That is why these words of Jesus constitute the basis for that prerogative of the Church that we call 'indefectibility
.' It means that the Church cannot fail in its mission.
However true it is that the Church, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit and with the promise of indefectibility
, has preached and still preaches the Gospel to all nations, it is also true that she must face the difficulties which derive from the lack of unity.
"The Tale" thus dramatizes the traditional biblical image of "the remnant" and the dogma of the indefectibility
of the Church.
(12) While these examples exhibit a typical Anglican reticence about the likelihood of infallible and irreformable teaching, (13) this has been augmented in some of the statements of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which developed a nuanced theology of indefectibility
That a divine power was working through the church during the council showed itself above all in that an extraordinary variety of outlooks and proposals as well as an effort toward an active decentralization in many areas in no way made impossible the unity of the Catholic faith in the one church; on the contrary, the hard-to-reconcile diversity of outlooks and proposals never call into question the unity of the faith and the indefectibility
of the elements of the church founded by Christ.
Instead, he proposed that the church should claim "indefectibility
"--that despite all errors, it would always be maintained by the Spirit in the truth.
Sullivan makes the point that "indefectibility
" from apostolic teaching, something believed from the earliest days, demands that the church is guided by the Spirit in such a way that it does not stray from teaching the truth.
He explained transubstantiation as a union of the bread with Christ's soul, as opposed to the annihilation of the substance of the bread, because he maintained the "indefectibility
" of matter.
The infallibility of the church can be linked, finally, with another word: indefectibility
. However imperfect the church in the world may seem at times, we affirm that it will remain faithful to the gospel and, in the end, fulfill the purpose that God entrusted to it: bringing the Good News to all humanity.
What Gunton means is that the indefectibility
of Jesus was possible not through in-built divine programming but through his free acceptance of, and total dependence on the Spirit's guidance.
This and other statements from his writings would seem to indicate that he did not believe in the indefectibility
of the Church; that is, that the Church cannot promulgate an invalid rite, and will never fail.