Western Christians have little connection with history. Events of thirty years ago are easily forgotten and generally considered irrelevant to “today.” So it is not surprising that most evangelicals are blissfully ignorant of a vitally important document on the topic of inerrancy produced by leading evangelical scholars. The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, first published in 1978, remains one of the most important documents of the past century, and its importance has only increased with the slide of Western culture into ever more virulent forms of secular humanism. In a cultural context where nothing in the religious realm can ever be said to be “true,” a fully authoritative scriptural revelation will be attacked incessantly. The foundations on which the historic Christian proclamation has rested are once more under attack, and more often than not those swinging the pickaxes are wearing religious garb.
The contemporary attacks on the inspiration and inerrant of Scripture are often couched in an attitude of twenty-first century hubris. Those people did not have computers. They did not have cell phones and modern medical knowledge. They did not send men to the moon or put satellites in orbit. So how could they have possibly had any meaningful knowledge of transcendent truths? The Bible was not written using modern language and categories; therefore, how can it be at all relevant to us today? Couple this with carefully selected texts demonstrating apparent “contradiction,” and it is easy to see why many Christians are embarrassed by the historical confession of the perfection and inspiration of the Bible. “We just can’t speak like that anymore. We need a new way of looking at the Bible,” we are told.
Have we grown so much wiser than our predecessors? Were the great men and women of God of the past naïve when it came to the Bible? Should we abandon inerrancy and speak of the Bible in postmodern terms? Or is there a reason to continue to believe that God has spoken with truthful clarity in Scripture?