The Does God Exist? Ministry

The Does God Exist? Ministry

The Does God Exist? ministry is an effort by John Clayton, supported by Roland Earnst, Karl Marcussen, and Linda Glover. We desire to demonstrate to anyone who will consider the evidence that science and faith are symbiotic. They support each other. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, and we are not a business and do not market our materials.

For over 50 years, we have been distributing correspondence courses, books, magazines, booklets, and audio and visual programs free of charge or on loan to anyone who requests them. This daily article website is one of a variety of resources:

DVDs and CDs can be borrowed by emailing John Clayton at jncdge@aol.com. You can also watch them free of charge on doesgodexist.tv.

Books can be borrowed at the same email address. A catalog is available on doesgodexist.org. or can be requested via postal mail at the address below.

The above materials can be purchased at cost with a credit card on powervine.biz.

Our quarterly printed journal will be mailed to you free upon request.

On the doesgodexist.org website, you can read all of our periodical publications back to 1995, as well as pamphlets, booklets, charts, and other materials.

We have two correspondence courses available postage paid on request. Our college-level course can be taken on our doesgodexist.org website.

We have a YouTube channel HERE.

We have a Facebook page with daily posts that show design in animals and plants: facebook.com/evidence4god.

You can see our daily Twitter feeds at twitter.com/powervine.

We have a website for kids where you can watch our children’s videos and read our children’s books free of charge: grandpajohn.club.

We also have special topic websites. Whypain.org deals with the issue of human suffering, and dandydesigns.org shows examples of design in nature, indicating an intelligent cause.

John Clayton is the regular speaker on Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM on zoom.com at the Dowagiac Church of Christ. You can be included by calling Karl Marcussen at 574-514-1400 or emailing him at marcusen@michiana.org.

The Clayton Museum of Ancient History is maintained on the campus of York College in York, Nebraska. This museum is promoted by Nebraska’s tourist division and includes the Foster Stanback antiquities collection with artifacts from Biblical times. The website is claytonmuseumofancienthistory.org.

We hope you will take advantage of the many resources available from the Does God Exist? Ministry.

Does God Exist? – P.O. Box 2704 – South Bend, IN 46680-2704

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Building Faith in God and the Bible

Building Faith in God and the Bible

Churches are seeing an exodus of young people. One reason is that many do not provide relevant teaching for building faith in God and the Bible. I recently received an announcement by a well-known preacher that he was beginning a series of lessons on reasons to believe in Jesus. I’m sure that the lessons will be outstanding, but will they address the things that are keeping young adults away from the Church?

The listing of evidences in the announcement included the empty tomb, the stone taken away, the grave clothes lying there, the eyewitness testimony, the faith of the apostles, and the conversion of James and Paul. Those are all evidences based on the Bible. Those of us with a long history of hearing sermons and being in Bible classes are familiar with the biblical teachings and believe them to be true. We still need to have our faith strengthened, so we are not denigrating this kind of teaching. But building faith in God and the Bible requires more than quoting the Bible. Where is the Church failing the unchurched, and, in many cases, failing the children of church members?

In recent postings, we have dealt with the popular teachings of Bart Ehrman, who devotes many of his books and articles to attacking the biblical account. We receive many letters from skeptics and atheists attacking the biblical account based on Ehrman’s material. Magazines like the Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic Magazine are full of attacks on the Christ and the Bible. The leader of many attacks in these atheist publications is Michael Shermer, a former preacher, and graduate of Pepperdine University. The Freedom From Religion organization joins the attacks with advertisements in Scientific American and other popular scientific journals.

It is essential for church leaders to understand that young adults receive a heavy dose of attacks on the Bible. Quoting the Bible as proof of something only works for people who believe the Bible is 100% true. Most of our preacher training schools have a single course on apologetics. They pay very little attention to archeological evidence, historical support, and scientific answers to the skeptic attacks. Building faith in God and the Bible requires more than quoting the Bible.

Bible classes for young people must include evidence that does not depend on scripture alone. This ministry provides resources to do that, and we often review books that give this kind of support. We are in the process of completing a video series by John Cooper on archaeological support for the Bible. We have a museum in York, Nebraska, designed to show through artifacts the credibility of the Biblical account. Before we quote scripture to prove anything, we need to be sure that the person we are dealing with believes the Bible is from God. God has given us the tools to do that, and we must use them.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Foster Stanback and the Clayton Museum

Foster Stanback and the Clayton Museum - Roman Soldier's Helmet
Roman Soldier’s Helmet in the Clayton Museum of Ancient History

You can see an amazing collection of artifacts from the time of Christ and earlier in the Clayton Museum of Ancient History. That museum, located on the campus of York College in York, Nebraska, displays artifacts collected by Foster Stanback. One of the first questions we asked when this project began was how he secured the relics. The problem is that many collectors buy artifacts from black-market dealers who have either stolen the artifacts or faked them. Foster Stanback and the Clayton Museum wanted to ensure that items we displayed were secured from government-approved sources and validated by qualified experts.

Biblical Archaeological Review published an article (fall 2020 issue, page 6) about artifacts in the Museum of the Bible collected by Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby. Green spent massive amounts of money to secure artifacts that were “unprovenanced,” meaning that their origin and authenticity were unverified. In April of 2020, a study commissioned by the museum proved that all of the supposed Dead Sea Scroll fragments in its collection were fakes. Around the same time, the museum announced that 11,500 artifacts in their possession had been stolen from Iraq and Egypt and would be returned. Three years earlier, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency seized thousands of artifacts and fined Steve Green three million dollars for illegally bringing them into the United States. Green released a statement saying that when buying the items, “I have trusted the wrong people to guide me, and unwittingly dealt with unscrupulous dealers.”

Unprovenanced relics are an issue for scholars and for people who collect artifacts. You may wonder how all of this affects the Clayton Museum of Ancient History. First of all, Stanback’s collections have all been secured from government-approved sources and have been studied by scholars and proven to be authentic. Foster Stanback and the Clayton Museum are working for educational purposes, not financial interests. In the past two years, the museum has added a children’s interactive section. School groups come in regularly to learn the history of the Roman world at the time Jesus lived and the Church began.

Unfortunately, greed and a desire for fame have invaded the antiquities market. We can be thankful that Foster Stanback and the Clayton Museum seek to help people understand the history of the time in which Jesus lived.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Nebraska Passport 2019 App Lists Clayton Museum

Nebraska Passport 2019 App

The Nebraska Passport 2019 App has added the Clayton Museum to the list of interesting places to visit in Nebraska.

A few years ago a historical artifacts collector by the name of Foster Stanback made arrangements to build a museum at York College in York, Nebraska. The purpose was so that the general public could enjoy seeing the items in the Stanback collection. John Clayton and Foster Stanback have a long history together, and to honor that relationship Foster named it the Clayton Museum of Ancient History.

The museum is not only informative and educational, but the design of the museum and the quality of the exhibits is exceptional. The museum is devoted to the history of the ancient middle east and the Roman Empire. Since the museum opened, it has added a children’s interactive section. Young people and adults from all over come to the museum to learn and to be strengthened in their faith and knowledge of Old and New Testament history.

More than 10,000 people have visited the museum. The number of visitors will increase in 2019 because the Nebraska State Tourism Commission has selected the Clayton Museum of Ancient History as a Nebraska Passport Site for the Nebraska Passport 2019 app.

You can read more about this state program at NebraskaPassport.com. You can visit the Clayton Museum website HERE.

On your app store for iPhone or Android search for Nebraska Passport 2019 app. (Minimum requirement Android 6 or iOS 10.)

— John N. Clayton © 2019

Clayton Museum Adds Children’s Section

Clayton Museum- Onager
Foster Stanback is a collector of artifacts of historical significance. In 2015 he established a museum in York Nebraska to house many of those artifacts. Because of our long association with Foster, he honored our work together by naming it the Clayton Museum of Ancient History.

The Clayton Museum houses an amazing collection of items from the time of Christ and earlier. The museum focuses on ancient Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire. The oldest artifacts are an Egyptian mace head and an ax head, both approximately 5000 years old. You can see a 3500-year-old Egyptian toolkit comparable to what was used at the time the Israelites were slaves in Egypt.

The Roman collection from the first to third centuries is especially impressive since it includes everything from personal grooming items to weapons of war. You can see an authentic Roman gladius (sword), a Roman soldier’s helmet, and pieces of armor. A reconstructed Roman onager (a type of catapult) stands near the center of the museum. The displays help us to understand the conditions and way of life that existed in Biblical times and during the time of Christ.

The Clayton Museum of Ancient History has had over 10,000 visitors, including many school groups. They have added a section devoted to children, with interactive displays and a variety of kid-friendly exhibits. The museum is ideally suited for families as there is something for everyone. It is located on the York College campus in York, Nebraska, in the lower level of the Mackey Center. Parking and admission are free. For hours and a map click HERE. You can call for information or to schedule a tour (402)363-5748.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Ancient Artifacts Caution

Ancient Artifacts at the Clayton Museum
The Clayton Museum of Ancient History in York, Nebraska, has a problem that all of us need to be aware of. That museum houses Foster Standback’s collections of ancient artifacts from Palestine and the Roman world from the time of Jesus.

The problem is that there is a huge market for ancient things that can bring massive profits to those who sell them. This has resulted in looting, black market selling, the making of fakes, and damage to archaeological sites. UNESCO is the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 1970 UNESCO established a Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. In 1972 the nations of the world agreed not to trade in illicit cultural heritage objects.

The reason for this agreement is not only to stop criminal acts but also to keep ancient artifacts in their context. Once the archaeological context of an object is lost, it is worth far less academically, as it can no longer tell us anything about the people who made it. The goal is to allow scholars to gain as much information as they can about the objects in their context. The archaeological evidence can contribute to our understanding of the past.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to enforce an agreement between the nations of the world to anything. There are organizations such as The Museum of the Bible that buy artifacts from black-market dealers claiming to be trying to preserve the objects. A good general rule is that if you see an ad for ancient artifacts from the time of Christ, especially things of religious significance, do not purchase them. It is not only illegal, but it is highly likely you are paying a lot of money for something that is fraudulent.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Reference: Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2018, page 6.