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Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, formulated in 1978, is a Christian interdenominational statement designed to defend the position of Biblical inerrancy against the trend toward liberal and neo-orthodox conceptions of Scripture.
The Statement was written at a conference at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare convention hotel in Chicago sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. It was signed by approximately 300 scholars.
This is regarded as a very thorough statement of what leading inerrantists mean by "inerrancy", in a format of "WE AFFIRM …; WE DENY …;", clearly setting out the details. For example, inerrancy applies only to the original manuscripts, not to copies or translations:
- Article X.
- WE AFFIRM that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.
- WE DENY that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.
Further, inerrancy does not mean blind literalism, but allows for figurative, poetic and phenomenological language, as long as it is accurate:
- Article XIII.
- WE AFFIRM the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
- WE DENY that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.
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