Dave and Mary Jo Nutting were college instructors in math and science in Alaska when they came upon Dr. Duane Gish's Evolution: The Fossils Say No! in a secondhand bookstore. "The book cost a mere nickel; however, the impact of that little five-cent book has now reached around the world," Dave Nutting wrote in a recent letter to the Institute for Creation Research.
"You might say we were theistic evolutionists at the time," Mary Jo said in a phone interview. Dr. Gish's book, however, presented the scientific fossil evidence for creation, and that started to expand their thinking.
After stumbling upon Dr. Gish's book, they wrote to ICR in 1975 and asked if someone could travel to Sheldon Jackson College in Alaska to talk about young-earth creation science. The speaker who came was ICR Founder Dr. Henry M. Morris.
"His lectures were crucial in cementing us into the creation movement," Mary Jo said. "After [Dr. Morris] taught, more of the faculty at our school started coming out about creation."
She also spoke of students they had years ago who still keep in touch with the Nuttings' current ministry, students who have gone on to spread the truth about creation.
"We had one student [at Sheldon Jackson] named Jeff who would close the conversation every time Dave talked about creation," Mary Jo said. "He told Dave, 'I can't buy this Jesus stuff. Evolution is fact. Genesis is wrong. If God got the first book of the Bible wrong, then everything else is going to be wrong.' We were interested in the scientific aspect of creation science. But that's when we saw the spiritual implications of believing in evolution."
She explained that after Dr. Morris' lecture at Sheldon Jackson, Jeff came to Dave and said he had "a lot of thinking to do." Soon after, Mary Jo said, Jeff gave his life to Christ.
"We saw how a lot of people were kept from God because of evolution," Mary Jo said. "We were very much influenced by ICR. We went to ICR to get an education so that we could learn from the people at the forefront of the [creation/evolution] battle."
After Dave and Mary Jo received masters degrees in geology and biology, respectively, from the ICR Graduate School in the early '80s, they left the world of academia in 1984 to start the Alpha Omega Institute, a Colorado-based ministry "dedicated to teaching the Biblical and scientific evidence of creation throughout the world."
Since then, the Nuttings and AOI's other speaker teams have conducted seminars across the United States and around the world. They speak at churches, private schools, family camps, and on university campuses at the invitation of student-led ministries. "In places like India and Mexico," Mary Jo said, "we've been able to teach at public schools. That would never happen here [in the U.S.]."
AOI also conducts camps and trips focused on teaching families about creation science while enjoying God’s creation. AOI speakers have also accompanied ICR faculty on tours such as the Grand Canyon trip.
This year, 2009, marks the 25th anniversary of AOI's inception. "We are humbled by God's faithfulness over the years, and very grateful for the opportunity to be involved in His work," Dave Nutting wrote. "Thank you, ICR, for the impact you have had in our lives and consequently in the lives of many others."
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Dao, C. 2009. ICR's Impact: The Alpha Omega Institute. Acts & Facts. 38 (5): 15.