Editor in Chief

(Read Part 1)


It was a great privilege to be invited to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Ark Encounter and to be able to tour the Ark twice before it opens to the public tomorrow.

I must admit that the opening events on Tuesday morning unfolded much differently than I expected. Since attendance at the ribbon cutting was by invitation only, I was envisioning a service that had some of the marks of the installation of a new president in a Bible college. What actually occurred was something more like—on a smaller scale—trying to get into a professional sports stadium for the game of the century. I wrote a little about this yesterday, and I truly hope that the crowds that turned out yesterday—and again today when we went back for the opportunity to tour the Ark at our leisure—are a sign of the kind of response that the Ark Encounter will continue to see on an ongoing basis.

The other very special privilege that I had during these days was to spend time with Dr. John and Mrs. Norma Whitcomb. I have assisted Dr. Whitcomb in his ministry for the past 13 years and contributed his biography to Coming to Grips with Genesis (Master Books, 2008). I have previously written about Dr. Whitcomb’s significant contribution to the beginning of the modern Biblical creationism movement, which, of course, is the backdrop to his inclusion in these events at the Ark.

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DPH editor in chief Paul Scharf (left) is shown with Dr. and Mrs. John C. Whitcomb following the Ark Encounter ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 5.

It has been my desire for some time to be present when Dr. Whitcomb participated in the historic opening of the Ark. Ironically, I was still standing in a long line in the parking lot when it was time for his major place in the ceremony. But at least I was there on the grounds! And the Lord graciously gave me the ability to have this photo (at left) taken with the Whitcombs, and gave my wife and I the opportunity to spend a nice time at lunch with them and many of their family members who were on hand for the occasion.

At age 92, Dr. Whitcomb’s concerns during the time between ordering lunch and receiving it still focus upon the books he is writing and other ministry opportunities ahead. The Whitcombs were actually doing double duty this week, as the church fellowship that they are part of—the Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International—had planned their annual conference to coincide with the opening of the Ark Encounter.

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Dr. Whitcomb and his daughter-in-law Kim Whitcomb enjoy a light moment during a book signing at the Creation Museum on Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. Whitcomb did not have any public speaking engagements during these days, but he interacted with countless people—some who have known him for years and some meeting him for the very first time. He began today at the Ark, where he met with some Conservative Grace Brethren pastors. The afternoon found him at the Creation Museum, where he signed books for an hour outside the bookstore and then did a recorded interview.

At an age when most people would not even consider making a trip to see these kinds of attractions, Dr. Whitcomb is an inspiration to all who come in contact with him.

This morning I met another member of the Greatest Generation—who is also a contributor to Dispensational Publishing House and a familiar name to many if not all of our readers. As my wife and I were on the ramp going up from the second to the third deck of the Ark, we saw Mark Looy, co-founder and chief communications officer of Answers in Genesis, speaking to none other than Dr. Tim LaHaye. Although I have interviewed Dr. LaHaye for Answers Magazine and worked with him on behalf of DPH, I had never met him in person.

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Dr. Whitcomb signed my ticket to the Ark Encounter ribbon cutting ceremony.

Dr. LaHaye holds a special place in my heart—both because of his long and storied stand for Biblical truth and—in particular—Bible prophecy, and also because another beloved former seminary professor of mine, the late Dr. Ralph Turk, was once Dr. LaHaye’s right-hand man, and always spoke very highly of him.

As Dr. LaHaye shook my hand, he remarked on “what a testimony” the Ark offers to the world.

I am grateful to God for the opportunity to interact with Christian servants of the caliber of Drs. Whitcomb and LaHaye. The verse that comes to my mind is Phil. 2:29: “Hold such men in esteem.”

In tomorrow’s conclusion to this series of reports on the Ark, I will share my reaction to what I saw at this amazing apologetic endeavor.

(Read Part 3)

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