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CARM got it wrong

January 26, 2010

I always appreciate Christian apologetic sites, as they have the same goals generally as I have, and that is defending the faith and gospel of Jesus Christ.  However, there are some sites that seem to turn on other faiths,  in the goal of proving their view is the absolute truth.  I have no problem with that, its just I have an issue when the methods used to prove a point lack very little substance.  Take CARM, or the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, for example.

I was directed to the CARM website several times before.  From a quick perusal of the site, it appears they cater to Christians who take things at face value, and don’t do much of their own digging.  They also adhere to Reformed (Calvinist) theology, and are quick to denounce other views as heretical.  That’s where CARM got it wrong.

Most recently, I was linked to this page right here, on reasons why they recommend not joining Seventh-day Adventist Church.  That is sort of bold no?  They better have good, solid reasons to back up their claim.  Sadly they don’t.

The reason I say this, is they use “proof” texts, without going through the whole process of doing proper exegesis and interpretation.  For an Apologetics and Research Ministry, they don’t seem to do much depth.  Granted, I can see that the majority of their resources are dedicated to defending against Mormon and Roman Catholic readers, as the sections on both faiths are quite intensive.  So I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk up their lack of insight on SDA doctrine to lack of time and resources.

So lets just examine the reasons and verses they use on that page to show why the SDA church is “heretical”.  Conveniently for me, they use the same arguments most Christians use and I have answers drawn up to most of their objections:

Objection 1

However, the problem is when any Seventh-day Adventist group asserts that the proper day of worship is Saturday, not Sunday.  The early church practiced worship on Sunday and the scriptures mention the church gathering on Sunday, the same day Jesus rose:

Well, I guess they skipped Church History class.

Did the early church keep the Sabbath?

Yes it did, and not just the church, but the pagan Romans too.  And worship on Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection is just silly and another excuse to ignore the God given command to keep the Sabbath holy.  The reason they keep Sunday is because it’s “a memorial … of the resurrection”.  Here is the source of that quote: Notice only 2 verses from Scripture.

Also,  They’re quoting writers that lived at least one hundred years after Christ.   I quote Scripture. It would be obvious that the people living through the times would be a more reliable witness than someone writing about it centuries later.

Scripture> later writings.   See here why internet quotes from early writings are unreliable.

CARM so far is 0 for 1.

Objection 2

The Christians also heard a message from Paul on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

Note:  the reference is until midnight which is not the Jewish method of measuring days, but the Roman system.

It’s very common that they quote only verse 7.  Why, because the rest of the passage destroys their case.  Lets expand the context:

7And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

8And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

9And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

10And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

11When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

Take note of 2 things.  We can tell they were meeting at night, verse 8 mentions many lights.  The writer purposely included this fact to convey the fact to readers of a night time meeting.  Do churches meet at night?  Usually the services are in the morning.  If this is an example for churches, then they should hold services at night.   However, we have Bible study groups at my church that meet on Friday nights, Saturday nights, and Sunday nights.  And after studies, they usually have dinner or refreshments after.  It sounds like Paul and company are doing the same thing.

Also notice the place where they were meeting.  Eutycus fell down from the “3rd loft”.  Is it possible they were meeting at someone’s house, and not a typical place of worship.  Looking at the context, we can see that it was likely a Bible study, rather than your traditional corporate worship service.

CARM 0 for 2.

Objection 3

Paul instructed the churches to put aside contributions on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2).

Again, another text taken out of context.  If they took the time to delve into what Paul was writing about, the brethren at CARM would understand that Paul was requesting donations for disaster/famine relief, just like churches today are encouraging members to give to relief organizations.   Here is another article disproving the notion of Sunday meeting in 1 Cor 16.

Does 1 Corinthians 16 prove Sunday worship? Answer: No.

CARM – 0 for 3.

Objection 4

Furthermore, Romans 14:1-12 speaks of our freedom in Christ, particularly our freedom to worship on any day we choose.

Again, more texts taken out of context.  I think these guys need to learn the fundamental rules of interpretation. The entire chapter has plenty of food references, and not once does it talk or mention the Sabbath.  What is the chapter talk about then?  Fasting. Paul was telling the hearers not to be too concerned about which days to fast on, as some where teaching that certain fast days were mandatory.  That is the context of this chapter.   Here is my posting on that passage:

Romans 14 is about Fasting

CARM 0 for 4.  So far not good for CARM’s credibility.

Objection 5

CARM cannot recommend any church which would openly deny the biblical doctrine of predestination (in contradiction to Eph. 1:1-11),…

I haven’t really touched on predestination yet as its a minor topic, but all I can say is that CARM must then reject all Arminian based churches because of it doesn’t fit with CARM’s reformed views.

I’ll give this point a pass, so CARM is still 0 for 4. The Arminian-Calvinist debate is too broad a subject to dismiss a position without in depth study.  I will attempt to address this point at a later date.

Objection 6

…deny the doctrine of the immortality of the soul (in contradiction to Luke 16:19-31; Matt. 25:46), and deny eternal hellfire (in contradiction to Rev. 14:11)…. and that the wicked are annihilated (in contradiction to Luke 16:19-31; Matt. 25:46).

See my studies on death and hell.  Even evangelicals are starting to shy away from the unpopular doctrine.

CARM 0 for 5.

Objection 7 (Last one)

Nor can we recommend a church that affirms that Jesus is Michael the Archangel

See here for an explanation:

Who is Michael the archangel?

CARM 0 for 6.

Conclusion

Based on the above findings,  CARM hasn’t produced one solid piece of reasoning why the SDA church is wrong.  All they’ve produced are the typical canned responses I get ALL the time from Evangelical apologists.  Would I recommend them as a good resource for apologetics.  Based on what I’ve seen, no.  Their lack of in depth understanding of the texts they present highlight the flaws in their understanding of Scripture.  Therefore I recommend you look at other sources to help defend your faith.  The Institute of Creation Research is a great place to start, especially when defending against atheists and evolutionists.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2010 9:15 pm

    You can find Part 1 of my response here:
    http://www.danielspratlin.com/2010/01/30/defending-the-indefensible-part-1/

  2. Mishkan David permalink
    February 3, 2010 11:41 am

    Have you had any fruitful responses from Matt Paulsen?

  3. May 3, 2010 4:40 pm

    Typical/very common criticism, as shown by in the part of CARM. Rarely stay in context, and a line upon line usually easily shows how off Sabbath critics are. Not hard at all. Good answers.

    Had never heard of CARM. Not really interested in them after finding out what they teach. Sad.

Trackbacks

  1. CARM Contradiction « Faith & Fotografia
  2. CARM is still wrong « Faith & Fotografia
  3. Review of a critic’s response to Romans 14 « Faith & Fotografia

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