A HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH COUNCIL PROJECT
1. INERRANCY FOUNDATIONAL TO CLEAR, BIBLICAL THINKING
Over the past 30 years, 24 different controversial issues have arisen within the evangelical Body of Christ that would not be controversial if Christian leaders and thinkers firmly believed that the Bible was all God’s revealed, written Word being co-authored by men, and was inerrant and historically accurate throughout. We mean that the Bible itself (Jesus, the apostles and prophets etc.) expects us to believe that it is true not only where it speaks about the spiritual realm of the unseen world, but also where it speaks on matters of interest to science and history in the visible, physical world that is capable of being verified and falsified. When men give up the inerrancy of the Bible, they then become capable of easily sliding into any number of heresies or false teachings with no ability to tell when they have gone too far.
For non-inerrantists, there is no logical stopping place on their downhill slide into total relativism. Their choice to stop sliding downhill at some point is simply a matter of their own arbitrary choice, not a matter of logical necessity required by their theology. Thus, non-inerrantists have no logical, theological reason to claim that there are any moral absolutes commanded by God and therefore have nothing they can say as to why such issues as abortion, homosexuality or Nazism and tyranny are immoral or are offensive to God. The portions of Scripture dealing with those subjects just may not happen to be inspired and inerrant.
2. THE CHURCH DEALS WITH HERESY THROUGH THE AGES
Throughout the history of the Church whenever heresies and false teachings have arisen, their proponents almost never raise a flag and openly declare that they are teaching something in opposition to the Bible and orthodox theology. Rather, the proponents of false teaching have quietly, and under cover of darkness, presented their falsehoods as the “true” interpretation, or the “enlightened way” to see a certain doctrine. So many are taken in and led astray because the falsehood is taught as the really spiritual way to look at a certain matter that is falsely said to be compatible with all the other doctrines of scripture.
When large sections of the Church in any century were “taken in” by a false teaching, biblical leaders in the past rose up, either as a council of bishops, or as a group of reformers, and “set the record straight” by declaring what was the true teaching on certain topics and showed why the false teaching was false and should be condemned and shunned as falsehood. Those falsehood battles in fact account for a large part of the subject of Church History.
3. THE NEED FOR A MODERN DAY CHURCH COUNCIL TO SETTLE THESE ISSUES
As a group of modern “reformers”, if we may use that word of ourselves, our ICCP Committee has come forth on the stage of church history during the past 16 to 30 years to systematically deal with a number of falsehoods and classic old heresies that have been presented as the “true biblical perspective” by false teachers within evangelical denominations, churches, schools and mission agencies. Please note that these false teachings on 24 issues appeared “on the radar screen” one at a time over the years and not all at once. And we did not set out to become a Church Council committee or to even consider holding a Church Council until we realized that by 1991 we were fighting about a dozen anti-biblical teachings that were spreading like cancer within the Bible-believing churches and schools. At that point we reluctantly decided that the global Body of Christ had no other option but to deal systematically and openly with these many anti-biblical teachings in an official Church Council. And since 1991 another 10 items have arisen that needed our attention, so we ended up (combined with the existing two International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) statements which we use by permission), with 24 issues about which we had to create an official statement declaring what was the true biblical teaching on those issues. And like the ICBI team did with the statements on inerrancy and hermeneutics in 1978 and 1982, we wrote the papers in the creedal form of Affirmations and Denials so that each point of each issue was distilled down to it’s basic, most concise essence to make each document usable as a creedal statement.
4. WE ARE HOPING TO LAUNCH NATIONAL CHURCH COUNCILS IN 80 COUNTRIES
We are offering these 24 Theological Documents to the greater Body of Christ worldwide for their serious consideration and have made them available on our website at www.ChurchCouncil.org. Also we are in the process of pro-actively forming National Theological Councils in 79 other countries of the world (after the documents are translated into their own language) in preparation for a Global Church Council to be held probably in 2017 on the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation. Already several countries in Central America have embryonic National Councils on Theology and Dr. Jay is planning to cover 10 countries in South America for that purpose this fall. Africa and Europe are slated for such visits by Dr. Jay in 2008 and Asia and Oceana in 2009.
The task of the National Councils on Theology in any country is to review these 24 documents and to edit them if they think their rewording can make any document more biblical, more logical or more concise. Any such editing from any country is to be downloaded into our Church Council website so all countries may see what all other countries are suggesting about any document and such editing will appear both in English and in the native language of the national committee. Committees from any country may also communicate with committees from any other country and discuss these matters by e-mail. Thus, a major, global editing process is to be in progress between now and the Global Church Council proposed for 2017. During these years each continent is to hold its own Continental Church Council to combine and integrate whatever editing the country committees from that continent have offered. Then, hopefully, at the end of our Global Church Council (probably in 2017) we will end up with “a united, global standard of doctrine for the Body of Christ for the 21st century”.