I received another email (see the first), which I have permission to share anonymously. It shows that I was not entirely right. I still believe, however, that for most people leading our evangelism with creationism is not the best way. I think that stories like this tell us that we must treat every inquirer as an individual, and what might be helpful for one person might not be for another:
My email may be one of so few that your point (I am convinced that very few unsaved people will be converted to Christianity by arguing with them to convert them from an evolutionist to a creationist) is proved or not, but thought it worth sharing none the less.
Brought up in a completely non-Christian environment and subject to all the usual media / school output of evolution as fact. It seemed plain as day to me (as an A Level student) that evolution removed any need for God. That didn’t mean I’d ever fully understood how a fish that jumped out of the sea ever came to be anything other than a dead fish no matter how many times fish did it. However, I was astonished to find people who believed in a creation which led to me reading a booklet written by a friend’s mum.
I was equally astonished to find the book making sense and creation suddenly seemed to make a lot more sense than evolution. Hand on heart this was a massive factor in my ongoing wrestling with ‘who is this Jesus and what does it mean to be in relationship with him’. This was not least in the area of the reliability of the Bible. I laughed out loud when reading Genesis first time – not chapters 1 – 3, but the the ages of the people in the following chapters. But within a few months of my ‘creation conversion’ the final step came along.
I have never gone back on my unbelief in evolution though I don’t make an issue of it now as I first did. The change came while at a seminary when arguing about this issue with a friend (curiously my seminary took quite a strong stand for evolution and holding a different view felt as abnormal as you’d expect it to feel in a ‘normal’ college). In the argument I said ‘Well if evolution’s not true then I’m not a Christian’ which was a poor attempt in winning the argument. The words stayed with me and led to me accepting there were other views.
I still think it’s an important issue and one that people (perhaps students more than others) still want to engage with particularly with Professor Dawkins prominence and incredible influence on the media. Also, non-evolution creation doesn’t seem to require the same theological somersaults that theistic evolution requires when it comes to sin & death. However there is so much material these days and some of it’s so technical that there just isn’t time to find clarity for most of us.
Where I would hang my ‘if that’s not true them I’m not a Christian’ hat these days is much more to do with Jesus, and especially the resurrection (1 Cor 15:15-19).