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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Big Seven - Part 2: Matt Slick

Note: This is a part of a biweekly series focusing on big names in modern Christian thought who have influenced me personally. The posts in this series, entitled "The Big Seven", do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the persons discussed, due to the margin for error that must be allowed in an independent personal blog. It is, however, the will of the author to make sure that the opinions and views of the persons discussed are presented as accurately as possible.

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Christian Apologetics Research Ministry (CARM), based online at carm.org, is the brainchild of Matt Slick. This website features numerous, well written articles on many diverse subjects pertaining to Christianity, the Bible, and Christian apologetics. There is also an extensive video repository on the site. It is therefore very surprising to learn that in its early days, there was but one man responsible for maintenance and operation of carm.org: Matt Slick!

Mr. Slick (Man, that sounds funny to type), a Calvinist, makes no secret of this fact, though this was apparently lost on one critic. This particular critic stated, "And, 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." Though it was nothing like that when the criticism was leveled, that is exactly what CARM is today. Like everyone with something worthwhile to say, Mr. Slick has his fair share of both supporters and detractors. Fortunately for him, he is both a web-savvy man and a Bible-savvy man, having a full time job working on computers in addition to holding a Master of Divinity.

Matthew J. Slick converted to Christianity as a teenager, and went on to become an avid student of the Bible, to put it mildly. He "devoured" scripture, reading the Bible and everything he could find on it. His full testimony can be read here, but the most important thing to know for our purposes is that he specializes in the study of cults and apologetics. He earned his Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1991 and founded CARM in 1995, and has been running or helping to run the organization ever since. While Mr. Slick formerly updated and wrote the content of CARM exclusively by himself, his website has since greatly expanded. CARM now employs some thirty "Writers, Researchers, and Email Helpers", including Ray Comfort, who will be covered in a future installment of this series.

As previously stated, Mr. Slick's ministry focuses primarily on the study of cults and on Christian apologetics. His articles cover a veritable mountain of topics, talking about everything from Atheism to the Zodiac. Mind you, it's not entirely comprehensive (I couldn't find a page on Zoroastrianism, for one thing), but I suppose in this line of work construction won't be done until kingdom come. At any rate, the information found at carm.org is clearly written, well organized, easy to find, and absolutely accurate. It is the go-to place for information on non-Christian cults such as Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses, other world religions such as Judaism and Islam, and secular philosophies such as Agnosticism and Atheism.

CARM is more encyclopedic and better organized than Got Questions Ministries, but slightly less comprehensive and personalized. However, it does cover the most important topics with a degree of intensity and understanding that is truly a marvel in and of itself. For instance, the pages on topics such as Atheism and Jehovah's Witnesses have numerous sub-articles, a good stock of short videos, and relevant answers to the most pressing questions regarding those topics. It is for this reason that I happily point interested persons to carm.org to find answers to their questions about Christian apologetics and cults.

Mr. Slick's writing style is flowing and conversational, plainly and simply explaining the information he wishes to communicate. Where the topic calls for a terse explanation, he delivers a terse explanation. Where the topic calls for a more in-depth explanation, again, such an explanation is given. He makes sure to reference relevant Bible verses throughout articles that call for them, a good sign among internet sources if there ever was one.

One thing that might throw up red flags with the uninitiated is Mr. Slick's views on Roman Catholicism. He correctly points out that the Roman Catholic Church is apostate due to its reliance on works-based salvation and prayers to the saints as well as to Christ, the latter practice explicitly defying the second commandment. Mr. Slick does not, however, identify them as a cult, as some of his detractors have claimed. The point here is that Matt Slick is not afraid to point out doctrinal error where it is clearly present, but is judicious enough to not go beyond the parameters of what needs to be said.

In sum, Matt Slick runs a great ministry with CARM, and it has been very helpful to me in my personal study of the scriptures. He is one of a great many of wise persons in modern Christian thought who I have studied and will continue to learn from. I therefore point in his direction all of my readers, Christian and non-Christian, seeker and sold-out, to go to his website and consult the CARM databases. The information there is highly enlightening and informative, thorough yet succinct, and you will not find a dull page there. It is, in short, a great resource, and Matt Slick is a great preacher, teacher, and apologist.

Image courtesy of life.biblechurch.org