Is Creationism a Missionary Effort?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
The decade of the 1990's holds great promise for the spread of Christianity in previously closed countries. The dramatic call from Eastern Europe for Bibles and other Christian literature, as well as requests for training under Christian leaders, has many missionary-minded organizations rapidly working to fill that need. Thoughtful persons are recognizing that the walls and curtains which have so recently been torn down, may rise once again to shroud great portions of the globe.
Similar calls are echoing from the Far East, from Africa, and from South America. Darkness has had its day, and souls are clamoring for light. The window of opportunity for the Gospel, although perhaps created by a lust for Western materialism and a desire in some sectors for peace, must be traversed by a thoughtful, well planned effort. Should the message of creation play a role in such an evangelistic effort?
During my recent lecture tour in Moscow, I spoke almost exclusively to college students, professors, and scientists. Local Christian leaders, who sponsored my lectures, had targeted the "intelligentsia" as being nearly unreachable by other evangelistic efforts, yet who become very influential, if and when converted. My lectures were predominately of scientific content, but the spiritual implications were included. I had brought gospel tracts in Russian, translated from one used with effectiveness on American campuses, but the Christian leaders discouraged their distribution. How can a person who has been convinced by science that naturalistic evolution accounts for all of reality, and who "knows" there is no God, and has only heard a ridiculous caricature of the superstitious beliefs of the uneducated, possibly be affected when they hear, "God loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life"? A lecture on the inability of chance processes to produce life forced them to consider the possibility of God. Then, and only then, could a salvation message communicate. And, as it turned out, each of my lectures was followed by intense interest in both creation science and the nature of the Creator.
Missionaries and Christian leaders from many lands have testified that evolution is the chief roadblock to the acceptance of the Christian Gospel. Most of the world's religious systems, including the atheism of the eastern bloc, the pantheism of Asia, the animism of tribal cultures, and the polytheism of the ancients, are all basically evolutionary systems, ascribing to natural causes, the effects we see around us. Those "educated out of" such systems naturally gravitate to scientific evolutionism, and away from God.
Conversely, many missionaries have found that when they teach the early chapters of Genesis, including the doctrines of creation and Adam's subsequent fall into sin, before the doctrine of salvation from sin by the work of the Creator on the cross, that the response is much greater. Many cultures have traditions which are faded memories of the events of Genesis, yet their descendants have no knowledge of Christ, and this focal point of reference opens their hearts to the fulfillment of their traditions.
Indeed, creationism must be a part of any modern missionary effort. And why not? It is part of the true Gospel of Christ, called "the everlasting gospel," by John, the evangelist (Revelation 14:6,7). Without it, nothing else makes sense!
*Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.