Dr. Terry Mortenson, one of AiG's top speakers, who is out on speaking engagements sent in this interesting report today:
Thanks for your prayers for my time in Roseville, MI. There is much to share—both encouraging and a little discouraging.
On Sunday morning I gave the same talk twice—on why the question of origins is foundational. One man in his 50s came up after one of the services and said, "That was really good. I've talked to a few people who said that they believed in evolution, but I had no idea what to say back to them. I was totally unarmed. So this was a good introduction. I plan to come tonight to learn more."
Another man told me, "This was so helpful. God says that people perish for lack of knowledge. We need to know these things."
Another said, "I've been a Christian for 30 years and in the beginning I just believed what God said in Genesis. But then I started hearing Christians talk about the gap theory and the Big Bang and I became confused. You clarified things a lot this morning. I'm planning to come back tonight."
Another man talked to me at the book tables. He has been significantly influenced by books and tapes from Hugh Ross. He stated that Ross had helped him so much in his Christian life. I urged him to read Jonathan's Sarfati's book, Refuting Compromise, so that he could see the many and serious errors in Ross's teachings on creation. But the man kept saying that "Nobody's perfect. Everybody makes mistakes." I tried to help him see that while that is certainly true, not all mistakes are the same size. There is a difference between on the one hand an imperfect Bible teacher (which every pastor or missionary or scholar is) and on the other hand a false teacher. I started summarizing that Ross believes in the Big Bang, billions of years, pre-Adamite soulless creatures that looked like humans, death before the fall, a local flood, etc. He was surprised that Ross believed some of these things. It was sad. His wife was trying to encourage him to get the Sarfati book, and I was urging, even pleading, with him to get and read it. But he wouldn't do it and kept complaining that we were "attacking Hugh Ross," when it is really the arguments and ideas of Ross that we oppose, not him as a person.
My assistant, Zac, and I had lunch with the pastor and then I reviewed and tweaked my talks for the evening.
Sunday evening I spoke twice. I talked about where the idea of millions of years came from in the 19th century and how that has affected the church since then. Zac, who manned the book tables, said that during the break many people expressed their excitement about what they learned and that they had never heard anything like this. One man came up to me after this first talk and we had quite an intense conversation. He had not heard my morning talk about why the age of the earth was so important biblically and theologically. He insisted that my focus on the age of the earth was a big mistake and that the real issue was design in creation. He was obviously under the influence of the Intelligent Design movement and kept talking about "when we demolish evolution with evidence of design, the age of the earth will be a dead issue." I objected that people suppress the truth in unrighteousness, so we will never destroy evolution by presenting "the facts and evidence." As I stressed in my talk, it is a conflict of worldviews and philosophical/religious assumptions and the Christians (my audience that night) need to understand that. My talk was not designed for a secular university audience. He also was arguing that "God's days are not the same as human days and second, minute, hour, days, etc are just human constructs." We went back and forth on that one for a while. He said that "the Big Bang fits beautifully with the order of creation in Genesis because light was created before the stars." I countered, "No, it doesn't! The Bible says the earth was created BEFORE light and the sun moon and stars! The Big Bang theory blatantly contradicts what the Bible says. The issue here is the authority of Scripture!" He apparently wasn't moved. It is sad to see Christians read their Bibles so sloppily.
My second talk was accompanied occasionally by some thunder and flickering of the lights. I didn't find out until later that the weather service had issued tornado warnings during my talk. I was able to finish, but the pastor encouraged people to head right home after the talk.
During the day on Monday I worked on my talks for the evening and on email and other office work. My topics on Monday night were Darwin's theory of evolution and human evolution. A lady came up at the end of the meeting. She was from another church but had been at all the sessions this weekend and had asked a number of questions during the breaks. At the end she told me that she has been teaching geology and physics in a secular high school for 13 years and my talks on geology on Sunday night really opened eyes to the role of presuppositions and assumptions in geology and in the radiometric dating methods. She went home last night and got out her geology textbooks and started rereading them and she said the assumptions just leapt off the page at her. She hadn't seen them before. She was so excited to take what she learned back to the classroom, with the help of the resources that she bought. In her own education she had had Christian teachers who taught her that the Bible teaches us the why of creation, evolution is the how. She now sees how mistaken that notion is.
Another lady also thanked me for the talks on geology. She said she bought my book on the 19th century and was so excited that she stayed up late reading it and found it very helpful. A couple of students from a local seminary came and greeted from one of their professors who is contributing to the Whitcomb book. They said they had brought some non-Christians from a secular university and expected to have some interesting conversations on the way home in the car. As we were packing up, the senior pastor thanked me and said that the whole weekend was a great shot in the arm to the church, but that my first talk on Sunday really helped him. The church has been speaking out on the moral issues, but he saw that the foundation to all of that was the authority of Scripture. He said, "Our church really needs to do something like this on a regular basis."
So thanks for praying. Together we encouraged many and challenged others.