Public schools in USA are off limits to religion, but that didn’t stop Tom DeRosa. As a science instructor during the 1970s in a large Florida public school system, DeRosa used his classroom to present his devoutly held views about God and creation. No one objected.
He was free to push evolution and oppose divine creation and did so with passion. For in the words of his wife Linda, ‘Tom was an evolutionist – an absolute, devout evolutionist. He would talk about us coming from apes or out of the slime’.
A zeal for Darwin
DeRosa, who attended a Catholic Junior Seminary as a teen and almost entered the priesthood, rejected God in college after he was introduced to Darwin and evolution.
After college, armed with a degree in education and chemistry and a zeal for Darwin, Tom quickly rose as a leader in his school district. He became the science department chairman, co-founded the county’s science fair, and devoted himself wholeheartedly to teaching what he believed was the ultimate in scholarly science – the theory of evolution.
‘I was just focused on the fact that kids had to hear evolution because that was true, and they needed to be taken away from the crutch of God and believing in God’, said DeRosa – who looks back on his Darwin-touting days with regret and pain.
DeRosa faced a career crisis in 1978 when Broward schools cut the budget for science instruction. So when he learned about a teaching opportunity at Westminster Academy – a Christian school founded by Dr James Kennedy – he decided that even though he was an atheist he would meet Westminster headmaster Dr Ken Wackes for an interview.
Dr Wackes presented the gospel to Tom, who learned, for the first time, that heaven is a free gift. ‘I was always taught that you had to work, work, work for your salvation’, said DeRosa. ‘But the fact that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for me and that I didn’t have to do it [myself] was an amazing concept’.
Changed by Christ
His heart being opened, he readily received the free gift. ‘We just prayed together and he, out loud, asked Christ to come into his life’, Dr Wackes recalled. ‘He said, “I want to give myself to you forever”, and he became a changed man’.
Tom was hired to teach science at Westminster Academy and thought at first that he could believe in God and evolution at the same time. ‘But as I read the Scripture and heard Dr Kennedy from the pulpit, I came to the conclusion that that was impossible’. He looked at the evidence and became convinced that the Genesis account of creation is true.
With his newfound Christian and creation convictions, DeRosa soon felt called to become an evangelist for the creation message and founded the Creation Studies Institute in 1988. That creation outreach linked up with Coral Ridge Ministries in 2004 in order to bring creation truths to a national audience.
DeRosa is the author of a new book, Evolution’s fatal fruit: How Darwin’s tree of life brought death to millions. He has an urgent sense of mission to expose evolution and bring people to Christ.
Creation Studies Institute