Reasons to Believe

Staying Connected 2005 November


 

* Due to copyrights, original graphics and tables do not appear in these articles


Up from the Rubble

On that terrible day when the Twin Towers collapsed in New York City, here on the West Coast a university professor's worldview began to crumble. Through 30 years of teaching electronics and computer engineering technology, Lyle had accepted the naturalistic explanation for life. But nothing in that evolutionary worldview could account for the evil expressed on 9/11.

What is religion? he asked himself. Some of it seems very bad, he thought, but religion has accomplished much good, too. "God" questions had always stayed quietly in the back of his mind, but he couldn't hold them back any longer. He had to do some investigating.

Lyle decided to visit the church his wife had recently begun attending. As it turns out, Fuz Rana was giving a Sunday evening series on creation. That night Fuz spoke about the complexity of cells. On another night Hugh and Fuz presented an overview of their testable creation model. Lyle talked with Fuz on those evenings (and after), always arguing that science would one day answer all the challenges to evolution. Fuz encouraged him to continue exploring the evidence.

When Lyle semiretired and his teaching responsibilities lightened to a half load, he finally had time to do other things. And that's when his spiritual journey began in earnest. Lyle stopped by Reasons To Believe one day to volunteer some of his technical skills wherever we might need them. He said he liked being in a place that's receptive to questions. Seeing Lyle's openness and enthusiasm, we put him to work on the technical side of our weekly Creation Update Webcast.

Week by week, as he heard the RTB team present new discoveries and as he read Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator and Denyse O'Leary's By Design or By Chance? he gained a glimpse of life "through a new lens," as he describes it. The picture of a Creator's design came together, allowing him to develop a fresh and incredible appreciation for both the creation and the Creator-and for a new intelligent design worldview.

"I believe the message of Christ and His love, and I want to help make the world a better place," Lyle says today. "There's still much I don't know, but what I don't know I can accept on faith from what I have already learned." Having accepted Christ as his personal Savior, Lyle is now proceeding toward membership in his church. He wants to continue assisting us with Creation Update, and he's ardent about living to fulfill God's intentions for his life on Earth.


Bringing Stem Cell Research Into Focus

By Fazale (Fuz) R. Rana, Ph.D.

Even though they can't be seen without a microscope, embryonic stem cells are in full view of the public's eye. This interest in stem cell research has generated a number of radio interviews for me over the last year, in many instances on secular radio stations. These interviews present a timely opportunity to offer a Christian perspective on stem cell research. Frequently I am asked if I oppose. My reply: "I am opposed to embryonic stem cell research, since it involves the destruction of human embryos. I do, however, support adult stem cell research."

Biomedical scientists promise that embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) will one day lead to effective treatments for debilitating diseases (such as Parkinson's disease and type I diabetes) and injuries (such as spinal cord damage). I point out that much is made of the potential benefits of ESCs, yet, little is said about the very real problems associated with them.

Researchers have known for some time that when implanted into tissues, ESCs tend to form tumors. Recent research further accentuates this problem. It shows that over time ESCs accumulate mutations commonly observed in human cancers.

Another problem confronts ESC technology¾rejection. Most people know that during organ transplant procedures, if the donor and recipient are not compatible the recipient's body rejects the organ. Few people realize, however, that the same incompatibility problems apply to ESCs. It's almost certain that the recipient's body will treat incompatible ESCs as foreign material and reject the cells before they can deliver any benefit. In the face of these serious risks, it makes little sense for the biomedical research community to pursue ESCR, particularly since so many other concerns, especially ethical concerns, surround this technology.

Media exposure allows me to explain to people outside of RTB that circumspection becomes even more compelling in light of recent (unexpected) advances in adult stem cell research (ASCR). Studies have shown that some types of ASCs can be used to treat diseases and injuries that the biomedical research community thought could only be addressed using ESCs. ASCs pose no ethical problems because these cells are isolated harmlessly from adult tissues. ASCs raise no concerns about rejection because the donor and recipient are one and the same. In fact, ASCs are now being evaluated in clinical studies, and some promising preliminary results are already in hand.

These amazing advances have prompted many in the biomedical research community to focus attention on ASC technology. It is ASCR¾not ESCR¾that offers more promising remedies for many horrific diseases and injuries. Reasons To Believe is playing an important role in communicating how these latest scientific breakthroughs provide the means to uphold the sanctity of human life.


Reasons Institute Update

We are happy to report that Hope International University (HIU) has formally agreed to include Reasons Institute's online courses as part of the HIU graduate program. On September 21, RTB's Dave Rogstad and Bob Stuart formalized this partnership at a signing ceremony with leaders of the School of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Ministry Program. Reasons Institute courses are now included among the electives offered by HIU and are listed in the school's catalog. They include Creation and the Bible, Creation vs. Evolution, Critical Thinking Skills, and World Religions and Science. We thank God for this opportunity for expansion of our apologetics training program.

If you would like to learn more about crucial science-and-faith issues, consider Reasons Institute. It's timely, practical, and convenient. Visit www.reasonsinstitute.org for more information.


Making A Difference

As 2005 draws to a close, we look back and rejoice at what God has accomplished through RTB. In the past 12 months, through your prayer and financial support, we have:

  • Done 60 outreaches at universities and churches (Ohio State, Wheaton, U Mass, Willow Creek, and more)
  • Given 165 media interviews (Coast To Coast, Total Living Network, NPR, LA Times, and more)
  • Aired 50 Creation Update Webcasts
  • Released a new book, Who Was Adam?
  • Submitted to NavPress the manuscript for a book on the testable creation model
  • Made significant progress on 2 more books, one on worldviews and another on biochemical design
  • Released 2 new DVDs, Cosmic Fingerprints and All In A Day's Work
  • Presented 3 major conferences
  • Published 365 Today's New Reason To Believe discoveries
  • Produced 12 Message of the Month messages
  • Launched 5 more RTB chapters (Boston, Brooksville, Fresno, Houston, and Kansas City)
  • Added Dr. Jeff Zweerink to RTB's scholar team
  • Obtained graduate accreditation for Reasons Institute courses

All the while we've heard countless thrilling stories of people's lives changed because of RTB resources. Some have come to faith in Christ, and others have been strengthened in their faith and outreach. We've been invited to offer public comment on such issues as cloning, stem cells, UFOs, intelligent design, natural disasters, and euthanasia. We've seen ministry multiplication through RTB chapter growth. We've seen scientists who once had no respect for Christianity express a desire to read the Bible and learn more. This overview of the Lord's hand at work builds our anticipation for 2006!

Thank you from all of us at Reasons To Believe for being a partner in ministry this past year. This ministry could not continue without your faithful support!


In The Mailbox

Just want to let you know that I pray for you regularly and will start making an effort to pray for you daily. RTB has made a huge impact on my life . . . . RTB periodicals, books and reasons.org, along with the most important habit of daily Bible Study and prayer, are arming me for daily spiritual warfare. In my engineering department, I work amongst a healthy group of skeptics and evolutionists. I had a wonderful opportunity just this afternoon to witness to them using much information gleaned from the pages of RTB sources (including Origins of Life). Of course you can't argue someone into the kingdom, but we can sure use "science for bait."

Randy - Greensboro, NC


Year-End Giving

Believe it or not, December 31 is just around the corner and another new year is about to begin. Reasons To Believe relies greatly on year-end gifts in order to sustain the ministry and take advantage of upcoming opportunities both nationally and internationally. (We can hardly wait to tell you about the doors that are opening in various parts of the world!) May we count on your support at this year's end to help us finish out 2005 financially strong and start 2006 in full vigor?

There are many ways you can make a year-end, tax-deductible donation.  Examples include:

  • Stock transfer
  • Credit card (via the phone or Web site)
  • Check or money order
  • Vehicle donation
  • Power of One gift (property, coin/art collections, precious metals, $1/day)
  • Message of the Month membership and gift memberships

If you have any questions, please call (800) 482-7836. We will be available Saturday, December 31, until 5:00 P.M. (PT).

Please remember that if you need your donation to count for the 2005 tax year, donations must be postmarked by December 31. Donations made through our Web store must be sent by 11:59 P.M. (PT). In-kind gifts must be received by RTB by 5:00 P.M. (PT), December 31.


New DVD!

Do you have questions about the length of the creation days, death before the Fall, or other issues arising from Genesis 1? If so, you'll find helpful responses in our new DVD, All In a Day's Work. With John Ankerberg as their studio host, Hugh Ross and Walt Kaiser (president, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) discuss the language of the Bible's opening chapter. They address whether an old-earth interpretation compromises the authority of Scripture; whether big bang cosmology is compatible with Scripture or, rather, arises from atheistic philosophy; and whether animal death before the Fall undermines the Gospel. In this DVD, Ross and Kaiser lay out the scriptural (and some scientific) support for an old-earth.


RTB Resources

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 and ask questions live. Tuesdays, 11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. (PT)

Prayer Team

If you'd like to join the RTB prayer team, please contact us at prayerpraise@reasons.org.