The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was born in 1977 with a planned lifespan of ten years. Formed by conservative Bible scholars, its purpose has been to restore confidence in the “total trustworthiness of the Scriptures.”

At its first major summit in 1978, ICBI produced a 19-point statement articulating the doctrine of inerrancy. The council’s 1982 summit produced a 25-point set of guidelines for interpreting Scripture. And ICBI’S final summit of scholars, held late last year in Chicago, focused on applying the Bible to today’s issues.

At this meeting, some 300 inerrantists produced the “Chicago Statement on Application of Scripture,” which consists of some 170 positions on the sanctity of life, divorce, sexual deviations, and other issues.

ICBI chairman James Boice called the summit “eminently successful” with respect to its goal of producing a meaningful statement. Said theologian J. I. Packer, one of five who served on the statement’s drafting committee: “The feeling was that God had brought us through to a very fine place.”

Packer said some thought an attempt to seek agreement on the application of Scripture would lead to division among inerrantists. But instead, he asserted, “credibility has been given to the belief that commitment to inerrancy is a unitive commitment.”

However, according to Kenneth Kantzer, the chief editor of papers prepared for the conference, agreement was not as thorough as some had hoped. Explaining, Kantzer said, “Some hoped we could produce a document we could all sign.” He added that once it became “abundantly clear that this was an impossibility,” participants were asked ...

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