The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) is made up of evangelical seminary and Christian college professors and others with advanced degrees in theology. The ETS annual meeting attracts over 2,500 people (ETS members along with pastors and other Christian leaders). Dr. Terry Mortenson of our staff has attended many times and is a leader within the ETS Creation Fellowship, a group of ETS members who are young-earth creationists. He filed this report with me (and posted it on his blog) after attending the annual ETS conference recently:
The ETS annual meeting in mid-November in Atlanta was, as usual, a mixture of joy and sadness. On the encouraging side, 35 people attended our private ETS Creation Fellowship meeting—the most that have ever attended. We had very good discussions about the growing compromise with evolution at ETS and our need to speak out more against it through papers. We also found four or five men who will likely come on our by-invitation-only Grand Canyon trip next summer for seminary and Christian college professors and other key Christian leaders. We now have 11 “yes” replies, so there are only 13 more seats to fill.Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Before the first plenary session, a few other young-earth creationists and I placed on the chairs about 2,000 copies of a leaflet that drew people’s attention to a young-earth creation geologist’s refutation of an article by old-earth geologists. We also encouraged the theologians to purchase and read our book Coming to Grips with Genesis, which is a defense of young-earth creationism at a level that can be used in seminary but is also understandable to serious-minded lay people. If you haven’t read Dr. Reed’s excellent critique, I would strongly encourage you to do so. We did sell about 30 copies of this book, including to two men manning the booths of two other organizations. One of those men was a young seminary student who attends a prominent seminary that is compromised with millions of years.
At the presidential banquet, a young pastor at our table recognized me and told me how much AiG has been such a blessing to him and his church. We had a great conversation, and it is possible that I may be able to speak at his church next spring when I am in his city for another meeting. The out-going president of ETS this year is a young-earth Old Testament professor; his presidential address was excellent and gently defended the truth of Genesis 1–11. I thanked him afterward and offered to send him a copy of my book, The Great Turning Point, as it would complement some of the historical points he made in his paper. He said he would be delighted to read it.
On the discouraging side was the evidence of a growing rejection of the truth of Genesis. In our Creation Consultation sessions (which are required to represent all views), Dr. Bruce Waltke presented what I would say was a very poorly reasoned paper defending theistic evolution. He very clearly stated that he is “trying to go along with mainstream science as much as possible.” And that is the very heart of the problem. The evolutionist majority view in the scientific world is hostile to Christ and His Word, and the evolutionary stories about the past are being believed and used to distort and deny the clear teaching of God’s Word.
Dr. Waltke also indicated that in a survey of evangelical seminary professors he conducted last year, about 45% said they would have no biblical objections to the acceptance of theistic evolution. Evidently a good number of the 250 people attending the session where his paper was presented were in agreement, though some others were also strongly opposed. Of course, mainstream science says that virgins don’t have babies and dead men don’t rise from the dead. So Dr. Waltke and other theistic evolutionists are being grossly inconsistent when they believe in the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus but deny the literal historical truth of Genesis 1–11.
This year, a new group had a booth at ETS. It was manned by a PhD geologist advocating millions of years, along with two assistants. The geologist has come to several of my seminars in the past. At the last one in Norman, Oklahoma, he talked to the pastor and tried to set up an appointment later to talk to him and counter what I had taught at the seminar. He came to our AiG booth and said he wanted to talk to me, which frankly I really didn’t want to do. In the past, I have had face-to-face conversations with him and several email exchanges.
While he says on his business card that he believes in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, it is obvious that he really doesn’t. Rather, “science” (especially radiometric dating methods) is his final authority. I challenged him in my last email to him some months ago and again at the ETS meeting to show me from Scripture that the Flood of Noah was localized in the Mesopotamian Valley and that millions of years of death, violence, disease, and extinction in the animal world occurred before Adam (as he believes). He never answered my email, and at ETS he tried to evade the challenge and said that he was not a Hebrew scholar. But I told him that is no excuse and repeated my challenge. He never even attempted to give an answer. So I told him he really doesn’t believe God’s Word.
So the battle for truth rages. While AiG and the Creation Museum are reaching many kids, adults, and pastors with the truth of Genesis and apologetic resources to equip them to defend the truth, the “tribe of the intellectuals” (evangelical theologians) is much harder to reach.