Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Chicago Statement, ICBI, Walter Bradley & Henry Morris (Pt. 1)

Harold Lindsell (d. 1998, Ph.D., D.D.) was the editor of Christianity Today for over a decade.  His book The Battle for the Bible, which came out in 1978, rocked the evangelical world as it took a strong stance on inerrancy.  Journalist Larry Witham (Where Darwin Meets the Bible) makes a connection between the battle for the Bible and the inerrancy movement which led to the Chicago Statement generated by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI). [1]  Observe Article XII (Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, emphasis added):

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.

One would think this was written by a traditional creationist (creation in 6 days, Global Flood, young earth).

The companion book to the Chicago Statement on Hermeneutics was Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible.  Walter Bradley, former Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M, wrote a very influential chapter:  “The Trustworthiness of Scripture in Areas Relating to Natural Science.”  It is available online here.  We responded to this work in 2007.  This same volume has a 12 page response to Bradley by the father of modern creationism, Henry Morris (d. 2006).

Henry Morris predicted that, “… unless the ICBI can somehow become convinced of the foundational importance of strict creationism for maintaining a consistent belief in inerrancy, its efforts will likely prove of only ephemeral effectiveness.” [2]

Morris made this comment on The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics:

The statement finally adopted by the council was so innocuous on the subject of origins that it would not even exclude evolution as an acceptable interpretation.  That was the reason I could not sign their statement on biblical hermeneutics. [3]

Morris further warned of the slippery slope syndrome:

Progressive creationism … has already, for well over a hundred years, served as the camel’s nose by which theistic evolution and eventually full-blown religious liberalism have come in and taken over … the reason why most laymen … reject the Bible is because they have been taught evolution and the great age of the earth, and they know that this presumed “fact of science” contradicts the Bible’s very first chapter. [4]
Bruce Waltke resigned from Reformed Seminary after making remarks about evolution in 2010.  Waltke makes it clear that the slippery slope is genuine:

I am not a scientist, but I have familiarized myself with attempts to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with science, and I believe that creation by the process of evolution is a tenable Biblical position, and, as represented by BioLogos, the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics.

Waltke wrote a chapter in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible and according to Norman Geisler, “all the writers are in agreement with the ICBI stand on inerrancy.” [5]

Affirm the truth of Genesis 1-11 and fight Old Earth Fallacies (OEF’s).  Consider the analogy of Daniel's diet (Dan. 1:8-20).  He and his comrades were tested for ten days by eating vegetables.  He refused to compromise – we too should dare to be a Daniel!  Also notice that it was 10 days, not 10M years.  Ancient veggies don’t taste good.  Biblical authority starts with a conservative Biblical hermeneutic applied to Genesis.  Biblical inerrancy matters.

… the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.  What if some were unfaithful?  Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?  By no means!  Let God be true though every one were a liar .. (Rom. 3:3,4, ESV)
A new book defends a young earth from Philosophy, Geology, History and Biology.  A shortcut to the site is  TotalYouth.us  >> “for TOTAL truth, support earth’s YOUTH.”

You can go to Part 2 here.

1) Where Darwin Meets the Bible by Larry Witham (Oxford Univ. Press, NYC, 2002), p. 51.
2) quoted in Already Compromised by Ken Ham and Greg Hall (Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2011), p. 29.
3) Ibid.
4) Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible ed. by Earl Radmacher and Robert Preus (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984), pp. 346, 347.
5) Ibid., p. ix.