Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

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The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated by more than 200 evangelical leaders at a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), that was held in Chicago in October 1978. The statement was designed to defend the position of Biblical inerrancy against a perceived trend toward liberal conceptions of Scripture. Those signing the statement came from a variety of evangelical Christian denominations, and included Robert Preus, James Montgomery Boice, Kenneth Kantzer, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul and John F. MacArthur.

Leading inerrantists regard the Chicago Statement as a very thorough statement of what they mean by "inerrancy". The Statement elaborates on various details in articles formed as couplets of "We affirm..." and "We deny...". Under the statement, inerrancy applies only to the original manuscripts (which no longer exist, but which can be inferred on the basis of extant copies), not to the copies or translations themselves. In the Statement, inerrancy does not refer to a blind literal interpretation, and that "history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth." It also makes it clear that the signers deny "that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood."

Jay Rogers has compared the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy to the Second Vatican Council Decree Dei verbum in addressing issues of the historical critical method and affirming inerrancy.[1]

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  1. ^ Rogers, Jay Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up!, p. PA82, at Google Books "[...] the Roman Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council ratified a similar document in 1965 called Dei Verbum (The Word of God) in which the problems inherent in the approach of the historical critical method are addressed and the principle of inerrancy is affirmed."

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