The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated in 1978 by approximately 300 evangelical scholars at a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, held in Chicago. The statement was designed to
defend the position of Biblical inerrancy against trends toward liberal conceptions of Scripture and higher biblical criticism. The undersigners came from a variety of evangelical denominations, and include
James Montgomery Boice,
Carl F. H. Henry,
J. I. Packer,
Francis Schaeffer, and
R. C. Sproul.
Leading inerrantists regard the Chicago Statement as a very thorough statement of what they mean by "inerrancy". The statement elaborates on various details in Articles formed as couplets of "We affirm … and We deny …".
Also in this Statement, inerrancy applies only to the original manuscripts (which no longer exist, but can be inferred on the basis of extant copies), not to the copies or translations themselves. Further, inerrancy does not mean blind
literalism, but allows for figurative, poetic and phenomenological language, as long as it is accurate. Nor does the Statement define the precise set of biblical books to be considered "Scripture".
The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy produced three major statements: one on biblical
inerrancy in 1978, one on biblical
hermeneutics in 1982, and one on biblical application in 1986. It formally disbanded in 1988.