The cure for cults that want to deny others
their freedom of speech is more freedom of speech
-- Fredric Rice

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Creationist Cults

June 10, 1992

Mr. John Ankerberg
The John Ankerberg Show
P.O. Box 8977
Chattanooga, TN 37411

Dear John:

Following the events of the last several months, and particularly our phone conversation on May 27, I am deeply concerned that your TV series and book will not be as compatible with Biblical creation as at least I had envisioned when I first agreed to participate. My first concern occurred at the time of our video taping session at the Rea County Court House when you expressed reluctance to having the members of our panel get involved with evidence for a young earth lest we lose the audience we were trying to reach. This surprised me since virtually all of the scientists you invited to participate on that day were young earth creationists. Two of the members of the panel, Austin and DeYoung, discussed scientific evidence for a young earth in their presentations and I was disappointed that their views on this matter would be edited out of the tapes and book.

My next concern came when our conference phone calls and group mailings did not include Duane Gish. I began to suspect that, for some unexplained reason, Duane was out of the book and wondered if he might be edited out of the TV series as well. Duane's views on creation and evolution are well known from his many debate tapes, videos and publications. I could see no reason why anyone who would invite him to participate in the first place, would have occasion to be either surprised or disappointed with his presentation.

Then the manuscripts for the book began to come in and with them more cause for concern. After seeing DeYoung's manuscript censored of any discussion of the age of the earth, I began to wonder how Steve Austin's original field research on Mt. St. Helens and the Grand Canyon could be purged of all evidence for catastrophism and a young earth. This really bothered me because Steve was perhaps the only person involved in your TV series and book who presented his own relevant laboratory and field research. In a phone conversation with Kurt Wise in December, I was told that Steve's paper was being completely rewritten.

When my last group of manuscripts arrived I noted that Steve Austin's manuscript was still not in and that now even his name was missing from the mailing list of those receiving manuscripts! Clearly something was going on behind the scene about which I was being kept in the dark. Finally, the whole mess was revealed to me in our last phone conversation. My worst suspicions were confirmed; of all the people who were asked to give up a weekend with their families and spend 12 straight hours taping your TV series on Creation, only Kurt Wise and I remained! If I understand you correctly, Duane Gish was eliminated for not being "up to date," Steve Austin was eliminated because he might turn off folks with his ideas on the age of the earth, and Don DeYoung was eliminated because "no one liked his manuscript!" Well, I for one, was quite pleased with the contributions of all three of these men at our taping session. I liked DeYoung's manuscript though I agree that it would have benefited from some revision (particularly the section on the planets).

Of the manuscripts still being considered for publication, I was especially pleased with those of John Oller, J. P. Morland and Thaxton & Bradley. Oller covers some new ground in the creation- evolution controversy in providing compelling evidence that the whole human capacity for language could not have evolved in progressive steps over time but demands the intelligent design of a Creator (by the way, Oller too is one of those young earthers and ICR supporters!). Morland and Thaxton & Bradley provide lucid digests of the main features of their important published books.

I must confess that at the time I read his manuscript, I was unfamiliar with Hugh Ross. I found his discussion of evidence for design in the universe to be interesting though a bit pedantic and convoluted in style. In my opinion, it is a pity that Ross is going to replace DeYoung in your book because I believe more people would have benefited from reading DeYoung's discussion of the unique biological suitability of the earth. Compare, for example, Ross' treatment of the effects that multiple moons might h ave on the earth with DeYoung's treatment of the same subject. For Ross, it's just another item in one of his several lists of "facts" while DeYoung discusses the implications of this surprisingly important point in a lucid and interesting way that would appeal to the average reader.

I have some far more serious reservations about some of the claims and implications in Ross' manuscript. I was deeply troubled by Ross' premise, in the very first paragraph of his paper, in which he insists that ones theology should be made to fit ones cosmology, and not the other way around! This is particularly disturbing given the necessarily speculative nature of the whole field of cosmology. Why should a Christian, of all people, insist that where the speculations of fallible men are in contradictio n to the infallible Word of God, it is God's Word that will have to somehow give way. But then Ross doesn't appear to speculate in his manuscript, he simply declares that the universe is 173 billion years old, and then pompously demands that "all age stretching attempts to save non-theistic science should cease!" Most cosmologists are currently satisfied with their 17 billion years for the age of the universe, but if the plasma model for the origin of the universe replaces the Big Bang in popularity, and they demand hundreds of trillions of years, I don't doubt that Hugh Ross will find a way to grant it to them from his marvelously elastic Bible. After all, according to Ross, theology must be made to fit cosmology.

After reading his manuscript I was quite anxious to learn a little more about Hugh Ross and his views on creation. A friend in St. Louis called my attention to the ICR Impact articles 217 & 218 about Ross and loaned me a copy of Ross' book, The Fingerprint of God. I was shocked to see Ross dismiss Henry Morris, and apparently all creationists like myself who "hold to a 24-hour creation day," as folks who present "bogus evidences for a young universe" and who only succeed in "misguiding many whose science education and biblical training are inadequate to aid them in evaluation" (The Fingerprint of God, page 155). Wow! Are you sure he is one of the good guys John? I mean with people like this on our side we really don't need any opposition.

As I had feared, Ross' publicly expressed disagreements with creationists such as Henry Morris, go well beyond merely the age of the earth and universe. As is so often the case with progressive creationists he is left with a lot of time that needs to be some how forced into the precisely defined days of Scripture and this leads to all sorts of mischief. Since one of the reasons progressive creationists accept a 4.5 billion year old earth is their uncritical acceptance of an essentially evolutionary interp retation of the geological column, they must inevitably deny the global nature of the Noachian Deluge so clearly taught in the Bible. This inevitably requires that the geological column show evidence of God's "progressive creation" rather than evidence of God's angry judgment of death and destruction in a world wide flood. Then, since fossils in the geological column obviously include the dead remains of animals and men, the progressive creationist inevitab ly must argue that physical death did not come into the world by sin, as the Bible clearly teaches, but rather God intended from the beginning for animals and men to suffer pain and death. This finally denies the very Gospel of Jesus Christ who was sent into the world to save man from sin, death and the power of Satan.

One has only to examine Ross' own view of the Gospel to see the fruit of the dreadful cascade that begins with denying a literal six day creation. In his book The Fingerprint of God (pp. 180- 161), Ross declares that all that is necessary for man to be saved may be learned from nature itself, apart from the Bible. Obviously, no one can learn from nature about the undeserved love of God in sending his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to save man from sin and death through His perfect life, death and resurrection. The Bible declares that this Gospel is an unfathomable mystery to unregenerate man and must be revealed in the Word of God (the Bible) through the power of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, Ross' "gospel" is reduced to the religion of universalism where any one can be "saved" by merely recognizing God in nature. How truly the Bible says: "a little leaven leavens the whole lump."

John, I fear that you may yet join James Dobson in his unqualified endorsement of Hugh Ross and progressive creationism. At least it was clear from our phone conversation that you intend to permit Ross to promulgate his views in your TV program and book despite what I gather has been a great outpouring of concern and reservations on the part of many Christians. I understand that it is your show and you are free to include or exclude any ideas or people you wish. Still, I fail to see why you have chosen to complicate things for your TV series and book (to say nothing of your viewers and readers) by bringing in a man who has publicly shown contempt for the intelligence, views and motives of many of the very sort of Christians you chose for your panel. If you prefer the views of Hugh Ross over men like DeYoung, I fail to see why you initially sought the support of the ICR folks who for years have warned Christians about the grave Spiritual dangers of progressive creation and theistic evolution. Surely you could have assembled a large panel of scientists with strong academic credentials from the roster of the American Scientific Affiliation who would have been much more comfortable with such views.

John, while I am professionally concerned that people discover and understand science as accurately as possible, I am personally even more concerned that they find a saving faith in the redemptive work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This can only come to those who, with the help of the Holy Spirit, humble themselves before the Word and let God's Word be true though every man be made a liar. I don't believe that it is evolutionism that stands in the way of man's acceptance of the Gospel of Christ but rather man's unbelief in the Word of God itself. Surely we will not lead any one to Christ by attempting to rationally convince them of some form of creation at the expense of the clarity and inerrancy of God's Word. After all, Satan himself believes in creation. Perhaps a more limited objective of merely attempting to rationally convince people of intelligent design in nature may be a worthwhile goal on a Christian TV program such as yours, but we must not undermine the Word of God in the process.

I have tried to communicate to you how strongly I feel about your decision to eliminate the ICR scientists from your TV show and book, and to put in their place a man like Hugh Ross. We each have to do what we think is right before God no matter how much it may offend some men. I have decided that I can no longer be a part of the direction you are taking your TV series and book. I must ask you to let me join my friends from ICR and edit me also out of your TV series and book. If you choose, you are free to have someone write up any information or ideas I have shared with you but my name and participation must not be mentioned.

Sincerely,

David N. Menton

Copyright (c) 1992 by the Missouri Association for Creation

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