Staying Connected 2005 March
* Due to copyrights, original graphics and tables do not appear in these articles
Looking back, it seems like a whirlwind of excitement.
As RTB scholars and others of us made our way to Illinois in February, we could hardly have imagined all the blessings God held in store. First stop, Wheaton College. Hugh addressed theology and biology classes, and Fuz helped answer students' questions. Next, Hugh and Fuz led a Skeptics Forum at the University of Illinois (Urbana). Some 1,500 students and faculty attended, and many posed their questions. An article about the event appeared in the campus newspaper the next day-the first such article in years, according to one UI alumnus, that did not berate the Christian speakers! Thursday, February 10, our science duo presented RTB's testable creation model to well over 100 researchers and other staff at Lucent Technologies, thanks to the sponsorship of a Christian group at Lucent.
Friday, February 11, saw the kick-off of our regional conference at Willow Creek Community Church (near Chicago). Hugh shared his testimony and some of the latest scientific evidences for God. More than 3,100 people came that evening (more than double the anticipated attendance), and dozens lined up at the microphones to ask questions about science and the Bible. It was an exhilarating evening! (For those who may be interested, we hope to bring you this event on DVD in the near future.) The next day, more than 400 adults attended our seminars with Ken Samples, Fuz Rana, Krista Bontrager, and Hugh. The goal: to equip Christians and challenge skeptics with the latest apologetics from philosophy, biology, theology and astronomy. Meanwhile, 60 high schoolers attended the action-packed youth track (described below).
Throughout the week in Chicago, Robert and Krista Bontrager filmed interviews with various Christian leaders for our new video project. Slated for release in 2006, this DVD will focus on the harmony of science and Scripture that flows from an old-earth perspective, highlighting the evangelistic impact of this harmony.
Sunday morning some of the team flew back to California while Hugh spoke in three morning services at Christ Church of Lake Forest. Staff and volunteers managing the book table were literally overwhelmed by the response-the greatest we've seen at any similar church event. Hugh and Kathy stayed for lunch and a wonderful Q-and-A session with church members and leaders. That evening, a gracious Lake Forest family treated us to a home-cooked meal just before Hugh addressed a gathering of their friends and associates, about 40 business and professional people, believers and not-yet-believers. Through the generosity of our hosts, each guest received a copy of Origins of Life to go along with a tasty dessert.
The next day, Hugh participated in a live, call-in television broadcast with Eric AuCoin on Total Living Network. The topic: Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men. Judging from the number of calls, lots of people tuned in, from the California coast to the Mississippi River and beyond. Our final day of outreach included two events, one at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, and another back on the Wheaton College campus. The first was a "brown bag" open forum usually attended by about 25 ministry leaders and others. Lon Allison, director of the Center, expressed delight to see more than 100 people pack the room. Many stayed long past lunch for questions and discussion. That evening, Hugh addressed a standing-room-only crowd in Wheaton's largest science lecture hall, bringing the long series of outreaches to a close at about 10:30.
Then it was time to celebrate! We went for a late snack with the RTB-Chicago chapter leaders whose enormous, sacrificial investment of time, energy, and fervent prayer contributed so crucially to the week's successes. Together we praised God for allowing us to be His instruments in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Together we will continue to pray that the seeds planted during our visit will bear much fruit for eternity!
by Hugh Ross
During my days as a postdoctoral research fellow at Caltech about 30 years ago, someone introduced me to a towering gentleman named Bill Jones. Having heard the story of how I came to faith in Christ, he wanted me to share it with others, especially with fellow business leaders, many skeptics among them. So he invited me to address a local gathering of the Christian Businessmen's Committee (CBMC). This event led to others and eventually to an opportunity to address the CBMC southwestern regional convention. (I spoke on Genesis and science, and that's where I first learned, to my amazement, that some Christians considered 24-hour creation days as an essential doctrine of the faith.)
Since Bill and I shared a passion for leading people to Christ, our paths crossed often. The joy I experienced as I walked through many of the doors Bill opened for me helped nudge me toward full-time evangelism ministry, first at Sierra Madre Congregational Church and later with Reasons To Believe.
One day, when RTB was still in its infancy, Bill invited me to have lunch with him and four skeptical friends. That meeting became the start of our Open Forum series at the University Club (Pasadena), a type of outreach that has now spread to other cities across America. To this day, I can recall Bill's beaming face when the "toughest" skeptic of those original four finally turned his life over to Jesus Christ!
Bill was one of the most encouraging men I've ever met. He regularly prayed for me, for my wife, and for RTB. And he had a special gift for giving. He seemed to know, without my saying anything, when the needs were especially great. Out of the blue, a check from Bill would appear with a note attached suggesting how the money might be spent. Apparently Bill helped many others in God's family in this same way, and his checks always arrived with supernatural timing.
In the later years of his life Bill wrote and distributed a newsletter appropriately entitled "Barnabas." In it he took the role of "Cactus," an ol' cowhand who dispensed a fair share of wit and wisdom. Bill's words gently and consistently encouraged readers to walk closely with Jesus Christ. I'm sad for his family and friends but glad for Bill that he's now as close to the Lord as a person can be. His wife, Barbara, just informed us that Bill has gone home to the "Great Sky Ranch" to enjoy eternity with the Savior he served so well. I will miss him.
"I have just completed reading A Matter of Days. THANK YOU! I feel like a huge weight has been removed from my mind and heart. I am not a scientist, and I have looked askance at scientific data that indicates an old earth. Even though I could not have an absolute 'conviction' of a 144-hour creation day, neither could I accept the alternative because doing so seemed to put me in the camp of the Darwinian evolutionists, about which I did (and do) have strong convictions. Your gracefully written alternative has given me 'permission' to see that an old-earth scenario is not anti-Biblical, and is, in fact, a wonderful exaltation of our incredible, all-powerful God."
Don, San Jose, CA
Michelle of Santa Ana, California, writes: "I thought you would get a kick out of reading what our ten-year-old son wrote in his spelling book. His dad's interest and fascination with you and your ministry has had quite an effect on him at a young age!!"
[Son's class assignment] 1 Timothy 4:7 says to exercise or train yourself toward godliness. The rest of the chapter, especially verses 12 and 13, tells you how. Read this Scripture passage and list some exercises that will make you strong in spirit.
[Son's response] 1. Read the Bible 2. Pray 3. Go to church 4. Listen to Hugh Ross tapes
The Entropy Challenge
Contributed by Larry Rice
I teach chemistry to juniors at a high school in the Greater Cleveland area. Each year as we begin our chapter on enthalpy and entropy a challenge arises. Some students have difficulty with the concept of increasing disorder. To them it seems like a conflict in terms-an incongruity.
Students don't seem baffled by the increasing entropy of systems in the universe, but they struggle with incorporating the concept into their studies of chemistry and physics. They often ask me questions like, "How can we have a word for something that's an increase in decreasing order?" Or "How can we think about an increase in randomness-something that is going in the 'wrong' direction?"
Drawing an analogy from their personal lives usually helps. I remind them, "Over time, your rooms become more disordered-not more ordered-right? This means they increase in entropy!" Students smile as the idea begins to sink in. Then I ask, "How do you go about decreasing the disorder (entropy) in your room?" They immediately complain that I'm beginning to sound like their moms.
At this point they seem to grasp the idea that they must add energy to the system-the effort of cleaning their rooms-to decrease the disorder. From this practical illustration they learn that only through the regular expenditure of energy can their rooms stay "ordered." Likewise, only through the addition of energy to a system can entropy be decreased.
After almost 50 years of walking with God, I have come to know that my spiritual life also increases in entropy unless I continue to add energy to the system. As Paul wrote to the believers in Philippians 2:12, "…continue to work out your salvation…" I have to keep working to keep my spiritual life "in order." I must continue to pray, read the Word, meditate on the things of God, nurture relationships with other believers, seek the lost, teach where I can, live as I must, and be the only Bible some people will ever read.
If I do not continue to put energy into the system, spiritual entropy will surely increase. And that's not the way I want my life to go. In fact, it's exactly the opposite.
We are thrilled to announce that Kenneth Samples' book, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions, was nominated for a Christianity Today "best books" award for 2004 (in the apologetics category). Word just came that Ken's book is among the five finalists!
Such was the exclamation of a young person who participated in the youth track of our recent outreach at Willow Creek Community Church. Led by RTB apologists Mark Ritter, Erica Carlson, and Matt Carlson, about 60 high school students attended a day of creative and interactive science apologetics learning. Matt, with his fluorescent orange hair (to resemble the sun), talked about dinosaurs and early life on planet Earth. Silly string helped Erica explain string theory, and Mark led the group in a "CSI" investigation to discover what evidence from the universe tells us about God's amazing design. As Reasons To Believe offers regional conferences around the country, one goal is to stir up greater interest in science and greater appreciation for how God's revelation in nature complements His revelation in Scripture. America needs more scientists, and the more who are Christians, the better.
O - Local Outreach Appearance
R - Radio Interview
T - Television Appearance
- R - Wisconsin area 3/10
- O - San Diego, CA 3/11-3/13
- T - Dallas, TX 3/15-3/17
- O - Fort Worth, TX 3/17-3/19
- O - La Mirada, CA 4/4
- O - Murietta, CA 4/7
- T - Nationwide 4/7
- O - Murietta, CA 4/14
- O - Charleston, SC 4/22-4/24
- R - Chicago, IL 4/25
- O - Murietta, CA 4/28
- R - Hollywood, CA 4/29
- O - Columbus, OH 4/29-4/30
- O - Upland, CA 5/8
For information on these and other events, please check our Web site at www.reasons.org or call us at (800) 482-7836.
Apologetics Hotline (626) 335-5282
Discuss your science-faith questions with a trained apologist. Available daily from 5:00 - 7:00 P.M. (PT)
Creation Update Web cast
Listen live through our Web site each Tuesday, 11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. (PT) Special "Prime Time" Web interviews to be announced.
To find an RTB chapter in your area or to get information about starting one, contact Ken Hultgren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayer on behalf of Reasons To Believe is a precious gift. A hearty thank you to all who pray for us! If you'd like to join the RTB prayer team, please contact us at email@example.com.
Science and Evangelism Training
Anyone longing for an in-depth study of science-and-faith issues will want to register for our new online training program, Reasons Institute. Classes may be taken for college credit. Please call Bob Stuart at our toll-free number for more information.