Teaching the truth at all costs
By Bob Dickson
In 1998, Dr. Ross Anderson, who is now a professor in the Biological and Physical Sciences Department at The Master’s College, did the unthinkable in the realm of secular higher education. He took a stand for the Genesis account of creation.
That stand cost him his job.
At the time, Anderson was a faculty member at Lamar University near Houston, Texas. He didn’t begin his time at Lamar as a young Earth creationist, but with God’s help, that’s where he finished it.
“I was a theistic evolutionist,” Anderson says. “That’s the only way I could combine my formal education with my church education. Obviously, my church education wasn’t much, particularly in that area.”
When students asked how he fit evolution into his Christian beliefs, he gave the answer he had been trained to give – that evolution is what God used in creation. The answer was good enough for his students, but it never really sat well with Anderson.
“I was unsatisfied with my answer,” he says. “I started thinking, ‘I am the teacher now.’ All those verses about being more accountable applied to me. I didn’t want to be a stumbling block. So I asked God to reveal the truth to me on this issue.”
Anderson sought that truth on the pages of Scripture. He also began to scrutinize the science behind evolution. That study revealed what Anderson calls his “lack of solid knowledge of the Bible” and his “lack of knowledge about what evolution was.”
His doubts and suspicions about evolution were confirmed. He realized that you couldn’t reconcile evolution and creation, that only one could be true.
It wasn’t a difficult choice.
“I couldn’t teach evolution because it was a lie,” Anderson says. “I started telling my students what was true in the privacy of my office. Then I’d leave them with questions in class like, ‘Do you really think all of this happened by accident?’”
Anderson’s unabashed commitment to Scripture found no welcome in the supposed bastion of “free thought.” Faculty members would listen to his lectures from outside his classroom door and then report him to the department chair, who then went to the academic dean.
“I was naïve about freedom in education,” Anderson says. “I thought they were going to let me teach. I got a letter from the dean saying they weren’t going to invite me back. It said I that was undermining the faculty and generating confusion in the minds of the students. That was right. I was confusing them – by telling them the truth. Truth is always confusing to those who have never heard it.”
Because of the timing of the letter, and because the school needed teachers, Anderson was able to continue at Lamar for another year, which he used to challenge his students and influence members of the faculty.
At the end of that year, God brought him to The Master’s College.
“It was a breath of fresh air,” Anderson says, “When I talked about Christ and the Bible in class, I started to stop myself, and then I remembered, ‘Wait, this is a Christian institution; they hired me to do this.”
Sadly, most Christian institutions don’t affirm the biblical account of a young Earth and a six-day creation. At the Bible’s very foundation, they equivocate. And if you question the Bible’s veracity at that point, how can you affirm its truth anywhere else?
“People who send their kids to “Christian” colleges need to look at this particular issue because it sheds a lot of light regarding if their children are going to get a real Christian education,” Anderson says. “If one department says this and another department says that, students come out more confused than when they came in.”
At The Master’s College, students are taught that evolution is a worldview, not a science. It’s s theory that began as a philosophy. This approach applies to other areas of science as well.
“My experience has been invaluable in developing my biblical worldview of the sciences,” says TMC senior pre-med student Christian Dove. “While creation is an important topic in our worldview, many don’t realize that our faculty addresses many other critical issues. Abortion, stem-cell research, the definition of life, etc. All of these topics have severe implications in our world today. The science department upholds a commitment to prepare us as scientists and independent thinkers who may critically evaluate issues such as these through the lens of Scripture.”
According to Anderson, Dove’s experience isn’t unique – and it isn’t accidental.
“Whether it’s in the field of genetics or chemistry, we see what the textbook says. Then we dissect the science,” Anderson says. “What is the claim? What is the basis? The Master’s College is unique in that.”