Science Guy' Causes a Stir
Thanks for your article on Hugh Ross and his ministry, Reasons to Believe ("He Sees God in the Stars," by Andy Butcher, June). Finally, it is nice to see him and his team get some of the recognition they deserve. Ross works hard against a lot of opposition from atheists and naturalists to bring the gospel to scientists and skeptics.
Granada Hills, California
I am a professional meteorologist and have attended the Methodist church all my life. However, I did not become a Christian until 1994 when I read Hugh Ross' book The Creator and the Cosmos. Since then I publicize his message every chance I get.
Dean A. Wilson
You have been instrumental in bringing a much-needed review of the debate between old- and young-Earth/universe proponents in Andy Butcher's article. Your article may prompt non-Christian skeptics to be energized to further seek after what science may be saying about the veracity of the Genesis account of creation and the implications that point to Jesus Christ!
Tim McGlame, director
Pilgrim's Light Forum
Charleston, South Carolina
I enjoyed the article on Hugh Ross and felt it was fair and balanced. Although I do not agree with Ross' perspective on the age of the universe, I respect him as a Christian and a scientist.
Even though I am a young-Earth creationist, I realize that getting into heaven really has nothing to do with the age of the Earth. I am convinced that the No. 1 issue that Christ has entrusted to His church is unity around the Trinity. Keep up the good work.
Dennis G. Lindsay, president
Christ for the Nations Inc.
I am stunned that you wrote a supportive article about Hugh Ross. There is not one bit of biblical credibility to what he says. Ross tries to make the Word of God fit a humanistic interpretation of origins. Answers in Genesis, the ministry of Ken Ham, stands up for the Word.
Dan Shea Carthage, North Carolina
As a devoted Christian and avid supporter of Hugh Ross' ministry, I think it is critical Christians know there is an alternative to young-Earth creationism. Augustine warned us, "Be on guard against giving interpretations of Scripture that are farfetched or opposed to science, and so exposing the Word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers."
Hugh Ross failed to properly explain the problem most evangelical Christians have with his "blended Bible and science" opinions. Did God create death and decay on Earth before Adam sinned?
Ross would have us think that plants and animals were dying by the millions before Adam was even created. Romans 5:12 says, "Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin."
name and city withheld
Thank you for your positive and open response to scientific apologist Hugh Ross. At our church, Ross drew the single-largest adult-education class attendance. He bridges generations, drawing parents and students together. His evangelical Christianity and orthodox science is right for our times.
Ross' idea of a very old Earth is negated by Mark 10:6, where Christ states that Adam and Eve were created in the "'beginning of the creation,'" not billions of years after it began. Ross has taken the opinions of fallible scientists to reinterpret the words of Genesis. It is a shame that Charisma chose to promote a man who does not accept the Bible as written.
As a longtime supporter of Hugh Ross' ministry, I would like to thank you for your recent article. It was a blessing to see in popular Christian literature such an even-handed piece. It is my prayer that this article may serve as the beginnings of a bridge between the young-Earth and old-Earth camps so we can focus on what unites.
I used to be confused about how to reconcile my faith with what seemed like overwhelming scientific evidence--until Hugh Ross came along. His ministry helped build my own personal faith and helped equip me to share my faith with others.
Bonnie O'Neil, president
What a great article on Hugh Ross. His teachings and materials have been an encouragement to me over the years and have also provided great ways of engaging unbelievers, especially on American university campuses. I think you portrayed the ministry very well. Good job!
Cary, North Carolina
I was saddened to see your obvious support of Hugh Ross--who believes that God created the world not in the biblically stated six days but over many millions of years using death and destruction as the creative force. The Bible clearly states that death and destruction began only after Adam sinned. Otherwise how could God have called His creation "good"?
Lake in the Hills, Illinois
Because of your article about Hugh Ross, you are no doubt getting severe backlash from some in our Christian community who call themselves "young-Earth creationists." You will run the gauntlet of being called a "compromiser" to not "reading the Bible." That seems to be the usual consequences for considering the old-Earth view.
Hugh Ross personally encouraged my faith at a point when I was questioning the reliability of Scripture. He handles both Scripture and evidence from creation (commonly called science) with integrity. Those who vilify him are distorting science and falsely asserting that anyone who believes in an ancient Earth is an evolutionist and an unbeliever.
No one gets to heaven based on how old he thinks the Earth is, so I have no worries over the salvation of Hugh Ross. Nevertheless, we young-Earth advocates have compelling biblical evidence for rejecting the views of our old-Earth enthusiasts. None of these reasons were examined in your article.
Thanks for the article on Hugh Ross. It's a shame that an issue that really has no bearing on our salvation--the length of creation days--draws so much anger from some Christians.
Correction: In our report on Hugh Ross, we misspelled the name of the leader of the Answers in Genesis ministry. The correct spelling is Ken Ham.
Let's Do the Numbers
In Ted Haggard's recent article ("Doomsday Distraction," June), he makes this statement: "The world is not becoming more secular, as many feared." Then he quotes the World Christian Encyclopedia and states that every 24 hours, 69,000 people become Christians.
According to the U.S. Census, the world population increased, on average, 209,257 people every day over the last 30 days. That means each day there are more than 140,000 people born who are not being reached with the gospel. In other words, the percentage of the world population that is Christian is shrinking dramatically. Let's be careful how we manipulate statistics.
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
The article by Ted Haggard was right on target. I was curious, however, of one statistic. It said that on average, every day in the world 69,000 people become Christians while during the same period 122,000 new Christians are baptized.
Even if "new Christians" receiving baptism includes infant baptisms, something doesn't seem right to me. While there may be a time lag between becoming a Christian through an act of faith and formally being baptized, one would normally expect the two figures to be essentially the same. Why are they so different?
Editor's Note: We asked Justin Long, who helped edit the World Christian Encyclopedia, to comment on these statistics. This was his response:
"I am in the unenviable position of agreeing with Rev. Haggard's proposition while saying his statistics are incorrect. Each year, on average, 123 million people are born: 36 million to Christians and 87 million to non-Christians. Thankfully, 114 million of these hear the gospel.
That leaves a net increase of 9 million in the total number of unevangelized. Nineteen million people convert to and 16 million defect from Christianity. On the other side of the equation, 52 million people die--18 million Christians and 34 million not. This means non-Christians increase annually by 50.9 million; Christians by 20.7 million. There are more Christians, but the world is not becoming more 'Christian.'
"Meanwhile the number of unevangelized shrinks by 3.6 million each year--but only because 13.2 million unevangelized people died before they heard the gospel. That's not success! The statistics point to a crying need for more evangelism. Why we don't have more evangelistic efforts is a subject to which I think Haggard makes an interesting point."
Christians and Karate?
I was a bit dismayed to see your article on the martial arts ("Warriors of Light," by Eric Tiansay, May). I think it is very dangerous to use tools such as the martial arts to evangelize. It seems that those using this tool believe it is OK to take out the "false worship" aspect and "Christianize" the practice.
Los Angeles, California
How can a Christian justify becoming a pupil of a martial arts instructor whose studio resembles a Buddhist temple? What enables the martial arts instructor to do feats of strength? It is mystical energy called chi, and it does not come from the Holy Spirit.
As a Christian with a black belt, I have compared the values of martial arts to the values of Christianity. Martial arts' values of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and an indomitable spirit are identical to the values of our faith as found in both the New and Old Testaments.
I have given numerous demonstrations to secular audiences. It's true that many people wouldn't go to a church, but they will watch a karate demonstration. I end the demonstrations by saying, "Karate may save your life once or twice, but only Jesus can save your soul!"
Third-degree black belt
Syracuse, New York
Your May cover asked the question, "Does God want you to be rich?" But James Robison failed to answer the question directly in his article ("Another View of the Prosperity Gospel," May).
The simple Bible answer to that question is yes! Robison stressed giving, but he belittled receiving. The Bible stresses receiving as much as giving.
Bishop Aaron B. Claxton, D. Min., Ph.D.
Thanks for James Robison's excellent article on prosperity preaching. I am standing with you.
I have the sense now to listen to God about who to give to and how much. I never give in an offering if I am made to feel manipulated or guilty. Jesus went about doing good, and He never asked for an offering or a payment in return.
I hope preachers and teachers will be careful what they say to God's children for their own gain.
Coventry, Rhode Island
Corrections: Our recent article about female ministers in mainline, African American churches ("Your Daughters Shall Prophesy," May) should have stated that Suzan Johnson Cook is head of the Hampton Ministers Conference. We also misspelled the name of a pastor mentioned in the story. The correct spelling is Susie Owens. Charisma regrets the errors.