Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Walter Lang (1913 - 2004) - Creationist Warrior

Walter H. J. Lang was born in Omaha, Nebraska on November 3, 1913. [1] In 1937 he graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Valeria Ruth Lang and Walter were married in 1940. In 1942 Lang started a mission church among African-Americans in Houston. In 1959 he was serving at a church in Denver that was about half African-American.
In 1963 Walter became the executive director of the Bible-Science Association (BSA). In the following year the organization became officially non-profit. Early issues of the Bible-Science Newsletter (BSN) can be found here. Valeria did most of the editing. The first Bible-Science Newsletter was published in September 1963. BSN was Dedicated to:
BSN included such authors as Nancy Pearcey and D. James Kennedy.

BSA sponsored many creation conventions, the first of which was in Milwaukee in 1972. The theme of the 1978 convention in Wichita was “The Challenge of Design” and the featured speakers included Clifford Wilson, Duane Gish and Henry Morris. The next year’s convention was in Anaheim across from Disneyland and included John Baumgardner and Ethel Nelson as presenters. Other BSA conventions heard Jack Cuozzo, Nancy Pearcey and Walter Remine.

Walter Lang was a tireless promoter of creation. In one year he traveled 66,000 miles by car! He also hiked to the bottom of Grand Canyon 19 times. Lang went to every state in the U.S. and 26 other countries sharing the creation message. When Lang wanted to audit a course in Geology, the College of Idaho refused, claiming he might be disruptive! [2] Some of Lang’s books and mp3 talks can be found here.

Henry Morris spoke of Lang’s “remarkable energy and originality” and described him as “indefatigable” and “living sacrificially.” [3] Although Walter Lang held to some controversial views, he said on balance, “One should know that science is never absolute and there can always be a drastic new model that can explain the data better than our current model. Too many people admit that science cannot be absolute and still they act with science as if they have absolutes.” [4] Consider these wise words from Lang: “God demands a total dedication to Him, and when something in nature is substituted, that something replaces God and is regarded by God as idolatry. When science is claimed to be neutral, at that very point it becomes a pagan religion.” [5]

Lang wrote a number of tracts illustrated by cartoonist Vic Lockman including:
Was God an Astronaut?
Need We Fear Another Ice Age?
Is the Present the Key to the Past?
Here is an example of Vic Lockman’s more recent work:

The popular radio show Creation Moments, hosted by Ian Taylor traces its origins to the Bible-Science Association.
Lang died on July 10, 2004. Here are some thoughts from his son Philip Lang:
It was amazing to watch my Dad talk to total strangers. I remember seeing him off at an airport. While we were waiting he engaged a stranger in conversation about travel. Within five minutes he wove the conversation step by step into a discussion of creation and the Bible. … Dad amazed all those who really knew him that he could persistently be on the go for twenty hours a day. He didn't seem to need sleep. He would arrive at 6 a.m., say hi to the grand kids, sleep a couple of hours, and be off on the road again. … He tried to never spend money for a motel. He usually stayed at some generous person's home. That meant staying up late to share the Bible and Creation story and getting up early to travel on to the next location. … Dad was usually so busy crusading and preaching that family didn't see him much. Still, I wouldn't trade my Dad for any other dad. I have been richly and eternally blessed by his spiritual example and guidance. My closing prayer is that you also have been touched in positive ways by his life.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10, Prov. 9:10, cf. Job 28:28, Prov. 1:7).

1) Two Decades of Creationism by Walter and Valeria Lang (Bible-Science Assoc., Minn., MN, 1984). Available online.
2) ibid., p. 67.
3) History of Modern Creationism by Henry Morris (Master Book Pub., San Diego, CA, 1984), p. 216.
4) personal correspondence, May 16, 1981.
5) Lang, p. 61.
picture credit: Robert Lang (first two)