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Fr. Romanides’ comments on the infallibility of the Holy Bible

By the Rev. Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

It is unfortunate that many Orthodox (even clergy), who, influenced by western, Protestant views, have erroneously confused the Holy Bible’s “Divinely-inspired” status with the notion of “infallible”.

Let us therefore see what fr. John Romanides has to say on the matter, as mentioned by the Rev. fr. Hierotheos Vlachos in his book “God’s Revelation”, on page 62: Of course, when we say that a saint becomes divinely inspired and unerring, we do not imply that he has attained infallibility on every conceivable topic, the sciences etc… Not at all. It is quite possible that, when “under attack” by the devil, he may even present certain weaknesses; however, in dogmatic issues he is both infallible and divinely-inspired, as he has received the Tradition from the Holy Spirit.

One who guards himself from spiritual or theological fallacies and who is filled with Grace and is Divinely-inspired, does not mean he has acquired an unerring knowledge with regard to created truth, in its every scientific detail; he is unerring, only when that knowledge is in regard to its association with – and its dependence on – the uncreated truth, which is Christ’s glorified human nature, in which the saints live and reign together.

The one who is thus found to be a theumen and divinely-inspired whilst in the state of “theoria” (=the “sighting” of God), does not become an unerring philosopher or scientist, but an unerring “theologian” (=one who can speak of God). He can speak of God unerringly, but he is not rendered infallible on matters pertaining to the structure and the mysteries of the universe. He is familiar with the reasons underlying all beings, through the Prayer, but not with the essence and the nature of beings.

It is in this context that we should comprehend the divinely-inspired status of the prophets, the apostles and the saints – even the Holy Bible and the Synods — as well as their unerring element.”

(Source: “God’s Revelation”…published by the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos Pelagias, 2nd Edition, LEVADIA Publications 1991) page 62. Fr. John Romanides: A critical view of the applications of theology, page 434).