I’ve encountered the claim that the Church of Rome acted infallibly, determining the contents of the canon of Scripture at the North African Councils of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage (397 AD). These councils were presided over by Augustine.
I came across an interesting Augustine quote from a website run by Saint Magdalene Catholic Church. They quote Augustine as follows in their article, “Who decided what books are in the Bible?:
"Now, in regard to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgment of the greater number of catholic churches; and among these, of course, a high place must be given to such as have been thought worthy to be the seat of an apostle and to receive epistles. Accordingly, among the canonical Scriptures he will judge according to the following standard: to prefer those that are received by all the catholic churches to those which some do not receive. Among those, again, which are not received by all, he will prefer such as have the sanction of the greater number and those of greater authority, to such as are held by the smaller number and those of less authority..(DE Doctrina Christiana II, 8, 120)"
Now, the article points out that “Saint Augustine is the one who first established the criteria for what is in the canon.” They also provide some interesting criteria used in determining authentic canonical books. They conclude though with the following statement: “Tertullian said that other people who don’t use the canonical list of our Church don’t belong to our Church.”
The added quote from Tertullian closes the deal: if you’re not using the canon as declared by the Roman Catholic Church, you don’t belong to the “Church”. What St. Magdalene Catholic Church should’ve done though, is quote what Augustine went on to say in the very next sentence:
“If, however, he should find that some books are held by the greater number of churches, and others by the churches of greater authority (though this is not a very likely thing to happen), I think that in such a case the authority on the two sides is be looked upon as equal” [Source: NPNF1, Vol. 2, Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Chapter 8].
This unquoted section sheds a whole new light on the modern concept of the Roman Church infallibly determining the canon at these early councils. Augustine doesn’t appear to have any notion of an “infallible list” from this quote, nor an infallible ability of either himself or a church council. It also puts Tertullian at odds with Augustine, and refutes the entire webpage put up by St. Magdalene Catholic Church. Here's a good overview of the Augustine quote:
“Here we see an implicit but nonetheless clear denial that the church acted infallibly with respect to the canon of Scripture. Augustine wrote that if various churches differed as to which books were to be included and which were to be rejected, their authority was to be regarded as ‘equal.’ The implication was that though respect was to be given to the greater number of churches, especially those believed to have been the seat of an apostle, if they disagreed over which books were canonical, their authority was to be regarded as equal. His view is incompatible with belief in an infallible determination of the canon” [Source: David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground And Pillar of Our Faith, Volume 1 (WA: Christian Resources Inc., 2001), 133].