While we were doing arrangements and preparation for the most important fall project – the conference on Darwinism – the Lord has opened a door for an outreach to the top scholars at Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, one of the top research centers in former Soviet Union and huge stronghold of atheism. Our materials on science and the Bible allowed me to become involved into discussion with the leading researcher of the observatory Dr. Efeemov on the issue of Bethlehem Star a couple years ago. The man does believe it was real, he collected big bibliography on it and even developed a survey on how the magi could came to the conclusion on the Birth of the King based on their astrological interpretation of a two years long chain of astronomical phenomena with the “star” as a last link in it.
Finally, after two years of insisting, the astronomer agreed for our publication of the survey with my preface on debatable moments of his paper. That may become a great evidence for many: even a leading humanist who refuses all “religious stuff” can not deny the facts related to his area of scientific expertise!
Despite many things needed to be taken care of during the preparations for the Darwinism Conference and Apologetics Summits (both the Uzbek one in November and International one next year), the Bethlehem Star project became the main focus for me because of its great potential as a testimony to Dr. Efeemov himself, to his students and colleagues, to many people who will trust the opinion of the expert. Several times a week I was going to the mounts to visit Dr. Efeemov at the Observatory; discussing various details of his survey publication before all atheistic propaganda mantras were removed from the text. I wrote a preface and he approved it and even wrote a note of appreciation for CCSA help. So, the book was published urgently (before he may change his mind) and we made its presentation at the October conference!
The man still refuses the core of the Gospels on the basis of the atheistic indoctrination in their inconsistency, so we have a wide range of the related issues to discuss. He is pretty cautious and I did not give him entire library at once to not scare him and loose the entry point. So far I was supplying him with various books one by one for cleaning up his wrong believes about the issues that were coming up during our discussion on his book – historiosity of Jesus (Case for Christ), impact of Christianity in culture (What If Jesus Was Never Born? and Case for Faith), intelligence in the Universe design (In the Beginning Was Information and Case for Creator). Also I gave him Starlight and Time with the excuse of asking his expert opinion, as well as I gave him several of my books (gift from the author is culturally appropriate here and never considered as a pressure). I hope the Lord will touch that person eventually (please join our prayers for him), but some benefits of that development are available already:
– I got the opportunity to access the observatory from time to time and to supply also some of his colleagues and students with the books and videos we would not be able share with them otherwise. Please pray for the seeds planted.
– Efeemov agreed to give a video interview about the star; we shoot the interview having 8’optical reflection telescope (the second biggest in former Soviet Union) as a background (see the pictures attached). After the hours of the discussions we had, Efeemov spoke openly to the camera about reliability of the gospels as historical texts! We are going to use the interview for production of a documentary on the Gospels historical accuracy. Again, the input of the humanist scientist in support of the facts will be a powerful testimony for many. Please pray for the project!
– At first he asked for 20 copies of the book to give as the author to his closest friends and colleagues. But in a week he called and asked to bring him 100 more copies! It sounds like the book has raised a great interest at the observatory, so that all they which dwelt in there heard the word of the Lord Jesus (cf. Acts 19:10). Beyond the man’s theory, the book includes the Gospels textswith the astronomical and historical evidences for their reliability, my commentaries and the address of our web site where more materials could be found. By the Lord’s providence we got a volunteer in the man who distributes the message to the spheres of the scientific community we could never reach otherwise! Please pray for the Lord to prepare the hearts of the people to hear the most important message of the Gospel!
Nevertheless, the main event of the month was International Conference “The Impact of Darwinian Ideology on the Sciences, Education and Society” (see the pictures attached). It was extremely productive. Twenty-two speakers from Byelorussia, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, USA and Uzbekistan took part in it. Fifteen of them have doctoral degrees in physics, mathematics, technologies, biology, humanities, medicine, philosophy and theology. The very first time in former Soviet Union Darwin’s theory was discussed on the academic level specifically from the viewpoint of its ideological basis on the one hand and its fruits in the society on the other. The speakers provided grounded criticism of the Darwinian ideology from the positions of science, philosophy, worldview, ethics, etc. The negative influence of Darwinism on culture and society was pointed out as well.
The participants emphasized the inconsistency of Darwinism as an ideology. While actual observable speciation within syngameons (the clusters of species or semispecies linked by hybridization) can be clearly explained within the terms of Creation / Intelligent Design, the idea of the natural origin of all living organisms from a common ancestor is a purely speculative ontological concept. The principles of Darwinism do not correspond to the scientific criteria of observation, repetition and verification, which leave Darwinism beyond the range of the scientific method. They can only be taken by faith a-priori. Therefore the evolutionary naturalistic worldview fits the category of a doctrine.
Now the Kyiv brunch of our Eurasian Apologetics Society is going to use the resolution of the conference (in the law suit against the Ministry of Education, the curricula monopolist in Ukraine, requiring developing and implementing the curricula that would equally expose the facts in the light of various ontological beliefs. Please pray for the success of that legal precedent as well as for other possible upcoming fruits of the conference.
The joyful finale of the period was the weekend of seminars on friendship and evangelism for the Fellowship of Evangelical Students regional leaders (see the pictures attached). Ministry to students is among our top priorities. However, our main goal is to communicate them that ministry to the peers should be their highest priority as well. Nobody knows students better and nobody can communicate them better then their fellow-students. Their today classmates are future teachers, scientists, officers, doctors, politicians. Sharing the Gospel with them now, while they are students, impact the way the country is going to be in twenty-plus years, when their own children will be students. It is a great joy to equip young enthusiastic Christians for the ministry in the most effective ways, helping them to transform the mind of a new generation! Please pray for Christian students in former Soviet Union!
At the same time our video production team still using last sunny days before the fall for shooting our children musical outdoor scenes (see the pictures attached). Our goal is to complete the project by Christmas. Please pray for it as well.
Our greatest upcoming project now is Eurasian Apologetics Society coordinators international retreat and national society summit in Uzbekistan (the dates are changed for November 9 – 16 due to the flights schedule). However our trip there is under danger because of the promises of the authorities to start a national quarantine because of the flu epidemic (37 persons died in Western Ukraine). Please pray for us as well as for the project.