. So, they “test” the spirits and VOILA! ….thanks to Protestant interpretation of Scripture they find just the rationale they sought to leave the Catholic Church. They have unwittingly fallen into the very trap John warned about:

1 John 4: 1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

Does the Catholic Church acknowledge that  Jesus Christ has come in the flesh ?
YES! It certainly does.

JB: How then do we ‘test the Spirits which could be prophets or teachers, if you cannot read the very word of God? You know; I am a sub-contractor and as such am required to sign a sub contract which is based on the prime contract. I am permitted to see the prime contract, and read it, in order to be satisfied that the sub contract is in fact aligned with the requirements of the prime.

BFHU: The Church does not forbid the reading of Scripture. We are cautioned to read it WITH THE CHURCH. But scripture reading and meditation are encouraged.

There was a time when it was forbidden due to the Protestant revolt that inflamed the minds with error. But this is no longer the case. If you were told not to read scripture it was the people who told you that for whatever reason, I don’t know. Maybe that is what they were taught. Or maybe your questions scared them or they did know how to answer them, so they told you not to read scripture. But the Church does not and has not forbidden the reading of Scripture by the laity for a long time.

JB: How then do we ‘test the Spirits which could be prophets or teachers, if you cannot read the very word of God?

BFHU: The testing had to be done spiritually and comparing sound doctrine to the words of so-called prophet or teachers. This passage COULD NOT HAVE MEANT THAT IN ORDER TO TEST THE SPIRITS ONE HAD TO READ SCRIPTURE.

That is impossible.

Since John wrote in the 1st Century, hardly anyone in the population could read. Even today worldwide illiteracy is 20%. So, it is an impossibility that salvation and testing of spirits depended upon reading Scripture.

And besides, at today’s $8.00/hr minimum wage ONE Bible would have cost more than the equivalent of  $16,000, to produce, before the invention of the printing press. For more information see –>Sola Scriptura

Therefore, one does NOT have to read scripture to test the spirits. But, the Catholic Church has always read the scriptures to the faithful.

JB: Even in Timothy there is an admonition to study to show oneself approved.
BFHU: Timothy was not laity. Paul was not addressing this admonition to everyone. Timothy must have had the ability to study/read and access to books.

JB: My point is; I understand the Catholic churches stand, I am just not convinced the very Scripture that is the linchpin of the claim says precisely what they think it says

BFHU: I understand your point. But you have fallen back into the Protestant error that the Catholic Church derives her doctrine and beliefs FROM Scripture. We do NOT. Rather, scripture was born FROM the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles and the Catholic Church. So the Mt. 15 passage is NOT any sort of linchpin for the claim of Peter’s primacy. Don’t you find it unsettling that Sola Scriptura is





Bishops are False Teachers!

Joe: The false teachers that Paul warned about may make the same claim of having a lineage back to the Apostles or even Peter, and yet, that has no weight whatsoever.

BFHU: Joe, you are not basing this in fact but purely conjecture.

Joe:Paul said (1 Timothy 4: 1-3; Acts 20: 28-31) that they are false teachers, even though they are bishops.

BFHU: The passages that you cite do not say that bishops are false teachers. Some bishops may be false teachers, in fact I know of one who aids and abets heresy, heterodoxy, and liturgical abuse. But the first passage doesn’t even mention bishops. Of course there will be false teachers. Jesus promised us that. But we trust Christ to keep the Church’s teaching free from error just as He promised. Individuals may err and teach error but the teaching of the faith is indefectible and these passages, I and all Catholics totally accept. We do not accept the way you seem to be interpreting them however. We do not accept you as an infallible teacher and interpreter of Scripture. Sorry.

Joe:: Being a properly ordained bishop in no way guarantees faithfulness.

BFHU: Correct. Same goes for priests, nuns and every Catholic. We do not and have never  taught or believed,  that the ordained or any other Catholics are guaranteed to be faithful.

Joe:In fact, it is guaranteed that bishops who did have a lineage back to the Apostles did go astray, did teach damnable heresies, and they did draw many after themselves (1 Timothy 4: 1-3; Acts 20: 28-31).

BFHU: The I Tim passages merely says “some” will abandon the Faith. It does not say anything about bishops let alone all bishops including the pope. I know that you have been taught to understand this passage this way, but it just does NOT say what you are trying to convince us it says. Joe, we do not believed that we will be save only if we have a perfect theology. We trust in God’s mercy. If priests or bishops have erred and taught error they will be accountable for it not the people who trusted them to be teaching them the truth. I do not in any way mean to diminish good theological education. Some have a keen interest and will study and read and seek to learn all they can. But many people are content to trust a teacher they trust. This is true in every religion.

Joe: That is why Paul said that if anyone, even he himself, or an angel from Heaven, were to preach anything different than that which had already been preached, they were to be accursed. Paul also said that we were to follow him AS HE FOLLOWED CHRIST. That means that if he is following Christ, we are to follow him. However, If he ceases to follow Christ, we are to cease from following him.

BFHU: I agree.But first one must realize that the leader is, in fact, NOT following Christ.

Joe:How do we know if our overseers are following Christ or not?

BFHU: Easy. If a deacon, priest, or bishop teaches anything contrary to the Faith it is obvious if one is well educated in the Catholic Faith. Even if one is not well educated,  if there is a question, all one has to do is look it up in the Catechism. But if someone is clueless God will have mercy on them. We are judged by our hearts before God, not the knowledge in our head. The Catechism is an orderly presentation of what is to be believed; unlike the Bible, precious as it is, it is not an orderly presentation of the Faith. It is not a book of systematic theology. The teaching of the Bible must be ordered and interpreted by someone.

Joe: We test all things and hold fast that which may be proven good.

BFHU: Absolutely.

Joe: How do we test the doctrine of our overseers? We may compare all things to the Scriptures that are able to make us perfect and to thoroughly equip us unto every good work (2 Timothy 3: 16-17).

BFHU: Of course this is one way but it is dependent upon one having an infallible interpretation of Scripture. Do you have an infallible interpretation of Scripture, Joe? And as I have discussed before, this passage, again, just does not say that scripture is ALL WE NEED. It says All Scripture is Good…. That is NOT the same thing. But I know that this is how you have been taught to interpret this scripture. We do not because we know that there is so much more that never got written down ( I John 21:25) and Paul even exhorted us to cling to the Traditions he taught, BOTH ORAL AND WRITTEN. Protestants, unwittingly reject all that Paul taught orally and accept only what He wrote down.

Joe: If something contradicts the Scriptures, it cannot possibly be true.

BFHU:This is not an accurate statement. Scripture contradicts scripture if one takes it dead literally. The order of the universe as portrayed in Scripture contradicts Science. There is a website 101 Contradictions in the Bible . Some of these are not convincing but others seem to be legitimate on the face of it. So, this means that you and Sola Scriptura Protestants have a problem.

But then there is this site to the resuce. Cleared Up-101 Contradictions in the Bible

And here we go. If you looked at the site above, it is obvious, the Scriptures NEED to be interpreted and commented on. I have not read this site but it clearly shows that one needs MORE that Scripture alone. And how about the Protestant use of grape juice for communion when Jesus used wine. What about the contradiction between the Protestant view of Communion being symbolic (found nowhere in scripture) and Jesus saying, “This is my body. Eat This is my blood. Drink. and “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood to have eternal life.”???????

Joe: It is not possible that an unmarried man may be a bishop by God’s authority. It is not possible that a man can refuse to allow another man to be a bishop without swearing an oath of celibacy, seeing as how it is not lawful to refuse a man to marry (1 Timothy 4: 1-3), it is not possible for an unmarried man to be a bishop (1 Timothy 3: 1-2), and it is not lawful to swear an oath (Matthew 5: 33-37).

BFHU: That is merely your interpretation.

Joe:Paul said, “5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then NEITHER HE WHO PLANTS IS ANYTHING, NOR HE WHO WATERS, BUT GOD WHO GIVES THE INCREASE (1 Corinthians 3: 5-7). Earlier Paul included Peter in the same vain with Apollos and himself. They are mere servants! It is God who gives the increase! They are authorized to preach the Truth, which, if they do they receive blessing from God.

BFHU:: I completely agree. We can see here and in your other comments on this blog that you have an inaccurate understanding about what the Catholic Church actually believes and teaches. Some of your questions and the use of certain scriptures indicated that you think they will nail a Catholic to the wall.

Joe:The Roman Catholic Church has no authority. They are not the church of God! They had to revise their list of “Popes” because it was proven wrong. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that they do have a linage back to the Apostles. But even if they did, that would be meaningless also.

BFHU: These are merely your assertions. Anyone can say anything. You have no back up, no citing of authoritative sources for what you say here. Your interpretation of scripture is not authoritative for me. I have no reason to believe that you are infallible.

Joe: Peter is not the foundation of the church. Your interpretation of Matthew 16 may be a legitimate one if you look at that passage alone.

BFHU:: Well Thanks.

Joe: However, if you look at the Scriptures as a whole, it becomes evident that it is not possible that your interpretation is the meaning that God intended. The Scriptures do not allow that interpretation, because the Scriptures explicitly state that Jesus is the foundation of God’s building, and that no one may lay any other foundation. If we look at the context of Matthew 16 we see that there is one rock and one foundation. There is not room for another foundation. There is no room for Peter to be the foundation or the Rock that the church is founded upon in that context. In another context all of the Apostles are included as part of the foundation, but there Peter is made equal to the rest of the Apostles. God’s Word is also an integral part of the foundation, because Jesus and His word are one. If you reject Jesus’ word, you reject Him. Jesus said that a man who hears and obeys His words is like a wise man that dug deep and built his house on a rock. We know that the Bible is His Word. If we do not heed that which we know for sure is His word, He says we are like a fool who built his house on sand.

BFHU: Again we come down to the Either/Or Protestant culture of interpretation. Either Jesus is the foundation of the Church Or Jesus built the Church on Peter. We KNOW Jesus is THE Foundation. But He is the one who said, “Simon you are Rock and on this rock I will build My Church.” We are just taking Jesus literally

Joe: Lastly, when Jesus says that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the church, he is not saying that men will not fall into apostasy.

BFHU: True.

Joe: That would be contradicting plain statements made by Paul and other of the Apostles (which would demonstrate that the Bible is not the Word of God). If we understand the Scriptures and the point of the gospel we can easily understand that Jesus is speaking about salvation. He is saying that those who He adds to His church and who remain faithful to the end, shall receive everlasting life.

BFHU: The Scripture just does not actually SAY that. You are interpreting it that way.

Joe:The gates of Hades has no power over us who are members of Christ’s church, as long as we choose to stay faithful. If we walk away from Him, we also walk away from His church, and we are lost. The gates of Hades will prevail against us in that case, because we are no longer Christ’s church.

BFHU: What you say is true for individuals but Jesus was talking about His Church which He was going to build on Peter. He wasn’t talking about salvation per se. And He certainly wasn’t talking about the salvation of individuals. He was referring to the CHURCH He was going to Build. He said,

Mt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

If that Church that Jesus founded veered into apostasy as Protestants contend, then Jesus was not able to keep His promise.

What Biblical Authority Do Catholics Have for Heirarchy?

Q. Also, I don’t see any biblical evidence for apostles handing down their authority to guard and dispense the truth, to have popes, bishops etc.

A. There is historical evidence about the growth and development of the Christian Church. But if you mean biblical evidence:

In the early Church there were all three ordained offices of the Catholic Church that we have today (Deacons, Priests, Bishops). They were called by different names but the offices were in existence and are designated in Acts 6:5 and Acts 15 at the first Church Council and elsewhere in the New Testament.

First, we have Peter at the council who stood up and settled the dispute brought to the First Church Council in Jerusalem by Paul and Barnabus regarding what to require of Gentile Christians. Jesus made Peter the leader of His ChurchPOPE or Vicar of Christ in Matthew 16:17-19. Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom, the authority to rule.

ACTS 15:6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.

Then, also present at the first Church Council were the apostles who became the first BISHOPS ( Gr. Episkopos) in the Church. There are many other New Testament passages that mention the office of bishop or overseer.

Next we see PRIESTS, called elders in the New Testament because this is the strict English and Protestant translation of the Greek presbuteros. However, our English word Priest is etymologically derived from the Greek word presbuteros.

And finally we have DEACONS:Stephen and others in Acts 6 and qualifications of deacons in I Timothy 3:8-12. There are many other NT passages also that talk about deacons.

Also, Peter does away with the sign of the covenant, centuries of Jewish circumcision in Acts 15:5ff. He also, gets rid of the Jewish dietary laws given to the Jews by God through Moses. They stopped the Jewish sacrifices. Peter authoritatively stopped all these seemingly perpetual practices of the Jews, the people of God.

There is nothing in Scripture alone that explicitly authorizes Peter to do this. There are implications but nothing clear and unequivocal. That is because the Christians in the infant Church were NOT Sola Scriptura. But the Jews were.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

How Can a Sinner be Infallible?

Q. How can the words or decrees of any man (or woman) be judged to be infallible?

A. Who wrote the Scriptures? Men. How can they, sinners, be judged to be infallible? Only by the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit. Only God can make a fallen man infallible in his words or decrees. Our Pope is not infallible in every utterance or writing. Only when teaching on faith or morals to the whole church. This is how God protects His Church from error.
Infallible does not mean he is sinless. No, he goes to confession every week. See my post Infallible?

Q. God’s Word alone is Infallible.

A. Is this a Protestant oral tradition? Where does it say, Gods’ Word alone is infallible,  in Scripture?

Q. I have a question: Why (since this goes against scripture) is the pope referred to as “The Holy Father?”

Words of Jesus: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”

A. Your interpretation of this verse contradicts Christian practice and the New Testament. To find out why see my post Scripture vs The Catholic Church.

Q. As for the term “Holy Father” – to the best of my knowledge this is only used once in the Bible, in John 17v11 and refers to God Himself. To address any man on this earth as “Holy Father” is nothing short of blasphemy. The term refers to God – and God alone.

A. Again we come to the cultural difference between Protestantism (either/or) and Catholicism (both/and). The title of Holy Father is a title of honor. Of course it can be used to address God. But we use it to address our Pope, to honor him as the Prime Minister of Christ on Earth. We honor those who are honored by Christ to shepherd His Church. It is not blasphemy. Where in scripture does it say:
“The term (Holy Father) refers to God – and God alone.”

Protestants believe many things not found in Scripture but rather in their tradition of scripture interpretation, and/or their oral tradition. But, being comfortable with these traditions they never recognize that they cannot actually be supported in the scriptures alone any more than some of the Catholic beliefs for which they are always demanding, “WHERE IS THAT IS SCRIPTURE?” This is the pot calling the kettle black.

Evil Popes

Q. The theory that the popes of the Catholic Church are infallible is ridiculous because history records that several popes have been evil. How can you Catholics go on believing popes are infallible in the face of the historical evidence to the contrary?

A. First let me agree with you that there have been some evil popes in the history of the Church. And if they did not repent before their death there may even be some popes in Hell. But it is common to misunderstand. The Church does not mean, when she claims that the pope is infallible, that we believe the pope is sinless or impeccable. Absolutely not. Jesus and Mary were sinless but the Church has never claimed or even pretended that our popes are sinless. They go to confession at least once a week if not more often.

What the Church means by infallible is a very narrow and closely defined dogma.

The pope is infallible, only when he is:

1. Teaching about faith and morals to the whole Church.

2. We believe that God protects His Church from error and heresy by graciously preventing the pope from ever teaching error regarding faith and morals.

3. This does not mean he is infallible in private teaching, conversations or balancing his checkbook.

Some people might think that the Dogma of the Infallibility of the Pope means that the pope is always hearing messages from God that he then passes on to the whole church. While this might, at times, occur with a very holy pope that is not what we mean. Infallibility works to prevent false teaching. The pope must study and learn in the ordinary way and the Holy Spirit guides him into teaching nothing but the truth.

So, when by the wiles of Satan a godless or worldly pope is installed, the Holy Spirit would prevent that pope from teaching error to the whole church through letters, encyclicals etc. That sort of pope would effectively be silenced by the Holy Spirit in order to protect the truth of the Catholic Faith.

CCC 889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibilityy. By a “supernatural sense of faith” the People of God, under the guidance of the Church’s living Magisterium, “unfailingly adheres to this faith.”417

890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:

891The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.”420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421

Popes and Bishops in the Early Church

Q. If popes and bishops are necessary then why were there none in the early church?

A. In the early Church there were all three ordained offices of the Catholic Church that we have today (Deacons, Priests, Bishops). They were called by different names but the offices were in existence and are designated in Acts 6:5 and Acts 15 at the first Church Council and elsewhere in the New Testament.

Q. Then why have I never seen that in Acts 15 before? I have read it many times.

A. You surely saw it but just missed the significance of the information you were reading.

First, we have Peter at the council who stood up and settled the dispute, made the POPE or Vicar of Christ in Matthew 16:17-19.

Then, also present at the first Church Council were the apostles who became the first BISHOPS ( Gr. Episkopos) in the Church. There are many other New Testament passages that mention the office of bishop or overseer.

Next we see PRIESTS, called elders in the New Testament because this is the strict English translation of the Greek presbuteros. However, our English word Priest is etymologically derived from the Greek word presbuteros.

And finally we have DEACONS. Stephen and others in Acts 6 and qualifications of deacons in I Timothy 3:8-12. There are many other NT passages also that talk about deacons.


Q. How can anyone actually believe that a mere man could be infallible?

A. Of course, an atheist would never accept this, but anyone who believes in a Creator God could easily accept that God can do anything He chooses to do. Wouldn’t you agree? So, anyone who believes in an all powerful God could accept that it would be theoretically possible for God to cause a man to be infallible.

But, that does not mean that He would choose to make a man infallible. So, then we could ask,

“Has He ever made any mere man infallible in the past?” And the answer to that question is


But here we are only left with Jews and Christians, perhaps Muslims, but I don’t know for sure, who believe that God has made many different men infallible down through the ages. Anyone and everyone who believes Sacred Scripture is the infallible word of God can agree that God did inspire all of the authors to write these books and teach the truth infallibly.

Of course, this does not prove that the pope is infallible but we can also see that God has no problem with leading His people infallibly through a mere and sinful man.