For more than two decades, RTB founder and president Hugh Ross has led a campaign to heal the breach between science and faith, reaching out to both skeptics and believers with the message that nature and Scripture do not, and will not, contradict. Next year marks the ministry’s 25th anniversary, and Hugh isn’t slowing down.
It’s full-steam ahead for him with appearances at three national conferences this fall, plus a new book, one or two trips to China, and an Alaska cruise conference already planned for 2011. (But don’t worry; Hugh takes the occasional vacation—usually by hiking with his wife, Kathy, through Canada’s hardest-to-reach places.) Before jetting off on his next adventure, our on-the-go leader took time to reflect on RTB’s history and to share his vision for the future.
MB: What inspired you to start Reasons To Believe?
The inspiration built up gradually. During my days at Caltech, I’d show my colleagues evidence from multiple scientific disciplines pointing to God’s existence and the Bible’s reliability. After two years of almost daily “debate,” my office partner finally committed his life to Christ. People outside Caltech responded to the evidence much more readily, and this experience led to a pastoral position at a nearby church. Soon my colleagues, friends, and family began encouraging me to take my message to a wider audience. So, in 1986, with their support, I launched RTB.
MB: How has RTB changed?
It’s certainly grown. Twenty-five years ago it was five volunteers, including Kathy, and a Mac computer squeezed into a tiny office rented from the church. Today I work with a team of scholars and staff, 29 in all, who fill up 10,000+ square feet of office space. Add to that about 3,000 volunteers. During the next 25 years we plan to develop many more scholars and volunteers, but our mission and core values remain the same.
MB: What has been your greatest struggle in leading RTB?
The level of hostility and resistance from certain segments of the church has been shocking. I’m stunned by how much some Christian leaders fear science and how easily they accept others’ false statements about my beliefs.
MB: How do you hope to overcome such obstacles?
My team and I make respectful interaction a priority. We try to respond to attacks with humility and grace. It helps to recognize that what we endure comes nowhere near the level of misunderstanding and opposition Jesus and his early followers endured. Besides, if we’re not attacked, then it probably means we’re ineffective.
MB: Please describe your favorite RTB memory.
I never tire of seeing the joy that shines from the face of someone who has just received new life in Jesus Christ or new freedom from doubts about possible contradictions between facts and faith.
MB: What are your hopes for RTB’s future?
One desire, of course, is that more and more people worldwide will recognize and use advances in science as effective tools for building faith in Christ. Another is that every staff member and volunteer will exemplify 1 Peter 3:15–16, demonstrating such noticeable hope that people ask about it—and answering questions with gentleness, respect, and integrity. I pray that we will always be men and women of grace and courage who stand securely on Truth.