Cardinal Newman has mentioned that the apostles were infallible as if this were universally recognized among Christians. I had to pause and think about this for a moment. I know that the Protestants would never articulate this, but they believed it.
We know that a Protestant would accept the teachings of an apostle with the same submission that a Catholic accepts the teachings of the Church. The Protestant could not object that "only the Bible is infallible" since with his next breath he would be forced to concede that we only know the Bible because of it's apostolic authority! The Protestant cannot admit that we know the Bible by Church authority for two reasons. 1. It admits of the reality of Catholic Church authority and 2. The Church has canonized books which the Protestant rejects. So the Protestant says that we know the canon because they testify of themselves and that they were written by an apostle or close companion of an apostle. The apostolic authorship is the only objective measure of distinction here. But on what basis can they admit the infallibility of the apostle?
Now I know what's coming up. "We don't think that apostles are infallible" etc... "Only the bible is infallible" (never mind the fact that the apostles were the ones who wrote it and never mind the "fact" that we can't know the Bible except by what they wrote). So in the first century, if we had been alive and had a dispute with Paul we couldn't say "you're wrong" on the basis that only the bible is infallible since, well it wasn't finished yet. You'd have to tell Paul to hurry up and write the rest of his letters so you could dispute him on that basis!
Now I'm getting a little carried away there. But whether we admit the infallibility of the apostles or not (this doesn't mean perfection, it just means that God would not allow them to teach doctrinal error or become a means of destruction for his Word) we still admit an infallible authority in the early Church based on Acts 15. Even Protestants have to admit this. I like what Newman says here:
We have no reason to suppose that there is so great a distinction of dispensation between ourselves and the first generation of Christians, as that they had a living infallible guidance, and we have not.He had already demonstrated the absurdity of a Church without a living infallible government:
what can be more absurd than a probable infallibility, or a certainty resting on doubt?—I believe, because I am sure; and I am sure, because I suppose.And I'll leave the rest for the reader to seek out him/herself.
The advocates of Rome, it has been urged, "insist on the necessity of an infallible guide in religious matters, as an argument that such a guide has really been accorded.