The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: Article V

Though revelation progresses, it does not ‘correct or contradict’ what was disclosed earlier, for God is the divine agent in all revelation. There is no error in the being of God. He does not error in his first disclosures nor in his later disclosures. What appear to be corrections or contradictions only appear as such because of the being who is afflicted by error: man, that mutable creature of dust laden with the noetic effects of sin. God himself is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and immutable. His revelation is a perfect unity of truth reflective of his very own being.

Article V of the Chicago Statement, with its one affirmation and two denials, reads as follows:

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.

The chief concern of Article V is how divine revelation in the 66 books of scripture progresses and how it does not. The concern is not simply about making allowance for a New Testament while maintaining an Old. Progressive revelation is present in both Testaments; but notably, this progress is not unending. It has ceased upon the completion of the New Testament writings. Because of this the New Testament carries extra heft as progressive revelation, but even so, it is not alone the place of truth. As Alec Motyer once said, “Progressive revelation is a movement from truth to more truth and so to full truth.”

Let’s start with the affirmation. Note how the signatories were careful not to limit God’s progressive revelation to only the New Testament. The expression used is “in the Holy Scriptures.” All scripture is divine progressive revelation. As redemptive history unfolded, moving from the age of the patriarchs to the age of Moses to the age of the Kings to the age of Christ, God continued to unfold his revelation, expanding the picture of a promised Son who was coming and the glorious work that Son would accomplish.

This clearer and clearer picture is even taking place in one book. Take Genesis, for example.

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