The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: Article VI

 All the “parts” of Scripture hold together in one organic whole, in a way similar to how all the parts of creation hold together in one organic whole. The Trinitarian God—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—are true unity and diversity simultaneously, and all their works bear the imprint of their unity and diversity. Our thinking goes astray from God’s word to the degree that we set unity and diversity off against each other. 

“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 be rightly affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.”

In 1985 The Jesus Seminar was founded by a number of biblical scholars who sought to “renew the quest for the historical Jesus.” That is, they sought to determine what parts of the Gospel accounts could actually be attributed to Jesus, and then to draw definitive conclusions regarding the true identity of the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels. Their conclusion? Only about 18% of the sayings and 16% of the deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospel accounts are authentic. Of course, one is completely valid in asking: By what standard did they draw these conclusions? By what beliefs did they analyze the Gospel accounts in order to sit in judgment of them in order to decide what was truly authentic to those accounts? How did they arrive at these beliefs that gave them the ability to decide which parts of the Gospel accounts are “authentic”?

Such questions not only highlight the presuppositional nature of thinking—that all thinking is dependent on or controlled by one’s most foundational beliefs that drive the rest of one’s thinking—but also reveal that one must choose by what authority one is going to sit in judgment of that text that claims to be the only word from the only living and true God.

Article six of the Chicago Statement reminds us that those who adopt the approach represented by the Jesus Seminar do so in direct violation of the authority of Scripture as The Truth from the only living and true God that is unavoidably united in all its “parts.” God’s written word is irreducibly complex because it is from the only living and true God who is Truth.

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