Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
|This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (September 2014)|
|Motto||Defending the Faith. Reaching the Lost. Equipping the Saints|
|Purpose||Fundamentalist Christian Proselytism|
|Matthew J. Slick|
|Matt Slick, Diane Sellner, Ryan Turner, Matt Paulson, Allen Hill|
The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) is a fundamentalist Protestant "apologetics" organization in the United States founded in 1995. The president of the organization is Matthew J. Slick, and it is claimed that there are as many as an additional 30 contributors to the group's website. The group is registered as a 501(c)3 organization, and it is located in Meridian, Idaho.
In November 1995, Slick compiled his sermons and notes together onto computer, and created a website for the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. By 2000, Slick claimed his website was receiving 14,000 visits per week. He created a Christian Apologetics Notebook presentation in a three-ring binder format, which offered material from the website in a printed medium. According to Slick he has sold over 3,000 copies of the Christian Apologetics Notebook. In 2002, Slick self-published this material, titled Right Answers for Wrong Beliefs. He also compiled the website for sale in CD-ROM format.
CARM offers several online dictionaries, including a "theological" dictionary which is compiled by Matt Slick and others, in addition to discussion forums. The organization's stated motivation is "to equip Christians with good information on doctrine". In 2004, CARM made available a free dictionary called the Dictionary of Theology for the Palm OS system. The website also provides Protestants with pre-formatted "cut-and-paste" arguments to use in chatroom discussions with atheists, relativists, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics and members of other groups.
In a paper presented to the religious research organization CESNUR, University of Waterloo religious studies assistant professor Douglas E. Cowan states, "Like the Countercult in print, the Countercult on the Net is a carefully managed presentation of selected truths, half-truths, spun truths, and untruths. Its library is designed not to inform the visitor about the group in question, but to confirm for the visitor why that group is heterodox, why it should be avoided, and why conservative Christianity is the only viable option in place of it. As well, again like the Countercult in print, the Countercult on the Net is intended as an 'equipping force' to supply Christians with apologetic resources for their own encounters with NRM members. Rather than a public library, it is rather like those few shelves of a conservative seminary library that are devoted to 'Cults and Other World Religions.' The difference, of course, is that this library is open to the public." He cites CARM as an "example of the library function-and its inherent problems" with the questionable accuracy of information presented about new religious movements on the Internet. Cowan comments that CARM "cleaves fairly close to the Countercult party line" and expresses a concern that "unless one looks specifically for Slick's personal information, CARM's web presentation could easily deceive a visitor into thinking it is a multi-staff, professional research organization." Slick issued a written response to Cowan's article. In his book Bearing false witness? An introduction to the Christian countercult, Cowan says that "Slick's choice of cultic and sectarian movements is interesting", commenting that it is rare to see Christadelphianism described as a major cult, or to see such different movements as Eckankar and Christian Identity listed adjacent to each other.
In his 2007 book Teaching New Religious Movements, Virginia Commonwealth University sociology and religious studies professor David G. Bromley describes the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry as a "countermovement site" and representative of "the evangelical Christian counter-cult". Bromley notes, "though the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org) is a very impressive counter-cult Web site, it is by and large the sole project of one man with a Master of Divinity degree. This is not to say, of course, that nothing on the site is credible or useful, merely that it ought not to be confused with information offered by those more academically prepared for the task of discussing new religious movements." In her book Voices of Diversity: Multi-Culturalism in America, Mary C. Sengstock, a sociologist from Wayne State University, describes the CARM website as one of those continuing a tradition of religious prejudice, because it puts forward the view that Roman Catholics are not Christians. Sengstock cites Slick's essay "Are Roman Catholics Christian?"
Columnist Cal Thomas of Tribune Media Services comments, "Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (the Web site carm.org) has created a useful chart that shows the conflicting claims of classic Christian belief and Muslim doctrines. It is worth studying, whatever one's faith." Christian Parenting Today notes that the website of CARM provides "lists, definitions, and descriptions of cults", to assist parents and children with identifying controversial groups and movements. The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance says of CARM, "This is a very large web site. It is rated by Hitbox.com as the most visited counter-cult website, and about #14 in the list of most-visited religious web sites." The Gazette recommended CARM as a resource for information on apologetics. Writing in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale characterized CARM among "excellent resources ... that will allow those who are seriously searching to discover faith is more fact than fiction."
In the book The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting for Christ, Roger Overton, a blogger and graduate student at Talbot School of Theology, recommends CARM as a resource, calling the organization's website "an informative site dealing with topics from the defense of mere Christianity to exposing the problems in cults and other religions. Go to the CARM website for the straight facts such as a list of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled or archived incriminating statements by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and The Watchtower (Jehovah's Witnesses)." Thomas Nelson's Safe Sites Internet Yellow Pages, The 2000-2001 Edition describes the organization as "A Christian ministry promoting Christian truth with articles on doctrine, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Evolution, New Age, atheism, and more." The book recommends the organization's Theological Dictionary as among the "Best of the Christian Web", saying it "Defines many Christian and theological terms." The Scholarly & Historical Information Exchange for Latter-Day Saints accuses the site of rehashing old anti-Mormon material.
- Slick, Matthew J. (2009). "General Information about Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org). Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Matt Slick. "Writers, Researchers and Email Helpers". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Cowan, Douglas E. (2003). Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction to the Christian Countercult. Praeger. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-275-97459-6.
- Slick, Matthew J. (2009). "About CARM". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org). Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Hadden, Jeffrey; Douglas Cowan (2001). Religion on the Internet: Research Prospects and Promises. JAI Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-7623-0535-5.
- Monthly Review editors (November 1, 2001). "Notes from the Editors". Monthly Review.
- "CARM Dictionary of Theology for Palm OS". ZDNet (CBS Interactive). May 13, 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Gallagher, Eugene V.; W. Michael Ashcraft (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. Greenwood Press. pp. 145, 153–154. ISBN 0-275-98712-4.
- Slick, Matt. "Cut and Paste Information". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. www.carm.org. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
- Cowan, Douglas E. (2001). "From Parchment to Pixels: The Christian Countercult on the Internet". 2001 Conference in London (CESNUR). Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Slick, Matthew J. (2009). "Cesnur knocks CARM". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org). Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Bromley, David G. (2007). Teaching New Religious Movements. An American Academy of Religion Book. pp. 295, 300, 306. ISBN 0-19-517729-0.
- Sengstock, Mary C.; Javed, A; Berkeley, S.; Marshall, B. (2009). Voices of Diversity: Multi-Culturalism in America. Springer. pp. 13, 306. ISBN 978-0-387-89665-6.
- Slick, Matt. "Are Roman Catholics Christian?". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. www.carm.org. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
- Thomas, Cal (Tribune Media Services) (October 10, 2007). "Bush is wrong about God". The Wichita Eagle. p. 7A.
- Lewis, Brad (March 22, 2004). "Teacher Roulette". Christian Parenting Today.
- Robinson, B.A. (2006). "Books and web sites by and about the Counter Cult Movement". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (www.religioustolerance.org). Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Asay, Paul (August 20, 2005). "Defenders of faith - Conference teaches art of argument to Christians". The Gazette (Freedom Communications). p. 1; Section: Life.
- Coy, Bob (August 31, 2002). "Prayer, study will lead son to truth about God". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sun-Sentinel Company). p. 12D.
- Reynolds, John Mark; Hugh Hewitt; Roger Overton (2008). The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting for Christ. Crossway Books. p. 153. ISBN 1-4335-0211-9.
- Nelson, Thomas (2000). Safe Sites Internet Yellow Pages, The 2000-2001 Edition. Thomas Nelson. pp. 15, 92, 311, 418. ISBN 0-7852-4390-9.
- "Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) - SHIELDS". Shields-search.org. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Slick, Matt (2008). Apologetics School - Student Edition. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
- Slick, Matt (2008). Critical Thinking School. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
- Slick, Matt (2002). Right Answers for Wrong Beliefs. Sovereign World, Ltd. ISBN 1-85240-279-2.
- Slick, Matt (2009). Theology School - Student's Edition. CARM.
- Slick, Matt (2008). Theology School - Teacher's Edition. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.