Steve Chalke says the Bible is not inerrant or infallible

Oasis founder Steve Chalke

Prominent Christian leader and the founder of Oasis Trust, Steve Chalke has released a paper which denies the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.

In the 13-page document titled 'Restoring Confidence in the Bible' the church leader writes, "The world of old certainties that so many still cling to, is being swept away, not by ignorance but rather by increasing information. The attempt to bury heads in the sand, to avoid the storm, is proving to be futile."

Chalke lists 20 principles aimed at guiding a "global discussion" on the Bible. The list includes "we do not believe that the Bible is 'inerrant' or 'infallible' in any popular understanding of those terms". Chalke also writes that a young earth six-day understanding of creation is "anti-scientific".

Subtitled 'Can we use the Bible as a reliable moral and spiritual guide in our twenty-first century globalised world?' the paper aims to create an "open, honest and helpful discussion".

Chalke has been tweeting endorsements of his own work from well-known figures including Rob Bell and Tony Campolo every day since the paper's release last week.

But Chalke's denial of the Bible's infallibility has led to comments that the paper should have been titled 'Diminishing confidence in the Bible'.

Others took to social media to accuse the paper of "sanitising God to appeal to contemporary culture" and forcing a "gulf between God & Jesus and the Bible".

The church leader's words are the latest in a string of ideas that have caused controversy, the most recent being his endorsement of gay marriage this time last year.

His admission then that he had, "conducted a dedication and blessing service following the civil partnership of two wonderful gay Christians" in his church in Waterloo, London prompted the Evangelical Alliance to issue a statement saying that Chalke had "distanced himself from the vast majority of the evangelical community".

The Alliance also responded to the Baptist Minister's denial of penal substitution in 2004 and has indicated to Christian Today that it is considering issuing a statement on his latest comments. 

A shortened version of Chalke's paper has appeared in Christianity Magazine. Premier Radio are today recording a debate between Steve Chalke and Andrew Wilson on the three areas Chalke has caused controversy in; scripture, atonement and sexuality. The debates are expected to be broadcast on Justin Brierley's 'Unbelievable?' programme over the coming weeks.

CORRECTION:

The original article incorrectly misquoted the Evangelical Alliance as saying that Steve Chalke's comments were not "important enough" to comment on at this stage.  The Evangelical Alliance has since clarified that it intends to issue a statement at a further date.  Christian Today wishes to apologise for any confusion. 

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