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Papal Infallibility
A Protestant Evaluation of an Ecumenical Issue
PAPERBACK; Published: 1/27/2009
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6284-6
Price: $ 40.00
238 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 X 9

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DESCRIPTION
First major book-length study on this subject written by a Protestant in more than a century.

The dogma of papal infallibility has become increasingly problematic for Roman Catholics, and it is a major point of division in Christian ecumenical dialogue -- arguably the key issue separating Catholics and other Christians today. Mark Powell here contends that papal infallibility has inevitable shortcomings as a way to secure religious certainty. After introducing the doctrine, he illustrates those limitations in the life and writings of four prominent Catholic theologians: Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, John Henry Cardinal Newman, Avery Cardinal Dulles, and Hans Kung.

The book concludes with a fresh proposal for conceiving religious epistemology, ecclesial authority, and ecumenical agreement. Powell's Papal Infallibility is an accessible, critical study for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
REVIEWS
Brian Daley
"A Protestant theologian strongly committed to ecumenical Christian understanding, Mark Powell offers here a perceptive critical review of the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, by studying in depth the approaches taken to it by four major Catholic thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His treatment is clear, lively, and fair-minded, and it should be welcomed by both Catholics and Protestants as a careful and constructive contribution to contemporary discussions of religious epistemology."
William J. Abraham
"It has been a long time since a Protestant theologian in the English-speaking world took up the topic of papal infallibility and gave it the kind of serious attention it deserves. Papal infallibility is intrinsically interesting and has been a critical ecumenical issue over the last century. Mark Powell rightly locates the doctrine of papal infallibility within the epistemology of theology before providing a sensitive overview of the various ways in which it has been conceived and elaborated. Throughout this work, Powell is sensitive, accurate, and irenic. His own substantial evaluations and final conclusions are carefully stated and defended. The result is a splendid book—indispensable reading for all future treatments of this topic."
Ron Highfield
"Mark Powell's lucid and insightful study makes an important contribution to current discussions of religious epistemology and ecumenical dialogue on religious authority. In bringing the insights of canonical theism to bear on the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, Powell highlights the essentially epistemic function of this teaching and shows its weaknesses in fulfilling this role. But this work is not just for Roman Catholics. Protestants too have quested futilely for certainty of knowledge and indisputability of interpretation. Powell's criticisms of Catholic efforts to bypass these problems apply equally to Protestant strategies. And his constructive proposal for discerning and maintaining Christian identity—that is, canonical theism—pertains to Protestants as much as to Roman Catholics. This book begs to be followed by a study of how an infallible and perspicuous scripture functions in Protestant theology."
Jason E. Vickers
"In recent years, many Protestant theologians have made their way from Protestant denominations to the Roman Catholic Church. While there are various motives for this move, among them is surely a growing frustration with the hermeneutical and theological chaos now rampant within Protestantism. Over against this chaos is the promise of doctrinal unity and stability secured by an authoritative teaching office known as the magisterium. However, within Catholicism itself, the magisterium raises as many questions as it answers. In a thorough and lively examination of the doctrine of papal infallibility, Mark Powell brings these questions into the full light of day. For Protestants disillusioned with sola scriptura, this volume offers a probing and sobering account of an alternative solution to the problems of doctrinal disunity and instability in Western Christianity."

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