Tribute to Dr. Bolton Davidheiser

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Dr. Davidheiser was certainly one of those pioneers whom God used to help the biblical creation movement grow—and then mature to what it has become today.

Evolution and Christian Faith

This is the well-worn copy of Dr. Davidheiser’s book that’s in Mark Looy’s creation library, which Mark picked up and read in 1976.

Last year, the world’s leading (and most prolific) creationist writer—and recognized father of the modern creationist movement—Dr. Henry Morris died. Last week, another prominent creationist author passed into glory, Dr. Bolton Davidheiser, best known for writing Evolution and Christian Faith.

Dr. Davidheiser, like Dr. Morris, was once an evolutionist. It was part of the kind of educational upbringing he had, including earning a Ph.D. degree in zoology at Johns Hopkins University (where he was eventually to become a cancer researcher). By the age of 32, however, Dr. Davidheiser had looked at both sides of the creation/evolution debate, gave up his evolutionary beliefs, and eventually became convinced of a young earth. Over time, as he wrote and lectured on creation, he became increasingly concerned about Christians who accept compromise views of Genesis, including “progressive creationism.”

The following is what was read on Saturday at Dr. Davidheiser’s memorial service in La Mirada, California, offered as a tribute to this defender of the truths of the Bible. (This was written at the request of his family.)

Ken Ham: “When the Lord was preparing me for the creation ministry that started in our house in Australia back in the 1970s, I was burdened to search the world for any creation resources I could find to help equip me with answers. At that time, I was a high school science teacher in a public school. While there, I found that the teaching of evolution was one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the students taking the Bible seriously . . . or listening to the gospel.

“In those days, creationist resources were very limited. Today, praise God, there’s a plethora of creation materials available. About 30 years ago, I came across the book Evolution and Christian Faith by Dr. Davidheiser. It was one of those early-on creation books that had a significant influence in those pioneering days of the biblical creationist movement. For me, when we began a creation ministry in my Queensland home, I made sure we imported copies of this book so that we could see them be sold throughout Australia.

“Dr. Davidheiser was certainly one of those pioneers whom God used to help the biblical creation movement grow—and then mature to what it has become today: having a great influence across this nation and around the world.

“There is something I found in the very last paragraph of his book Evolution and Christian Faith that is as relevant today as it was almost 40 years ago when Dr. Davidheiser wrote that it is very difficult

‘to convince a person who is reluctant to give up his belief in evolutionary philosophy. . . . Let us present the one and only positive approach which really is effective. This is the preaching of the gospel. When a person is converted and accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, evolutionary problems fade away. It is not a matter of refusing to examine facts, as some charge. It is a matter of substituting one faith for another.’

“It was a great honor for me to meet Dr. Davidheiser when I worked for ICR in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. So, my condolences to the entire Davidheiser family, yet I am praising the Lord for the life of this servant of His.”

As we now have seen two creationist leaders pass on, and others are retiring (e.g., famed creation debater Dr. Duane Gish), it begs the question: who can fill these shoes? While AiG and ICR stand on the shoulders of these pioneers, and there are now several dozen creation groups worldwide that are making a difference, we still see an urgent need to raise up a new generation of scientists who can be trained to be engaged in creation outreach (especially at the Ph.D. level). Accordingly, last Thursday, the entire AiG-US staff prayed that God would touch many of the hundreds of thousands of young people who have heard an AiG speaker at K-12 school assemblies over the past 13 ½ years, that many might consider a career in the sciences and use their platforms for creation ministry.

Dr. Davidheiser himself saw how many young people were giving up going to church because, in their minds, evolutionary ideas undermined the accuracy and authority of the Bible. He recognized that the creation/evolution debate was more than a scientific struggle between two camps, but was really two worldviews in conflict. We echo Dr. Davidheiser’s last sentence in his appendix/addendum to Evolution and Christian Faith when he wrote: “People who call the evolution question peripheral to Christian faith do not understand the issues.”

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations in Dr. Davidheiser’s memory can be sent to the Institute for Creation Research. Call 1 (800) 628-7640 for information.

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