We are sure it comes as no surprise that Creation Ministries International comes in for regular serious attacks. Years ago we had Ian Plimer’s totally discredited book Telling Lies For God (see The Ian Plimer Files). The Australian Skeptics seem to warm themselves in winter ranting and raving about the demon creationists, and CMI takes centre stage in these attacks. But they have never provided any arguments of substance, as shown in our Countering the Critics page. There is even the odd professing Christian, some odder than others, who joins the atheists in attacking his own book, the Bible (see The Skeptics and their ‘Churchian’ Allies). And then there are curious people like one Nathan Z. What do we mean?
Nathan—devoted fan of leading humanist
Some few years ago, the Managing Director of CMI-Australia, Dr Carl Wieland, was booked to speak at a Pentecostal church west of Sydney. This so enraged a member of this church that he wrote to Ian Plimer, the anti-Christian activist (a former Australian Humanist of the Year), looking for ‘dirt’ on Dr Wieland so as to discredit him in the eyes of his pastor. Yes, it really is true—an active member of a Bible-believing church wrote (twice in fact) to this anti-Christian activist pleading for information to ‘…make my Pastor feel uncomfortable about having Wieland in.’
What is even more amazing is that he described the members of his church as ‘gullible’. That is, those other than himself, presumably.
Nathan also compliments Plimer on his book saying, ‘It has proven to be an invaluable resource since in the many discussions I have had with my peers since [sic]. Thank you!’ This is simply stunning, isn’t it, that a man like Nathan who describes himself as a ‘committed Christian’ would use such a vile, incorrect and incompetent book by a humanist, one which has been shown publicly to falsely slander his fellow Christians. And a book which was written to attempt to convince people that the Bible is false about the history of the world.
Nathan also gushed about another book by the late Barry Price, The Creation Science Controversy, which he lamented he had lent to a friend. Not only did our ministry thoroughly debunk this book in Response to Deception, but a fellow Skeptic said it was ‘peppered with errors’. Finally, the reason Nathan will probably not find another copy is that it was so defamatory that distributors withdrew the book and the publishers pulped all remaining copies.
The Australian Skeptics (sceptical about everything except evolution) loved his letter so much they published it on their website!
A fair-minded critic? Not on your life!
The first author (WA) has actually met Nathan in person, and recounts his experiences as follows:
‘I had a very pleasant lunch with Nathan’s pastor and then met Nathan Z. As I remember it, Nathan made his case, then he and I locked horns. The conversation very quickly turned to the book Telling Lies For God, which Nathan heartily approved of. Nathan agreed with every criticism of creation and every lie in the book. It apparently bothered him not that Plimer mocked the written Word of God and claimed in it that belief in life after death is evidence that “people have not been taught how to think.”’
‘CMI is open to criticism, firstly upon our scientific views, as that is the nature of scientific debate. Secondly CMI is also open to criticism regarding its understanding of Scripture. However Plimer’s book took the battle far past what is fair and reasonable into unsubstantiated slander, listing numerous claims about the alleged immorality and treachery of CMI and certain of its employees. All these accusations without supporting evidence, and all subsequently dismissed by a “commission of enquiry” specially convened to investigate Plimer’s claims. The enquiry (headed by Mr Clarrie Briese, former chief magistrate of NSW, nationally famous for his fight against corruption in the judiciary) concluded “What the evidence does establish is that CSF [the former acronym for what is now CMI] and its directors have been often, and seriously, misrepresented.”
‘I gave Nathan a copy of this report and suggested he speak with its chairman. Did he? No! Did he accept the results from the commission comprising six senior Christians, all with reputations at stake quite independent of CMI? Did he have any intention of following Proverbs 18:17 and checking out our side of the story? Not at all! Nathan preferred to trust the discredited and unsubstantiated words of an anti-Christian activist!
‘Nathan repeated many of Plimer’s slanders and I challenged him to back any of them up with evidence. He was unable to do so. I then challenged him upon his anti-Biblical evolutionary views. Again he was unable to defend his views. I further explained CMI’s Biblical standpoint, showing him how the plain reading of Scripture supports recent six-day creation, for example. I discovered (though it was no surprise) that he knew little of Scripture. I endeavoured to show him the poverty of his views, forcefully but lovingly. Confronted with his lack of evidence for CMI’s supposed immorality, his lack of evidence for his evolutionary views and his lack of Biblical knowledge, I would have expected a Christian to be somewhat taken aback, having been given cause to reconsider. Maybe even to give Christian brothers the benefit of the doubt. Did this happen? In no way.
‘Nathan became annoyed when I raised a question about his salvation! But I would suggest that if it looks like a wolf, sounds like a wolf, acts like a wolf, and goes to wolves to get help to attack the sheep, it has no grounds for righteous indignation when the sheep doubt that it’s really a fellow sheep (cf. Matthew 7:15).’
Quoting out of context?
Over the following months WA received a number of accusing letters from Nathan. There was, we have to say as graciously as possible, a significant lack of reading comprehension and simple lack of logic pervading his diatribes. And there was the favourite anti-creationist fetish of accusing us of ‘quoting out of context’. He even e-mailed the atheist Lewontin to ask whether this telling admission was taken out of context. Frankly, there isn’t anything much sillier than asking an author whether he has been quoted out of context. Surely all one needs to do is compare the quote with the original. Asking a series of leading questions is even worse—this practice is forbidden in a law court. It’s easy enough for an author to regret what he said and claim he meant something different, and blame the readers for taking his words at face value.
So let’s consider the Lewontin article in context, which is the only way to determine whether we have quoted out of context. Earlier in the article, Lewontin openly called himself an atheist. This was in the context of a creation/evolution debate where he sided with fellow atheist Carl Sagan against two Christians whom he admitted had high qualifications in biology. He admitted that the audience voted that the evolution side lost. How interesting that he linked evolution so clearly with atheism, and creation with Christianity.
Lewontin also has a reputation, even among his fellow evolutionists (e.g. Michael Ruse), for letting his ardent Marxist sympathies colour his interpretation of the data. Finally, the very next sentence after the extract we quoted is: ‘The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything.’ If this isn’t pushing atheism, I don’t know what is!
Therefore, we were quite justified in taking his statements at face value—that is: materialism is primary; reasonability of explanation is secondary.
Quoting out of context!
Now let’s look at some genuine out-of-context quotations by Nathan himself, of WA’s words and those of other creationists (letter 13 November 1998, on file). And we will prove this by citing the context, as he failed to do.
Nathan wrote: ‘Firstly, you [WA] contend that God always acts “instantaneously”. Really? Tell that to Abraham.’ No, what I (WA) said was: ‘Right throughout Scripture God’s creative acts have been instantaneous …’ By leaving out the word ‘creative’, he has distorted my meaning. Of course no creationist disputes God’s slow acting through providence, but he has failed to refute what I actually wrote (and documented).
He wrote that Dr Russell Humphreys claimed that comet decay took ‘“at least” 10,000, and more probably 100,000 years.’ Did he actually read the article? Although he put the words “at least” in quotes, which indicates a direct quote, Dr Humphreys never said that! He said, ‘it could not survive much longer than 100,000 years. Many comets have typical ages of 10,000 years.’ That is, 100,000 is a maximum age, and is thus inconsistent with an evolutionary framework, and as it is not a minimum age it is consistent with a biblical timescale (see Comets and the Age of the Solar System for thorough documentation, and the update More problems for the ‘Oort comet cloud’ [and Comets—portents of doom or indicators of youth?]).
Also, to take Dr Humphreys in context, he was obviously discussing orders of magnitude — comets are about 104 years old (6,000 ≈ 103.778), and couldn’t survive more than 105 years (which in our layman’s magazine, is 10,000 and 100,000 years respectively). Obviously orders of magnitude are sufficient to show that this is a problem for those who believe that the earth is between 109 and 1010 years old. Better precision is not possible, and neither is it necessary.
He claimed that Dr Humphreys’ figure for the ocean’s age, based on the influx of sodium, was a ‘“minimum” age’ of 62 million years. As documented in Salty seas: Evidence for a young earth, Dr Humphreys clearly stated that it was a maximum age (so it is again inconsistent with an evolutionary framework but consistent with the Biblical one). It should be obvious that the dating methods cited could give only upper limits. For example, if the ocean were created with some salinity (so saltwater fish could survive), it would need even less time to reach the present level of salinity. And a global flood would obviously wash in minerals faster than is happening today.
He claimed that Dr Danny Faulkner ‘claimed himself, when asked directly, that the age of the universe is at least 10,000 years.’ Where on earth could he have got that from? In the article he cited, Dr Faulkner was asked: ‘How old do you think the universe is?’ Answer: ‘Probably six to eight thousand years.’
Talk about misquoting! He leaves the crucial word ‘creative’ off WA’s claim; inserts the words ‘at least’ into a claim by Dr Humphreys which wasn’t in the original and which distorts the meaning; turns the word ‘maximum’ into ‘minimum’, its diametrical opposite; and turns ‘six to eight thousand years’ into ‘at least 10,000 years’.
These and other arguments and accusations were answered with incontrovertible documentary evidence. Did this sway him? Not in any way. Evidently, this fanatical enemy of CMI is a true believer, regardless of the facts. He held doggedly to his views despite not one scrap of supporting evidence, and mountains of evidence to the contrary.
What is a cult?
This year Nathan turned up at a church where Dr Wieland was to speak and attempted to disrupt a question session. Among other things, Nathan accused CMI of being a ‘cult’ because we are supposedly ‘Jesus-plus’. It’s well worth noting Dr Wieland’s reply: a cult is Bible-plus—whereas we are not. Because cults nearly all believe in ‘Jesus’, the question to ask a cultist—or Nathan—is, ‘Which Jesus?’ The Apostle Paul warned about ‘another Jesus whom we have not preached’ (2 Corinthians 11:4). It’s only in the Bible that we find true information about Jesus Christ, that He is our God, Creator and Saviour, who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Cults invariably have an unbiblical view of His person and work. But the Bible also reveals that Jesus affirmed the Genesis account of a recent creation—see Jesus and the age of the world. (NB we are not suggesting that someone who is as yet uncertain on these issues, perhaps having not checked out the Bible carefully, is therefore not a Christian or automatically preaching ‘another Jesus’. Our concern is with those who have had the Biblical issues pointed out to them but persist in fanatically attacking those who uphold the plain, straightforward statements of the Bible.)
Nathan also said he would be returning to the church, planning to discredit CMI. It all seems so bizarre, coming from a man who insists he is a Christian. Regrettably, his alliance with God-haters goes against every characteristic of the blessed man of Psalm 1:1. A fifth columnist perhaps?
We meet many who, in one way or another, oppose CMI’s views. Many of these see the strength of the Biblical case for Genesis Creation and change their minds. Others state their opposition and then disappear, probably realistic enough to accept their view doesn’t hold water, but unwilling to make the mind-shift. Then there are people like Nathan, who have had their case shot full of holes but keep bobbing up, full of resentment and anger. What fuels their antipathy?
Nathan bobbed up again, just the other day, on a website that explicitly claims that there are no answers in the first book of the Bible. It is run by Christ-hater John Stear, who has even rebuked his fellow sceptics because they weren’t overtly anti-Christian enough for his liking (see this critique). Isn’t it interesting how the opponents of Biblical Creation prowl with the opponents of Biblical Christianity in general?
This time, Nathan’s venom was spilled on an article co-written by Ken Ham and the second author (JS), Terrorists and Death. Nathan’s article is printed in its entirety below (indented and dark red) with CMI’s comments interspersed.
[Creation Ministries International] and Terrorism
Friday 14th September 2001.
Like everyone, the horror of the last few days has exhausted even my vocabulary. Each of us with Faith should be keeping those grieving in our prayers.
But faith in what? A prayer to a false God won’t help.
However, the reason I’m writing to you today is to climb onto one of my most well-worn soapboxes.
I hope you’ll indulge me. I rarely do this without a good reason. The tragic events unfolding in the United States are distressing, and likely to get worse. The thought that someone could be trying to claim a cheap ideological point from the mass of human misery that’s occurring is repulsive and offensive.
So when is Nathan going to write against the eugenicist and antitheist Clinton R. Dawkins, a great hero of Nathan’s bedfellows, the Australian Skeptics. Dawkins used this tragedy to make a ludicrous attack on theistic religion in general, and what he called Abrahamic religions in particular, and promote his own atheistic faith (The Age (Melbourne) 24 September 2001). Dawkins is also ignorant of the fact that the essence of the true Abrahamic religion is salvation by grace alone through faith alone, not by works, as shown by Paul’s citation of Genesis 15:6, ‘Abraham believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness’ (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, cf. Eph. 2:8–9). These terrorists were trying to earn salvation by a work, i.e. martyrdom, so by definition were not part of the Abrahamic religion; rather, their religion was a counterfeit. Many of the Crusaders were also practising a salvation-by-works mentality, in an age where the Bible was not readily available to the people. Naturally Dawkins also ignored the atrocities committed by evolution-based Nazi Germany or the atheist-based Communist régimes (see Q&A: Communism and Nazism). But then would Nathan want to upset his atheistic buddies?
Today, I received an e-mail from [CMI] — the result of being a member of their mailing list. To those of you to whom the name is familiar, and regardless of whether you agree with them or not, you would have to agree that they are a very narrowly focused group — seeing the whole world through the eyes of their own, rather obsessive theology. “Answers in Genesis” were formerly known as the “Creation Science Foundation” [now Creation Ministries International-Ed.], until they were forced to change their name in the face of too much proof that their movement had nothing to do with Science at all.
Forced by whom, Nathan? You have made this claim repeatedly but have never been able to come up with who ‘forced’ this change, and how the force was applied. We ask again. Who and how? Amazing that one of our offices had already adopted the new name well before the events that Nathan’s atheist buddies credit with ‘forcing’ us to change our name (more on this below).
It’s also worth pointing out that Nathan, like many leading lights in the Australian Skeptics, has no scientific qualifications of which we are aware, unlike many of the staff of CMI with earned Ph.D.s in science. Furthermore, most readers of Creation, including scientists, will learn much about the latest developments in real science quite aside from the creation/evolution debate, in fields as diverse as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology and physics, as a cursory glance at the magazine would show. Conversely, there is a starvation diet of real science in the Australian Skeptic, or even in the pretentiously named National Center for Science Education, an organization totally devoted to promoting evolution from goo-to-you-via-the-zoo.
Note also, that the first author (WA) doesn’t claim to be a scientist, merely a self-taught layman with (we think) a good measure of common sense. But it’s more than sufficient to answer Nathan’s Plimer-inspired arguments.
In the e-mail they boldly claim that the explanation of the terrorist attacks lays with Evolution. Yes, you heard that right. The terrorists, the hijackings, the huge fatalities — all the evil in the world — all because there are people in the world who want to claim that the Earth is not literally 6,000 years old.
Wrong again Nathan! What the article did say was that ‘…these ghastly events are indeed the consequence of individual human evil, i.e. of the terrorists, not the victims.’ And ‘Let this day of horrible tragedy be one in which people are reminded of the ultimate cause of such calamity: our sin—our rebellion against God.’
I make no pretence at being someone without an opinion on these people, but to push your barrow on the back of so much tragedy is wrong, wrong, wrong.
OK then, why is it right for Nathan to push his anti-Biblical barrow “on the back of so much tragedy”? In fact, the question must be asked, since Nathan rejects God’s word, the Bible, as authority, on what grounds can he claim that a given act is ‘wrong’? (His rejection of Biblical authority does, however, explain why he sees nothing wrong with his own hypocrisy!) In fact, if we’re just rearranged pond scum as he and his Skeptic buddies proclaim, what’s the difference between the terrorists murdering 6,000 people and a frog killing thousands of flies? [Note added 29 November 2001: for an updated figure on the tragic event, see New York death toll dips below 3,500, which of course doesn't change the principle involved]
Their e-mail is prefaced with a few “unsolicited” letters of effusive praise for [CMI] and their coverage of this issue. For example, J.G of Minnesota writes “You covered all the issues without any divisiveness.” Dave in Wichita gushes “(the article) is a great tool for witnessing …” Well, let’s see. The article starts simply enough with an age old question. “Why does a good God allow such evil acts?” It’s a legitimate question. C.S Lewis himself gives a very strong answer to that question in his book The Problem of Pain. After starting well, [CMI] reveals it’s [sic] true motivations, claiming (and I quote), that
“For those Christians who have believed in the supposed millions of years of history, then they have effectively taught that God describes all this death and suffering as ‘very good’.”
Let me encourage you to read that line again — mindful of the context that was intended by the article — the terrorist attacks in the USA.
What are they saying? That if you disagree with their version of Young Earth Creationism, you’re basically agreeing with the statement “God is Evil”.
A casual reading of the article Nathan refers to, Terrorists and Death, would establish that this is nonsense. CMI’s point was that those Christians who hold to an old earth view have no answer to the problem of death and suffering. If the fossil record extends into the distant past, over millions of years (as the old-earthers teach) then there is a serious problem for Christianity, for God pronounced His creation to be ‘very good’ at the end of His Creation Week (Genesis 1:31). Therefore, as the fossil record is a testimony of death, disease and suffering, the ‘God’ of the old earth Christian must be a God who considers death and suffering to be ‘very good.’ How can they then rail against the death and suffering the terrorists wreaked upon unsuspecting Americans, last week? They must believe that God used death and suffering as His creative process, so it is normal, and a part of life, as old as life itself!
At no stage did CMI attribute evil to God. Nathan knows this full well, but like his skeptical buddies is desperate to score points against CMI any way he can. Rather, we were pointing out that this was the logical conclusion of the old-earthers’ belief, even though most fortunately don’t carry it to its logical conclusion.
I’m reminded of the ‘unforgivable sin’ of grieving the Holy Spirit—which my Pastor teaches occurs when you attribute evil to God.
This statement is silly, not that it’s by any means certain that Nathan has cited his pastor accurately, given Nathan’s track record of misrepresentations documented above. After all, many Christians were once atheists who did argue that God is evil, but by the alleged reasoning of Nathan’s pastor, such people can’t be true Christians because there is no way to be forgiven for such a sin. Many commentators take the view that the unforgivable sin is a final unbelief (cf. John 3:18). Another idea is that it was not a sin any individual today could commit, because it was a national sin of that generation of the Nation of Israel, denying Jesus’ messiahship on the grounds that he was demon possessed. Under this view, the judgement that could no longer be averted was the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
The article goes on, mixing a valid Christian response of compassion to those suffering, with the claim that if only we listened to Young Earth Creationists, none of this would have happened!
Someone should remind [CMI] that the Islamic fundamentalists …
This is a contradiction in terms. Historically, fundamentalism has been used to identify one holding to the five fundamentals of the faith adopted by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the USA in 1910. The five fundamentals were the miracles of Christ, the virginal conception of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the inspiration of Scripture. Behind these is the doctrine that Christ is both fully God and fully man, and the Trinity. Of course, Muslims don’t believe that the Bible is inspired, that Jesus is God, or even that He was crucified. Conversely, then CMI is unashamedly fundamentalist in this historical sense.
… who crashed their planes into the WTC buildings were Creationists, and took the same “my way or the highway” approach to their scriptures as [CMI] do.
This is bizarre, even by Nathan’s standards. In fact, this is the main reason for the name change to Answers in Genesis [now Creation Ministries International]. We wanted to make it clear that our focus is the authority of Scripture, especially in the first book of the Bible, where all doctrines of Christianity are first revealed in some form. The science of creation/evolution is a corollary, not our main focus. We are not simply supporting any old designer—see CMI's views on the Intelligent Design Movement. Rather, we identify the Designer as Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, whom CMI honors as both Creator and Redeemer. We are therefore aware that our Lord tells us to ‘love one another, as I have loved you’, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and ‘turn the other cheek’. Nathan has us as fanatics akin to those who killed thousands. What would we do—love them to death, Nathan?
Did their faith in a 6,000 year old Earth give them the conscience to prevent the tragedy? No. Did their isolation from the mainstream world of Islamic faith (which rightly advocates charity and hospitality) provide them with the feelings of rejection and “righteous” anger they must have needed in order to execute such heinous acts? Very probably.
Nathan’s knowledge of Islam is even more lacking than his knowledge of the Bible. The Terrorists were acting in accordance with the Koran and historical Islam—see The Root of the Problem. Note also that many Muslims, particularly those educated in the West, have no problem blending evolution with even radical Islam.
Do Young Earth Creationists constantly rail against the fact that their view is in a minority? That they are part of a small, righteous “remnant” of the Church?
Righteous, Nathan? Any righteousness we have is that imputed to us (credited to our account) by our Lord and Saviour Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), just as all the sins of all believers are imputed to Him (Isaiah 53:5,6,10). A Christian should know that no one righteous kneels at the cross of Christ. It is the very fact that we are aware of our lack of righteousness that brings us to echo the old hymn, ‘Nothing to thy feet I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.’
That so many of the mainstream denominations have had their doctrine “polluted” by the evils of science? Yes — and the proof is in every issue of Creation.
Creation magazine has never attacked science! Why would it? Most of the writers and editorial staff are highly qualified (Ph.D.) scientists, in contrast to Nathan and to many of their opposite numbers involved with the Australian Skeptic. Rather, Creation opposes materialistic story-telling about the past masquerading as science. Incidentally, when CMI scientists were invited for a grilling by the Brisbane branch of the Australian Skeptics, their leader admitted that the presentation quality of Creation and our other books on our display table outclassed that of their own.
Do you see a worrying parallel?
CMI would say that science is neither evil, nor moral; and that doctrine is polluted not by ‘science’ but by sin. As Scripture says, ‘that which is not of faith is of sin.’ When we fallible humans re-interpret the Word of God to conform with the changing opinions of fallen man then we degrade Scripture, moulding it to fit our non-Biblical desires.
If you have previously been inclined to support the cause of [CMI], now is the time to reconsider. Muslim fundamentalism killed thousands in New York and Washington. It’s another kind of twisted Christian Fundamentalism that advocates the assassination of Abortionists …
When has anyone connected with CMI advocated such a thing?? The overwhelming majority of people (including CMI) who are horrified by this Holocaust of the Unborn are consistent, and abhor murdering abortionists too.
… (another evil caused by Evolution, by the way), …
Exactly right, abortion is strongly linked to evolution. For example, the evolution-soaked Humanist Manifesto II (1973) states: ‘The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized.’ Its signatories include Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood, Betty Friedan of the National Organisation of Women — both leading pro-abortion organizations — and Henry Morgentaler, who was at the forefront of the Canadian push for abortions. Etienne Baulieu, the developer of the abortion pill RU-486, properly known as a human pesticide, is a signatory to Humanist Manifesto 2000. The notorious neo-Nazi philosopher at Princeton, Peter Singer, uses atheism to attack a sanctity-of-life ethic—not only for unborn babies, but also for newborn babies and elderly people with dementia.
… or the Oklahoma City bombing.
We weren’t aware that Timothy McVeigh had any religious affiliation. In fact, his final pre-execution public statement was a strongly humanist poem about being the master of his fate, spitting in God’s face, as it were (see Timothy McVeigh, Christian terrorist (?)).
Note that I’m not accusing [CMI] of supporting either of those events.
That’s almost a first—Nathan not making a false accusation against us.
My point is, though, that [CMI] represent, in their own way, the very scourge of this world—Religious Zealots. Zealots in the sense that their theological ideology takes precedence to the true Call of Christ, to their common sense, their decency, and in this case, their tact.
There we are, in one paragraph likened to murderous hijackers and those who murder abortionists. Then let off the hook by Nathan’s charity. Then why mention CMI in the same breath as these murderous sinners Nathan? Guilt by association maybe? If so, then he’s learnt well this deceitful debating tactic from his hero Plimer.
Creation Ministries International is a dedicated Christian organization supported by increasing numbers of people from a broad cross-section of mainstream Christianity. These Christians support CMI because they know that our aim is to defend the authority of God’s Word in a time when ‘Christians’ such as Nathan Z promote ‘another Gospel’, that is predicated upon placing the opinions of fallible sinful men above the eternal Word of the perfect Creator God, who does not lie. Therein lies a major reason for the increasing impotence of the Christian church in affecting our culture as it once did. Our purpose in publishing all this was to wake up Christians to the fact that there are other Nathan Z’s out there, using all the right Christian words, but really holding on to a completely different view of reality and salvation. This is not some narrow crusade about some Hebrew word and shades of meaning, it is a life-and-death struggle for the core of Christianity, the authority of the Bible itself. As Jesus said, ‘I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?’ John 3:12.