If There’s No Pope, and So Many Churches, What do Evangelicals Believe About the Bible? THE CHICAGO STATEMENT

(This will more than expand the minimal details of the March 6 post!)

In 1978, a landmark gathering of a large, broad group of Evangelical scholars, called The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy  met in Chicago, IL, USA to hammer out the distinctives (minimal creed) that describes what Evangelicals believe.  This has been called the largest such gathering in the 20th century, perhaps the largest in the history of the Christian Church.  After much discussion more than 330 (scholars + church leaders) signed this historic document which included 19 Articles of Faith.  Surprisingly, many Evangelicals have never heard of this. For some, this is a page to bookmark for later.  The address below is CASE SENSITIVE.


Yes, there’s MORE


Some more details:

(1)  If you want to see and download the document (which is free to all visitors), copy and paste in the case-sensitive address above. In the opening paragraph click on Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.  To see signatures of 25 of the original signees, click where indicated.  Similarly for a typed list of the 330+ of the final signees. For many this may be an important document to file away and save.

(2)  Evangelicals shouldn’t be expected to automatically agree or disagree with many statements they’ve never seen or thought about.  This is pretty technical in places.  The statements show very quickly, however, how seriously Evangelicals take the Bible.

(3)  When I recently asked a prominent scholar, “How significant is this Statement for Evangelicals today?” he replied, “It’s the best thing we’ve got.”

(4)  The ICBI came into being for only a 10-year period.  How many religious groups do you know that “prophesy” (and follow through on) their final end on Day 1!

(5)  In this Who’s Who of Evangelicalism, two of the signees were professors of mine.

(6)  Though I’m not a Bible scholar, and though it doesn’t address certain doctrinal issues (e.g. baptism, doctrines of security of the believer), I think it’s a pretty good statement.  It focuses on the Bible as a document.  (The thief on the cross who trusted in Jesus and received his blessing wouldn’t have had a clue about what this sort of document was all about.  Evangelicals would be the first to insist that trusting in Jesus for salvation is key for salvation, not accepting or rejecting, or even knowing about certain doctrines mentioned here.)

(7)  Though carefully worded, it was inclusive enough to easily include both prominent “young earth” and “old earth” scholars, and leaders in both camps signed this document.




Author: John Knapp