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芝加哥圣经无误宣言

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概述

芝加哥圣经无误宣言芝加哥圣经解释宣言芝加哥圣经应用宣言是基督教福音派针对很多新派神学院变质不再相信圣经无误等而组织提出的。

【「芝加哥圣经无误宣言」源自1978年10月26-28日在美国芝加哥市所举行为期三天的国际会议,此会议是由1977年成立之「国际『圣经无误』协会」(the International Councilon Biblical Inerrancy)负责召开,共有来自基督教各宗各派,将近三百位教会领袖与神学家参加,大会制订并发表此宣言。】

中文版本二

【「芝加哥圣经无误宣言」源自1978年10月26-28日在美国芝加哥市所举行为期三天的国际会议,此会议是由1977年成立之「国际『圣经无误』协会」(theInternationalCouncilonBiblicalInerrancy)负责召开,共有来自基督教各宗各派,将近三百位教会领袖与神学家参加,大会制订并发表此宣言。】

序言

无论是今天或是在历代基督教会中,「圣经的权威」一向是关键的议题。举凡相信耶稣基督是主和救主的人,均蒙召要谦卑而忠诚地顺服神的话、成文的道,藉此来表明他们真是主的门徒。人若在信仰或行为上偏离圣经,便是对主不忠。圣经所说的全部是真实的、绝对可信的;承认此基要真理,我们才能彻底了解并正确告白圣经的权威。

以下的宣言重新确认圣经的无误,表明我们对此真理的认识,并警告绝不可否认之。我们深信:否认圣经无误,就是撇弃耶稣基督和圣灵的见证,也就是拒绝顺从神所宣告的话语──而顺从神所宣告的话语正是真基督徒信仰的标记。现今有些基督徒在偏离圣经无误的真理,而世人又普遍对此教义有所误解;面对这种情况,重新确认圣经无误的信仰,实乃我们当务之急。

此篇宣言包括三部分:(一)宣言概要;(二)确认和否认的条文;(三)解释说明。这篇宣言是经由在芝加哥召开的三日研讨会后订出的,参与签署宣言概要及条文者表明:他们确认自己坚信圣经无误,彼此劝勉,并激励所有基督徒,要大家增进对此教义的认识了解。我们承认要在时间短促紧凑的会议上,制订出一份文件,难免有局限之处;我们也不认为这份宣言具有信条的份量。然而,大家聚集讨论加深了我们所怀的信念,为此我们深感喜乐。我们也祷告:盼望这份我们所签署的宣言,能使我们的神得着荣耀,促进教会在信仰、生活和使命上改革更新。

我们不是为着争辩,而是本着谦卑和爱心将此宣言公诸人前,我们也愿靠着神的恩典,定意在日后任何由此宣言而起的对话中,继续持守这种精神。我们乐于承认:许多否认圣经无误的人,在信仰生活其他方面并未显出他们否认此真理的后果;而我们也知道:我们这些口里承认此教义的人,未能在思想行为和传统作法上真心遵从神的话,以致生活中所行的经常与此教义相左。

我们欢迎任何人根据圣经本身的亮光,提出本宣言需要增补之处。我们所宣告的,是以圣经绝对无误的权威为根基。我们不认为我们的见证是无谬误的,所以,任何帮助,只要能加强我们此篇为「神的话」作的见证,我们都无任感激。

宣言概要

1.神就是真理,凡从他口所出的皆为真理。神已经默示圣经,为要以此向失丧的人启示他自己,藉着基督显明自己是创造者与主宰、救赎主和审判者。圣经是神为他自己所作的见证。

2.圣经是神自己的话,这些话是在圣灵的安排和监督下,由人执笔写成的。所以凡圣经所论到的一切事,均具有无误的神圣权威:凡它所确认的,皆为神的教训,我们应当相信;凡它所要求的,都是神的命令,我们必须顺服;凡它所应许的,都是神的保证,我们应当领受。

3.圣灵是圣经的作者,他不但在我们里面见证圣经为真实,他也开启我们的心,使我们明白圣经的意思。

4.圣经既是神所赐的,又是神逐字默示的,它一切的教导当然也都没有错误:不但在见证神对个人生命之救恩时,是没有错误的;在论及圣经自身写成文字是源出于神时,以及论到神在创造与世界历史中的作为时,也都是完全没有错误的。

5.如果「圣经是神的话,完全无谬误」的真理,在任何方面被人贬低、局限、视为无关紧要、或是让人用不合圣经的理论来冲淡的话,则圣经的权威势将无可避免地遭损;而此偏差使得信徒个人和教会整体均蒙受严重的损失。

「确认」和「否认」的条文

第一条

我们确认:圣经是神权威的话语。

我们否认:圣经的权威是来自教会、传统或任何其他属人的来源。

第二条

我们确认:圣经是用以管制人类良心的最高成文标准,教会的权威隶属于圣经的权威之下。

我们否认:任何教会的信条、会议、宣言拥有高过或等同于圣经的权威。

第三条

我们确认:全本圣经都是神恩赐的启示。

我们否认:圣经仅是对「启示」的见证;圣经只有在神与人交会时,才变成启示;圣经的有效性是取决于人类的反应。

第四条

我们确认:那按自己形像造人的神,是用人类的语言作为他启示的工具。

我们否认:因着人受限于被造的本质,以致人类的语言不足以作为传达神启示的工具。

我们更否认:人类的文化和语言因受罪恶的败坏,以致阻碍了神默示的作为。

第五条

我们确认:神在圣经中的启示是渐进的。

我们否认:可应验先前启示的后来启示,是为了修正前者,或会与前者产生矛盾。

我们更否认:自新约圣经完成之后,还有其他权威性的启示出现。

第六条

我们确认:圣经的全部和其中每一部分,包括原稿的每一个字,都是神所默示的。

我们否认:人可以只承认圣经整体是神的默示,却不承认其中每一部分都是神的默示;或只承认圣经某部分是神的默示,而不承认全部圣经都是神的默示。

第七条

我们确认:默示是神的工作,神藉着圣灵,透过人的写作,将他的话赐给我们。圣经的起源是出于神。神默示的方式,对我们而言,大体上仍是奥秘。

我们否认:可以将「默示」视为人的洞见,或人意识的任何颠峰状态。

第八条

我们确认:神在默示时,使用了作者们各自的性格和不同的文体,而这些作者都是他所拣选和预备的。

我们否认:神在促使这些作者使用他拣选的字句时,压抑了他们的风格。

第九条

我们确认:圣灵的默示,虽然并未使得作者无所不知,但却保证了圣经作者们受感所说所写的每一件事,都是真确可信的。

我们否认:这些作者因其有限与有罪,必然或偶然会将曲解或错误带入神的话中。

第十条

我们确认:「默示」,严格说来,仅是针对圣经原稿说的。在神的护理保守下,从现存许多抄本可相当准确的确定原稿。

我们更确认:圣经的抄本与译本,如忠实表达原稿,即是神的话。

我们否认:原稿的不在,使得基督教信仰的主要内容受到任何影响。

我们更否认:原稿的不在,使得「圣经无误」的宣称变为无效或无关紧要。

第十一条

我们确认:圣经既是神所默示的,就是绝对正确的,以致在其所论及的一切事上,都是真实可靠的,绝不会误导我们。

我们否认:圣经的陈述,有可能同时是无谬的又是有误的。「无谬」与「无误」表达的重点也许有别,但二者是密不可分的。

第十二条

我们确认:全本圣经都是无误的,没有一点错误、虚伪和欺骗。

我们否认:圣经的无谬和无误只限于属灵、宗教或救赎的论题范围,而不涉及历史和科学的范围。

我们更否认:科学对地球历史的假设,可用来推翻圣经中对创造及洪水的记载。

第十三条

我们确认:使用「圣经无误」作为神学名词来说明圣经之完全确实可信,是适当的。

我们否认:人可以使用异于圣经用法或目的的正误标准,来衡量圣经。

我们更否认:人可以圣经记录的现象来否定圣经的无误,例如:缺乏现代科技的精确度、文法和拼字上的不一致、自然现象的观察式描述、对虚谎事件的报导记载、夸张语法和约略数字的使用、主题式编排材料、平行经文不同形式的采用资料、自由选取引句等。

第十四条

我们确认:圣经是前后合一和内在一致的。

我们否认:尚未解决所谓的圣经难题及不解之处,会损及圣经的真理宣告。

第十五条

我们确认:圣经无误的教义,是建立在圣经所教导的「默示」教训上。

我们否认:人可以诉诸耶稣的人性受到限制或调节,而不接受他论及圣经的教导。

第十六条

我们确认:圣经无误的教义,是教会从古至今的基要信仰。

我们否认:圣经无误的教义是更正教经院哲学派的发明,或是回应否定性的高等批判学而设定的。

第十七条

我们确认:圣灵为圣经作见证,使信徒确信神成文的话语是真实的。

我们否认:圣灵作这见证,是脱离圣经或是违反圣经。

第十八条

我们确认:圣经的经文必须根据「文法─历史」解经法来解释,并要顾及其文体类别,并要用「以经解经」的方式来解释。

我们否认:人可以使用处理经文或探究其背景来源的各种方法,导致将经文冲淡相对化、除去其历史性、贬低其教训、或否定其所宣示的作者为真。

第十九条

我们确认:认信圣经的完全权威、绝对无谬和完全无误,是确实了解基督教全面信仰不可或缺的。

我们更确认:如此认信,必会领人越来越效法基督的模样。

我们否认:认信圣经无误是得救的必要条件。

然而,我们更否认:拒绝圣经无误,不会为个人和教会带来严重的后果。

解释说明:

我们对「圣经无误」教义的了解,必须根据圣经论及其本身的整体教训。此篇「解释说明」列出我们撰写「宣言概要」和「条文」时所依据的教义大纲。

创造、启示和默示

三位一体的真神,用他的话语创造了万物,并以他的圣言统管万有;他按着自己的形像造人,赐人生命与他自己相交团契,这是依据神本体内三位格之间永恒相爱交通的模式。人既是神的形像,就理当听从神对他说的话,在敬拜顺服的喜乐中来回应神。神藉着受造界和其中发生的事序来显明他自己;此外,自亚当以来,人类也一直都从神领受话语的信息:或是直接从神而来(如圣经所记),或是间接透过部分或全本圣经来传递。

亚当堕落后,创造主并未弃绝人类在最后审判之下,反而应许救恩,开始藉连串的历史事件向人类显明他自己是救赎主;这些历史事件是以亚伯拉罕家族为中心,发展至最后高潮:耶稣基督的降生、受死、复活、现今在天上的职事和所应许的再来。在这历史的架构中,神多次向罪人晓谕明言审判和怜恤、应许和命令,为要引领人与他建立起一种相互委身的圣约关系;在这圣约关系中,他要向人施百般恩典,而人则以敬拜之心回应。摩西是神所用的中保,在出埃及时将神的话传递给他子民;摩西也是众先知行列之首,神将他的话摆在众先知的口里与著作中,藉他们向以色列人传讲。神使用此连续不断传递信息的方式,目的在于坚立他的圣约,这是藉着使他的子民知道他的圣名(即他的本性)和他的旨意(即对现今与未来的命令和目的)达成的。此「神之代言人」先知行列,到了道成肉身的耶稣基督(他自己本身是先知,比先知更大)和第一代基督徒的使徒和先知时,就告终结。当神说出最后最高潮的信息(即他向世人所说关于耶稣基督的话)并经由使徒们阐释明白之后,系列的启示信息到此为止。从此之后,教会要靠「神已说过的、也是为每个时代所说的话」来生活,来认识他。

在西乃山,神将他的圣约条文写在石版上,作为他永远的见证,长久为人所知晓。在先知和使徒启示时代的全程中,神促使人写下他所赐给他们与藉他们传扬的信息,连同神和他百姓相交的可称颂的记录,加上对圣约生活的道德反省,以及对圣约怜悯所发的赞美祷告各类记录,就形成了圣经。「圣经文献的写成是神所默示的」此一事实,乃是对应「先知口传的话是神的默示」之事实:虽然作者的个性会从他们所写的作品中表现出来,但所写成的话都是神所立定的。因此,凡圣经所说的,就是神所说的;圣经的权威就是神的权威;因为神是圣经的终极作者。神透过他所拣选与预备的人,藉着他们的思想和言语赐下圣经;使他们在自由与信实里「被圣灵感动说出神的话来」(彼后1:21)。根据「圣经是源出于神」此项事实,我们必须认定圣经是神的话。

权威:基督与圣经

神的儿子耶稣基督,是成为肉身的道,是我们的先知、祭司、君王;他也是神与人交通的真正中保,正如他是神一切恩典赏赐的真正中保一样。耶稣基督给人的启示并不仅是话语而已,他也藉着他的临在和作为将父神彰显出来。然而,他所说的话是至为重要;因他是神,他所说的话都是从父神而来,而且他的话也将在末日审判世人。

耶稣基督是所预言要来的弥赛亚,他乃是圣经的中心主题。旧约圣经前瞻他的来临,新约圣经则回顾他的初临,并期盼他的再来。圣经正典既是神所默示的,因此就是基督最权威的见证。所以,凡不以这位历史的基督为焦点的释经法,我们都不能接受。我们必须依照圣经的本质来对待圣经─即父神对道成肉身之圣子所作的见证。

旧约正典在耶稣的时代就已告完成。新约正典也是已经完成,因为今天已不会再有新的使徒,为历史的基督作见证。在基督再来之前,不会再有新的启示(此与「圣灵光照我们明白现存的启示」不同)。「正典」基本上是由圣灵默示而创作的;教会的责任,是要辨认出神已经创作的正典,并非由自己另订安排一套正典。

「正典」一词,乃准则或标准之意,是「权威」的指标,其意是指「统治和掌管的权柄」。「权威」在基督教而言,属于「启示的神」,这启示一方面是指「耶稣基督,那永活的道」;另一方面是指「圣经,那成文的道」。然而,基督的权威和圣经的权威是同一的。基督作为我们的先知,他见证说:圣经上的话是不能废去的;基督作为我们的祭司与君王,他委身其在世生命来实现成全律法和先知书上的话,甚至甘心受死,为了顺从经上有关弥赛亚的预言。由此可见,他既认为圣经中是为他和他的权威作见证,他自己就藉着顺服圣经来见证圣经的权威。他自己既顺从在其圣经(即我们的旧约圣经)中父神所赐的指示,他就要求门徒也这样做─然而,不是分开、乃是联合使徒为他自己所作的见证;此使徒见证乃是基督亲自执行的:藉着他所赐的圣灵,默示使徒写成的。所以,基督徒若要表明自己是主忠心的仆人,就要顺从神在先知与使徒著作中所赐的教训,即合在一起的新旧约圣经。

基督和圣经互相印证彼此的权威为真,因此,基督和圣经合而为一,成为一体同源的权威。据此立场而言,「从圣经来诠释的基督」与「以基督为中心、宣扬基督的圣经」两者诚属一体。既然从「默示的事实」来看,我们可以说:圣经说的话,就是神的话;同样地,从所启示的「耶稣基督和圣经之间的关系」来看,我们也可以宣告:圣经说的话,就是基督说的话。

圣经无谬、圣经无误、圣经解释

圣经既是神默示的话,为基督作权威的见证,理当是绝对无谬的(infallible)和绝对无误的(inerrant)。「无谬」和「无误」这两个负面用词有其特殊的价值,因为它们明确地保障了非常要紧的正面真理。

「无谬infallible」一词表明「既不误导人,也不被人误导」的特性,所以,此词在范畴用语上绝对地保证「圣经在凡事上都是确实、稳固、可靠的准则与指引」的真理。

「无误inerrant」一词亦然,它表明「毫无虚假或错误」的特性,所以,此词保证「圣经所有的声言叙述,都是全然真实可信」的真理。

我们确认:解释圣经正典,一定要根据「圣经是无谬的和无误的」此项真理。然而,我们在诠释每段经文,判断这些蒙神指教的作者在其中所要表明的意思时,必须非常小心注意该段经文的宣称及其人类作品的特色。神默示人写圣经时,使用了作者的文化习俗环境背景,而这些环境背景是在神主权护理的管制之下。若持相反想法,必是穿凿附会错解圣经。

所以,历史必须视之为历史,诗歌为诗歌,夸张语句与比喻就是夸张语句与比喻,概括法和约略法皆如其所是···等等。我们也要注意圣经时代的写作习惯,和我们今日的不同。譬如:不按时间次序叙事、约略引用文句,这些都是当时所惯用、所接受的,并不会出人意外。所以,当我们读到圣经作者们这样做时,决不能说是作者写错了。当所期待的或所定的目标,本来就不是要达到某种特定的彻底精确,那么未达到此标准时,当然不能视其为错误。圣经是无误的,并非指按现代标准衡量的绝对精确,乃是说:圣经所声称的都是真的,依照其作者们定意的衡量标准,来表明所要着重的真理。

圣经中文法或拼字有不一致的现象、现象式的描述自然界、报导记载谎言假话(如撒但的谎言)、或两段记载似乎有出入,这些都不能用来否定圣经的真实。以这些所谓的「现象」作为理由,来反对圣经论其自身的教导,这是不对的。当然,我们不应忽略圣经中表面看来不协调之处。若能获得可确信的解答,这必能激励我们的信心;若目前手边没有可确信的答案,虽然这些问题看似存在,我们也应信靠他的保证:「他的话是真实的」,并坚信有一天真相大白显明这些问题根本是错觉。我们要如此信靠与坚信,藉此来大大荣耀他尊崇他。

因为圣经的启示是独一真神其心意的作品,所以,解释圣经必须在经文相互参照类比的范围内,且必须避免各种假设可用某段经文来纠正另一段经文,不论是假借「渐进性的启示」之名,或托词「受默示的作者,其领受的亮光不完全」。

虽然圣经绝不致受文化的限制,以致无法将其教导放诸四海而皆准,然而有时它是以当时的风俗习惯作为文化背景;所以,我们今日在应用圣经原则时,也因而可能产生不同的作法。

怀疑主义与批判主义

自「文艺复兴」以来,尤其在「启蒙运动」之后所发展的世界观,皆对基督教基本信仰抱持怀疑态度。诸如:「不可知论」否认神是可知的,「理性主义」否认认神是无法测透的,「唯心论」否认神是超越的,「存在主义」否认理性存在于神与我们的关系里。当这些不合圣经、反对圣经的原则,渗透入人们的神学前提观念中,人就无法忠实地解释圣经,这正是今天司空见惯的事。

抄传与翻译

由于神从未曾应许圣经的抄写传递是无误的,因此我们必须确认:惟有圣经的原稿正本是神所默示的,而并且必须使用「经文监别学」作为工具,以校勘经文在抄写过程中有无手民之误。然而,根据这门学科的研究所得定论是:希伯来文和希腊文的圣经经文,保存完整的程度实在令人惊奇,所以,这使得我们有足够的理由,和「西敏斯特信仰告白」一样,确认:经文的抄传,完全是出于神的护理保守。这也使得我们有足够的理由宣告:圣经的权威,绝不会因为我们现有抄本并非完全无误而受损害。

同样,圣经的译本也没有一本会是完全的,因为所有的译本皆与「原稿」又隔了一步。然而,语言学的研究得到的定论证实:起码在说英语的基督徒,拥有许多优秀的圣经译本,可毫不犹豫的结论说他们是得到了神的话。事实上,圣经常常复述所强调的主题真理,和圣灵不断地为圣经、藉圣经作见证;根据这两件事实来看,任何严谨翻译的圣经,绝不会破坏圣经原意,使读者不能「因信基督耶稣而有得救的智慧」(提后3:15)。

无误与权威

我们确认圣经的权威,包涵其所说的完全都是真理,我们知道自己是站在基督及其使徒、站在整本圣经以及教会历史主流(从起初直到最近)的同一立场上。我们关切的是:今天许多人草率粗心,糊里糊涂地放弃这个影响深远的重要信仰。

我们也注意到:口说承认圣经有权威,但不再坚持圣经是完全真实的,必将导致巨大严重的混淆。采取这样步骤的结果是:神所赐的圣经会失去它的权威,所剩下的不过是一本依从人的批判辩论来删减过的圣经;而且一旦此例一开,据此原则,圣经可继续被删减下去。此即表明:追根究底,是人的独立理性反成了权威,用来反对圣经的教导。如果此事实未被认明而福音教义目前仍被持守,则那些否认圣经完全无误的人,可能会自称是福音派,然而在方法上他们已经离弃了福音派的认识原则,转向一不稳定的主观主义,并且将越陷越深。

我们确认:圣经说的话,就是神说的话。愿神得荣耀。阿们!阿们!

英文版

THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY

Preface

The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian Church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God's written Word. To Stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority. The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God's own Word which marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.

This Statement consists of three parts: a Summary Statement, Articles of Affirmation and Denial, and an accompanying Exposition*. It has been prepared in the course of a three-day consultation in Chicago. Those who have signed the Summary Statement and the Articles wish to affirm their own conviction as to the inerrancy of Scripture and to encourage and challenge one another and all Christians to growing appreciation and understanding of this doctrine. We acknowledge the limitations of a document prepared in a brief, intensive conference and do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight. Yet we rejoice in the deepening of our own convictions through our discussions together, and we pray that the Statement we have signed may be used to the glory of our God toward a new reformation of the Church in its faith, life, and mission.

We offer this Statement in a spirit, not of contention, but of humility and love, which we purpose by God's grace to maintain in any future dialogue arising out of what we have said. We gladly acknowledge that many who deny the inerrancy of Scripture do not display the consequences of this denial in the rest of their belief and behavior, and we are conscious that we who confess this doctrine often deny it in life by failing to bring our thoughts and deeds, our traditions and habits, into true subjection to the divine Word.

We invite response to this statement from any who see reason to amend its affirmations about Scripture by the light of Scripture itself, under whose infallible authority we stand as we speak. We claim no personal infallibility for the witness we bear, and for any help which enables us to strengthen this testimony to God's Word we shall be grateful.

  • The Exposition is not printed here but can be obtained by writing us at the Oakland office: ICBI / P.O. Box 13261 / Oakland, CA 94661 / (415)-339-1064.

A SHORT STATEMENT

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL

Article I

We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.

We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.

Article II

We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture.

We deny that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

Article III

We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.

We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.

Article IV

We affirm that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation.

We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God's work of inspiration.

Article V

We affirm that God' s revelation in the Holy Scriptures was progressive.

We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.

Article VI

We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.

We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.

Article VII

We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us.

We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.

Article VIII

We affirm that God in His Work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.

We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.

Article IX

We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write.

We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God's Word.

Article X

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.

We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

Article XI

We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.

We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.

Article XII

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article XIII

We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

Article XIV

We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture.

We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

Article XV

We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration.

We deny that Jesus' teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.

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 XVII

We affirm that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God's written Word.

We deny that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or against Scripture.

Article XVIII

We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historicaI 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, dehistoricizlng, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.

Article XIX

We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.

We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences both to the individual and to the Church.

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