Statement of Faith

by Matt Slick

We do not apologize for the length of this Statement of Faith. It is necessary because the more assaults there are against the Christian faith, the more precise we need to be. The following SOF is good! It is biblically sound, very orthodox, and yet fair enough to allow differences of opinion on debatable issues.

Introduction CARM is a conservative Christian Ministry based on the teachings of the Bible (66 books, excluding the Apocrypha).
Bible The Bible is the Word of God, and that its original manuscripts are free from errors and contradictions. It is the one and only infallible, authoritative, and trustworthy rule for faith and life. (2 Peter. 1:21, 2 Tim. 3:16). The Roman Catholic Apocrypha is not inspired scripture and is not part of the canon of scripture. The Bible is to be taken as literally as possible except where obviously figurative. Genesis, for example, is literal, and Adam and Eve were actual people.
God God is the only Supreme Being with no gods created before or after Him in all of existence, in all places, in all time (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 44:8; 1 Tim. 1:17). He has always been God and was never anything else (Psalm 90:2). He is Holy (Rev. 4:8), Eternal (Isaiah 57:15), Omnipotent (Jer. 32:17, 27), Omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), Omniscient (1 John 3:20); etc. He is Love (1 John 4:8, 16); Light (1 John 1:5); Spirit (John 4:24); Truth (Psalm 117:2); Creator (Isaiah 40:12, 22, 26), etc. He is to be worshiped (Gen. 24:26; Ex. 4:31; 2 Chron. 29:28; 1 Cor. 14:25; Rev. 7:11). He is to be served (Matt. 4:10; 1 Cor. 6:19; Phil. 3:7; 1 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:14). He is to be proclaimed (Matt. 28:19f.; John 14:15f.; Acts 1:8).
Trinity There is one God in whom are three eternal, distinct, simultaneous persons--the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. All three are the one God, coeternal, coequal, etc., yet there is only one God--not three gods--and not one person who took three modes, offices, or forms. (Isaiah 44:6, 8; 45:5; Gen. 1:26-27; 3:22; Matt. 3:17; 28:19; Luke 9:35; 2 Cor. 13:14). See also, The Trinity
Jesus Jesus Christ is the Word (God) who became a man. He added human nature to His divine nature. He is both human and divine and, therefore, has two natures. Yet, He is one person--not two. He is not part God and part man. He is presently a man, one person, with two natures where one nature is wholly God and the other wholly man. (Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:5-13; John 1:1-3, 14). Jesus will eternally remain as a man and intercedes for us eternally as a high priest after the order of Melchezedek (Heb. 6:20; 7:25).
Virgin
Birth
Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived and born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:42). Mary ceased to be a virgin after the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:25).
Resurrection Jesus Christ rose from the dead in the same body He died in after being in the grave for three days. He was raised in a glorified, physical body (still retaining his crucifixion wounds). He ascended bodily into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and rules heaven and earth. (John 2:19; 1 Cor. 15; Luke 24:39). Likewise, we Christians will be raised bodily from the dead and spend eternity with the Lord.
Substitutionary
Atonement
God the Father so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Word, became man, bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter. 2:24), and died in our place, suffering the consequences of the breaking the Law (1 John 3:4), which is physical death (Rom. 6:23) and spiritual death (Isa. 59:2), that was due us (Isaiah 53:4-6). He became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). His sacrifice was a legal substitution for us (1 John 2:2; John 19:30; 1 Pet. 2:24). It was legal since sin is breaking God's Law (1 John 3:4) and substitutionary since Christ took our punishment (Isaiah 53:4-6) and tasted death for everyone (Heb. 2:9).  As a result, God's justice was satisfied, Christian believers are released from eternal punishment (1 Pet. 3:18; Matt. 1:21; 25:46; Rom. 5; 1 John 2:2), and their debt that our sin brings against us has been cancelled (Col. 2:14).
Baptism Baptism is an important action of obedience for a Christian and signifies a person's identification with Christ. Baptism is not necessary for salvation. It is an outward manifestation of an inward reality of trust in the sacrifice for Christ, of conversion, and of identification with Christ. The act of water baptism does not save anyone. We are made right before God by faith--not by faith and baptism (Rom. 3:28-30; 4:3, 5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16, 21; Phil. 3:9; see also Acts 10:44-48).
Man's
Condition
Man is fallen, corrupt, and wicked. Man believes in God by God's grace through faith (John 6:28-29; 15:5; Phil. 1:29), is unable to come close to God through his own efforts (John 6:44; Rom. 3:10-12), nor is he born again of his own will (John 1:13), nor can he understand the spiritual things of God on his own (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7), nor can he earn salvation by his attempt at good works (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 4:1-6), nor once saved does he maintain his salvation by his works (Gal. 3:1-3). Eternal punishment in hell and separation from the blessed presence of God are the consequences of the unregenerate person's sinfulness who has not trusted in the redemptive sacrificial work of Christ on the cross (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 6:23).
Divine
Election
God elects/chooses people for salvation.  "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." (2 Thess. 2:13). And, "From all eternity God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will," (Eph. 1:4-5).  And, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." (Rom. 9:16).
Salvation Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner. Salvation is obtained by grace alone, through faith alone, in the work of Christ alone (John 3:16) and not by our good works (Rom. 3:20; Eph. 2:8-9). We are chosen for salvation by God (2 Thess. 2:13).
Justification by
Grace through
Faith Alone
Justification is being declared legally righteous by God. This justification is received by faith alone without any ceremony/baptism (Rom. 4:1-6), in the work of Christ fulfilling the Law in his earthly ministry (1 Pet. 2:22), and his removing of sin by his sacrifice. Justification is a gift from God (Rom. 3:24) and is received apart from the works of the Law (Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:21).
Regeneration Regeneration is the work of God that occurs with faith.  This regeneration means the person is made a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and is then able to resist his sin and seek to increase in sanctification before the Lord. Those thus regenerated do not seek to abide in sin though they do fall into it but war against it and repent of sin before the Lord.
Eternal Security "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:27-28). Christ has done all that is needed for our salvation, and he says that those who have eternal life will never perish. Those who appeared to be Christian but fell away never were Christians to begin with (1 John 2:19). Eternal security does not mean that we have a license to sin (Rom. 5:21-6:2), and those who say it is a license to sin do not understand eternal security and how God regenerates the sinner and turns his heart to repentance (2 Tim. 2:25). Because of the diversity of opinions on this issue, CARM does not condemn or pass judgment upon those who believe it is possible to lose one's salvation. However, CARM opposes the position that a person's security before God is maintained through his good works since this would be works of righteousness.
Sanctification Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire and increases our ability to repent from sin--by God's grace, (1 Thess. 4:7; Eph. 2:10; 1 Tim. 4:4; 1 Peter. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:25). This process continues all of the Christian's life and is the result of salvation--not a cause of it, nor a contributing factor to it. Furthermore, the effort of sanctification does not maintain the believer's salvation.
Free
Will
Free will is the ability of a conscious being to be able to make choices that are not coerced.  All people possess free will and exercise it according to the conditions revealed about it per the scriptures (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 6:14-20).  Free will choices require the ability to be aware of a choice to be made.  Free will does not necessitate the option of choosing between good and bad; otherwise, God would not be free since he cannot choose to sin.
Christian
Church
God calls Christians to his Church where the Word of God is preached, where baptism and the Lord's Supper (communion) are administered, where believers are discipled and disciplined, and where believers serve to build up one another (Matt. 16:18). There is no one true earthly ecclesiastical body that is 'the true church.' Rather, the True Church consists of all true believers wherever they might be. 
Church
Membership
Church membership varies in structure and requirements among different churches and denominations. Therefore, we cannot say it is or is not biblical since different Church membership styles cannot all be examined here.  Nevertheless, church membership is sometimes assumed (with no legal, official agreement), and other times it is a formalized (and often legal) contract where a person agrees to be subject to the ecclesiastical body within the local congregation.  Formal agreements are not a requirement to be a member of the body of Christ at large since it is not found in the New Testament.  However, various local bodies do require official church membership along with a formal, legal agreement.  CARM considers both to be within biblical orthodoxy.
Church
Officers
God calls qualified Christians to be ordained and to serve Jesus Christ in special leadership capacities, i.e., Elders, Deacons, Ministers of the Word, and Evangelists. The office(s) of pastor and elder is limited to qualified men only who are called by God, recognized by the body, and who meet the biblical standard of eldership (Titus 1:5-9). Women are not to be pastors nor elders and are not to hold positions of authority in the Christian Church where that authority is exercised over men (1 Tim. 2:11-15; 3:11-13; Titus 1:5-9).
Rapture The event where, upon Jesus' return, those who have died in Christ and those Christians who are then alive will be physically caught up to the clouds and meet the Lord Jesus in the air. We will then forever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16-5:2). Because of the diverse opinions among Christians regarding the rapture, CARM considers pre-trib rapture, mid-trib rapture, and post-trib rapture to be within the scope of Christian orthodoxy.
Second
Coming
Jesus Christ will bodily and visibly return from heaven to earth with great glory and majesty.
Millennium Because of the diverse opinions among Christians regarding the millennium, CARM's position is that amillennialism, premillennialism, and post millennialism are within the scope of Christian orthodoxy. CARM rejects full preterism--the teaching that Jesus returned in A.D. 70 but affirms that partial preterism is within orthodoxy.
Spiritual
Realm
There is a spiritual realm of angels and demons. Angels serve God and carry out his will. Demons are fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6) who war against God and who will ultimately face eternal punishment (Matt. 25:41; 2 Per. 2:4). Christians cannot be demon-possessed.
Eternal Judgment All who are not justified by faith in Christ and the blood of Christ will face eternal, conscious, and agonizing judgment away from the presence of God (Matt. 8:12; Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 20:14-15; 21:8)
Evangelism Part of the purpose of CARM is to carry out the work of evangelism which means that we must teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people in every nation (Matt. 28:19-20). Also, we are to refute false doctrines, false religions, and whatever else might contradict the word of God; but we are to do this without insult (1 Pet. 3:15) if per chance God would grant them repentance (2 Tim. 2:25).
Kingdom

Work
Part of being a Christian means to participate in expanding the Kingdom of God. Every Christian is to work for this end according to the gifts given him or her by the Lord (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 12). Not all are pastors or evangelists or teachers (Rom. 12), but each Christian is expected to do his or her part to promote the gospel whether it be by prayer and/or tithing and/or teaching and/or bearing and training children and/or evangelism, etc.
Morality Homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, cross-dressing, trans-genderism, lying, bearing false witness, adultery, wife-swapping, pornography, fornication, coveting, etc., are all sinful practices, against scriptural revelation, are contrary to proper living, and are not acceptable to the CARM ministry as normal or approved behaviors. Still, we do not hate or persecute those who practice these things but pray for their deliverance and salvation and expose their sins and call them to repentance.
Marriage Marriage is between one man and one woman.
Heresy Any doctrine that deviates from the historical, orthodox, and biblical position of the Christian Church, throughout Church history, as judged from a Protestant perspective. There are heresies that are damnable (denying the Deity of Christ, denying Christ's physical resurrection, denying justification by grace through faith, etc.). There are heresies that are not damnable (advocating women pastors; practicing polygamy, divorce for convenience sake, etc.) There are also teachings within Christianity that are debatable whereas differences of opinion are not heresy (eating or not eating meat, worship on Saturday or Sunday, etc.) See Rom. 14:1-12.
Living Where possible, Christians are to live in peace with all men, suffering wrongs, false accusations, and misrepresentations with charity. However, Christians are free to defend themselves (Luke 22:36) and promote the truth of Christianity by correcting false teachings and refuting error (2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Pet. 3:15). They are free to use the political system and its laws in order to promote a more godly and moral society. Christians are to live in the world as examples of godliness and are not to participate in the sinful passions of the world.
Creation
and
 Evolution
God created the universe and all that is in it by his creative effort.  God brought the universe into existence by the exertion of his will.  Within Christianity there is room for the interpretation of the six creation days (Genesis 1:1-31) to be literal seven 24-hour periods but also longer periods. Nevertheless, Adam and Eve were real people--created by God just as Genesis says. CARM does not affirm macro evolution (the formation of life on earth from a single cell that evolved via natural selection over millions of years into the species all over the earth) or theistic evolution (that God guided macro evolution to bring humanity into existence).  CARM denies them both. However, micro evolution, the modification of existing species with existing genetic information that allows species to adapt to environments, is within the realm of Christian orthodoxy.  We did not evolve from other species into our present condition.  God did not guide evolution of species by which humanity, the animal kingdom, or the plant kingdom was developed. The General theory of evolution is unscriptural and counter-factual.
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