Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy - Summary

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

link to full text of statement

Overall, it was stronger than I expected it to be. By pointing to Jesus' doctrine of Scripture and affirming that hermeneutics should be centred on Christ, they effectively secured an evangelical approach to the Old Testament.

On the other hand, it still seems to have weaknesses, particularly in the question of genre. I don't remember anything guaranteeing a belief in the essential historicity of the gospel accounts, for example, rather than the view which sees them as intentionally written to be legendary accounts pointing to a spiritual truth. There are also a few areas where the wording seems to be less than ideal. It seems to me curious but true that it puts more effort into safeguarding and emphasising the teaching of Jesus as recorded in the Bible than his historical death and resurrection, which is where the emphasis of the Bible itself seems to be more focused. Possibly that is because while the underlying doctrine has been held by the Church since the beginning, this expression of it is reacting against certain false teachers, and so faces the danger of over-reacting.

Some of my initial thoughts were wrong, because I had not realised that "inerrancy" is often used as jargon to carry a lot more meaning than the word "inerrant" on its own does. But it still does not carry quite enough weight, and the use of one word to carry meanings not entirely stemming from that word is potentially confusing.

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