SPRINGFIELD—Two Missouri Baptist laymen are sounding the alarm on a Nov. 19-21 conference here that aims to “unbuckle the Bible Belt” by leading young Christians away from their faith and into the practice of atheism.
Ron Walser, a member of South Creek Church, and Rod Butterworth, a member of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, are warning about the dangers of Skepticon, a national gathering for skeptics which purports to turn the Expo Center here into a recruiting ground. Walser and Butterworth are authors with varying degrees of expertise in science and education whose long-range goal is to open a Creation Museum of the Ozarks in Branson.
“The bottom line is, the evidence is on our side,” said Butterworth, who wrote the book Did God Really Say That? “But Jesus spoke about those who walk in darkness. So these people, like the Skepticon people who are coming here, they are walking in spiritual darkness. It’s really like they’re walking in a dream world. They don’t really know what they’re doing.”
Walser, who serves on the Creation Museum of the Ozarks Advisory Board, wrote a book geared toward educating and equipping pastors called The Bible Fix: Fixing God’s Word to Match the Wisdom of Modern Man. He sees the fast-approaching Skepticon conference as an opportunity for pastors to come on down to the Expo Center and stand for the truth.
“Pastors tell me, ‘I’m not real comfortable teaching on creationism,’” Walser said. “ I say, ‘Well, that’s strange, because it’s referenced in 62 of the 66 books of the Bible.’”
Walser’s pastor, Jeff White, held a “Creation Sunday” Nov. 14 in the hope that more people would know God as the Creator.
“I love what Hebrews 3:4 says,” White said. “It gives an axiomatic, self-evident truth. It says, ‘For every house is built by some man.’
“If you see a building, you have a builder. If you have a creation, you have a Creator. You don’t just have an explosion in a lumberyard and all the parts fall into place and it’s all designed and you have a house that shows up. I think that what we’re seeing in our culture, with the abandonment of the cross in churches, is the end result, the legacy, of evolution.
“If you have evolutionary thought, evolution demands the survival of the fittest, so with evolution you have death existing before man, and if death exists before man then death is not what the Bible says it is which is something that comes after man which is the result and the consequence of man’s sin. And if death is not the result and the consequence of man’s sin, then Jesus dying on the cross can’t pay the penalty for your sin. So ultimately, evolutionary thought undermines the cross.”
Walser noted that he is sold out to the idea that God is the Creator who did His work in six days, which is the very foundation of the biblical worldview.
“I have special revelation in my heart, and I look at it through the prism of general revelation—that is, the science of it,” said Walser, who is a retired chief operating officer of a New York City company and a trained chemist. “The special revelation is the melody. But when you add that enhancement, the harmony, then it really speaks to you.”
Butterworth, a former curator of Springfield’s Biblical Archaeology Museum who now serves as president of the Creation Museum of the Ozarks, is grieved by the actions of pastors, Sunday School teachers, and other Christian educators who tend to shy away from the topic. He hopes that the Skepticon event will at least be a wake-up call to the church.
“So many pastors haven’t seen the connection between generation after generation of American young people, in their 40s and 50s now, being influenced by the fact that there is no Creator, and if there’s no Creator, there’s no Gospel,” he said. “You don’t hear pastors generally mentioning anything in their messages about the age of the earth or about millions of years or billions of years. They stay away from it pretty much for various reasons—maybe they don’t know how to speak about it. It’s a huge stumbling block, many times, to believing the Bible.”
This marks the third consecutive year for Skepticon to hold its annual event in Springfield, which is being targeted because of its high population of Christians. The methodology as expressed by the conference’s various speakers has not changed.
“Skepticon’s attack is fully based on denouncing God as Creator,” Walser said.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor