This week I want to devote the entire Feed Back article to a short response we received to one of the articles we posted on our website – More False Claims by Hugh Ross.
From: George C
Did you genuinely offer Dr. Ross a chance to defend his conclusions? As you seem to be so certain of your own, why not do a debate?
George, thank you for your comment and inquiry as to the possibility of a debate with Dr Hugh Ross.
First of all, if you had followed the link at the bottom of the article, you would have realized that we did not write this article. The article was written by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati who is on staff with Creation Ministries International and is based in their U.S. office. Sarfati has had many attempted dialogues with Ross to which most have been completely fruitless. I personally doubt if Ross would have the courage to do a formal debate with Sarfati and I will explain why I say that in the rest of my response to you.
I was first introduced to Ross and his ministry, Reasons to Believe in 1994 while I as attending the graduate school at The Institute for Creation Research. At that time, the librarian for ICR was James Stambaugh who not only holds a graduate degree in library science but also held a graduate degree in Old Testament Hebrew. Jim was ICR’s watchdog on Ross and his ministry. He had a huge file of correspondence and documentation on and from Ross and his ministry. I spent quite a few hours reading through the volumes of letters, statements, etc., and I have to tell you that I found it to be very alarming concerning Ross’s interpretation of Scripture, view on the authority of Scripture and his teachings on Scripture.
Just prior to my attending ICR, Ross was giving one of his public lectures at a large venue in the Los Angeles, California area. During that lecture, he told the audience that he had been repeatedly trying to debate various ICR staff members including Dr. John Morris and Jim Stambaugh, which was an absolute lie as both Dr. Morris and Jim had been trying to arrange a debate with Ross for some time but Ross and his ministry failed to respond. It just so happened that Jim was in attendance at this event. During the next break, Ross was surrounded by attendees asking questions. Jim managed to worm his way through the crowd, stood in front of Ross and introduced himself as James Stambaugh from ICR and that he had been trying to arrange a debate with Ross for some time but neither Ross nor his ministry ever responded. Ross’ jaw about hit the floor and after stammering a bit, told Jim that this was great and he would love to debate him and that Jim was to contact his office to set up a time and place. Jim repeatedly contacted Ross’ ministry to try to set up the debate but they never responded to him and the event never happened.
When I was working for Answers in Genesis as Ken Ham’s personal assistant, I tried to set up a debate for nearly 4 years. I even spoke to one of Ross’ staffers, Dr. Fuz Rana about setting up a debate between Ross and Rana against Ken Ham and Dr. Russell Humphreys. The debate never happened because they stopped taking my calls and would not respond to my e-mails.
I have heard from several others in the young earth creation camp that have had similar experiences with Ross and his ministry.
In one of Ross’ earlier books, Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy, Ross devotes a section of the book to the Hebrew word ‘yom’ – meaning ‘day.’ Ross comes across as a Hebrew expert, but anyone with a high school education (at least high school back in my day) could see the fallacious errors Ross made in his book. He cited various Scriptures where he claimed yom meant a long period of time or indefinite periods of time and so on. I admit that I am not a Hebrew scholar, but I have had a year of Old Testament Hebrew in seminary and looked up every Scripture that Ross cited in his book. In EVERY instance Ross quoted, the word used was NOT yom as used in Genesis 1. It was either used with a prepositional phrase ‘in the day’ or it was a plural form of yom. Anyone can tell the difference in how a word is used or what form of the word is used from the context in which it is used. For instance:
- I can only do this during the day when there is sufficient light.
- It took me a whole day to read that book.
- In my father’s day, life was much simpler.
- Those were the days to remember.
In each of these cases, you can clearly understand the meaning of the word day or days. The first example refers to the daylight part of the day. The second one refers to a 24 hour period. The third refers to a time past as does the fourth example. The same is true in Hebrew, but evidently Ross seems to be completely unaware of Hebrew and English grammar.
On another occasion, Ross traveled to New Mexico where he spoke to the scientists at both the Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. During his talk at Sandia, he presented himself to be a Hebrew expert and spoke on the use of the yom in Genesis 1. At a private luncheon for Ross and some of the scientists, Dr. Russell Humphreys (this was before he retired from Sandia) asked Ross if he spoke Hebrew. Only Humphreys asked the question in Hebrew. Ross looked at him, smiled and nodded his head. Humphreys again asked the question and again Ross failed to understand. Then Humphreys told Ross what he had asked and confronted him about his lack of Hebrew skills and knowledge.
Humphreys also pointed out the grammatical errors that Ross made in his presentation. Ross thanked him and said he would make the corrections. From Sandia, Ross went to Los Alamos where Dr. John Baumgardner worked at the time. Humphreys had alerted Baumgardner to Ross’ mistakes and told him of their conversation. After stating he would make the changes to correct his Hebrew grammatical errors, Ross actually repeated the same errors at Los Alamos and has continued to repeat them for some time.
There is a lot more I could say about the teachings of Dr. Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe, such as he places the authority of science and man over God and the Bible, and he equates nature as the 67th book of the Bible. He also teaches that death is good, when Scripture calls it an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). There are many other perverted teachings and interpretations, however I won’t get into all of these as many of them are covered in more detail in Dr. Sarfati’s book Refuting Compromise.
Dr. Hugh Ross has publicly lied and misrepresented what others have said on numerous occasions. He has been publicly rebuked and shown his errors and misrepresentations, yet he continued to repeat them to many audiences since. I don’t know about you, but I have a serious problem with someone’s Christian witness when they knowingly lie in public and refuse to admit, repent or correct the lies they espouse, and do so in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I only share these things with you publicly because they have happened publicly. And before anyone gets upset by my doing so, allow me to remind you that Jesus publicly confronted the Pharisees (Matt. 3:7-10) and the vendors in the Temple (Matt. 21:12-13), and Paul publicly confronted Peter at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14).
So back to your original question about a debate, I repeat that I seriously doubt that Dr. Hugh Ross would publically debate Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, based upon my own experiences with him and the experiences of others.
A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Prov. 13:1
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Prov. 27:5
With his usual brilliant clarity, Jonathan Sarfati, author of the best-selling Refuting Evolution (Vols. 1 and 2) has produced a comprehensive and resounding refutation of the position of ‘progressive creationist’ Hugh Ross, whose views are causing massive confusion about science and the Bible. The most powerful and scientific defence of a straightforward view of Genesis creation ever written.
Updated & expanded in 2011.