From Shinto to Christian Pastor
by John D. Morris, Ph.D. *
The Institute for Creation Research recently hosted a delightful guest: Pastor Nobuji Horikoshi. (He tells people to remember his last name by noting it sounds somewhat like “Holy Ghost”.) He pastors one of the largest churches in Japan, the growing Souai Church in Mie Prefecture in south-central Japan, and heads up an effective “creation voice” in Japan. He even installed an extensive creation museum on the church grounds. Recently, he visited ICR with his lovely wife of many years and his youth pastor, Satoshi Miyazaki.
I had met Pastor Horikoshi during a speaking trip to Korea sponsored by the large Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR). He worked with them as his fledgling creation ministry in Japan was getting off the ground and accompanied them on a speaking trip to Hong Kong, which eventually resulted in the building of a full-scale Noah’s Ark on Ma Wan Island. He had also twice visited ICR headquarters when it was located in California. I consider him a valuable friend and faithful colleague in creation evangelism.
His testimony is profound and encouraging. He grew up as the eldest son of a Shinto priest who was in charge of a Shinto temple. Nobuji was expected to take over the priestly position and duties of his father. But as he grew, the big questions of life began to plague him. Where did we come from? What happens after we die? How can we please God? There are so many gods, how can we know which one is the true God? There were no answers, even from his priest father. This drove him deep into the search for the truth, and in the early post-war years the questions led him to Christianity.
One of the most important steps in his journey was the discovery of a book on creation titled That You Might Believe written by my father, the late Dr. Henry Morris, and published in 1946. It presented convincing evidence for creation science and biblical accuracy, leading to a clear gospel message. It transformed Nobuji, and soon he was the pastor of a small church.
Armed with new information, including the case for creation, he went to tell his father. When he found out that his son was now a Christian, Nobuji’s father refused to see him. Eventually the father agreed to see him as the pastor of a church in town, but not as his son, and for years they met together for an hour each day, discussing deep issues such as those that drove Nobuji to Christ.
Eventually his father accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation. He renounced his position as a Shinto priest, tore down the temple, and donated the land to the church. The church building, school, and museum now sit on land once dedicated to pagan worship!
Pastor Horikoshi credits creation teaching as being key to his ministry. He has written several books, based on ICR’s publications, for the Japanese audience. He has also printed a more readable translation of the Bible in which he uses the name “Creator” for God. In Japan there are many gods, but the Creator God is not merely one of them. The true God created all things, including the wood and rock materials out of which people fashioned their other “gods.” As in Acts 17:23-24, Pastor Horikoshi proclaims the one true God, refuting false concepts of the “Unknown God.” He has produced other teaching and Christian growth materials based on creation thinking, and God has blessed his efforts.
His dear wife, as well as the youth pastor, have written to me since their trip with the news that Nobuji suffered a heart attack after returning to Japan and is expecting to be in the hospital for at least the next month. They are building a new facility and expect us to attend its dedication.
“This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Mark 12:11).We count it a real blessing to know this godly man and participate in his ministry in Japan.
* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in Geological Engineering from the University of Oklahoma.
Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 2014. From Shinto to Christian Pastor. Acts & Facts. 43 (10).