Archive for 2011

Mockers and Scoffers

Reflecting on our past trip to Minnesota, I still find myself troubled by the response of 2 students at one of the universities. These 2 young women sat right up front with smirks on their faces through most of the presentation, often turning to one another to comment. During the Q&A time and our time one-on-one with them afterwards, things didn’t improve. They continued in an arrogant, mocking spirit. It seems they were completely impervious to any of the points brought up in the presentations or our answers to their questions and comments. It also appears evident that they were there only for the purpose of ridiculing, mocking, and arguing with whatever we said rather than seeking to hear or understand.

It grieves our hearts to see such hardness and deception. However, we take it as a call to prayer – not only for these 2 students, but also for the thousands of others who are being taught to scoff and mock at the Word of God and the evidences of creation. It seems many of these students will believe anything their teachers say or they read on atheistic websites that contradicts or undermines the Bible.

However, the Word of God is powerful, sharp, and active – and the Spirit of God continues to call people to repentance. We are encouraged when we realize that Saul, a skeptic and persecutor of early believers, ended up as a chief apostle to the Gentiles. And we also remember how God called us from our former way of life to follow Him.

So we have hope, as we continue to share the truth of God’s Word with everyone who comes, and we pray that God will bring a harvest. Please pray with us that He will use seeds sown during this past university lecture series to bring many to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and that many would become true disciples in following Him and sharing His Word with others who need to hear.

 

Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Making a Difference in the lives of Children

As I look back over the past month, I am grateful to the Lord for His gracious mercies to us.

We, Sue and I, have spent the past four Saturdays teaching at AWANA conferences in Idaho and Oregon.  We were thankful to be a part of helping to encourage and equip AWANA leaders in their task to evangelize and disciple children.   They are a dedicated group who work tirelessly week after week to make a difference in a child’s life.  We are grateful to have been asked to teach at these conferences again on a rotating basis, about every two or three years.

I also want to tell you of an interesting encounter we had on the street of a small town in Oregon.  We had just completed five hours of teaching on Sunday and Monday at a local church.

As we were walking back to our camper on Tuesday with some groceries we had purchased, we met a young man, maybe age 12 or 13, who had attended the seminars.  He greeted us and then quickly asked, “Are you teaching at the church again tonight?”  We told him we were not, and we would be leaving soon. He has very disappointed, because he wanted to know more about God, His  Word, and His creation.

What an encouragement to see young people eager to attend church and hear the Word of God! We, along with the AWANA leaders, are so thankful to be used in making a difference in the lives of God’s children.

 

Rich Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Is Evolution Compatible With The Bible?

I have recently had conversations with several theistic evolutionists who believe God used evolution to create. Surprisingly, most of these individuals tell me they also believe the Bible. I have to really question that … is evolution compatible with the Bible?

Sir Arthur Keith, an atheist, (who wrote the forward to Darwin’s book for the 1959 – 100 year anniversary reprint) certainly doesn’t think so. He wrote in his book Evolution and Ethics: “The law of Christ is INCOMPATIBLE [emphasis mine] with the law of evolution . . . The two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.” I would have to agree with Sir Keith … they are incompatible.

Consider what the Bible teaches in comparison with what evolution teaches:

  1. The Creation account tells us the earth was made (Day 1) before the sun and stars (Day 4).  Evolution teaches the stars and sun came before the earth.
  2. The Creation account tells us the oceans were created (Day 2) before the dry land (Day 3). Evolution teaches the land came before the oceans.
  3. The Creation account tells us light was created (Day 1) before the sun (Day 4). Evolution teaches the sun came before light.
  4. The Creation account tells us land plants were the first life forms (Day 3). The first animals were not created until Day 5. Evolution teaches marine organisms were the first life forms.
  5. The Creation account tells us land plants were created on Day 3 and the sun was not created until Day 4.  Evolution teaches
    the sun came before the land plants.
  6. The Creation account tells us that marine mammals (whales, dolphins, etc.) were created on Day 5 and the land mammals on Day 6. Evolution teaches all animals came from the ocean and then some reverted back to the oceans.
  7. The Creation account tells us the birds were created on Day 5 and land reptiles on Day 6. Evolution teaches reptiles evolved into birds.

These are only a few examples, but as you can see, the two ideas are incompatible.

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Naturalistic Mindset on the Campus

Mary Jo and I just finished 3 weeks of speaking at 4 university campuses in Illinois, and Minnesota. One huge concern we see is the mindset of way too many students. Along with the teaching of evolution, they have embraced the philosophy of naturalism. Now many of them are at a loss to even consider that there might be a Creator and have fallen prey to the atheist perspective that they don’t need God. Sadly, many of these students came from evangelical church homes but are now arguing the case for atheism.

Sitting in the university under the constant teaching of no-God naturalism is certainly a slippery slope that too often leads to unbelief. The Bible gives a clear warning concerning that in Ps 1:1 where it says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” Yet that is exactly what millions of students are doing daily at thousands of institutions of “higher” education.

If you are a Christian and find yourself in a class where you are sitting in the seat of the scoffer, then you need to be well prepared. I would hope you consider yourself a missionary in your class who is willing to stand up for the truth (gently and with respect). You can make a difference. If you are there just to soak in the “education,” you could be in danger of a steep slide. Heed carefully the warning in Colossians 2:8  which says, “See to it that no one takes you captive  through philosophy . . .”

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Ministering at Wayne State College

This summer at a Bible Camp, the assistant director shared with us, ” … your teachings blew me away … they have totally changed my life.” ( Changing Lives –  August 30, 2011) The young man then invited us to come and share with the Campus Crusade ministry he is involved with at Wayne State College.

Thursday night this last week, we were able to share with this group. Because of an upcoming event, the room the ministry normally uses on campus was not available, so our seminar was moved off campus to a church. Usually they get around 100 students to their Thursday night meetings, but on this evening we had 130. This was surprising to the organizers because of competition with a free movie night at the local theater.

Before the seminar, we learned that a college biology Professor had offered extra credit to students to show up at the meeting. We thought we might be in for a night of heckling, but all the students were very polite. We did have 5 students leave about half-way through the talk, but no disruptions during nor after the meeting.

During the seminar I taught about human origins, with a special emphasis on the artwork students see in their textbooks, and challenged them to ask, “What’s the evidence” for that artwork. I also was able to give a gospel presentation. After the seminar, we spent a lot of time talking with several of the students. Some had questions about salvation, and others about Creation.

I was able to spend almost an hour with one very intelligent and sincere young man who believed in Jesus, but was convinced that evolution was the means God used to create.  Very quickly I recognized the arguments he was using are the same arguments we refute in our talks on ‘The Icons of Evolution.’ Prayerfully, I hope the time was well spent with this young man, and that he will someday believe the Bible for what it says, and not rely on the words of man.

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Getting Into a Public School

It is a very rare occurrence these days, but I was recently able to teach in a public school. Why I say rare – this is only the 4th school I have been allowed to teach in within the past 5 years.

A few years ago, when the Intelligent Design group began trying to get their ideas taught in the public school system, the evolutionary “world” became very nervous. The ACLU and NEA (National Education Association) teamed up to make a concerted effort to keep their material out of the school literature and classrooms.

Being Creationists, who also teach intelligent design and have done so long before the Intelligent Design advocates were even formed, they have also expelled us from the schools. It has always been hard to get into the schools, but now it is even harder.

One of the excuses used to keep us from teaching in schools is the misrepresented “separation of church and state.” We are told that because we teach religion, we cannot give a presentation to government sponsored students. This has always been quite amazing to me, because when I am allowed to teach in a public school setting, I do not teach about a Creator, or about religion at all – I teach about what is scientifically wrong with evolution. I do this in order to protect the teacher or administrator that allowed us to share with the students.

Actually religion IS being taught in almost every public school district in America. The religion of humanism (it was proclaimed a religion in the higher court system), whose foundation is evolution, is the prevalent worldview being taught in our schools
today. Because Creationism and Christianity are a threat to humanism, we are not allowed to “brainwash” their children.

Ironically, in 1999, when Richard Stepanek and I were in Russia, we were allowed to teach in dozens of their public schools. After teaching several sessions to high school age students on the problems of evolution, one of the teachers said to me, “Oh this is so interesting. The students in America must love what you teach them.” I shared with her the idea of separation of church and state and why we couldn’t get into the public schools. She was amazed. She then showed me a textbook the Russian teachers were using to teach Origins.

The first part of the book taught the idea of an intelligent designer, the second part about evolution, and the third part about life coming from outer space. “Which idea do you believe?” I asked her. “Oh, I believe in evolution,” she answered. “Then why are you allowing me to teach your students what is wrong with evolution?” She answered, “Because, I think the students should be given all the information, so they can decide on their own what they believe.”

This was from a teacher in a predominately atheistic country whose core beliefs are based on evolution! Oh, America! Why are our children no longer allowed to see all the evidence that they might also be able to make an informed decision of what they believe?

Now, please don’t misunderstand. There are a lot of wonderful Christian teachers and administrators in the schools; however, in many cases their “hands have been tied” when it comes to the right to share the Truth with their students. We need to continually pray for those teachers and administrators …that even though they are limited with what they can say or teach their students, pray that they still might be a shining light to those who so desperately need to know the Truth.

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Engaging Students at the University

Out "Playing" at the University

The other day while Mary Jo was doing all the work of putting the finishing touches on the Evolution: Fact or Fiction program for Minnesota State University and also writing some of the next issue of Think and Believe, I went out “playing.” I joined Johnathan Bislew and some of the students in his ministry on the university campus.

They have a table set up where they pass out free candy and engage students in conversation. We also encouraged the students to take a flyer for (and come to) our events.  It is always fun messing with students’ minds who have been so indoctrinated to believe that evolution is science whereas creation is a religious myth.

At the booth, I mentioned to several that I really think that evolution is not science. Instead it is a philosophy posing as science. That got a few good eyebrow raises, but surprisingly very little “nail you to wall type of comments” (unlike the university of Minnesota).  Of course, Johnathan has had plenty of negative bias thrown at him during the last few weeks, but not so much today.

It will be interesting to see how many actually come out. I am looking forward to it! Not for a good argument, but hopefully the Truth will set some of these students free!

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

AWANA, Dinosaurs, and Friends

Our fall seminar tour is going very well.  We started with a few holes in the schedule, but as we taught at various AWANA conferences in Idaho and Oregon our schedule became filled to over flowing!

Many adult attendees were excited about the creation message, and wanted their AWANA clubbers to discover creation for themselves.  It is a joy to see the eyes of these children sparkle as they see the dinosaurs on display at their AWANA club.  Their enthusiasm overflows when they discover dinosaurs and the Bible fit together.

The Galbraiths

We also had the opportunity to teach in Alan and Diane Galbraith’s home in Jackson, WY. The Galbraiths have been long time volunteers of AOI.

They invited some of their friends and assorted Bible study groups to their home for evening programs on Tuesday and Thursday.  I taught from the book of Genesis, chapters one through three, and many good discussions arose during the  presentation.

It can be very refreshing, at times, to teach a smaller informal group.  We were also blessed by the fellowship time after the program to interact and get to know the people better.

 

Rich Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Encouraged by a University Student

During our last evening at Northern Illinois University, Dave was doing a program on dinosaurs. I decided to go to a lounge in the Student Center while he presented the program. As I sat down at a table next to a couple university students, I overheard them discussing a passage from the Bible. Since I was close by, I couldn’t help but hearing more of their ensuing conversation.

It became obvious that one of the students was a Christian. The other might have been either a new believer or a seeker; in either case, he was very interested and engaged in the study. I was much impressed and encouraged by the knowledge and demeanor of the Christian student as he and the other student read passages and discussed the material. It was very obvious that the Christian knew both his Bible and his Lord well – but he also exhibited a patient and compassionate love for the other student.

For a minute, I was tempted to invite them both to Dave’s lecture, but I quickly realized that something much more important was taking place right there. The simple truth of Jesus was being clearly demonstrated, both in words and in attitude by the Christian student. He was not there to win a debate or defend his worldview, but simply to share his faith and his Lord with another. It was a good lesson and a good reminder for me.

How many times do we as Christians feel that we must take the offensive? How often do we approach people with answers to questions they may not even be asking? It’s so important to live out our faith in simplicity and humility – and to really hear the hearts of those around us. YES, we need to always be ready to give an answer – and YES, we should be well-equipped to help others see why we believe what we believe – but in the end, our actions and attitudes often speak more loudly than our words.

May God give us grace not only to know the truth and to speak it in love.

 

Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

In a recent blog, Reliability of the New Testament (Sept. 20, 2011), I showed how we have more than 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament, giving evidence that the Bible we have today is what the authors originally wrote.

The Old Testament of the Bible does not have the same abundance of ancient manuscripts as the New Testament. However, we have the Dead Sea Scrolls!

In 1947, The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy named Juma in some caves near the Dead Sea in Israel.

The Scrolls are made up of 40,000 fragments dating from 200 BC to 68 AD. From these fragments, more than 500 books, including all but one from the bible, have been reconstructed:

  1. Fragments from every book of the Bible (except Esther) have been found.
  2. Also found was an Aramaic paraphrase of the Book of Genesis.
  3. The entire book of Isaiah was found. It is the oldest copy of an Old Testament book (125 BC).
  4. Another fragmented scroll of the Book of Isaiah was also found.
  5. A commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk was found.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have shown that the Old Testament we have today is 99.5% accurate. For example – the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah contains 166 words. Only 17 of those letters are in question – 10 of these are spelling changes, 4 are minor style differences, and the rest are letters for the word “light” which was added in verse 11, and does not change its meaning. Only one 3-letter word of the 166 words is in question … this after a thousand years of copying!

The New Testament manuscripts and Old Testament scrolls testify that the Bible we have today is what was originally written!

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.