We recently received a question from an online visitor about the ministry known as Reasons to Believe. Please understand that the response below is not meant to question anyone’s faith, but I am required to respond honestly.
From: Stephen S
Subject: Old Earth
What is your position regarding Reasons To Believe
Stephen, thank you for your question.
I want to preface my response by saying that I learned a great deal about Reasons to Believe while attending The Institute for Creation Research Graduate School. At the time I attended the librarian was James Stambaugh who also happened to be ICR’s Hugh Ross watchdog. Jim had a rather large file of material on Ross and Reasons to Believe including correspondence and documentation of encounters they had with him. I managed to wade through several thousand pages of material that really opened my eyes to Ross and his ministry.
Reasons to Believe is a ministry that teaches what is best described as progressive creationism or more accurately, progressive evolution. They believe in billions of years, stellar evolution, chemical evolution and geological evolution. When it comes to biology, they believe that God created in stages. God would create a number of different animals that would eventually go extinct over millions of years and then He would create another group and so on.
Hugh Ross, the founder and director of Reasons to Believe has often told people that nature is the 67th book of the Bible and that death is a good thing. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard and read where Ross placed the accuracy of science over the Bible. When the two disagree, he turns to science first.
Ross continues to teach that young earth creationists who believe in speciation believe in evolution, even when we repeatedly explain the differences between the two. He also teaches that there was a race of soulless hominids (Neanderthals) that buried their dead, made jewelry and painted on cave walls. At one time he taught these soulless hominids lived over 50,000 years ago. When other evolutionary dating methods placed them younger, around 35,000 years ago, he changed his teaching.
While attending ICR, Jim Stambaugh told me of an incident involving Ross that had taken place a couple years earlier. Jim, Dr. John Morris and Dr. Duane Gish had all tried to arrange a public debate with Ross for quite a while, but Ross always had a reason why it could not take place. Ross was speaking in Los Angeles so Jim drove up to sit in and listen to what Ross had to say. He was shocked when Ross told a large audience that he had been trying to debate Jim and John Morris but they kept refusing (when in reality it was Ross that always refused). During the next break, Jim worked his way to where Ross was answering questions and introduced himself to Ross. He said Ross’ jaw about hit the floor. Jim told Ross in front of everyone that he had been trying to arrange debates for years but Ross always backed out. He then challenged Ross to a debate then and there. Ross stammered and then finally told Jim to contact his office to arrange the debate. Jim tried for years afterward and Ross never agreed to a debate. Ross openly lied to his audience and then lied to Jim’s face.
When I was working for Answers in Genesis, I had opportunity to try to arrange a debate between Ken Ham and Hugh Ross, as Ross told everyone he would welcome such a debate. After several years of failed attempts, I finally spoke with Ross’s number two man, Fuzz Rana who told me that he would be glad to arrange a debate. From that point on, I could not get Rana or anyone else from Reasons to Believe to answer my calls, emails or letters. Ironically, I heard from a number of people who attended various Ross seminars and they all told me that he was telling the audiences that he has tried to arrange a debate with Ken and that Ken always turned him down. I know for a fact that these were deliberate lies told to build himself and his ministry up while tearing down Answers in Genesis.
While working at AiG, I became good friends with a number of prominent creationists, both scientists and theologians. One of those was Dr. Russell Humphreys. Russ told of a time when Ross visited Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While there, Ross talked about the Hebrew word for day in Genesis could mean almost any length of time. He made himself sound like a Hebrew expert. At lunch Russ asked Ross in Hebrew if he spoke Hebrew. Ross smiled and nodded, obviously not having a clue what Russ had said. Russ repeated the question in Hebrew a second time and again Ross smiled and nodded. Russ then asked him if he had any clue what he had said and Ross admitted that he didn’t. Russ told him what he had said in Hebrew and then accused Ross of not knowing enough Hebrew to be giving a public exegesis on Hebrew words. Russ then proceeded to inform Ross of the accurate use of the Hebrew word for day (yom) and how as it was written in Genesis 1 could not mean anything other than a literal 24 hour day. Ross’ face turned red in anger and when he left, he shook everyone’s hand except Russ’.
Since Ross was heading to Los Alamos National Laboratory next, Russ contacted his friend and colleague Dr. John Baumgardner and told him what had happened. John later reported that Ross said the exact same things at Los Alamos that he had said at Sandia. John asked him about his conversation with Russ and Ross got furious and walked away from him.
There have been other instances where Ross has been confronted about inaccurate and false teachings he made publicly, but he would always continue to repeat the inaccuracies, lies and accusations at the next talk and the next one after that. He and his staff have repeatedly lied about ICR and AiG debates and they lied to me.
As for Ross’ teaching on the Hebrew word yom, I looked up every reference he used to justify that yom could mean anything other than a literal 24 hour day. In EVERY instance, the references he gave used either the plural forms of yom (yamim, etc.) or they involved a prepositional phrase, for example, in the days of. Hebrew is often just like English in that the context of how it is used determines the meaning. If you read something in English that said ‘he did this in one day’, you would know what they meant. If they said, ‘in my father’s day’, you would know that it meant more than a 24 hour day because of the prepositional phrase it was used in.
When you look at how yom is used in Genesis 1, there are no prepositional phrases nor is the plural form used. Ross never mentions any of this, but continues to use exegesis that would give him a failing grade in any Hebrew class I know of, but he continues to make people think he is a Hebrew scholar.
Having been involved in communications with Reasons to Believe, reading several thousand pages of correspondence and writings, transcribing numerous talks of Ross and the numerous interviews with people who have had firsthand encounters with Ross and his ministry, I cannot and would not recommend his ministry or any of their material to anyone.
Like I said earlier, I in no way question his faith, but I do question his moral character. Anyone who has been repeatedly shown that they have lied and taught inaccuracies and then continue to tell the same lies and teach the same inaccuracies in the name of Jesus Christ, I have a major problem with their moral character. Next to someone who blasphemes God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit, I absolutely despise someone who habitually lies and Hugh Ross has repeatedly lied and done so publicly. As Christ publicly rebuked the Pharisees and those selling in the temple, I feel it my duty to be honest in what I have reported and rebuking Ross publicly. I and others have done so many times and it has made no difference. Just as Scripture says to run away from false teachers, whenever you encounter anything or anyone involved with Reason to Believe, turn and run away. The best description of Reasons to Believe can be found in 2 Peter 2:1:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies,…
Genesis teaches that God created the entire universe supernaturally, only thousands of years ago. Yet, most people are convinced that the universe started in a big bang billions of years in the past. In this illustrated lecture, astronomer Dr. Jason Lisle shows viewers that when the evidence of nature is understood properly, it lines up perfectly with the clear teachings of Scripture. The heavens declare the glory of God!
Run Time: 36 minutes