Dear friends and guests and “Allosaur Ambassadors”
Today, May 23, 2014 marks the end of a 4,300 year journey for Ebenezer.
Ebenezer is just one of those billions of dead things, buried in rock layers laid down by water, all over the earth.
For about 4290 of those years, this magnificent animal waited patiently and rested comfortably in what is known as the Morrison Formation in Colorado. And it has really only been the last ten years when the journey became eventful and, you might say, problematic.
Now, Ebenezer is a name in the Bible. Specifically, I Samuel 7, but, unlike Ebenezer Scrooge for example, the name in the Bible is NOT the name of a person. Rather, it is the name of a PLACE and a THING.
Ebenezer is the name of a place where a battle rages between those who obey God and those who reject His authority.
Ebenezer is also the name of a monument — a STONE OF REMEMBRANCE – that is intended to serve as a testimony and a witness for God’s authority and His Blessing. When Samuel erects this stone of remembrance — this EBENEZER — his states his reason for doing so. He says the stone is to be a witness and a reminder that, “Hitherto the Lord has helped us”.
Notwithstanding the long journey of this Ebenezer, he still has much to testify to and to remind us of. He stands here before you as a witness and, literally as a STONE OF REMEMBRANCE of the authority of God’s Word. He is magnificent evidence of the truth of the Biblical account of the great flood.
You see, it seems that he got caught up in a catastrophic water event that ended his life, but not his usefulness in God’s perfect plan.
Now, you might ask, who, is the Peroutka Foundation? How did you come to own a dinosaur and why did you bring it here?
Here is the short story:
The Elizabeth Streb Peroutka Foundation is just a small family charitable foundation originally established by my brother, Stephen Peroutka and myself. It is named in honor of our mother. I regret that my little brother couldn’t be here today but I am pleased that my daughter, Elizabeth, who is named after her grandmother, is here today with her husband, Dr. Aric Schneller. (Elizabeth serves as a Board member of the Foundation.)
The Peroutka Foundation was primarily intended to offer financial aid to groups who were dedicated to ending the holocaust of abortion. As such, we have sought to honor Christ by helping those courageous individuals who work to save the lives of the unborn.
But our direction took a slight detour when we met the DeRosa family of Crystal River, Florida.
The DeRosas are Pete and Linda, their sons Peter and Mark and their daughter Leah.
When we met, the DeRosas were a home schooling family, just as we were, and we actually met them on a home school excursion. We learned about how they, along with some others, had unearthed this specimen in Colorado.
We also learned that there were competing claims about the ownership of this animal and that the likelihood was that it would have to be sold to settle these claims. And the further likelihood, we understood, was that it would fall into the hands of those would would display it in a context of “millions of years”.
Facing this prospect, our small Foundation decided to try to buy the Allosaur and by so doing, “buy out” and settle all the completing claims. Our idea was that we could preserve it so that, eventually, it could be sold or donated to someone who could display it righteously, that is, as a testament — a witness — to the Word of God.
Through the efforts of many dedicated persons, including the work of attorneys Michele Gagnon and Scott Whiteman, we were able to secure title to Ebenezer.
That was ten years ago.
Now, all we had to to was find a place to display the animal in a way that would glorify God.
This sounded easy but it was a rocky road. At times it was a gloomy road. Despite the fact that offers were made to purchase it from us, we were determined that we would not sell it or donate it to anyone with a “millions of years” mindset.
(You may think this crazy, but we actually discussed the idea of reburying it…)
Now, you might think that an animal that had its last meal 4300 years ago would be “easy to feed”.
Well, you’d be wrong.
Here’s what we learned.
Allosaurs eat money:
1) They take up space for which rent must be paid
2) They require climate controlled environments which eats electricity.
3) They require security systems
4) They require insurance premiums
and on and on.
Well, You get it.
HOW DID EBENEZER GET HERE – TO THE CREATION MUSEUM?
A few years ago, we became familiar with the splendid work of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum.
We were impressed by the unswerving commitment to a Biblical worldview and the biblical account of Creation that undergirds that worldview.
The articulation of this worldview by Mr. Ken Ham and those that he has brought into his circle of influence is a blessing and a beacon of hope to a world drowning in vanity and foolishness.
My cousin, Neal Moylan, and I came to visit the museum here two years ago. We just came to look and see what kind of place this was, and to examine the way its curators dealt with the authority of God’s Word. We were hoping that this could be a home for Ebenezer.
We were wowed!!!
The Creation Museum is a blessing and a wonder. It is the proper home for this marvelous specimen. The vision and the dedication of Ken and Mally Ham and others with whom we have worked including Mike Zovath and Mark Looy and Dan Mangus and Karen Mangus and Dr. Andrew Snelling and Doug Henderson and Stephanie McDorman and Tom Miller and John Taylor.
The competence and the excellence of all these people confirmed for us that the Creation Museum was the right “resting place” for Ebenezer.
So, while a journey ends today, another mission begins for Ebenezer. And this is a mission with eternal consequences.
Indeed, from here on, Ebenezer is, literally, as his name declares, a monument of stone, declaring to millions of adults and children and children not yet born, not only the power of God, but the truth of His Holy Word.
So, our “Allosaur Ambassadors”, including the families of Peroutka and Chastian and Shneller and MacCauley and Moylan and Whitney and Jackson and Burns and Gilmore and Butler and Delimater and Wayne and our own living dinosaur, Harry O’Haver, have traveled and gathered here to witness this unveiling
In 1757, at the age off 22, a young musician named Robert Robinson penned the words to the famous hymn COME THOU FONT OF EVERY BLESSING. In the second stanza he quotes the words of Samuel:
Here I raise my EBENEZER
Here by Thy Great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
Welcome Home, Ebenezer.
— Michael Anthony Peroutka
“Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (I Timothy 2:2)
Our visit to the the Creation Museum was a lesson in CONDUCT and how to live and work with HUMILITY, INTEGRITY, and CHARACTER. The entire staff whether part of management, service, research, security or design were disciplined, honest and )faithful. The integrity of each member was clear as described in I Corinthians 12:12-31. Everyone clearly understood that they were accountable to one another for their conduct and character.
The integrity of Answers in Genesis is forged on the anvil of honorable work, polished by the twin virtues of honesty and fairness. It was more wonderful to behold than any of the other displays in the museum – the true body of Christ amongst people working to bring God’s Word and the Saving Faith in Christ Jesus as both Peter did in Acts 2 and Paul did in Acts 17. Ebenezer (אבנעזר) means “Stone of Help” and we pray that this fossil specimen will help nonbelievers to accept God’s help through saving faith in Jesus and to deepen the faith and obedience of the many Christians who visit this stone.