Ratio Christi Statement of Faith
Ratio Christi accepts those large areas of agreement on doctrinal teaching considered the historic Christian faith as expressed in numerous creeds(1). Additionally, there are areas in this statement of faith that we believe important due to the specialized task of Christian apologetics. We also 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 or faculty member involved with Ratio Christi adheres to these beliefs and we also allow and encourage atheists, skeptics, and those of other religions to be participating members of Ratio Christi chapters. Neither does the fact that a university faculty or staff member is an advisor or assistant to a Ratio Christi chapter necessarily mean that they accept every facet of this belief statement. They are considered independent agents. Student officers and faculty participants must hold to the historic Christian faith as verified by the staff directors. Within the clubs, discussion of doctrinal differences is encouraged in order to provide a venue for understanding various perspectives within Christianity. The primary area of focus will remain on the defense of the foundations of truth and Christianity and the opposition to secularism and naturalism. 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.
We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament Scripture alone to be inspired in all its very words(2) by God and inerrant(3) in the text of the original manuscripts, and that they alone are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
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 possiblec.
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 (the first human male and female) as the literal progenitors of all peopled.(4)
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.
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.
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.
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.
We believe in the future, personal, literal, and bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones.(5)
We believe that humans were originally created in the image and likeness of God, and that in a discrete historical event Adam and Eve fell from their good relationship with God through sine; as a consequence of his sin, there is a divine curse upon "the whole creation" (Romans. 8:18-25 ESV) and humanity became spiritually dead with a corrupt human nature that has been transmitted to the entire human race, the Man Jesus Christ alone being excepted; and hence, that every descendant of Adam is born into the world with a nature that is corrupt.
According to the Bible, we view marriage as a conjugal, covenantal and non-incestual union, ordained by God from the creation of humanity, of one adult biologically born male and one adult biologically born female, and historically understood by the Church, to be the most basic societal institution and the exclusive institution appointed by God for sexual intimacy.(6)
Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is created by God in His image, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life.
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, being in direct communion with God, and the eternal conscious punishment of the lost who are separated from God.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted baptism and the Lord's Supper (neither necessary for justification), to be observed until He comes.
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.
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.
Final Authority for Matters of Belief and Conduct
The Ratio Christi Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our Christian belief. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, is the authoritative source of Christian doctrine. With respect to faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, the board of directors is the final arbiter on the Bible’s application for the purposes of Ratio Christi as an organization.
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.
(1) The Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Chalcedonian Creed, and Athanasian Creed.
(2) "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.
(3) 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.
(4) The issue of origins is one of the most contentious of our time. Ratio Christi does not take a position on the age of the universe and acknowledges that this is an appropriate debate to have within Christian circles. Like the rest of the Bible, Genesis is to be interpreted in an accurate historical-grammatical literary manner, but we acknowledge that even this criterion has led to debates about the time frames and sequence of origins. However, philosophical naturalism is false and Ratio Christi is committed to demonstrating its failure. We deny “theistic evolution (TE),” yet acknowledge that some Christians hold this position. Major problems with TE include its naturalistic bent in philosophy of science and its hermeneutical approach to the Bible. While we believe it appropriate to debate the weaknesses in both the scientific and theological evidence for macroevolution (changing from one species to another radically different species), we welcome interaction with opposing views for the sake of exploring truth and we welcome TE advocates to participate in various Ratio Christi programs and non-oversight positions. Participation does not entail adherence to every facet of this belief statement nor does it imply TE proponents’ endorsement of Ratio Christi or Ratio Christi’s endorsement of their positions. Our philosophy of ministry encourages robust interaction, dialog, and partnerships with TE adherents while clearly acknowledging our differences. As TE is understood in many ways, we are disagreeing herein with any version that fails to affirm all of the following:
God created the universe ex-nihiloa. The Bible is to be interpreted in a historical grammatical literary manner. Common biological ancestry of all living organisms from one original living organism is not true.b God did—and continues to—intervene miraculously in naturec. Adam and Eve were literal historical figures who are the sole ancestors of all human personsd and were not derived from a preexisting animal body. Human sinful tendencies such as selfishness trace back to the historic fall of Adame and are not the result of the evolution of humanity from animal ancestors.
(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.