Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM)
What is Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM)?
The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) is a Protestant apologetics ministry founded in 1995. The president of the ministry is Matthew J. Slick, and there are as many as 30 contributors to the website. The organization's materials may be accessed on the internet through its website at CARM.org. The ministry 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 said 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 theological dictionary called the Dictionary of Theology for the Palm OS system. The website also provides Protestant Christians 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."
"Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM)" Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (with minor edits), under GFDL.