For 16 years Dr Johan Kruger, founder of Creation Ministries International (South Africa), laboured tirelessly, defending the historicity of Genesis, and demonstrating that Genesis is foundational to the Gospel. At the end of June 2017 Dr Kruger passed the torch, so to speak, handing over all his responsibilities at CMI-South Africa to a younger generation.
Typical of Afrikaners growing up in the 1950s and 1960s Johan Kruger was raised in the fear of the Lord and having a respect for the Bible as being God’s Word. And in those days evolutionary indoctrination was absent from most South African schools. But when Johan entered into university, his faith was challenged by evolutionary claims about the origins of the universe and of life. Did God create the universe and all life on earth in six ordinary days, or were billions of years somehow involved? Were Adam and Eve the first human beings created by God on the sixth day of the creation week, or did humans evolve from apelike creatures in a process which had gone on for millions of years? For some time Johan wrestled with trying to reconcile the Bible and evolution. On an occasion when he sought guidance, one of his professors tried to persuade him that the Christian faith and evolution could be compatible. Many of Johan’s fellow students would eventually accept evolution and would play-along-to-get-along. Yet Johan was not persuaded. He took the road less travelled and continued to study the matter.
A breakthrough came when he found a creationist book at the library. Subsequently he followed the footnotes to find more resources and came to realize that there were credible scientists worldwide who did not believe in evolution and that there was a body of literature available on the topic about which most students were not being exposed. He came to understand that the so-called evolutionary ‘facts’ were actually interpretations based upon flawed assumptions. More importantly, he realized that there was an alternative to evolution—biblical creation—which interpreted the evidence in a manner faithful to Scripture.
Over the next 10 years—while continuing to read on both sides of the creation/evolution controversy—he completed an M.Sc. in animal reproductive physiology in 1982, and a Ph.D. in nematology in 1986. He also worked as a technical/research assistant, and then as a postdoctoral research fellow. Later, as a senior zoology lecturer at university, he was responsible for human and sports physiology courses, and also developed biology courses for a teachers training program. He has authored/co-authored 22 research articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a growing interest among Christians to formulate a response to evolution, which was gradually gaining ground within South Africa’s tertiary institutions. Likeminded Christians began meeting to discuss biblical creation. Johan attended some of these meetings and along the way was encouraged to establish a creation ministry. In the year 2000, Johan and his wife Dianne travelled to Brisbane, Australia, where they met with the publishers of Creation magazine (then called Creation ex nihilo). As a result of that meeting, Johan returned to South Africa and in 2001 established what is now known as Creation Ministries International (CMI)(South Africa) and linked to a network of five other CMI offices worldwide.
Initially Johan personally bore all the responsibility for the ministry outreach in South Africa. Eventually the Lord would bring along others to help along the way. In 2006, Robert Zins was appointed to oversee the ministry. Then in 2013, Marc Ambler, who had previously served as a director on the board, joined Johan as an accredited speaker. Yet it is worth mentioning that in the course of Johan’s 16 years of service, he was involved in the scheduling and conducting of upwards of 1,000 meetings throughout South Africa and Namibia, reaching over 100,000 adults and children with a creation message.
Johan’s desire was to see biblical foundations restored to the church. He urged fellow Christians to embrace the authority of God’s Word, the Bible, from the very first verse. He sought to motivate and equip Christians to defend their faith against the evolutionary indoctrination that had become prevalent in society.
In 2015, Johan had an operation that successfully removed a non-malignant tumour. But, at the age of sixty-seven, he continued to wrestle with other health issues, which has made it difficult for him to continue being active in ministry. In June 2017 it became clear that the time had come for Johan to pass the torch.
A young man named Pieter was just one of many who were impacted by Johan Kruger’s faithful stand for Genesis. While completing a B.Sc. (Hons) Pieter also had to navigate his own way through evolutionary indoctrination at university. Pieter met Johan in 2000. For Pieter, Johan proved to be a regular source of encouragement, and he went on to complete his M.Sc. (Zoology) and teach Life Sciences. In 2016, Pieter le Roux joined Marc Ambler as an accredited speaker for CMI-South Africa. And even now several additional candidates are working towards speaker accreditation.
As the team at CMI-South Africa continues what Johan had begun, we wish him well as he enters into a new chapter of life. And our prayer is that the Lord would renew Johan’s strength as He guides him into new areas of service for His kingdom.