Stan Oakes founded Christian Leadership Ministries in 1980 to network Christian academics and encourage them in the unique contribution they can make in the university.
When engaged in any important cause, every so often it is helpful to reflect on progress made.  The quest to reintroduce a thoughtful Christianity into the conversation of the university and to share the gospel with every professor and student in America is just such a cause.
In the field of origins research - the origins of the universe, life, species, and the human race - there are several encouraging signs. In the early 1980's, Jon Buell, president of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, pulled together Charles Thaxton, Roger Olsen, and Walter Bradley to conduct a systematic review of origins. Their effort eventually addressed current theories in chemistry and thermodynamics, and they coauthored, The Mystery Of Life's Origin (Lewis and Stanley, 1984).
The Philosophical Library of New York, which had published books by twenty-four Nobel laureates, released Mystery in 1984. According to those knowledgeable in the field, it was the first time in five decades a book favorable to an "intelligent design" argument had been published by a Darwinist press; a noteworthy step.
Commenting on their work, Professor Murray Eden, a world renowned authority in origin of life studies and the author of one of the premier books in thermodynamics, openly praised the book for its "considerable scientific thrust."
In the review of the literature on the origin of life in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (Volume 13, No.4, 1988), Klaus Dose, the world's premier investigator of the origins of life, said that Mystery was one of two books which had its hand on the pulse of the discipline. It was an impressive description in view of the dearth of respect met by many works which support the notion of intelligent design.
Incidentally, Klaus Dose himself wrote, "The difficulties which must be overcome [in discovering the mechanisms for chemical evolution] are at present beyond our imagination."
Then in 1991, Professor Phillip Johnson produced Darwin On Trial (Regnery Gateway, 1991), a devastating critique of the three propositions which underpin Darwinism. At first glance, it may seem odd to hear from a Berkeley law professor on the subject.
Yet, the more one becomes familiar with the history and literature surrounding the Darwinian episode, the more one finds philosophical arguments, known as metaphysical naturalism, which presumed a Darwinian science well before the voyage of the Beagle. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in fact, writing 100 years earlier than Darwin, based his theories on the origins of inequality on the same metaphysical naturalism. In other words, smililar to the search for the homosexual gene by sympathetic scientists, Darwinian science was an inevitable development.
Dissecting various evolutionary arguments, Johnson asks several insightful questions. The theory of natural selection is a tautology (a statement fashioned so even if its parts are false, the whole will read as true), and as a tautology, does it really have any meaning? Does anyone remember that Darwin was strongly opposed by fossil experts even more than theologians? Where are the "important evolutionary innovations" which should have been produced by "random changes" in the genetic instructions? What is the mechanism for change across species? Why hasn't it been replicated in the laboratory? Does the molecular evidence as a whole tend to confirm Darwinism when evaluated without Darwinist bias? What is going on when scientists will not subject the theory to established standards of falsifiability? The paperback of Darwin on Trial devotes a chapter to the response of committed Darwinists to the book as well as to a subsequent symposium held on the subject.
In March of 1992, a promising coalition including John Buell, Stephen Sternberg of Christian Leadership Ministries, and Tom Woodward of the C.S. Lewis Fellowship, cosponsored a symposium on Darwinism at Southern Methodist University. Five Darwinists participated: Michael Ruse, zoology; John Morrow, biochemistry; Arthur Shapiro, zoology; Leslie Johnson, evolutionary biology; and Fred Grinnell, cell biology. Making the case for intelligent design were Dr. Phillip Johnson, law; Stephen Meyer, philosophy of science; William Dembski, mathematics; Peter Van Inwagen, philosophy; David Wilcox, population genetics; and Michael Behe, chemistry.
Several important steps were taken. For one, the Darwinists came, and despite whatever motivations inspired them to come, an atmosphere of mutual respect pervaded the meetings. Those making the case for intelligent design talked strictly science and philosophy, and it was recognized as such by their counterparts. In fact, one Darwinist has since remarked that it is easier to hate these people (those holding the intelligent design position) in print than in person.
But there are more encouraging signs . . .
Michael Ruse, now at the University of Paris, announced at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that "evolution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically."
Ruse also invited three young philosophers of science to submit articles to his Darwinist journal, Philosophy and Biology. This is a breakthrough. (Incidentally, the three rising stars are Stephen Meyer of Whitworth College, Bill Dembski of Princeton, and Paul Nelson at the University of Chicago (now living in Boston). These three are also coauthoring a book, which should be a significant work.)
It is worth mentioning that Ruse does not in any way consider himself a theist. He may, in fact, not really know where he resides on the atheist to Christian believer continuum. Out of one side of his mouth he acknowledges the compelling nature of Johnson's book by admitting his naturalistic bias (one of the main points of the book), yet he considers it a "slippery piece of work" and condescends that he only enjoys Johnson on a "personal level." Ruse is definitely a scientist in process.
The larger question this situation raises is one of strategy.
Numerous Christian scholars and scientists believe that demonstrating the faulty assumptions of Darwinists has value by ultimately causing them to reconsider their world view. Perhaps, they could eventually adopt a Christian world view, and then even become Christians. This is an interesting hypothesis, but should be given careful consideration before assuming it is valid.
I myself have seen more change in an academic's world view resulting from personal dissatisfaction (academics do have personal lives, after all) leading to conversion than from "academic dialogue." Nonetheless, Christian Leadership is making a significant investment in this arena because we agree there is potential, and we see it producing positive affects among Christian academics.
Other notable events in the arena of faith and science are Hubert Yockey's book published in 1992 by Cambridge University Press entitled Information Science and Molecular Biology. It is the for serious information theorist. And, of course, the release of Michael Denton's book, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis (Adler & Adler Publishers, Inc., 1986), was important because Denton wrote it as an atheist. Word has it that he is now a theist, which is the latest halfway house for scientists.
And there are other encouraging signs. As the mainstreaming of the homosexual movement becomes the hottest issue on the campus (and society at large), Christians are mixed in their responses to it.  Many are outraged, and others paralyzed into inaction, but a few are pathfinding innovative and distinctively Christian responses.
Last year, I received a telephone call from a professor at a campus in the Midwest. He had recently spoken to an audience from his campus and community on the subject of homosexuality. Like so many campuses, his administration was adding a "sexual preference" clause to the nondiscrimination code. During his speech, among many sensible points he made he felt it his Christian duty to declare homosexuals could well have demons, and that the Bible declared the life-style immoral. This did not evoke a positive response.
Now we all know that simply because we receive a negative response to what we say or do does not necessarily mean that our behavior is improper. This is the stuff of convictions. On the other hand, in my experience with such situations, we may needlessly and inappropriately provoke negative reactions by not thinking carefully enough about the issue at hand. We may fail to see important nuances, or, because of a lack of knowledge in a field other than our own, we miss the real issue. Then when we face criticism, we wear it as a badge of honor.
The question, then, is whether or not one should always make reference to the Bible when asserting views on issues involving morals or ethics. I think not. Am I being cowardly for taking this approach? Am I denying our Lord? The problem with taking the aforementioned approach is that it borders on a kind of religious totalitarianism.
Some Christians, like my professor friend, do not understand that by invoking the Bible on issues related to public policy, they are demanding that other people live according to its dictates before they are believers. Are we actually willing to use the power of the government to make people be good?
The Bible clearly teaches that we are to invite others to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and then teach them to observe His commandments and draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to become better people. As Montesquieu wrote in The Spirit of the Laws, people need a thousand tiny cords around their heart to hold it in check. He called this the "spirit" of the laws and he was clearly referring to Christianity. (Interestingly, after the Bible, he was the individual most cited by the founding fathers.) In sum, it is our failure in evangelism which leaves us with so many people who don't want to be good and for whom a moral argument is seen as dangerous.
So is there a better way? In this and many other cases, I can say "yes." In the case of my Midwestern friend, we sent him material which argued effectively against the homosexual agenda without appealing specifically to the Bible, though my friend was reluctant to use it because he was not certain it was "spiritual."  The material was developed by Tony Marco, a converted Marxist-Leninist who now makes his living as a writer and researcher in Colorado. As the intellectual architect of the successful Amendment Two campaign in Colorado, Marco has an impressive resume in dealing with the homosexual agenda.
While the media thought the Amendment Two campaign was an attempt to withhold basic civil rights from homosexuals, this was not the case. Actually, radical homosexuals  were attempting to usurp for themselves a special and judicial privilege known as "protected class status," a classification reserved for legitimate minorities under civil rights laws. Marco's efforts through investigation and research caused the needed breakthrough as he revealed the hidden agenda of the homosexual radicals. His work serves as a model of how controversial issues ought to be handled, and he blazed a trail that highly educated people with skills in research can follow in furthering the cause of Christ and restraining injustice.
Marco's research paper establishes clear objectives:
At the outset, we state . . . that the special protected class status and advantages in question are not the fundamental rights and protections guaranteed to all Americans under the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court has clearly ruled that citizens may benefit from all fundamental rights and protections without possessing special, protected class status, which is reserved for truly disadvantaged, politically powerless and obviously distinct minorities, under strict Court-established criteria.
Thus, this paper will present the significant civil rights grounds that may compel society to reject legislation granting special advantages to gays. First, we will prove that gays do not qualify for special class protections historically given to disadvantaged minorities and that awarding those protections to gays would result in significant harm to legitimate minorities. Second, we will make clear that gays are not, in fact, in any sense, a disadvantaged minority class, but an affluent, powerful special interest attempting to "hijack" civil rights status for even more gain. Third, we will demonstrate that granting gays protected class status would result in dangerous abuse of the fundamental rights of all Americans. Fourth, we will refute commonly-heard, groundless arguments advanced in favor of special class advantages for gays.
In demonstrating that gays are not suffering within a so-called homophobic society, Marco wisely used statistics gathered by a "gay research firm." Consider the first part of his description of the actual advantages that gays have over both heterosexuals and ethnic minorities:
Any claims that gays as an entire class are seriously "oppressed" seem clearly bogus in light of emerging, highly accurate marketing studies done by gays themselves that show gays to be, to the contrary, enormously advantaged relative to the general population - and astronomically advantaged when compared to truly disadvantaged minorities. A July 18, 1991, Wall Street Journal article, entitled "Overcoming a Deep-Rooted Reluctance, More Firms Advertise to Gay Community", reported the following findings by the Simmons Market Research Bureau and the U.S. Census Bureau; cf. also The Marketer, "The Gay Nineties," September 1990; and Quest magazine, a Denver gay tabloid ("Invisibility = Stagnation"), February, 1992:
The article quotes Rivendell Marketing Co. president Joe Di Sabato as saying, "This is a dream market" - an opinion echoed by other market research studies (one of massive scale, involving about 20,000 gay and lesbian individuals) reported in recent issues of Marketing News, ("Gays Are Affluent But Often Overlooked Market"), December 24, 1990; The San Francisco Chronicle ("Gay Market a Potential Gold Mine"), August 27, 1991; Travel Weekly magazine ("For Gays, Ship Charters Are a Boon, Say Two Travel Companies"), August 5, 1991; The Rocky Mountain News ("Corporate America comes out: Companies trying to win share of lucrative gay market"), November 30, 1991; The Wall Street Journal, ("Leaving the Corporate Closet"), November 22, 1991; Overlooked Opinions [a Chicago-based market research firm, study released January 1, 1992, boasting +/-1% accuracy at the 95% confidence level]; Marketing to Women, ("Demographics: The Lesbian Market") March 1992, Vol. 5, No. 5) and gay newspapers, The Bay Area Reporter ("Where the Money Is: Travel Industry Eying Gay/Lesbian Tourism"), September 19, 1991.
Administrators, faculty members, teachers, students, Christian leaders and others who are confronted with the increasingly aggressive demands of the militant homosexual lobby should utilize Marco's material. [5 ]The power of his arguments became most apparent when Marco was able to mobilize African-American leaders in the civil rights establishment to condemn the attempts of this rich and powerful special interest group to pose as a disadvantaged minority. The availability and the utilization on campus of his work is another of the encouraging signs.
Another positive sign is the response of various organizations to initiate ministries to those who are or will become leaders in the university. InterVarsity, for example, has made a significant commitment to a graduate student ministry. They now have ministries on 23 major campuses. The staff member I know best, Kevin Offner, is living in Boston and works with graduate students at Harvard and MIT; a thoughtful man doing good work. Their faculty ministry, under the leadership of Terry Morrison, deserves to be applauded as well.
And yet, another exciting development is the number of businessmen who are starting to recognize that the university is critical to the work of Christ in the world, and who are willing to invest in that work.
Jerry Mercer, a businessman from Columbus, Ohio, sponsored a forum at Harvard University under the leadership of Ms. Kelly Monroe, a bright and relentless staff member with the Conservative Baptist campus ministry. She called it the Veritas Forum, veritas being the Latin word for truth and the motto of Harvard.
Mercer and Monroe's objective was to present a seamless garment of truth by bringing together scientists and philosophers to properly address the abandonment of truth in the university.
Since the first meeting, Mercer has hosted another Forum at Ohio State University with more than 20 different ministries working in a cooperative venture. CLM's own Howard Van Cleave and the Navigator's Bill Mowry played key leadership roles in the formation and implementation of the week-long event which drew almost 6,000 students and faculty members. A session I attended with astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross speaking had a profound influence on the non-Christians in attendance. (With characteristic hypocrisy, the student newspaper, The Lantern, censored the entire event, claiming that it was "not newsworthy.")
Though the format is not as innovative as it could be and questions remain as to what should be done in subsequent years, Mercer is to be commended. 
There are other developments which can be underscored, but they will have to wait. It is enough to encourage ourselves with the thought that signs of a spring thaw are in the air, and that there are buds on some of the fruit trees within the academy.
The signs of a good year have been a long time coming.