God’s Guidance in 2021
Here at Core Academy, we look back on 2021 with gratitude for God’s provision through yet another challenging year. The COVID outbreak and subsequent restrictions hindered our former outreach activities, but these pressures also pushed us to new avenues of ministry and significant new achievements. Our mission is to nurture the next generation of faithful, Christ-like creation researchers to explore the hardest problems in creation. We accomplish that through personal outreach events, mentoring, and research.
Outreach. This was the first year since 2015 that we did not organize our Smoky Mountain Creation Retreat, but instead we helped out with two other events. In June, we co-sponsored the Gateway Creation Conference in St. Louis, featuring three creationist astronomers discussing the origin of the universe. Attendance was great, and we’re looking forward to future partnering opportunities there. In July, Core Academy was host to the Origins 2021 joint conference of the Creation Geology, Creation Biology, and Creation Theology Societies. We had about twenty researchers gathered in person and at least as many online and at the second conference site in California. Everyone attending here appreciated the opportunity to meet in person again.
This year also saw the launch of our podcast Let’s Talk Creation, produced in cooperation with Biblical Creation Trust in the UK. Co-hosted by Paul Garner and Todd Wood, the podcast launched in March, and nineteen episodes have been produced so far, releasing every other week. Together with ten different special guests, Paul and Todd have discussed the fossil record, the history of creationism, and Genesis interpretations. The response has been tremendous, well beyond anything we expected. On YouTube alone, our top five episodes have been viewed more than 5,000 times! We are very grateful to the Lord for giving us this amazing new outreach!
Dr. Wood also began work on two new books for students and the general public. The first deals with created kinds and is already half written. The second is a broader overview of the creation model of earth history, and we’ll have more information to share about that project in the new year. We are grateful for the time Dr. Wood has devoted to these works. Even though COVID lockdowns have delayed his plans for his human origins book, we’re excited to see the results of his new endeavors.
Core Academy also organized our second Creation Celebration, an online creation conference to benefit the Sanders Scholarship Fund. Once again, our friends and colleagues donated their time to create short videos explaining some aspect of creation, and Dr. Wood contributed special devotionals based on Psalm 104. This year, we also streamed live interviews with Steve Gollmer (Cedarville University), Jeremy Blaschke (Union University), and Paul Garner (Biblical Creation Trust).
Mentoring. Our Sanders Scholarship Fund awards research funds for students to work with established creation scholars who mentor them in creationist scholarship and research. In 2021, we awarded the Sanders Scholarship to Edward, a student working with Tim Clarey at the Institute for Creation Research on carbon-dating fossils. He is the fourth Sanders Scholar. To date, the Sanders Fund has awarded approximately $15,000 for student mentoring projects. Our panel of judges is currently considering applications for the 2022 awards, and we look forward to announcing the winner in December. May God continue to bless this training program for young creation scholars!
Dr. Wood also began working this year with a new student Peter on hominin fossil research. This is the first time he has collaborated with any students on this subject, and their work together is turning into the most substantial creationist examination of hominin fossils that Dr. Wood has ever conducted. They’ve already published part of their work, and they continue working on their larger project to better understand human fossils.
Research. This was a big year for creation research at Core Academy. Dr. Wood published a gigantic paper in July that advanced his work identifying created kinds, and he described his results as “fantastic.” His work expanded on additional methods that could be used to identify created kinds and confirmed a great deal of his prior work on the subject.
Dr. Wood and his student researcher followed up that publication with a project applying these additional methods to fossil hominins. Their work essentially corroborated the results of previous hominin baraminology work. Their ongoing project takes advantages of extensive digital resources to expand our understanding of hominin fossils. God willing, they’ll have something to share with us about that work in the near future.
As part of his larger creation model book, Dr. Wood has also been studying the epistemology of creationism, which means the way creationists understand or perceive knowledge. He’s been having a great time learning about the philosophy of science, “pseudoscience,” scriptural hermeneutics, and where young-age creationism fits in. We’re looking forward to whatever work comes from those efforts (possibly a monograph).
Core Academy also added significant new resources to our library and archives this year. In addition to a collection of original papers from creationist pioneer Frank Lewis Marsh, we also added a Genesis commentary published in 1495 to our permanent collection. Multiple scholars came to visit and use our collections this year. We’re humbled to be the stewards of such an important record of faithful scholarship on God’s creation.
Ministry. We were sorry to say good-bye to Brynna Franz, our first full-time employee at Core Academy. Brynna joined the ministry in 2019 as our office manager, and while she was with us, she finished the coursework for a master’s degree in counseling. She still works part-time this fall, but she’ll be leaving in the new year as she begins the final, full-time work for her degree. Thank you, Brynna, for helping lift up our work to a new level of professionalism!
Taking her position as full-time office manager is Jonathan Cook, who came on-board in July. He is currently working on his M.Div. at Truett-McConnell University, and he’s been a great addition to the Core Academy team. In addition to his work running the office, he’s also lent his skills as a biblical scholar to Core Academy’s research efforts. Expect to hear more about his new studies of the Tower of Babel next year!
As we come to the end of another year of God’s blessing, please pray with us that he will meet our financial need. With most of our events canceled, our regular income from programs has been hurt. Pray that donations this holiday season will make up for the gap in those donations so that we can end the year in the black and ready for the challenges of 2022.