Modern Day Pharisee

Mr. Matt Slick is the founder and leader of CARM (Christian Apologetics & Reasearch Ministry). I have on occasion communicated with him via a chatroom that he operates at his website. I sometimes visit that chatroom because it provides immediate communication with those of other faiths with whom ideas and doctrines can be discussed and debated.

I have discovered some very intelligent and good-mannered people in that chatroom. Many of them are very polite and demonstrate a capability to civily discuss controversial issues while maintaining respect for each other. Mr. Slick is not one of those people.

Mr. Slick instead reminds one of the infamous pharisees of Christ’s day. While Christ ministered to Israel during his mortal life the pharisees made it their task to dissuade others of believing in Him. Their principle strategy at all times seems to have been to try and tempt Christ with word games, scriptural conundrums, and laying snares with which to catch Jesus in His words and find reason to convict him. No real debate ever took place, no issues ever deeply discussed. It was instead a contest of rhetoric and appearences, with the main goal to humiliate Jesus and make him look foolish in public.

In my experience with Matt Slick his modus operandiis similar to that of the pharisees of Christ’s day. For example, he often challenges mormons (including me) to reconcile Isaiah 45:5 with LDS doctrine.

 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

I of course respond with the explanation that I wrote at FAIRwiki on this issue, namely that the phrase is likewise used by Isaiah to describe Babylons supremacy in Isa 47: 8 & 10. The statement “none beside me” and variations of it are a Hebrew idiom for “I am the best”. It is only responsible to interpret the phrase similarly when the same author uses within the same discourse in Isa 45.

Despite my attempt at rational discourse Mr. Slick is not interested in real discussion. Because he knows that other chatters are lurking and watching the debate, his main goal instead is to ridicule me. “So when God says none are beside him he is actually saying that there are others beside him?” Mr. Slick is purposefully causing confusion by ignoring the true meaning of the phrase.

Were I to play the same game, I would ask Mr. Slick “Is Babylon then the only actual city in existence? Does Christ literally command us to partake of his flesh and blood? Is every parable of Christ to be interpreted absolutely literally?”

Mr. Slick also engages in “shock statement” tactics, namely he says things about the LDS faith that sound shocking and alarming in the context he places them in that require a much longer explanation than the chatroom is appropriate for. For example, he says, “Mormons teach that God lived on another planet and progressed into godhood by obeying the Mormon religion.” He also frequently says, “Mormons believe that God has sex with his many wives and lives near a planet called Kolob.” Another thing Slick often says is, “Mormons believe they can become gods of their own and have polygamous wives while ruling over their own planets.”

Statements such as these are calculated to shock and scare other Christians who are standing near. They are not meant as introductions to any real discussion. Mr. Slick is also not concerned whatsoever with the actual accurateness of those statements, he says them despite the fact that the church officially teaches none of those things, and unofficially endorses very little of them. As Rush Limbaugh frequently says, “it isn’t the truth of the charge, it’s the seriousness of the charge.”

This style of apologetics tends to be very popular with those who know very little of Mormonism. In his arrogance Mr. Slick proclaims publicly that he has studied Mormonism for twenty years and knows it very well. Unfortunately his audience believes him despite the LDS protests against his false information. Little can be done except to ignore him. There are much more interesting and civil critics with whom to engage. They are enjoyable because they provide a real way to discuss doctrinal issues, instead of constant knee-jerk reactions and a focus on beating the other into submission.

I will continue to visit the chatroom on occasion in order to find Evangelicals who are capable of real and polite discussion. Mr. Slick’s chatroom is useful for that purpose, but Mr. Slick himself only exists as a nuisance to those of us who seek true dialogue.

James

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2 comments on “Modern Day Pharisee

  1. James,

    You hit it right on the head. My experience has been much the same. Great post! Check out my blog sometime.

  2. jr says:

    I know this is six years after this was written. I found an article on the Internet about an Evangelical who worked with CARM. This Evangelical quit because of the dishonest tactics by Slick and others. This Evangelical still does not like Mormons, even though this EV married a Mormon. Go figure. The very same thing happened in my former family, three times; a Mormon hater marrying into a Mormon family.
    There are other sites like CARM that are run exactly the same way, and the people who run the site act like Slick, using the same tactics. They say they do not want regular members to comment; they want to take on the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. But yet they will ask a question and ask regular Mormons to comment. And when the Mormon comments they attack that person personally, calling that person all sorts of names, and saying the Mormon has no business talking to them because Mormons believe in a different Jesus, different Gospel, and Mormons do not understand Christianity.
    What troubles me is these anti sites use the Scriptures to justify how rudely they talk to Mormons. One anti site addressed this just last week, defending what they say and how they say it. The EV’s say Jesus would not be nice to Mormons and they are following what Jesus would do.

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