Evangelism Handbook Foreword
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2. Evangelism Handbook Foreword

Dinosaur Prints

Dinosaur And human footprintsOne of the most remarkable discoveries of all time was made at Point Twelve at the Dougherty site of the Paluxy River near Glen Rose in the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas. The Paluxy River bed became famous in the 1930s when locals found tracks of dinosaur prints and human prints alongside one another in the fossilized rock. Frozen in time and pressured by the ages in the smooth layered limestone were two print tracks, one of a human and the other of a dinosaur, side by side and even overlapping. These were described and photographed by Dr. John D. Morris (1946-present) Civil Engineer, Geologist, and President Emeritus, at the "Institute for Creation Research," Mount St. Helens. In his book, "Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs and the People Who Knew Them" from Bethany House Publishing he discusses the fossil records and the Young Earth Movement. Another similar more recent find in Britain supported his conclusions. These showed a series of "14 sequential human footprints on the same platform with at least 134 dinosaur tracks" in a recent photo from the British Museum, London's Natural History Museum. On February 7, 2014, a fossil track showed "some human footprints, named by archeologists as "homo antecessor" or "Pioneer Man" thought to be about a million years old, found in silt on the beach at Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast of England." The prints were formed by five individuals including at least two children and one male adult with nearby fossils of "long-extinct animals including the mammoth, ancient horse and early vole" as well as stone tools. The footprint find of humans and mammoths together were part of an exhibit, "Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story," opening at the Natural History Museum in London. Fourteen fossil fragments and lower jawbones from homo antecessor were found in Northern Spain. In 1994 and 1995, a total of 80 fossils of six individuals who may have belonged to the species were discovered dating to approximately 780,000 years ago.

Glen Rose State Park

Dinosaur PrintThe footprints are shown in The Taylor Trail and look for all the world like the handiwork of some dreamy schoolgirl playing on a sandy seashore. One has the three-toed and deep impression of a heavy animal. The other was remarkably dissimilar for there, next to the monster dinosaur print was the clear five-toed bare footprint of a human being! Perfectly formed and sharp, these two impressions were monuments to the past and the present. To back this up, the British Broadcasting Company reported, in March 2009, the discovery of other fossilized footprints over 1.5 million years old! In caves, the remains of mammoth bones were found around a human's fireplace. This is clear evidence that humans coexisted with and walked, hunted and ate the "great creatures" of the Bible all those years ago. As we read in Genesis 1.21, "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." and Genesis 1.30, " 'And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.' And it was so." The dinosaur, seemingly so large, strong and invulnerable has since fallen into extinction. The human being, so small and fragile by comparison, still walks on and continues to inhabit the earth. The challenge for the church today is will it survive or not? Will the church evangelize or instead fossilize like the dinosaur? The church has winced from opponents within and without over the past two thousand years and has managed to develop new ways of surviving. God lives on and so does his people today! In what form we have yet to discover!

Main Line Denominations

MusclemanThe American figures for the decline in Episcopal church evangelism is a challenge to the mainline Churches of the twenty-first century. The Episcopal Church declares, "Episcopalians are passionate about proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in our words and actions. Through the spiritual practice of evangelism, we seek, name and celebrate Jesus' loving presence in the stories of all people - then invite everyone to MORE." Yet, quietly and gradually the Episcopal Church in the United States is diminishing year by year like its sister church the Anglican Church in Canada. Some denominations are shrinking on a national level by ten thousand members annually, and it is rare indeed to find one that is growing. The Anglican Planet reported in January 2009, "more than 60% of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church in the USA suffered double-digit percentage decline in average Sunday attendance in the decade 1997 to 2007 with predictions that the figures would only escalate in 2008." The American Episcopal Church's figures show that membership in the Episcopal Church dropped from 841,445 in 1997 to 727,822 in 2007. In 2008, the estimated loss was about 1,000 Episcopalians weekly. The mainline denominations in Canada showed the same alarming trend. See Voice for Global Anglicanism for further information or www.anglicanplanet.net. Bishop Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany wrote, "Recent statistics show that The Episcopal Church is spiraling downward. I can't help but believe that God has removed His blessing from this Church. Unless something changes, The Episcopal Church is going to die." What can be done?✞

Quietly Passing Away

Dinosaur FootprintDinosaur churches perish. For the church to survive it must embark on evangelism otherwise face quietly passing away. In Canada, the membership of the mainline churches has steadily fallen in recent years and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who reported, "No religion" on their Census Forms. Once upon a time, virtually everybody belonged to a church. The dinosaur, like the church, once flourished. It felt the cold water beneath its toes. It made deep impressions in the mud of a river bed many years ago. It lived but the dinosaur also died. Long before its imprints had hardened into rock, its breath had expired. Life gave way to death and fossilization.

Christianity Lives On

Ferry BoatWhile human beings lived on in their descendants, the dinosaur perished forever. Will the "church" perish, quietly passing away and is it now on the road to fossilization? How else can one explain the lack of growth? How else can one understand its lifelessness? In my local area, I have seen at least six Anglican churches close in the last ten years leaving only three or four behind. The belief in Christianity does seem to be fading all around us together with the decline in morality and social communities the churches encouraged. During a rough crossing of the English Channel from Dover to Calais one day, an old lady approached one of the ferry boat's crew members who was sweeping the floor in the passenger lounge. "Does this type of ship sink often?" she asked nervously. "Only once, Madam," was the cheerful reply. It is appointed unto human beings to die, but what about the church? The church is shrinking in North America. Is there any hope for a resurrection, a reversal of this trend? Can death be turned to life?✞

"Evangelism Handbook Foreword"
by Ron Meacock © 1982-2019

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