By Allen Palmeri
SPRINGFIELD—Pastors and their wives are being invited to a free conference and luncheon Jan. 28 here at Missouri Baptist Convention-affiliated South Creek Church featuring one of the more prominent creation scientists.
John D. Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, Texas, is coming for the 11 a.m. event. He holds a doctorate in geology and has led more than a dozen expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark. Space is limited to the first 200 people who register.
Organizers of the Creation Museum of the Ozarks, a dream held by a select group of creationists in the southwest Missouri area, hope to use the conference to build momentum for their project.
“We want to develop a group of affiliate churches that would want to stand on the authority of Scripture, because that’s what it’s all about,” said Ron Walser, a member of South Creek who sits on the advisory board of the museum. “It’s not whether we’re arguing science or whether we’re arguing about geology or molecular bonding. We’re talking about God said it, that settles it.”
The vision for building a creation museum in or around Branson, which is a national tourism destination for many Christian families, began about two years ago. Rod Butterworth, former curator of the Springfield Biblical Archaeology Museum, has been the driving force who carries the titles of founder and president. Walser, a retired chief operating officer of a $40 million a year New York City company and a former atheist, shares Butterworth’s burden to teach apologetics and reach young people who often are not being taught all the facts when it comes to science.
“Much of the argument that we’ve used in the past has been about geology and paleontology,” said Walser, 71, whose own academic background has been in teaching advanced courses in biochemistry and microbiology. “These are historical sciences, and so if I’m discussing something with you in that area, I’m talking about a lot of water over a short period of time, but you can refute that by saying, ‘I think it’s a little bit of water over a long period of time,’ and the argument goes nowhere.
“We’re talking more about molecular biology and DNA molecular bonding. These are observational sciences. These are the things that the evolutionists have no answer to, none whatsoever. They lose the argument every time, because they have nothing to refute these things.”
Creation Museum of the Ozarks has been incorporated with the State of Missouri since Jan. 9, 2008. Butterworth has been in close communication with staffers from Answers in Genesis, which operates the creation museum north of Cincinnati, Ohio, and they have given him their blessing on the project. In an October 2009 post on the museum’s website, Butterworth wrote that he would like to see Biblically based creation museums spring up all over America to help fortify young people with alternative answers to unscientific and false evolutionary ideas, especially young Christians.
”We believe that kids are being merged into the culture,” Walser said.
To counter that, and to address their concern that many Christian children are leaving the church a year or two after they leave home, Butterworth, Walser and other Creation Museum of the Ozarks enthusiasts are looking to the Jan. 28 conference as a means to rally pastors.
“We would like to get 100 churches in our area that say I’m going to stand on the authority of Scripture,” Walser said, mentioning the South Creek pastors, Jeff White and Justin Nelson, as examples of what he hopes will become a larger group of likeminded supporters.
“We’re excited to do it,” White said. “We’re really glad the Lord brought the opportunity along for us to do it.”
Walser, who has 12 grandchildren, said his motivation for this conference and for the future creation museum is to take care of the children.
“What we really need to do is salvage the kids,” he said.