You bet there’s an impact!
First published in a CMI newsletter
Recently, I was reading the introduction to Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s landmark book Refuting Compromise. This book discusses and refutes the most dangerous compromises in Christianity today. This amazing work provides the best positive defence of a straightforward Genesis creation ever written.
In it he quotes one of the major opponents of our ministry in evangelical circles, progressive creationist astronomer Dr Hugh Ross, as saying that the creation controversy is ‘the biggest issue facing the church’. He says this is ‘because of the impact it is having on evangelism’.
I have to confess that it was upsetting to read this. I felt a sense of despair. Why? Because Ross thinks that ministries like ours are having a negative impact. He claims that a literal view of Genesis (basically taking it to mean what it clearly says) is keeping people away from the Gospel. I’ve heard this claim before—many times in fact—and it saddens me because, ‘If only they knew the truth.’ While they may want to believe this and gather around themselves a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), this is clearly not the case. The scaremongering statement that it hampers evangelism is, in fact, keeping leaders and laypeople alike from really finding out what the creation issue is all about.
Our experience in over 25 years of ministry is exactly the opposite. Creation evangelism has been, and is increasingly, one of the most effective ways to break down barriers to people accepting the Gospel. Quite simply, people want to know, ‘Can I trust the Bible?’ Isn’t this really the big issue today? How can all of the convoluted quasi-theology and continual reinterpretation of Scripture help folks find the truth? Where does the truth begin in the Bible if Genesis doesn’t mean what it says?
I’m sure that you know this to be so also. Because many of you already subscribe to Creation magazine it is likely that at some time you experienced the beautiful freshness and liberation that came when you realized you could really trust God’s Word from the very first verse. Can you remember what that was like?
Too often, many people criticize our stance without really knowing what we actually believe. I like to call this the flat-earth accusation, which suggests that we are somehow ignorant of the ‘real world’. Just recently I was speaking at a church when a teacher from a Christian school told me his story. A couple of years ago, someone bought a gift subscription of Creation for his school. He recalled seeing each new issue on the lunch table in the staff room. He said:
‘I thought you guys were lunatics and dangerous to Christianity. I refused to read the magazine, in fact, I hated the sight of it. Then one day I was on my own, so I picked up a copy and started reading it. Well, needless to say I’ve changed my mind. I even had to leave my church because they refused to see the importance of this issue.’
At the same meeting, a lady whose husband died a few years before had been left with the job of bringing up four older boys by herself. She said that the creation issue clearly helped her to cope by understanding the Bible’s big picture of a good creation marred by sin; no death before the Fall; and a blessed hope for the future.
A few years ago, Lita C.. had problems with the big bang (which, incidentally Hugh Ross endorses despite problems that even many secular astronomers recognize). She emailed to say:
‘Thank you so much for your ministry, without it, I probably would not be saved today. When I was little, I would ask questions about absolutely everything around me, and that naturally spread to asking questions about the Bible. My family couldn't answer me when I asked where “Mrs. Cain' came from”, or “how all the animals fit on the ark”. … They discouraged me from asking questions about the Bible, telling me to “just believe.” And I tried, but it was impossible for me to stop asking those questions. In school, we learned about the Big Bang and the evolutionary theory so early I can't even remember when it was introduced. My teachers were more than happy to answer my questions, and to my mind at that age, those answers seemed to make sense. So I learned that the Bible was a nice storybook, but it wasn't true. Faith was fine for less intelligent people who needed that crutch, but I considered myself above that.
‘ … I found the URL [website address] for [you] in a book I was researching, and browsing your Q&A page, I was surprised to find the answers to the questions I had been asking for over ten years in literally the first day I was at your site … All the objections that I had always had to faith were crumbling around me, and I found myself with no excuse not to believe. A few months later, I became a Christian. God has used your ministry to affect so many lives, mine among them. Thank you.’
Now Lita is helping other people with apologetics herself, including writing articles for CMI. This is just one example of the multiplier effect of our ministry.
So, in one sense our critics are correct. The creation issue is having an impact on evangelism—an enormously positive one—for all those who have realized that they can take God at His Word. Your efforts by partnering us in this ministry are having an impact by making all the difference in the lives of those mentioned above. Thank you.