Science in Christian Perspective
Northern Delaware Chapter of the American Scientific Affiliation.
From: JASA 11 (March 1959): 28-29.
About two and one-half years ago a group of scientists in the Wilmington, Delaware area organized a local chapter of the ASA. A primary objective was to sustain and promote the national organization as outlined in its constitution. The original membership included some former members of the ASA, and since then new members have been enrolled who have accepted by the ASA. The local chapter has adopt a set of by-laws as a guide for its activities. A copy is appended to this report which may be of some interest to members in other areas who would like to organize a local chapter.
1 believe that participation in the activities of an ASA local chapter has been of real help to me and can be be to each one of us. I am convinced, moreover, that an opportunity for service exists here that can be the means of intellectual, spiritual and professional growth for the individual, of very definite benefit to related Christian organizations, and will help us bring a positive witness to associates in our profession.
The following script was prepared for the purpose of summarizing the activities of the Wilmington chapter and to tell why a local chapter of the ASA has found a useful place in the sphere of Christian activities.
There are three ways in which we have been able to take part in the activities of a local ASA chapter. These are in discussion, in fellowship and in service.Discussion:
An informal seminar for discussion of subjects of mutual interest to the membership is one of the objects of our local chapter. The subjects which have been presented for discussion at our monthly meetings have included a variety of topics including "Methods of age determination and principles of C-14 dating", "Deluge geology and the Genesis account of Creation", "The basic needs of the human personality" and "The inspiration of the Holy Scriptures" to mention a few. One years' meetings were devoted to a discussion, chapter by chapter, of Ramm's book, "The Christian View of Science and the Scriptures". This was a good experience for all of us, and we gained a better appreciation of the problems involved in bringing about a rapprochement between the data and conclusions of the sciences with a conservative Christian philosophy.
From time to time we have attended lectures by outstanding men on subjects of interest to Christians and scientists. Dr. William F. Albright spoke on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Lincoln University a couple of years ago and a number of our members were there. The all-day symposium on "Science and the Christian Faith" at Eastern Baptist College was co-sponsored by our chapter and featured several excellent talks, including one by our ASA president, Dr. H. Harolcl Hartzler. This talk has since been published in the Journal. Several of our members participated in a panel discussion, and the 1957 president of our chapter, Dr. Arthur Nersasian, presided at the afternoon sessions. Another ASA member, Dr. Richard Bube of the RCA laboratories of Princeton, N. J. spoke in the evening on "Related Limitations to Human Rea soning in the Interpretation of the Physical World and of the Scriptures." I hope his talk can be printed in the journal as well.
In March our chapter co-sponsored with Youth for Christ of Wilmington the showing of the Moody Bible Institute of Science film, "The Red River of Life". Introduction and some very pertinent comments were given by Dr. John Brobeck of the University of Pennsylvania. Several hundred people were present, and much ASA literature was distributed. In May our chapter presented Dr. Allan A. MacRae of Faith Theological Seminary, who spoke on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The audience of about one hundred people, mostly technically-trained, asked many questions in a lively discussion period.Fellowship:
There is much I could say praising the good fellowship we enjoy at our ASA meetings. Fellowship with other Christians strengthens one's faith and develops our personalities. One of the aims of our chapter is to promote Christian fellowship and understanding among the membership. Certainly there is no need to feel that one stands alone in his profession as a conservative, Bible-believing, practising Christian when a local chapter of the ASA is open for membership. Opportunities of social contact with fellow scientists, however, has too often been limited to the "mixer" or cocktail hour at a professional society meeting. At our regular monthly meeting we have been enjoying light refreshments served by the host and hostess. This seems to stimulate rather than interfere with the continuance of discussion. As a partial compensation for the ladies we invited them to a Ladies Night supper in their honor. We hope to make this an annual event. An outing for ASA families in the summer is another activity which we have planned.Service:
How about the opportunities of service? As a local ASA chapter we have as a goal the giving of assistance to related Christian organizations. In a minute I will tell you what some of our fellows have been doing along this line. As individual Christian men of science we have a responsibility to bring to our colleagues a positive witness for Christ and the integrity of the Scriptures on which our faith is founded. The circle of influence around each one of us includes people who otherwise would have little occasion seriously to consider faith in Christ because of their sceptical attitude towards religious beliefs. I believe our testimony as Christians can be strengthened and made more effective by our activities in a local chapter of the ASA. We can invite our friends and associates to our meetings. We can show them by solid achievement in the area in which we work that Christian convictions and able, constructive effort go hand in hand. We can develop a healthy Christian philosophy of science, and keep informed on questions which are relevant to our Christian faith. Our Christian testimony will in this way be reinforced.
Individuals of our group have been assisting various Christian organizations in behalf of the ASA. One of our men spoke at Career Day for students at Eastern Baptist College on "Careers in Chemistry". Two of our men are serving as professional representatives on the local Youth for Christ Council. We have hardly scratched the surface of the opportunities, I am sure. Strong, active local chapters will serve as a vital factor in making the American Scientific Affiliation a live, growing organization of increasing influence.
Neal 0. Brace, President, Northern Delaware Chapter,
W. R. Saadeh, Secretary.
Northern Delaware Chapter
The American Scientific Affiliation 221 Edgewood Road
Alapocas, Wilmington, Delaware