The CHICAGO STATEMENTS ON INERRANCY (1978) and Hermeneutics (1982)

Signing of Chicago Statement on Inerrancy 1978


Samples of important Articles . . .

Article XVI:

We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church’s faith throughout its history.

We deny that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.

 Article XVIII:

We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.

We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.


Samples of important Articles . . .

Article ΧΙΠ:

WE AFFIRM that awareness of the literary categories, formal and stylistic, of the various parts of Scripture is essential for proper exegesis, and hence we value genre criticism as one of the many disciplines of Biblical study.

WE DENY that generic categories which negate historicity may rightly be imposed on Biblical narratives which present themselves as factual.

Article XIV:

WE AFFIRM that the Biblical record of events, discourses and sayings, though presented in a variety of appropriate literary forms, corresponds to historical fact.

WE DENY that any event, discourse or saying reported in Scripture was invented by the Biblical writers or by the traditions they incorporated.

Article XV:

WE AFFIRM the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense—that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text.

WE DENY the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support.

Article XVI:

WE AFFIRM that legitimate critical techniques should be used in determining the canonical text and its meaning.

WE DENY the legitimacy of allowing any method of Biblical criticism to question the truth or integrity of the writer’s expressed meaning or of any other scriptural teaching.

ICBI_1_sigs –Who signed these documents (actual signatures)?

ICBI_1_typed–Who signed these documents (the typed names)?

Question:  Why were these ICBI documents produced by these Evangelicals?

“Distressed by the confusion and drifting that we have described, and desiring the glory of God through the re-establishing in men’s minds of the authority of His infallible and inerrant Word, we offer to the Christian world these Articles of biblical authority, biblically (so we believe) understood.  As we affix our names to these Articles, we pray that by our practice we may always be enabled to adorn, and so to commend, the doctrine which we hear confess”

Precipitating Cause . . . HISTORY FORGOTTEN . . .

Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976)

Inerrancy is a “watershed” issue

In The Bible in the Balance, Lindsell dedicated a whole chapter to historical criticism, labeling it “The Bible’s Deadly enemy”:

Anyone who thinks the historical-critical method is neutral is misinformed . . . . It appears to me that modern evangelical scholars (and I may have been guilty of this myself) have played fast and loose with the term because the wanted acceptance by academia.  They seem too often to desire to be members of the club which is nothing more than practicing an inclusiveness that undercuts the normativity of the evangelical position.  This may be done, and often is, under the illusion that by this method the opponents of biblical inerrancy can be won over to the evangelical viewpoint.  But practical experience suggests that rarely does this happen and the cost of such an approach is too expensive, for it gives credence and leads respectability to a method which is the deadly enemy of theological orthodoxy. Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, 283.

Jack Rogers, Confessions of A Conservative Evangelical (Philadelphia: Westminster 1974)

Jack B. Rogers and Donald K. McKim, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach (San Francisco: Harper & Ro2, 1979). Rogers and McKim relied heavily upon the work of Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1970).

Evangelical inerrancy is “the old Princeton position of Hodge and Warfield” who had drunk deep from “Scottish common sense realism” rather than reflecting the historic position of the church. Rogers and McKim, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach, 289-298.

“The function, or purpose, of the Bible was to bring people into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  The Bible was not used as an encyclopedia of information on all subjects.  The principle theological teachers of the church argued that the Bible not be used to judge matters of science, for example, astronomy.  Scripture’s use was clearly for salvation, not science.  The forms of the Bible’s language and its cultural context were open to scholarly investigation.  The central tradition included the concept of accommodation . . . . God had condescended and adapted himself in Scripture to our ways of thinking and speaking. . . . . To erect a standard, modern technical precision in language as the hallmark of biblical authority was totally foreign to the foundation shared by the early church.”  Jack Rogers and McKim, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible, xxii.


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the real fiction of historical critical ideology : the “historical” Jesus

James M. Robinson, a very prominent leader of what is now known as the “second quest” period, made honestly clear what the term “historical Jesus” could not mean:

“The term “historical Jesus” is not simply identical with “Jesus” or “Jesus of Nazareth,” as if the adjective “historical” were a meaningless addition.  Rather the adjective is used in a technical sense, and makes a specific contribution to the total meaning of the expression.  “Historical” is used in the sense of “things in the past which have been established by objective scholarship.”  Consequently the expression “historical Jesus” comes to mean: “What can be known of Jesus of Nazareth by means of scientific methods of the historian.” Thus we have to do with a technical expression which must be recognized as such, and not automatically identified with the simple term “‘Jesus.'” James M. Robinson, A New Quest of the Historical Jesus (London: SCM, 1959) 26-27.

The deceitfulness of searching: The closer one’s “searching” comes to the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus the more “searching” scholars VIGOROUSLY REJECT that Jesus.

The Apostle Peter, in one of the historically-critically rejected books of the New Testament said . . .

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales (“myths”) when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2Pe 1:16 NAU)



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Answer: Three (3) over the past 250 years! It consumes NT scholarship even today with now a third search.

IMPORTANT: historical-critical scholars NEVER found Him in any of the searches conducted!


WHY? WHY? WHY? can’t these critical scholars find him?

ANSWER: No one could agree on whose “discovery” was correct (!) revealing its acute subjectivity.

WHY?– Baruch Spinoza had designed the “search” ideology of historical criticsm!  He did not want scholars ever to find Him!

 Indeed, in Spinoza’s historical-critical ideology, that is the POINT–deflect away from the Scriptures with a nominalist barrage of endless questions about issues behind the text so that the text (e.g. Gospels’ Jesus) never receives prominence.

 New Testament scholarship today almost unanimously identifies at least three major periods in questing for the “historical Jesus.”  Debate, however, still surrounds how many searches have been conducted or whether all searches conducted have been really one unified search operating from these common philosophical roots.  Reumann’s scheme is widely followed:

  • I.    The Old Quest (from 1778, according to Schweitzer, with its four either/or decisions: Purely historical or supernatural?  Synoptics or John?  Eschatological Jesus or not?  Mark as a whole the basis for a “life” or Chrstology as post-Easter?);
  • II. The No-Quest Period (Bultmann and the form critics: all Gospel accounts are colored by the church; or, the “no biography is possible” view);
  • III. Now, the New Quest and its fragmentation (Reumann 1974).[1]

To this prevalent scheme must be added what has now become entitled “The Third Quest” for the historical Jesus widely popularized at the end of the A.D. 20th century and into the twenty-first.

Evangelical critical scholars have now joined in!!!!

WHY? That’s what scholars do!  No British-trained evangelical scholar would dare refuse to join with the other critical scholars in this endeavor.  WHY?  because “scholars” must do what other scholars do!  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be considered scholars by scholars who control who are considered “scholars.”  No room for simpletons here!

[1] John Reumann, “Jesus and Christology,” in The New Testament and Its Modern Interpreters.  Eds. Eldon J. Epp and George W. MacRae (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1989). 502.


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British-influenced critical evangelical scholarship and their search for the “historical Jesus”


*criteria of embarrassment

*criteria of multiple attestation

*criteria of Palestinian environment

*criteria of coherence

*criteria of dissimilarity

etc. etc. etc.

Above: CRITERIA OF AUTHENTICITY CHECK-LIST (evangelical Ipad edition–Don’t leave the Gospels without it)



Matthew 16:3 //Mark 8:27//Luke 9:18//Gospel of Thomas 121

“Now when Jesus came into the district of evangelical theological seminaries, He was asking these evangelical critical scholars, ‘Who do you people say that the Son of Man is?'”

“Behold, they answered and said to him, ‘we’ll apply pre-selected criteria of authenticity and debate the results that we have already predetermined to be acceptable to us'”

and we’ll get back to you, Jesus!



  • since we as British-trained evangelicals accept post-modernistic historiography 
  • since all history involves interpretation . . . and since we only have the “footprints” of Jesus in the gospels . . .
  • we must search!, we must!, we must–yes, we must!
  • we need to search because that’s what British-trained evangelical scholars do for the academy as well as respectability!  (After all, I say, old chap, lay-people and knee-jerk fundamentalists just don’t have our level of understanding; low-IQ you know due to flouride in the water; they just merely accept the documents; how unscholarly!)

***This cited “holistic” account above has been deemed as a “probable” or “core” “essentially” historically “possible” Gospel account using evangelically agreed upon criteria, especially the “criteria of embarrassment” as indicting another Key Event!

Wow, this is embarrassing!

We now have not 12 but 13 KEY EVENTS!!!!!

someday, maybe we’ll be able to sketch in the likelihood of the at least 300 “significant-to-us” events in the Gospels but, for now, 13 ain’t bad.

that’s about .04333333333333% of the total

Wow, ya gotta love those criteria for what they can do!



J. Gresham Machen, The Christian Faith in the Modern World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1936) 65.


J. Gresham Machen was a U.S. Presbyterian theologian and one of the most eloquent spokesmen for the evangelical position in the “fundamentalist v liberal” controversies of the 1920s and 1930s. He fought the good fight against the inroads of liberal theology and the hypocrisy of those Presbyterian ministers who vowed on their ordination to uphold the divine authority of the Word of God in Holy Scripture, and then spent the rest of their lives preaching doctrines contrary to the Word of God.


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