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Chicago Statement Offers No Help

Though the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy has good content, it still fails at a critical point: verbal plenary preservation. Isolating inerrancy to manuscripts no longer in our possessions leaves a gaping hole in the defense. A brother offers a whimsical illustration of this problem.

Blog - 1 page; 2018

Below is the first part of Article 10 from the "Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy", which apparently is fairly popular among reformed Christians today. It's also found on the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics website. Don't worry about reading the rest of what the statement says - none of it matters after you read Article 10:

"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."


Christian: "Preacher, how do we know the Scriptures we have today have "great accuracy" compared to the originals if we don't have any originals?"

Preacher: "Well we have many available manuscripts today to compare them to."

Christian: "But I thought you said copies and translations are faithful only to the extent they represent the original?"

Preacher: "Yes, that's what I said."

Christian: "But if I don't have the originals, I don't know how faithful the copies are according to your statement."

Preacher: "Well, we have a pretty good idea of what the originals said based on the manuscripts we have available today."

Christian: "But you said those are faithful only to the extent they faithfully represent the original, so how do I know if any of them are faithful if I don't have any originals?

Preacher: "Well, a team of well respected theologians with PhDs wrote that statement so it must be correct, even if it doesn't make any sense."

Christian: "Preacher, I have another question based on what Article 10 says - to what extent does my King James Bible "faithfully represent the original"?"

Preacher: "To a great extent, based on the available copies they had."

Christian: "But the same thing you said about translations you also said about copies, that their accuracy is based on their faithfulness to the original, which we don't have."

Preacher: "I understand this doesn't make any sense to you, but rest assured, Brothers A-Z are faithful men and they met together and produced this statement, and many other faithful men endorse this. Plus, 99% percent of the manuscripts agree, so the large majority of your Bible is very likely to faithfully represent the original."

Christian: "Although this still doesn't make sense to me, given what you just said, which parts of my Bible do not faithfully represent the original."

Preacher: "Well, we think the end of Mark, 1 John 5:7,..."

Christian: "You think? Isn't this called the "Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy?"

Preacher: "Um, uh, um..."

Christian: "So just to clarify, this statement on Biblical inerrancy is telling me there's errors not only in my King James Bible, but also likely in all the Bible's we have today?"

Preacher: "Uh, um, uh..."


In John 10:35, speaking of Psalm 82, verse 6 (that's pretty specific), Jesus said, "the scripture cannot broken". "Cannot" = it is not able to be broken, there exists no power to break it).

"But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." (Psalm 115:3)

"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." (Psalm 119:160)

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2)

"Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" (Isaiah 2:22)

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