Refuting compromising critic of CMI seminar

By Gary Bates and Jonathan Sarfati

CMI talks and seminars are typically very well received by Christians—they are often switched on by the importance of the issue, and see how the Bible can be trusted right from the beginning. One good example is CMI’s Dr David Catchpoole, who originally came as a theistic evolutionist to a seminar by Drs Carl Wieland and Don Batten to correct them, but ended up being corrected himself!

But of course, not all people like them, and this applies especially to people who disagree with our views. For example, one of Dr Catchpoole’s later creation seminars in Singapore was unfavorably (and unfairly) reviewed by a critic (see refutation). A recent seminar at a church by Gary Bates and Dr Jonathan Sarfati was extremely well received by the host pastors and attendees, who loved the available resources as well as the teaching. But we were surprised to hear of an elder (John K.) in the church, also a biology lecturer at a nearby Christian university, who, having failed to block our ministry, sent around a critique of the presentations to an unspecified mailing list.

If he indeed did attend all the presentations (there were 5 in total plus an extensive separate Q&A time), he never once sought out Jonathan or Gary for discussion during the whole day of the seminar. More troubling than critiquing the ‘facts’ of the presentations, he made some uncharitable comments which attributed a lack of integrity to both presenters. We are answering this to show what our opposition is often like, and how many often resort to attacking style, or the persons rather than content. Often, when making a controversy of such meetings, many churches will shy away from hosting creation meetings as they do not want to, nor do they have the time to deal with potential (and sometimes credentialed) troublemakers in the church (and we thank the church for hosting us even in the face of such opposition). After all, the ‘science’ is not their specialty. However, this is exactly why churches should have CMI ministry so that these compromising and unbiblical views can be responded to, showing how lacking in substance they are.

Anti-creationist websites

In a covering letter, this critic made a number of assertions about our website and others, on which we comment briefly, before dealing with the critique proper. Please note that it will be important to read the links contained in this article to demonstrate our points factually.

The Creation Ministries International website is not a good or credible source.

The onus is on the accuser to detail our errors. However, not the slightest error has been demonstrated. This has often been described as ‘elephant hurling’ or even arguing from authority. It’s like saying “Trust me. I’m a scientist and the information is no good.”

I believe much better websites are those listed below:

http://www.reasons.org/ (founded by Dr. Hugh Ross, a Godly scientist who is highly regarded by the scientific community, but unjustly criticized by YECs like Sarfati)

Where is the proof that it’s ‘unjust’? In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is a documented fact that Dr Ross has openly misrepresented the early church fathers. See for example More false claims by Hugh Ross: Leading progressive creationist’s (non-) response to Refuting Compromise. Moreover, our particular critic is a theistic evolutionist. This is a view that Dr Ross himself does not agree with. It seems that the old saying “Enemy of my enemy (CMI) is my friend” applies here.

http://biologos.org/ (co-started by Dr. Francis Collins, a wonderful, Christ-centered scientist whom I’ve met and greatly admire; he’s currently Director of the Nat’l Inst. of Health in Wash. , DC)
In one of our talks, we documented Dr Collins tolerating Christ-blaspheming articles on his [Biologos] site, e.g. ‘If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error.’

We notice the seeming intent to portray both Dr Ross and Dr Collins as wonderful godly men. This might well be the case, but we believe that it is being used in the context to somehow portray them as being more reasonable or ‘godly’ than the presenters. While both Ross and Collins might both be Christians, we should keep in mind that Christians can be in error. Godliness does not automatically mean that one cannot be wrong or even misled. Did our critic have some special discernment? After all, in one of our talks, we documented Dr Collins tolerating Christ-blaspheming articles on his site, e.g.

“If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.”1

We would presume you would agree that accusing Christ of teaching mistaken doctrines is a very serious matter indeed, and crosses the line into heresy. See also our detailed paper Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of Biologos.

If further interested in the ‘outside’ concerns about CMI, see http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/creation_ministries_international.htm .

Even we were shocked at this one. As a professing Christian he appeals to a site run by a rabid atheist who despises any sort of Christianity. We explained back in 1999 why they are not worth responding to any further because of their lies, nastiness and nefarious tactics to induce people to lose confidence in the Scriptures. This is what its owner really stands for. This critic in the church deserves no credence since he is so desperate to discredit biblical creationists (fellow Christians) that he is prepared to go to enemies of the faith to support his cause.

… I honestly believe that the Lord has called me to be a ‘watchman’ as described in Ezekiel 33.

This amounts to a form of self deception. It was clearly presented numerous times in the seminar that a theistic evolutionary view that puts death before the Fall, actually undermines the gospel and Christ’s atoning work. See next.

I’d be wrong if I didn’t speak out concerns that I believe are from the Holy Spirit.

We take no pleasure but similarly feel compelled to point out that this is another argument from authority. It is also highly manipulative to say “God told me” as it puts anyone who dare question his authority in the position of ‘questioning God’. Never once did we resort to such emotional blackmail during our talks. Instead, at all times we deferred to what the Scriptures teach. After all, the reason we would describe ourselves as biblical creationists is because we simply believe what the Bible clearly states. That is our authority, whereas our critic clearly places secular science (which is constantly changing based upon the ideas of fallible secular scientists) above the Bible. But most importantly, if the Bible is the infallible Word of God as endorsed by his own denomination, then the Holy Spirit would not contradict the Words He inspired in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15–17, 2 Peter 1:20–21)! CMI accepts the stance of this elder’s own church of Sola Scriptura: that is, we are not obliged to believe anything spiritual unless it is stated in Scripture or can be logically deduced from it.

Let’s spend more time reading the Bible,

Of course, a CMI seminar points out many biblical truths from various parts of the Bible, not just in Genesis. Our presentations encouraged people to take the Bible at face value by showing it can be trusted from the very first verse. This, hopefully, increases confidence in God’s Word. It’s a shame that the critic doesn’t seem to practise what he preaches, since the rest of the Bible takes Genesis as history, including 100 references in the New Testament from every single New Testament author and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. All affirmed a literal historical Genesis and that’s what we were doing too.

reflecting on His goodness and grace,

Of course, this entails no death or suffering in God’s finished ‘very good’ creation, contrary to the long-age views held by this critic.

truthfully proclaiming the Good News,

As we do—the Good News is what the Apostle Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15—that Jesus, “the last Adam”, came to die physically and rise again physically precisely because “the first man, Adam” sinned and brought physical death into the world (see also this Journal paper). A theistic evolutionary, millions of years view places death and suffering (the fossil record) before Adam and Eve, thus undermining Christ’s atoning work.

caring for God’s Creation,

Why? If God’s means of creation was survival of the fittest, why not let the unfit perish? If we are just another animal, we are just showing our superior fitness if we wipe out another species. See also Earth Day: Is Christianity to blame for environment problems?

letting the world see God’s fruit through our lives, not our dogmatism,

Dogmatism about God’s Word is no vice; indecision is no virtue. Was Christ dogmatic to claim to be the only way to the Father (John 14:6) or His disciples in affirming that only through Him can one be saved (Acts 4:12)? See also Why is CMI so dogmatic on 24-hour creation days? and a response to critics of this, and Can Christians believe “dogmatically” that the earth is 6,000 years old?

and listening to the Holy Spirit,

We do listen in the only verifiable and confirming way: by believing the Bible He inspired. Once again, we don’t believe the Holy Spirit would contradict the very clear and straightforward Words of Scripture.

Who will direct our steps if we truly desire that and surrender to Christ as Lord.

Then our critic should do this also. How about believing the very Words of the Savior when He affirmed a recent creation (Mark 10:6–10) and a global Flood (Luke 17:26–27)?

I humbly submit to God as Judge and Jesus as Lord of all. I don’t care if any of us are ‘correct’ or not; I desire that Jesus be glorified in everything that we do.

This is a ‘high’ pious-sounding approach, but Jesus is hardly glorified when the Bible is undermined, because He said “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

sxc.hu: Ramzi Hashisho

Responding to critique of our seminar

Now follows the actual letter with our responses.

Overall, here are thoughts:


1. Both Jonathan Sarfati and Gary Bates are committed Christians and committed YECs

2. Both know their subject quite well

3. Jonathan is indeed highly intelligent and knows a lot about nearly everything (physics, biol., chem., geol., anthropology, and even the Bible and Hebrew)

That’s something anyway, acknowledging that we are Christians who know what we are talking about. But it goes rapidly downhill from here.

Negatives (in my opinion):

1. Both are extremely ‘narrow’ in their focus on the evils of evolution (more below) and the dangers of ‘secular scientists’; and the ‘validity’ and ‘critical importance’ of Creation science and YEC ‘scientists’ [Note: I used the ‘ marks on purpose to emphasize what Jon and Gary emphasized, but which I would disagree with]

Of course, by definition, any focus will be ‘narrow’; anything broader will blunt this focus. But we amply explained our reasoning. For much more, see the articles under Creation: Why It matters.

2. They shared in an extremely biased, misleading, and manipulative manner (which, unfortunately, most people in attendance probably didn’t perceive).

We evidently didn’t share his enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. But to address the specifics:

  • We affirm being biased: if this critic can find an unbiased human being from any period of history, he should preserve him for posterity. See for example Evolution & creation, science & religion, facts & bias from Refuting Evolution.
  • Misleading? We have studied this critique carefully, but the slightest proof of this still eludes us. This also attributes some kind of evil motive. This is very unfortunate. If he felt this was our deliberate intent the Scriptures are clear that he has a responsibility to address this with us directly. Something he did not do, instead, sending out an email to a blind copy list with these accusations, where we have no opportunity to defend ourselves per Proverbs 18:17.
  • Manipulative? As Bernard might say on the classic British TV series Yes Minister, “This is one of those irregular verbs, isn’t it? I’m persuasive, you’re manipulative, while he’s a propagandist who’d make Göbbels blush.”
I expected this, but it was worse (in my opinion) than expected. Here’s a list of a few of the many misconceptions they promoted:

Now follows a list of assertions (note that he never proves they are ‘misconceptions’), followed by our comments.

scientists promoting evol. leads to “confusion” whereas YEC leads to clarity;

Amply justified. Here is one of many examples: from ‘Joel Galvin’ : “Faith shipwrecked by compromising Christian colleges; restored by creation ministry” .

the errors of Hugh Ross & Reasons to Believe;

Thoroughly documented in Refuting Compromise. Ross openly admits deferring to science and nature as a lens to interpret Scripture instead of the other way around—even calling Nature a “67th book of the Bible”.

the errors of Biologos (JS even said “Biologos encourages atheists”);

These errors are thoroughly documented in Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of Biologos. This includes justification for JS’s comment, as an astute Christian blogger noted:

By your compromise, (A) you are not winning them over, but (B) are signalling to them that they are winning you over. They will simply wait you out, until you continue in your process of jettisoning everything the world hates about you as a Christian. After all, if they can get you to toss such a straightforward chapter, the rest should be child’s play.2

We showed a video clip by rabid evolutionary atheist Richard Dawkins who stated that those who want to add evolution to the Bible are “seriously deluded” (His words not ours). So one wonders who our critic thinks can be won over by adding these secular ideas to Scripture.

evol. and secular science promotes (leads to) homosexuality, euthanasia, Hitler and Nazism, selective breeding, and many other ‘evils’;

Given that he puts the word ‘evils’ in scare quotes, is he trying to intimate that they are not really evils? But many experts on the history of Nazi Germany have affirmed the strong Darwinian basis—see Refutation of New Scientist’s Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions: The Darwin-Hitler connection and Evolution and the Holocaust DVD. The last century was the most bloodstained in the history of human experience, and all at the hands of regimes with evolutionary atheism driving their ideology.

it’s either YEC or ‘Big Bang’ interpretation of how the universe began;

Rather, we showed this time line and Mark 10:6 where Jesus affirmed that God created people “male and female” “from the beginning of creation”, not 13 billion years after a big bang.

people must decide on what authority they submit to— either the Bible or not!

Indeed, the Law of Excluded Middle applies to compromisers as much as anyone else.

Darwin argued that Jesus was not Creator (may be true statement, but…)

No buts about it—see Darwin’s arguments against God: How Darwin rejected the doctrines of Christianity.

plants don’t die, they “wither” to explain that death originated w/ sin

As amply shown in the Bible. Plants are never called נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה (nephesh chayyāh) or “living creature” unlike man, the beasts, birds and fish. See The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe: Hugh Ross’s blunders on plant death in the Bible Actually, we were not the first to claim that death originated with sin: the Bible calls it “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23) and “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

secular people (incl. secular scientists) “invent interpretations of Scripture … but YECs certainly don’t

YECs try to practice exegesis, or reading things out of Scripture as revealed by the historical and grammatical context of the passage (see also The Bible and hermeneutics). We also showed that the correct hermeneutical approach is to interpret Scripture with Scripture—this includes about 100 references (documented here) in the NT to Genesis, all taking for granted that it was history). All compromise views practice eisegesis, or reading their views (long ages or evolution) into Scripture. In the question time, Gary asked this critic what his authority was— the Bible or the opinions of mainstream secular scientists. Evolutionists assume a priori that the world must be interpreted through naturalistic means (i.e. without God)—see these admissions from Richard Lewontin and Scott Todd. Then this critic uses these materialistic interpretations of science to drive his interpretation of Scripture. Respectfully, it is rather arrogant for fallen and fallible human beings to tell God what He meant in Genesis. Particularly, when the meaning is so clearly shown, by writing style, grammatical context and how all the biblical authors believed it to be real history.

It was very good to see that the Pastor had made a poster with a quote from Martin Luther to show where he stood, on the lines of:

“He [Moses] calls ‘a spade a spade’, i.e. he employs the terms “day” and “evening” without Allegory, just as we customarily do … we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e. that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit.”3
doubting Scripture is sin!

Indeed, Eve is the patron saint of Scripture-doubters, at least her behaviour in Eden, listening to the Serpent’s beguiling “Did God really say … ?” As we have pointed out:

Eve was the first compromiser of God’s Word with fallible science—she made her own interpretation of sense data authoritative over God’s word. That is, the fruit was good for food and delightful to the eyes, so she figured that this overruled God’s clear command against eating (Genesis 3:6).
(they often cited I Pet. 3:15 in this context)

Actually, we use 1 Peter 3:15 to point out the need to defend the faith with reasons.

JS shared about a “tattooed” atheist young man came to know Christ while reading his book

Yes, this one.

(yet they didn’t mention that many Christians who are scientists are repulsed by YEC ‘science’ and all secular scientists look at YEC as ‘pseudoscience’ or even non-science, and YEC probably turns far more people away from Jesus than they claim are drawn to Christ through their work)

No proof is advanced here, and our experience is exactly the opposite. It is all too easy to throw out straw man arguments without proof. We think that the excited response by believers at the church during the day is ample proof of the effectiveness of creation evangelism. We also have plenty that secularists are even more repulsed by churchian compromises. E.g. here is misotheist Richard Dawkins:

“Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!”

Conversely, from one seeker who was a schoolgirl at the time (now a New Testament scholar):

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. When they did give me an answer, more often than not it was such a weak one that even I could see that it didn’t fit. 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. It wasn’t an overnight transformation, but I gradually began to lose any belief I had had in the Bible, and over time, I became more of an agnostic, though I called myself a Christian to keep my family happy. Faith was fine for less intelligent people who needed that crutch, but I considered myself above that.

Science requires honest reporting, which is a deduction from the biblical command against bearing false witness. Thus creationists who are consistent will be honest, so it’s not surprising that they were the founders of modern science (see The biblical roots of modern science). But evolution provides no basis for good morality—even Dawkins affirmed that ‘best impulses have no basis in nature.’ Thus we should not be surprised that there is an epidemic of fraud in science, affecting even the top universities in the world.

I actually began studying creation versus evolution playing devil’s advocate against my evolutionist biology teacher in high school. It wasn’t that I disagreed with her at the time, but her arguments were so poor that I was intellectually offended that she would expect us to swallow the stuff she said. The outdated material in our new biology books didn’t help her case either. I found the URL for CMI 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. Dr Sarfati’s article, Loving God with All Your Mind: Logic and Creation, helped me realize that true faith and intelligence aren’t mutually exclusive.

I didn’t get saved right then and there, but God had His foot in the door. All the objections that I had always had to faith were crumbling around me, and I found myself with no excuse to disbelieve. A few months later, I became a Christian. God has used your ministry to affect so many lives, mine among them. Thank you.

secular scientists are dishonest (don’t report their finding truthfully)…but YEC scientists are truthful and non-deceptive [what a lie!]

A substantial distortion of the claim. Rather, as explained in Why does science work at all? Science requires honest reporting, which is a deduction from the biblical command against bearing false witness. Thus creationists who are consistent will be honest, so it’s not surprising that they were the founders of modern science (see The biblical roots of modern science). But evolution provides no basis for good morality—even Dawkins affirmed that “best impulses have no basis in nature.” Thus we should not be surprised that there is an epidemic of fraud in science, affecting even the top universities in the world.

the myth the evolution is science has been “busted” but credible YEC scientists;

Indeed so; we provided many examples in a variety of fields, such as geology, missing links, chemistry of life, DNA information, SETI,…

“evolution is the basis of atheistic beliefs”; quote from Dawkins: “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually intelligent atheist”;

Quite. Most leading evolutionists are atheists, and evolutionists in the church are hardly distinguishable from atheists for all practical purposes when it comes to earth history.

the church did not oppose Galileo—the Pope opposed him due to politics and ego

Documented in Galileo Quadricentennial: Myth vs fact

the centrality issue of the Earth in the universe is OK if the reference point is where the people are physically

Indeed, as explained in above article, all motion must be described in relation to a reference frame, e.g. sunrise and “STOP” signs are describing motion in relation to the ground.

Gen. 1 must be interpreted literally and cannot be interpreted symbolically or as a ‘reference point’ like the argument to ‘support’ Galileo;

Again, as explained in the above article (and others such as Is Genesis poetry / figurative, a theological argument (polemic) and thus not history?), Genesis is written as historical narrative; the alleged proofs of absolute geocentrism are from poetic books.

evolutionary science is “historical” only (ie, no observers)—but this is referring to macroevol. and not microevol.

We advise against this distinction in our Don’t Use page. Also to be avoided is a bait-and-switch or equivocation—far too many evolutionists, including Dawkins, argue along the lines of:

  1. Evolution = change of allele frequencies over time
  2. Creationists must be stupid to deny evolution.

Of course, all CMI scientists would be “evolutionists” by Definition 1; the dispute is about whether goo evolved into you via the zoo (see also Definitions as slippery as eels).

the Grand Canyon created the Colorado River, not vice versa

True, and we see rapid canyon formation near Mt St Helens, as well as A canyon in six days! and A gorge in three days!

rapid laminations created by a global Flood are correct interpretations of layering seen around the world, but old Earth geologists’ interpretation of varves are incorrect and misleading due to “faulty assumptions”
We have many examples of multiple laminæ formed rapidly, as long as there is horizontal flow of differently sized particles. This occurs when they are carried by water, such as on beach in Queensland, Australia; or under gas, as near Mt St Helens; or in the laboratory. Conversely, we have not seen slow-and-gradual processes building up such fine, straight layers one-at-a-time over eons.

Indeed, we have many examples of multiple laminæ formed rapidly, as long as there is horizontal flow of differently sized particles. This occurs when they are carried by water, such as on beach in Queensland, Australia; or under gas, as near Mt St Helens; or in the laboratory. Conversely, we have not seen slow-and-gradual processes building up such fine, straight layers one-at-a-time over eons.

“The flood is consistent to what we see” (eg, Coconino sandstones at Gnd Cny)

Yes, see Startling evidence for Noah’s Flood: Footprints and sand ‘dunes’ in a Grand Canyon sandstone! by two Ph.D. geologists.

Diamonds reveal a young Earth

Because they contain carbon-14, which has such a short half-life that it would have disintegrated below detectable levels if they were even a million years old. See Diamonds: a creationist’s best friend: Radiocarbon in diamonds: enemy of billions of years.

there are essentially 2 important questions: Is Creation true? and Does it matter?;

YEC scientists can scientifically explain continental drift happening in a short time (ie, few thousand yrs)

Here is our Creation Answers Book chapter on this, explaining catastrophic plate tectonics.

dinosaurs were the “behemoths” mentioned in Job 40:15–18

Indeed, since sauropods perfectly fit the description of having a tail “like a cedar” , the massive trees of the middle east that Solomon used to build the Temple.

and were probably the dragons mentioned during the Middle Ages

Yes, intriguing connections; see for example Dragons: animals not apparitions.

dinosaurs were wiped out quickly by the Flood;

Indeed, how else to explain their fossils? If they died under ordinary circumstances, they would rot and be scavenged, so leave no trace.

Noah’s Ark carried 2 of every “kind”, including young (small) dinosaurs

Made much easier by the recent discoveries that dinosaurs went through growth spurts and that a number of named genera were actually juveniles of other named genera.

“ideas” promoted by secular humanists in public schools and universities (vs. belief in the Bible) have consequences, which leads to atrocities like terrorism (9–11),

That is the consequence of a counterfeit religious ideology, not evolution, but was used to illustrate the point.

Columbine shootings,

See How to build a bomb in the public school system and Tragic truth: Pastor Gino Geraci at Columbine and Ground Zero.

Nazism, etc.;

See the articles under Communism and Nazism Questions and Answers

eugenics is “a Darwin family business”,

As noted by non-creationist Denis Sewell in The Political Gene:

“[In the] years leading up to the First World War, the eugenics movement looked like a Darwin family business. … Darwin’s son Leonard replaced his cousin Galton as chairman of the national Eugenics Society in 1911. In the same year an offshoot of the society was formed in Cambridge. Among its leading members were three more of Charles Darwin’s sons, Horace, Francis and George.”
and Darwinism led to Hitler.

As Richard Weikart, professor of modern European history, has thoroughly documented.

They spent a lot of time advertising their newsletter, books, and DVDs. I saw quite a few people w/ full bags of things they purchased, so I presume they made a hefty profit.

This critic is under a severe misapprehension and a very uncharitable statement that assumes motive once again. As we have experienced many times, when people fall short on arguing the science, they always like to play the man instead of the ball. As we pointed out, our ministry relies on voluntary donations for its funding. If we relied on resources sales alone our ministry would not survive. The books are part of our outreachlinking and feeding—not fund raising. This is important, because:

  1. People remember only a fraction of what they hear in a talk, even the powerfully illustrated talks that CMI speakers give. The resources will help remind them of what they learn.

  2. We can’t cover that much in one hour or less. So the resources are available for further self-study.

  3. Creation magazine, the books and DVDs are powerful witnessing tools and are readily shared by Christians who have become excited and motivated by what they have heard. But how will they reach the community for Christ unless people in the church buy and share them? So it’s very important that we can bring resources along to our meetings.

Indeed, if a church refuses to allow resource promotion, it is not worth our while to come; we have refused even when a generous honorarium was offered, that would more than make up for any alleged lost profit. Our products are cheap by normal standards, and we only break even on a good day, after costs of ministry coordination, flights, lost work in the office, etc. are taken into account.

4. Their response to my comment/’question’ at the end about Heb. 11:3 (believing by faith vs. YEC interpretations that God created everything) and that YEC is not scientifically credible.

There wasn’t much to respond to! There is nothing in this passage that suggests that biblical faith = brownie points in heaven for baseless credulity. In the Bible, faith is not contrasted with reason or evidence, but with sight. As JS wrote in Using the Bible to prove the Bible? Are biblical creationists guilty of circular reasoning:

Note, some contextually illiterate critics claim that the ‘doubting Thomas’ passage (John 20:24–31) promotes a blind faith. In reality, Thomas’s problem was rejection of ample evidence—the testimony of at least 11 men whom he had gotten to know intimately over at least the past three years, plus personal experience of the miraculous powers of Jesus, including raising Lazarus from the dead and even an empty tomb.

Also, almost all future potential converts thereafter would have less direct evidence than Thomas did, although still ample. So Jesus could not allow Thomas to ‘set an example’ to spoiled skeptics who demand God’s personal appearance before them before they are willing to believe, as if God were their personal genie at their beck and call. See also Holding, J.P., Blessed are ye who whine: does John 20:29 promote a ‘blind faith’? www.tektonics.org/gk/john2029.html.

See also The Importance of Evidence and Why use apologetics for evangelism?

We also note that it was disingenuous for the critic to appeal to Hebrews 11, since this goes on to list “heroes of the Faith”, starting with Abel, Enoch and Noah as real people who did the things recorded in Genesis 1–11. The critic’s hero Francis Collins denies that this is historical—see The Non-Mythical Adam and Eve! Refuting errors by Francis Collins and BioLogos—so does the critic as well?

Overall, I found Jonathan and Gary outwardly congenial and Scripture-focused,

This reminds one of what Dr Carl Wieland was told by Dr Aw Swee-Eng, one of Singapore’s top biochemists and a leading critic of chemical evolution, cited in Unnecessary Compromise:

“Carl, it’s no surprise that they get upset, no matter how courteously or gently you folk conduct your ministry. The very existence of an organisation like this one, with many qualified people making a stand for the truth of the whole Bible, shines the spotlight on their compromise. It shows that it’s quite unnecessary for anyone, no matter how qualified or intelligent, to compromise the Word of God in any way.”
but inwardly (and outwardly to me) deceptive, manipulative, deceitful, and dishonest.

This is a very serious charge against brethren, and once again he never brought this charge to our face. Instead, he chooses to send his comments to a ‘faceless’ group. Fortunately, one of them sensing the injustice and lack of biblical principles involved forward this to us so we could reply. One of the things that stands out in his comments is that he seems to be very ignorant of what creationists actually believe and why so. It is our understanding that he has been given creation resources over the years to read, but has not done so. Surely, this is willing ignorance as demonstrated in 2 Peter 3:6

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”

His comments (done in secret) are obviously designed to inflame and cause doubt and confusions about the credibility of the presentations. By his own admission, there was no evidence from our visible demeanour for this. So those is probably a case of projection—by all accounts, J.K. is very congenial on the surface, but clearly he is inwardly raging and resentful of anything that challenges his compromise.

They honestly reminded me of ‘Professor’ Harold Hill in the play “The Music Man”! Am I glad that ILC hosted them in the way that they did? No! There should have been an opportunity for scientists who are devoted, Bible-believing, evangelical Christians but don’t see the credibility in the YEC interpretation to share. A ‘debate’ format w/ Sarfati and Bates would have been counter-productive and ‘polarizing’.

We are not that interested either. After all, we are the other side! The long-age view already has a monopoly in the schools and media, so we don’t need to give half the church time as well! See also our debate policy.

I realize that the above views/statements are mine and that some/many people may disagree w/ me. I respect their opinions and hope that they respect mine. IHS, John

Why should we respect such a hostile message with baseless attacks on our character? We would like to think that whenever we critiqued the views of Dr Ross, Collins or even atheists, we always try to deal with the facts and they said, rather than impugn motives or makes allegations about their character, which this professing Christian has sought to do to us.

Gary Bates and Jonathan Sarfati

Published: 17 November 2011


  1. “After Inerrancy, Evangelicals and the Bible in the Postmodern Age, part 4”, Biologos Forum, 26 June 2010. Return to text.
  2. Dan Phillips, “A Coda on the Week’s Discussion”, Pyromaniacs, 26 June 2010. Return to text.
  3. Martin Luther in Pelikan, J., Ed., Luther’s Works, Lectures on Genesis Chapters 15, 1:6, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1958. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Refuting Compromise
by Dr Jonathan Sarfati
US $12.00
Soft cover