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Ratio Christi Statement of Faith

Ratio Christi Statement of Faith

Preamble

Ratio Christi accepts those large areas of agreement on doctrinal teaching considered the historic Christian faith. There are also areas that we believe important due to the specialized task of Christian apologetics. We allow for freedom of conviction on other doctrinal matters provided that no such interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the effectiveness of our ministry. It is not the expectation that every student involved with Ratio Christi adheres to these beliefs as we allow and encourage atheists, skeptics, and those of other faiths to be participating members of Ratio Christi chapters. Student leaders must hold to the historic Christian faith as approved by the staff directors. Within the clubs areas of doctrinal differences are encouraged to be discussed in order to provide a venue of understanding of the various perspectives within Christianity. The main focus will remain on the defense of the foundations of truth and Christianity and the opposition to secularism and naturalism. Neither does the fact that a member of a university faculty is a Faculty Advisor to a Ratio Christi chapter necessarily mean that they accept every facet of this belief statement. The Faculty Advisor is considered an independent agent. We trust that Ratio Christi will be a place of vigorous academic and theological investigation while remaining committed to the promotion and defense of truth and Christianity in the university.

Scripture

We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament Scripture alone to be inspired in all its very words(1) by God and inerrant(2) in the text of the original manuscripts, and that they alone are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.

God

We believe in one God who is Creator of heaven and earth, who is infinite Spirit, light, love, and truth; eternal, almighty, infallible in all things, including His omniscience and knowledge of all future events; that He is unchangeable, all wise, just, and holy; and that the triune God eternally exists in one essence and three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God intervenes in the universe and miracles, including predictive prophecy, are possible.

Creation

We believe in the ex-nihilo special creation of the entire space-time universe, as described in the biblical creation record, and in the direct creation of many diverse biological categories. We also believe in the historicity of the biblical record, including the special creation of Adam and Eve as the literal progenitors of all people, the literal fall and resultant divine curse on the creation.(3)

Jesus Christ

Incarnation

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Word manifested in the flesh. We believe that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and that He is fully God and fully man, having two distinct natures co-joined in one Person.

Death

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of every human being and thus offers salvation as a free gift based on grace alone.

Resurrection

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead in the same physical body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which will be given to all believers at the return of Christ.

Ascension

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven in the same glorified physical body in which He arose, was seated at His Father's right hand, assuring us of the perfection of His work of redemption, and that He now, as Head over all things to the Church, is engaged on behalf of the saved as their only Advocate.

Return

We believe in the future, personal, literal, and bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones.(4)

Mankind

We believe that man was originally created in the image and likeness of God, and that he fell through sin; and that as a consequence of his sin, he became spiritually dead with a corrupt human nature that has been transmitted to the entire human race, the Man Christ Jesus alone being excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which is corrupt.

Salvation

We believe that only those who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, apart from all good works, are justified before God, and have become children of God and, therefore, will inherit entrance to Heaven and eternal communion with God.

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit, being the Third Person of the Godhead, convicts men of sin, regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals, and sets believers apart to a holy life; that He keeps and empowers believers day by day. We believe that He is the Teacher of the Word of God through which He guides us in our daily lives.

The Final State

We believe in the eternal and everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the eternal conscious punishment of the lost.

Ordinances

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted baptism and the Lord's Supper (neither necessary for justification), to be observed until He comes. 

The Church

We believe that the universal Church of Jesus Christ is composed of those who have been redeemed and washed in His blood, regenerated and sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that they are saved to worship and to serve; that it is the responsibility and privilege of all who are saved to seek to win others to Christ, to the "uttermost part of the earth"; that they should seek to live a holy life, to separate themselves from and forsake all that might dishonor God, cast discredit on His cause, or weaken their testimony.

Satan

We believe that there is a personal devil who can exert vast power but only as far as God permits him to do so; that he shall ultimately be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night forever. Other, both good and evil, supernatural beings exist.

Concerns of Apologetic Methodology

This item is not an issue of Christian doctrine, but is important within the context of the goals and beliefs of Ratio Christi. As a Christian apologetics ministry we believe that the veracity of Christianity can be supported in a number of diverse ways. We acknowledge that evidential, existential, historical, legal, philosophical, classical, and presuppositional methods for apologetics can be used in appropriate circumstances. It is our belief, however, that the Scriptures testify to the fact that man, though corrupted by sin, is still made in the image of God and has been given reasoning faculties that can be used to gain important, though limited, data from nature about reality and theology.

Thus, natural theology is possible and is a worthy pursuit for Christians. We explicitly support the use of classical apologetics when understood as a system that uses both natural revelation (nature) and special revelation (Scripture) to reason to the truth of Christianity. By starting on common ground with unbelievers (e.g., the nature of truth and reality) and building a systematic case for God, the Bible, Jesus, and the Resurrection, Ratio Christi believes that Christianity is not only the best of all possible options for truth and life, but that it has nothing to fear from vigorous opposition of ideas found on the university.

Notes

(1) "In all its very words" is intended to mean the same as the phraseology "verbal plenary." That is, the inspiration is in the specific words and for the full extent of the text (as originally written). "Verbal" does not mean that God audibly spoke each word to the human author.

(2) For the purposes of advising readers regarding the intent and meaning of biblical inerrancy Ratio Christi refers you to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. We recognize that the doctrine of inerrancy is not necessary either for salvation or for use in many approaches to apologetics. Rather, it is the final result of the apologetics enterprise in recognizing Jesus as God and His view in the complete accuracy of the Bible. Ratio Christi does not typically use the doctrine of inerrancy in defending the faith to non-believers as it is the conclusion of other more basic apologetics methods. However, the inerrancy of the Bible has been an assumed part of the early Christian Creeds and is necessary as the hermeneutic and foundational basis of all the other necessary doctrines.

(3) We recognize that the issue of origins is one of the most contentious and most debated of our times. Ratio Christi does not take a position on the age of the earth and acknowledges that this is a good debate to have within Christian circles and allows for those of “young earth” and “old earth” viewpoints to freely and without fear of reprisal graciously express their views. Like the rest of the Bible, Genesis is to be interpreted in a historical grammatical sense, but we acknowledge that even this criterion has led to debates of the exact time frames and sequence of origins. However, the paradigm of scientific naturalism is false and Ratio Christi is committed to showing the shortcomings of this view. We specifically deny “theistic evolution,” yet realize that this is a position that must be vigorously debated in order to show the weaknesses in both the scientific and theological evidence for macro-evolution.

(4) According to the Bible, we view marriage as a conjugal and covenantal union of one man and one woman, ordained by God from the creation of humanity, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society.

(5) Ratio Christi allows for various views of eschatology. While this is a topic of importance and must be debated within Christianity the focus of Ratio Christi is not on this issue and leaves detailed issues of the end times to the individual. However, we believe in the personal, literal, and bodily return of Christ to earth and the physical resurrection of both believers and non-believers.