‘Thought bombs’ and the ‘ripple effect’
First published in Update–Australia October 1995
A few years ago I debated the (then) head of the Queensland Skeptics. At one point my opponent triumphantly flashed a slide onto the screen showing our CSF [Creation Science Foundation—the original name for Creation Ministries International, so henceforth in this article we’ll use ’CMI’ for ’CSF’] building (the original, rented one) which had a sign on one wall reading ’Bookshop’ It seemed we should somehow be embarrassed to admit that we were involved in marketing creation books!1
However, we are delighted—thrilled in fact—that a major part of our ministry is to get as many of these God-honouring, effective creation materials as we can into the hands of as many people as possible, and that it is succeeding wonderfully.
I recall one overseas creation scientist calling the books and videos which go out at the various seminars and meetings ‘little thought bombs’. Indeed they are—powerful mini-missionaries in their own right. Listen to this testimony from an electronics engineer who writes that he came to Christ through CMI literature.
‘I was a humanist in my early years and became a socialist and atheist during the Vietnam war years.’
He then describes how he heard someone talk on how the US Constitution was being undermined by the Supreme Court. Being a ‘political animal’, he knew that was right. However, he was stunned that the speaker was supporting his analysis from the Bible. He says:
‘At some stage during his presentation it came to me that this man had his information from someone I thought did not exist, God. That same week I happened to read the book Creation’s Tiny Mystery, which shook my belief in evolution. The next few weeks I read every book I could get my hands on that discussed evolution, and all were from the Creation Science Foundation.
‘It was a time of intense emotions; the Soviet Union had collapsed, which was a time of truth for every thinking socialist … CMI showed me that the theory of evolution is a lot of childish bunkum, which meant to me that there had to be a Creator God.
‘I owe a debt to CMI for the rest of my life for its wonderful work; your ministry is certainly one of our Lord’s instruments … One of its strengths is that it is non-denominational, rather than ecumenical.’
We frequently hear about these sorts of testimonies from former unbelievers—not just engineers, but labourers, housewives, students, whoever.
How did they get hold of the material that God graciously used to open the way for their regeneration in Christ? Usually, from Christian acquaintances who had been to hear a speaker, or to a seminar, or to a film presentation. I’m sure you can see why so much of our ministry is geared to getting Christians to wake up to the importance of the issue—so they can get the information out to others.
When I was in Adelaide a while ago, a lady came up and said she was a teacher who had been at a teachers’ conference I addressed two years before that. She said, ‘I’m the lady who asked you whether I should spend my last ten dollars on one of the CMI books I was looking at, and you persuaded me I should. I thought it was perhaps a bit cheeky of you, but I did and I’m so glad I did. I loaned the book to a family I knew, and the whole family surrendered their lives to the Lord. They loaned the same book to another family they knew, and amazingly that whole family ended up becoming Christians, too!’
Making a splash
Although the above is a particularly spectacular example, it illustrates what we mean by the ‘ripple effect’. It also explains why we are keen to promote the materials as professionally as we can (graciously, I trust). Whenever the creation/relevance/gospel message is presented, the effect is like a stone being dropped in a pond. The impact goes on spreading outwards, as people take the message and the materials and use them to influence others. Does CMI make a profit on the books? Yes; at least we do if you simply compare the cost to us with the cover price. Why does CMI operate on normal commercial margins if it wants to get the message out as effectively as possible? Because:
It helps support the ‘operating machinery’ needed to keep the outreach going. While book sales do not come near covering this (without donations we would soon be in serious trouble), without the book-sale margins the ministry would not have reached anywhere near as many people.
If we want our own publications like The Creation Answers Book, for example, to be even more widely distributed, we need to be able to give Christian wholesalers a proper commercial margin, so the books need to be appropriately priced to begin with. This is happening, and it helps the ‘ripple effect’ to keep rippling wider and wider with this exciting message.
Proper pricing of books also helps us to support the judicious dissemination of free or subsidised materials to countries in which pastors, teachers, etc. cannot afford them. In the last financial year alone [as at time of writing], we have been able to allocate more than $10,000 as outright gifts to such (carefully chosen) projects, including the costs of printing books such as Stones and Bones in some underdeveloped countries.
The ‘ripple effect’ enables these thought bombs to find their way, via Christians, into many areas that would otherwise be closed to us as a ministry. Frequently, when we speak at a school, we find that several of the teachers already believe in Genesis creation, and have ‘paved the way’ for a speaker. Often these teachers are already actively using creation evangelism with students.
One reason why many ‘liberal’ church leaders are angry at CMI is because these thought bombs (e.g. Creation magazine) have been rippling into the hands of their own congregations via other Christians. So they are starting to face serious and uncomfortable questions about why they teach unbelief in God’s Word.
Rippling across the veldt
The ripple effect breaks ground in many places we have not been in other parts of the world. Your donations help us build, maintain and expand the ‘machinery’ to get the ‘bombs’ widely disseminated. For instance, in South Africa, our longstanding contact/magazine distributor reports that a creationist professor there has completed the Afrikaans translation of Stones and Bones. The professor submitted the draft publication to the official publisher of the Dutch Reformed Church. He reports that she was, ‘duly impressed. She said that God had sent me to her, for she was under the impression that evolution had been proved … she seems ready to join the fight (against liberal theologians) for … the Bible as the infallible word of God.’
This is exciting—the DRC is the most powerful Afrikaans denomination, and was very much in the forefront of white supremacism/apartheid. Not surprisingly, we learn from our sources that most of its members are theistic evolutionists. (Most of the opposition in the old ANC were atheistic evolutionists.)
What an incredible difference these thought bombs can make in this country at the crossroads, from whence our contact writes: ‘Continue your labour of love. Only as you stand before the judgment seat of Christ will we know how many lives have been touched and blessed through the ministry of CMI.’
It keeps happening
It’s exciting (and humbling) for us that we rarely do a major tour into an area without hearing of the way in which this ‘ripple effect’ from previous CMI ministry has kept on being used of God in some way to make an impact.
Exciting, too, when you think that such feedback represents the ongoing impact from a few years back when we were doing a lot less outreach than now. So imagine how many more such ripples have been set in motion in the last year or two, as more ‘bombs’ than ever before have been dropped in more places!
To find out how easy it is to have a CMI speaker in your church, click here.
- Any readers who were present that night will, I think, recall that his point failed to distract from the evident bankruptcy of the scientific evidence for evolution. Return to text.