Back in the 1970s, as the fruits of sexual revolution were coming to bear in western culture, many churches began to come into all sorts of error. This didn’t happen by accident, but did so as a consequence of many churches and denominations giving up on the sole authority of Scripture to determine what is right and true. Today, many churches are doing this in the name of including gay and lesbian people, by permitting them to call themselves Christians and become church members while they live an unrepentant life and live in sin. Others are even blessing same-sex sexual ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’. Many Pentecostal, Anglican, and charismatic churches have done likewise, and instead of their ecclesiology (church governance and practice) following Scripture, they let their church practice determine what the Scripture says. The appointment of women as church leaders and the acceptance of evolution as a means of describing how God created the universe in Genesis 1-2 are atypical of this. To attempt to get away with such things, such ‘leaders’ insist that the Bible doesn’t mean what the Bible actually says and twist it in their unstable minds (even people with PhDs who lecture at seminaries!).
As such, it is getting harder and harder to find Christians and even pastors who believe in the authority of Scripture, and once you give up on that then everything else is fair game. The church ends up with all sorts of false teaching, such as Open Theism (which posits that God does not know the future and changes His mind because He is unstable in Himself) or Annihilationism (which teaches that there is no Hell, or that people will only suffer there for a short time and that its punishments are not eternal. Some even say that one day all souls in Hell will be ‘overwhelmed’ with God’s grace and will get out of Hell).
Scripture is unabashed in testifying to its own internal consistency. With it, we are wiser than our elders (Psalm 119:99-100). What else? All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). Furthermore, no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). The Bible is not to be added to or subtracted from (Revelation 22:19).
So where any person contradicts God’s holy, revealed Word in the Judeo-Christian Bible, it is to be rejected and denounced. If any person’s experience or testimony, experience or church tradition contradicts it, it must be called out (in love of course), repented of, and changed. If people do not change, then their error must be called out for what it is.
Why? Because in all things Christian, the Word of God must be the ultimate arbiter for the existence and future of God’s church. In the 1970s, a group of reformed, evangelical pastors recognised this and produced the Chicago Statement, to advance the truths of the Bible’s inerrancy and infallability. This effectively means that the Bible is completely truthful AND that it contains not one error. There is nothing new about the statement – its contents have always been around and many in the church – before the time of the Reformation and around the time of the “Enlightenment”, when German liberal philosophy white-anted the foundations of biblical authority. At the ‘Bible college’ that I went to, many lecturers openly cast doubt on these foundational truths, something that continually repulsed me and angered me to no end.
However, the statement is VERY applicable today given all that is happening with apostasy occurring, and many Christians becoming cold in their faith. May all reading the Chicago statement be convicted of its truths and to be like the Bereans in Acts 17, who “received [God’s] Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (v. 11).