From: PSCF 37 (June 1985): 86-92.
The saying goes that life begins at forty. It was exactly forty years ago  that Professor Paul Erb of the English department of Goshen College gave me a brochure entitled: "The Story of the American Scientific Affiliation." This interested me greatly with the result that I wrote to Irving A. Cowpertbwaite who was listed as Secretary-Treasurer.
I recall that I was impressed with the objectives of this new organization.
1. To integrate and organize the efforts of many individuals desiring to correlate the facts of science and the Holy Scriptures.
2. To promote and encourage the study of the relationship between the facts of science and the Holy Scriptures.3. To promote the dissemination of the results of such studies.
The First Ten Years
The number 40 seems to have special significance in the Bible. Rain fell 40 days and 40 nights at the time of the flood of Noah, the Children of Israel ate manna 40 years in the wilderness, Moses spent 40 years in the palace of Pharaoh, 40 years in the wilderness in preparation for his great task, and be led the Children of Israel 40 years to the promised land. Moses was up in the mountain 40 days and 40 nights when he received the Ten Commandments, Moses fasted 40 days and 40 nights when be was on the mountain, the spies searched the land of Caanan 40 days, the Children of Israel were forced to wander in the wilderness 40 years, a condemned man was given 40 stripes, Joshua was 40 years old when be went as one of the spies, both David and Solomon reigned 40 years, the good King Josiah reigned 40 years, Jonah preached in Nineveh 40 days, Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus was seen by his disciples 40 days after the resurrection.
World War 11 was going on during those years with the result that travel was greatly restricted. Hence no national meetings of the ASA took place until 1946 when we met at Wheaton College. I presented a paper there with the title: "A God-Centered Science Course." There I had the delightful experience of meeting a number of ASA members. I well remember Dr. Marion Barnes, then Secretary-Treasurer. He stated that when he beard that 1, a Mennonite, was coming, he expected to see a man with a beard. One member who especially impressed me was Walter L. Wilson from Kansas City. I also became acquainted with Russell L. Mixter, Brian P. Sutherland, Roger Voskuyl, George Horner, Allen A. MacRae and Irving A. Cowpertbwaite. One of my big disappointments was not being able to meet F. Alton Everest, President of the ASA, who was unable to attend due to the fact that his family bad the mumps.
During those early years the chief activity of the ASA was that of preparing the chapters of what was then called the Student's Handbook. I recall how glad we were when this book appeared in 1948. The title was: "Modern Science and Christian Faith."
I recall how every member was invited to participate by sending in comments and criticisms to F. Alton Everest, who served as editor. Some chapter headings were: A Christian Interpretation of Science, Astronomy and the First Chapter of Genesis, Geology and the Bible, Biology and Creation, Psychology and the Christian Faith, and the Relation of Archaeology to the Bible. This book of 289 pages was written in order to strengthen the faith of college students.
The second annual ASA meeting was held at Taylor University in 1947. It was there that I first met Al Eckert, who later edited the ASA tract: "Ten Scientists Look at Life" and also Frank Cassel who later served as President of the ASA. The following year I moved with my family to Tucson, Arizona where I studied Astronomy at the University of Arizona. I traveled by train from Tucson to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend the third annual Convention of the ASA. I remember'my conversation with Irving Cowperthwaite as we traveled together from Chicago to Grand Rapids. I will never forget the fine welcome we received at Calvin College from Dr. and Mrs. Monsma and Mr, and Mrs. Karsten. For a number of years these two couples faithfully attended the annual ASA meetings. It was at this meeting that I presented a paper with the title: "The Meaning of Mathematics. "
In the spring of 1949, while I was at the University of Arizona, a letter arrived from F. Alton Everest in which he asked me to serve as chairman of the Program Committee for the annual ASA meeting to be held that year in California. I accepted that assignment and thus became more involved in the work of the ASA, It was in California that field trips became a part of many ASA meetings. The program lasted five days, one of which was a delightful trip to Mount Palomar. At the suggestion of Everest I presented a paper at this meeting with the title: "The Hole in the North."
Dr. Paul Bender of Goshen College and I were very much interested in having the next annual meeting of the ASA on the campus of Goshen College. I remember that we brought literature describing Goshen College to be considered by the members of the Executive Council. It seems that Goshen College was not well known by the Executive Council. After some deliberation the decision was made to hold the 1950 annual meeting of the ASA at Goshen College. Soon after the California meeting I was appointed General Chairman of the 1950 meeting. I was ably assisted in my duties by Hendrik Oortbuys, chairman of the Program Committee, and by Paul Bender, chairman of the local Arrangements Committee. Soon after that meeting I was elected a member of the Executive Council and also Secretary-Treasurer of the ASA. Thus began my long tenure of 21 years as an officer of the ASA. I served as Secretary-Treasurer for 5 years, as President for 5 years, followed by 11 years as the first Executive Secretary. In the meantime I bad left Goshen College and began teaching at Mankato State College, first in the Physics department and later in the Mathematics department. Under my tenure the national office was moved from Goshen to West Lafayette, Indiana, and then to Mankato, Minnesota.
For some time the Executive Council had been looking for a full-time Executive-Secretary. I continued to teach at Mankato State, though I spent much time in the ASA office. Finally in 1972 Bill Sisterson was hired as the first full-time Executive- Secretary, His title was later changed to Executive-Director. Upon my retirement I was presented with a beautiful bronze plaque at the 1972 meeting held in Toronto.
I now wish to mention some highlights of the annual ASA conventions. The fifth held at Goshen College August 29-September 1, 1950, featured a paper by Delbert Eggenberger with the title: "Methods of dating the earth and the universe. " Delbert, now deceased, served as Editor of the journal ASA 1951-62. The sixth convention was held August 28-31, 1951 at Shelton
H. Harold Hartzler, born April 7, 1908, graduated from Juniata College with an A.B. degree in 1930 and from Rutgers University with a Ph.D. degree in 1984. Teaching experience included two years at Elizabethtown College, one year at Bluffton College, twenty years at Goshen College and eighteen years at Mankato State University, now retired Professor of Mathematics.
He has served the ASA as Program Chairman, General Chairman, SecretaryTreasurer, President and Executive Secretary. He has also presented a number of papers at the annual ASA meetings. With one exception he has attended every one of the National ASA meetings, Other activities include Science Fair Director, local Sigma Xi Club President, and member of both the Christian Business Men's Committee and the Gideons.
After this meeting held in New York City we moved to a rural setting for our next annual ASA meeting. This was at the Wheaton College Science Station in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I recall traveling by automobile to this convention from Goshen, Indiana together with Paul Bender, William Tinkle, William Pletcher and Hendrik Oorthuys.
The eighth annual convention was held at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana. At this meeting a spirited discussion followed the paper on Deluge Geology by Henry Morris who is now President of the Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, California.The Second Ten Years
We had our tenth annual Convention at the Star Ranch of Young Life, Colorado Springs, Colorado. The dates were August 23-26, 1955. This was the first year that I made my President's annual report. An important item of business at that meeting was the decision to sponsor a book on Evolution to appear in 1959. This book: "Evolution and Christian Thought Today" did appear in 1959 under the editorship of Russell L. Mixter.
Ten years after our first meeting there, the ASA met again on the campus of Wheaton College. At this meeting a symposium was held on Extra Sensory Perception. A preliminary report was made by the Darwin Centennial Committee.
The twelfth annual ASA convention was held at Gordon College August 27-29, 1957. It is interesting that this was the first ASA meeting that the idea of theistic evolution was openly discussed and advocated by some. Now it is true, as stated by a number of ASA members, that the ASA does not take a stand on any scientific theory, yet it is also true that a number of papers at previous ASA meetings were rather critical of the theory of evolution and none even mentioned theistic evolution.
In 1958 for the first time in our history the ASA met on the campus of a State University when we met August 26-28 at Iowa State, Ames, Iowa. This took place under the General Chairmanship of Walter R. Hearn, at that time Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Iowa State. At this meeting there was a special program for wives and George L. Speake presented two of his demonstrations called "Sermons from Science." I recall that he was rather critical of some ideas which I presented in my paper on World Peace.
The fourteenth annual ASA convention was held June 9-11, 1959 at Trinity College in Chicago as a joint meeting with the Evangelical Theological Society. This was the fourth biennial meeting with the theologians. The first joint meeting of the two groups had been held June 21-14, 1955 at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana. I remember that I was the first speaker on the program. My topic was: "The ASA, History and Purposes."
The second joint meeting was held June 12-14, 1957 at Wheaton College. At this meeting we had discussions on the flood of Noah by John C. Whitcomb, representing the Evangelical Theological Society, and by Douglas A, Block, representing the ASA. I recall that I spoke on the subject: "The American Scientific Affiliation, an Appraisal of its Achievements in the Light of its Purposes.
The third such meeting was held June 14-16, 1961 at Goshen College. At this meeting we had three papers on the subject: "Science Looks into the Future." James H. Kraakevik of Wheaton College spoke on the Physical Sciences, Paul Peachey of Eastern Mennonite College talked about the Social Sciences and Irving W. Knobloch concluded by discussing the Biological Sciences.
The fifth biennial joint meeting was held June 19-21, 1963 at Asbury College and Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. I recall that I served as Chairman of the opening session when G. Douglas Young spoke on "Values and Limitations of Natural Theology" and Robert Fisher, later President of the ASA, spoke on "Presuppositions and Assumptions of Science." In a sense this was an historic meeting since a number of ASA members, under the leadership of Walter Lammerts, decided to have another meeting that year when the Creation Research Society was formed. A number of those who were charter members of CRS later disassociated themselves from the ASA. A few of us are now members of both organizations. To me it is very sad that this rift had to occur.
The fifteenth annual ASA convention was held August 22-25, 1960 at Seattle Pacific College under the General Chairmanship of Harold T. Wiebe. This was the last year that I served as President of the ASA.
The Christian's Responsibility Toward the Increasing Population of the World was the theme of the 16th annual ASA convention, held August 22-25, 1961 at Houghton College. Robert Luckey served as General Chairman while Henry Weaver was Chairman of the Program Committee. My good friend Irving A. Cowperthwaite presented a review of the history of the ASA on the 20th anniversary of its founding. Irving was one of the founding fathers of the ASA.
Modern Psychology and the Christian was the theme of the 17th convention held August 20-24, 1962 at Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota.
The 18th annual ASA convention was held August 19-23, 1963 at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA. It was at this meeting that Richard H. Bube gave an evening address on the subject: "The Encounter Between Christianity and Science." Later he edited a book bearing the same title. This book, written mainly by members of the ASA, was somewhat controversial, and thus did not appear as an official ASA publication.The Third Ten Years
The 20th annual convention was held August 23-27, 1965 at the King's College Briarcliff, New York. This was a joint meeting with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I remember the evening address by John Alexander, General Director IVCF, who spoke on: "Christian Witness on a Secular University."
The 21st annual ASA convention was held August 22-26, 1966 at North Park College, Chicago. It was a joint meeting with the Evangelical Theological Society. As I recall this was the last joint meeting of the ASA and the ETS. At this meeting I led a discussion on: "The Future of the ASA" and F. Alton Everest our first President, was the speaker at the banquet when we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the ASA.
The theme of the 22nd annual ASA convention was: "A Christian Approach to Human Responsibility: A Psychological and Biological Discussion." The meeting was held August 28-31, 1967 on the beautiful campus of Stanford University. Here Richard H. Bube acted as our host. He also led a discussion on: "The Relationship between the ASA and the Scientific Community."
The ASA returned to Calvin College for its 23rd annual convention held August 20-23, 1968. The program at this convention was unique in that each of the five Commissions had a part. These were Biological Sciences, History and Philosophy of Science, Physical Science, Psychology, and Social Science. A retreat dealing with the purposes of the ASA was held on Monday preceding the formal opening of the convention. This was the last convention at which the following statement appeared on the cover of the official program: "A group of Christian scientific men, devoting themselves to the task of reviewing, preparing and distributing information on the authenticity, historicity, and scientific aspects of the Holy Scriptures in order that the faith of many in Jesus Christ may be firmly established. "
Starting with the official program in 1969 when we met at Gordon College, this statement was changed to: "The American Scientific Affiliation is an association of men and women who have made a personal commitment of themselves and their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who have made a personal commitment of themselves and their lives to a scientific understanding of the world. " Preceding the convention in 1969 a special workshop on Science and Religion in the High School classroom was held for High School science teachers. The special speaker at the annual banquet was William E. Pannell, black evangelist from Detroit, who spoke on the subject: "My Friend, the Enemy."
The 25th convention of the ASA was held August 17-20, 1970 on the new campus of Bethel College, St. Paul, MN. In his presidential address Charles Hatfield praised God for the gift of Mathematics. At least that was the way that Walt Hearn, editor of the Newsletter, described the speech with the title: "Men, Models, and Mathematics. " I was happy to have Hazel Fetherhuff, faithful office secretary, to be present for the annual banquet. She was so faithful, that when the ASA office moved from Manakto to Elgin, she moved with it and served as the office secretary until the time of her death in 1973.
In order to give more publicity to the ASA I attended the International Congress on Evangelism in Ottawa. I traveled by bus and sent several boxes of ASA material ahead on another bus. What I did not know was that it was necessary that I be present with my materials to get through customs. The material never did get through so that all I had was with me in my briefcase. I was still able to make a number of contacts for the ASA.
"Man and His Environment" was the theme for the 26th convention held August 17-20, 1972 at Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington under the chairmanship of Edwin A. Olson. At this convention I presented a paper entitled: "The American Scientific Affiliation30 Years." For some time the ASA had been looking for a full-time Executive Secretary. I remember how John McIntyre and I spent considerable time together thinking of various possibilities for this position. Before the next annual meeting we had contacted Bill Sisterson who agreed to serve as Executive-Secretary starting with the annual convention in 1972.
The first time the ASA met in Canada was in 1972. We met on the campus of York University, Downsview, Ontario. The theme of this meeting was: "Presuppositions of Science-A Christian Response." Harry Leith was the speaker at the banquet. The title of his address was: "Galileo and the Church-Tensions with a Message for Today."
The 28tb annual ASA meeting was held at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pa. The dates were August 20-23, 1973. The theme of the meeting was: "Creation, Evolution and Molecular Biology." William D. Sisterson, the newly appointed Executive-Secretary, served as General Chairman. I felt a great relief, after serving in that capacity for 11 years. I well remember the opening address by David L. Willis who used as his subject: "Creation and/or Evolution."The Fourth Ten Years
The 30th annual convention was held August 15-18, 1975 on the San Diego campus of the University of California. "What is Man?" taken from Psalm 8 was the theme of the meeting. An innovation that year was that the meeting started on Friday evening and concluded Monday afternoon. Having the meetings over the week-end enables a number of ASA members to speak in area churches and thus spread the word about the ASA. This has been continued on a number of occasions. Another innovation was the introduction of concurrent sessions.
Starting with the 31st ASA meeting, held August 20-23, 1976 at Wheaton College we have had special speakers give a number of addresses. The first was Donald MacKay from Keele University, England. He spoke on "A Basic Interpretation of Science and Christianity. " At the annual dinner our President, Claude Stipe spoke on "Does the ASA take a Position on Controversial Issues"?
The 32nd annual ASA meeting was held August 12-13, 1977 at Nyack College, Nyack, N.Y. Kenneth Pike of the Summer Institute of Linguistics was our special speaker. His topics were: "Conscience and Culture," "Incarnation in a Culture," and "On the Relation of the Absolute to the Relative."
Upon my retirement from teaching at Mankato State in 1976 1 spent most of the following year on a lecture tour using as my theme: "Science and the Bible." I .spoke on this experience at the 32nd annual meeting. Clark Pinnock of McMaster Divinity College was the featured speaker at the 33rd annual meeting held August 11-14, 1978 at Hope College. The theme of this convention was: "A Christian Stewardship of Natural Resources." Jerry Bergman of Bowling Green University, an active participant in the current Creation-Evolution controversy, spoke on the subject: "The Attitude of College Students Toward the Creation-Evolution Controversy." He has since been dismissed from his teaching position at Bowling Green University.
The year 1979 was a year of tragedy for the ASA. Fire destroyed the building in Elgin in which our office was located. Most of our records and stock of books and journals was destroyed. Bill Sisterson was allowed little time to remove some of the ASA possessions. The insurance company partly reimbursed us but the fire left the ASA in a precarious financial situation.
We returned to Stanford University for our 34th annual Meeting. Dick Bube was the featured speaker who gave the opening address with the title: "How Simple Life Would Be if Only Things Weren't so Complicated." Of special note was the Presidential address of A. Kurt Weiss who spoke on: "The Weisses Who Escaped the Holocaust: Grace that is Greater Than All Our Sins."
The 35th annual ASA meeting was held April 8-11, 1980 at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana. Our special speaker was Walter R. Thorson of the University of Alberta. His subject for the opening address was: "Reflections on the Practice of Outworn Creeds." It was at this meeting that the announcement was made of the resignation of William Sisterson as Executive-Director. President Weiss and other members of the Executive Council spent some time at this meeting searching for an interim Executive Director. We were fortunate to find Harry Lubansky Jr. who was willing to take over this part time job while he continued teaching at Judson College. Our present Executive Director Robert L. Herrmann assumed this responsibility the following year.
It is interesting to note that beginning with this meeting the word chair was used in place of chairman to designate the person in charge of a given session. At this meeting I presented a paper with the title: "Creation, Conflict, Commitment."
In the summer of 1981 I had a heart attack and thus was unable to be present at the 36th annual meeting held August 14-17 at Eastern College, St. Davids, Penn. This was a great disappointment to me, especially since Owen Gingerich of Harvard University was the invited speaker and the theme of the meeting was: "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God." He had been a student of mine at Goshen College. Nevertheless I was able to present my paper. "Science of the Reformers" by videotape. I also sent an audiotape which was used when Owen Gingerich was introduced. Thus my attendance record of perfect attendance at annual ASA meetings was broken. I did feel greatly encouraged when I received a wonderful greeting signed by many of my ASA friends. All I can say is thank you, thank you and may God's name be praised.
We returned to Calvin College for the 37th annual ASA meeting. A special feature was a Biology workshop which took place one day preceding the opening session. We were very happy to have V. Elving Anderson, former ASA President, as the special speaker. The title of his opening address was: "Design for Development." Other titles were: "The Design of the Design" and "Man the Redesigner." At this meeting we had Wilbert H. Busch with us who spoke on: "History and Aims of the Creation Research Society." This preceded my paper entitled: "The Relationship between the American Scientific Affiliation and the Creation Research Society." To me it is interesting that Robert L. Herrmann who had been the President of the ASA in 1981 was now Executive Director. He gave up his Professorship at Oral Roberts University in order to serve the ASA.
The theme of the 38th annual ASA meeting held
August 5-8, 1983 was: "North American Resources and
World Needs." The meeting was held at George Fox
College Newberg, Oregon. The featured speaker was
Loren Wilkinson of Regent College. The titles of his addresses were: "The Natural World as a Frontier to be
Developed The Natural World as a Wilderness to be
Preserved," and "The Natural World as a Garden to be
Tended. " A special feature of this meeting was a
salmon bake held at a rural setting on property owned by the college.
The ASA has always been concerned with publication. As previously stated we published "Modern Science and Christian Faith" in 1948. This was followed by "Evolution and Christian Thought Today." In 1970 Gary Collins edited an ASA sponsored book with the title: "Our Society in Turmoil." We have also published three monographs: "Christian Theism and the Empirical Sciences" by Cornelius Jaarsma, "Creation and Evolution" by Russell L. Mixter, and "The Eye as an Optical Instrument" by Frank Allen.
The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (first called the American Scientific Affiliation Bulletin) under the editorship of Marion D. Barnes, first appeared in January 1949. This is a quarterly journal dealing with a wide variety of subjects in the general area of science and the Bible. After volume 3, Delbert Eggenberger was designated Editor. He served from 1950 to 1961, followed by David Moberg 1962-64. Russell L. Mixter edited the journal 1965-68 followed by Richard Bube 1969-83. The present editor is Wilbur Bullock.
A number of years ago the ASA sponsored a Tract edited by Alfred Eckert and published by Goodnews Publishers. In this Tract a number of ASA members gave their personal testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. They were George K. Schweitzer, Walter R. Hearn, Russell L. Mixter, Walter L. Starkey, Robert B. Fisher, Brian P. Sutherland, John R. Brobeck, Stanley W. Olson, Edward J. Matson and Kenneth Pike.
One of the most interesting publications of the ASA is the Newsletter published bimonthly since 1959. F. Alton Everest served as editor from Feb. 1959 to Sep. 1969. Walt Hearn has very capably handled this job beginning with the December 1969 issue. I wish to personally thank both Alton and Walt for a job well done. I remember how Hazel and I did the mimeographing of the Newsletter as long as the office remained in Mankato. Now I understand that the Newsletter is being printed by a commercial printer.
This reminds me of the fact that the American Scientific Affiliation has a sister organization in Canada called The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation. The two groups work together in many activities so that since Apr. 1976 the Newsletter includes the heading: American Scientific Affiliation-Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation.
The small booklet: "The Story of the ASA" has gone through several editions. This pioneer publication gave a brief history and presented the goals of the ASA. More recently a number of brochures have been published which have served as publicity material for the ASA.
As previously stated one of the first ASA Directories, containing the names of43 members, appeared in 1944. It seems that very few Directories appeared until 1961 when the first one appeared from the Mankato office. Others have been published from the same office in 1965, 1967 and 1972. One appeared from the Elgin off ice in 1974. The most recent Directory was published in 1983. The membership numbered 805 in 1962, 1394 in 1965, 1547 in 1967, 1720 in 1972, 2189 in 1974 and 2517 in 1983.
I now wish to add this testimony of what the ASA has meant to me. While in the hospital in Mankato in the summer of 1981 after suffering a heart attack I sent the following message by tape to the members assembled for the annual meeting "I must frankly tell you that the American Scientific Affiliation has meant very much to me over a period of years. It has been a great inspiration to me to be able to attend the meetings, both local and national. I feel that I am treading on Holy Ground when I have such wonderful Christian Fellowship with so many fine Christians all of whom are engaged in some scientific area, who love the Lord and His word and are so much concerned that others learn to know Him."
I wish to conclude with a quotation from the Scientist's Psalm written by my good friend Walter K
Praise the Lord, Created thing.
Let all space with praises ring. Space itself, Hosanna sing
Unto God, Jehovah, King.
Particles in smallest cracks,
Known but by emulsion tracks;
Let all mesons praise Messiah. Songs of Praise mount ever higher.
Alpha, Beta, Gamma rays:
join the chorus of His praise.
Be ye ultimate or not,
All created, all begot
Parity's been overthrown
Something He had always known
Antimatter, fragments odd,
Quantum jumps to praise of God.
However far space does extend
From beginning unto end Praise the God who does transcend.
Every knee before him bend.
God of whom these words are penned
Against thee only have we sinned.
Almighty Author of Creation
Visit us with thy salvation.
Finally from the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assissi.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy; 0 Divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled, as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.