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Clifford Wilson

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Clifford Wilson
Born 10 May, 1923 Concord, New South Wales
Died 4 April, 2012 Wantirna
Parents Bell Wilson
Spouse Avis

Spouse Barbara Joan Baddeley
Religious affiliation Brethren and Baptist
Rev. Dr. Clifford Allan Wilson was a prolific Australian author, Christian apologist, educator, and archaeologist.

Perhaps his most famous book was the international best-selling Crash go the Chariots, a response to Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods.



Wilson's mother, Bell, was a stenographer, and he learned Pitman shorthand and speed typing from her.[1][2]

Wilson's first wife was Avis, whom he married when he was 19 and on leave from the navy.[1] They had two sons and two daughters, Bruce, Elaine, David, and Lynnette.[3] Avis died from cancer, but before she did, she suggested to her husband that long-time family friend Barbara Baddeley would be a good wife for him. Wilson married Barbara in 1996, with his son David, an ordained minister with the Wesleyan Methodist church, officiating. Barbara herself died died of cancer in June 2010.[4] At the time of his death, Wilson had 13 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.[3] His eldest son, Bruce, died in a railway accident in Britain in 1969.[2]


From March 1942 to January 1946 Wilson served with the Australian Navy, including on the HMAS Australia.[5] He started in the army, but transferred to the navy as a medical orderly. He asked to be a Writer, but was rejected until he mentioned that he knew shorthand. He then worked on the bridge of HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire. A kamikaze pilot crashed into the bridge of his ship.[1] This was probably the HMAS Australia, which is considered the first Allied ship hit by a kamikaze pilot, on 21 October 1944.[6] He later assisted with prisoner-of-war repatriation at Ambon.[1]

After returning home, he studied at the University of Sydney, getting his B.A. in history, psychology, and education.

After this, he went to India as a missionary for a couple of years, replacing Arthur and Joy Flack, who had to return to Australia on furlough with poor health. The Flacks were involved with a mission-run school, Clarence High School in Bangalore, and Wilson was Acting Principal while he was there. Upon arriving in India they found that a group of Indian leaders had petitioned the government to stop the school from teaching Christianity to the students. The group had apparently decided to take advantage of the absence of the Flacks and another missionary team, the Redwood brothers, who had started the school. Wilson consulted the Indian Constitution and learnt that minorities such as the the Christians had some legal rights they could use. He argued the school's case with the authorities, and threatened to close the school if they persisted. His argument was that many of the school's teachers were working without a salary because they wanted to provide the Christian teaching, and they would be unlikely to continue if they couldn't teach the Bible. The authorities relented, and the decision set a precedent for all similar schools in India.[3]

Returning from India for health reasons, Wilson met Ed Harlow in Madras. Harlow was on his way from Canada to Australia to commence a branch of Emmaus Bible College. As a result of this meeting and a subsequent meeting with Harlow in Australia, Wilson became the founding Principal of Emmaus Bible College in Sydney.[3][5] During his time at Emmaus, Wilson did further study at Sydney University, earning his Master of History and Education.[5]

After leaving Emmaus, in 1954 Wilson became a lecturer with the Australian Institute of Archaeology. From 1961 to 1968 he was a Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Bible Institute, during which time he also studied for another degree at the Melbourne College of Divinity.[5]

From 1967 to 1970 Wilson was the director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology.[7]

In 1969 he moved to the United States, and gained his Ph.D. in psycholinguistics at the University of South Carolina.

Returning to Australia in 1973, he took on a position as Senior Lecturer in Education and Psycholinguistics at Monash University. He was there until 1980.[5]

In 1972 Wilson had written his famous response to Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods, and in February 1978, at the University of North Dakota (Fargo) he debated von Däniken in front of 4,000 people. The audience handed in response cards, which, according to a subsequent advertisement, showed that Wilson had won convincingly.[8][9]

In 1980 he began the Pacific College of Graduate Studies, to provide distance education for missionaries.[10]

In later years he was Associate Editor of New Life.[11]

Books and writing

Bible and Spade No. 1 IFC.jpg

See the Research page for a list of Clifford Wilson's books.

Throughout his writing career, Wilson wrote books on the Bible and how archaeology supported it. Some of these were published by the Austalian Institute of Archaeology during the time he was its Director.

Following the popularity of Chariots of the Gods, Erich von Däniken's argument that aliens had been visiting Earth throughout history, Wilson wrote Crash go the Chariots in 1972. It became an international best seller. This was followed by many other books on the theme of extra-terrestrials, along with a few responding to other themes in popular culture, such as his 1974 book, Chrash goes The Exorcist!: Where The Exorcist Failed.

Wilson, a biblical creationist, also wrote a number of books about creation and the flood, having been present at Glen Rose in Texas when new fossil footprints were found there, footprints believed at the time to be of both humans and dinosaurs in the same rock layers.

Wilson also co-authored or authored a few books on language, including The Language Gap (with Donald McKeon) and Monkeys Will Never Talk, or Will They?, highlighting the differences between humans and animals.

Many of Wilson's books were small volumes, and many were designed for the mass market. Others were pictorial books on the archaeology of the Bible lands. However, there was also a 17-volume The A.B.C. of Biblical Archaeology Archaeology ... the Bible and Christ. A Survey.

In addition to apologetic works, Wilson wrote two novels, The Search and The Joseph Scroll.

Wilson was involved with writing for and editing at least two periodicals. Along with Bryant Wood, he edited Bible and Spade from its first issue. Bible and Spade was originally published by Word of Truth Productions[12] in the United States (see below) which ministry was merged with the Associates for Biblical Research in 1986.[2] Many years later, Wilson was the associate editor of New Life.[11]

Preaching and teaching

Clifford Wilson went to India under the auspices of the Brethren churches,[3] although for much of his life he attended Baptist churches, and was an ordained Baptist minister, serving at Baptist churches in the suburbs of Melbourne at Malvern (for eight years), Murrumbeena, and Blackburn. He also did pastoral work in the United States.[1][5][3]

Wilson also produced many short programs for radio, including the 15-minute "Stones Cry Out".[13] He had started a ministry called "Word of Truth Productions", producing the radio spots originally for the Christian short-wave radio station HCJB. With the assistance in America of Bryant Wood, Wilson opened a branch of "Word of Truth Productions" in the United States, and through that expanded the distribution of these across America.[2]

He was Senior Lecturer in Education and Psychology at Monash University, as well as being Deputy Head of Special Education for a while.[1]

He also started Queensland Christian College, which he later moved to Melbourne and renamed the Pacific College of Graduate Studies (PCGS).[10] This college was set up to provide part-time distance education to missionaries.[1] The college had accreditation from the Victorian Government's Department of Education during 1993/94, but there were policy changes in the state and federal governments, and unless the college agreed to teach evolution, this would not have been extended, so accreditation was not renewed.[10][1] Soon after, the College was closed.[1]

Wilson was also the founder of Pacific International University in Missouri which opened soon after.[1][14] It is no longer operating.[1]

In addition, he lectured at Em­maus Bible College, Melbourne Bible Institute, New Zealand Bible School, Columbia Bible College, Toorak Teach­ers’ College, and with the Australian Institute of Archaeology.[15]

Qualifications and recognition

Wilson had the following academic degrees

In 1970 Wilson was awarded a D.D. from Toronto Baptist Seminary,[7] and the following year he was honoured as an Outstanding Educator of America, due in part to his writing output.[10]

The editor of New Life, Bob Thomas, said that in his opinion, Wilson "ranks among the great apologists and defend­ers of the Faith".[11]

Positions and membership

Clifford Wilson's positions included the following:

  • Lecturer with the Australian Institute of Archaeology from 1951 to 1953.[7]
  • Director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology from 1967 to 1970.[7]
  • Editor, Bible and Spade.
  • Director, Word of Truth Productions.[16]
  • Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina.[17]
  • Founding President of PCGS.
  • Fellow of the Commercial Education Society of Australia[15]
  • Associate Editor, New Life.

Wilson was a member of the Australian Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association.[7]


Apart from lecturing for and later being the Director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, Wilson was involved with excavations at Gezer (in 1969),[18] Khirbet Nisya (August 1979),[19], Tel-Nusieh, Ninevah, and Khirbet el-Maqatir (1996).[2]

In Gezer he worked with Nelson Glueck. At Ninevah he found a pathway between the palace of King Sennacherib and the temple. The path had an inscription saying that it was dedicated to the goddess Esagilla.[15]

Wilson also edited and wrote for Bible and Spade, the magazine of the archaeological group, Associates for Biblical Research. Many of his books, including two novels, were related to archaeology.

Wilson's archaeology helped him realise that the Bible was an accurate historical text.[7]

I was not always the “literalist” I am today. I’ve always had a profound respect for the Bible, but accepted that the use of poetic forms meant that the record could often be interpreted symbolically where now I take it literally—though of course there are times when symbolism is clearly utilized. Thus in later Scriptures “Egypt” can be a geographic country or a symbolic term.

That li[t]eralism is especially true in relation to Genesis chapters 1 through 11, often considered allegorical or mythical, where my researches have led me to the conclusion that this is profound writing, meant to be taken literally. There was a real Adam, creation that was contemporaneous for the various life forms as shown in Genesis chapter 1, and a consistent style of history writing—such as the outlines given in Genesis one, then zeroing in on the specifics relating to mankind in Genesis chapter 2; the history of all the early peoples in Genesis chapter 10, then the concentration on Abraham and his descendants from Genesis chapter 11 onwards. Early man, “the birth of the lady of the rib,” long-living man, giants in the earth (animals, birds, and men), the flood, the Tower of Babel—and much more—point to factual, accurate recording of history in these early chapters of Genesis.

Over 40 years have passed since I first became professionally involved in biblical archaeology and my commitment to the Bible as the world’s greatest history book is firmly settled. As Psalm 119:89 states, “Forever O Lord, your word is established in heaven.”[7]

Anti-creationist criticism

The anti-creationist NCSE Reports, a publication of the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education, published an article by Glen Kuban which discussed the Pacific International University, the Pacific College of Graduate Studies, and Clifford Wilson. The criticisms relied in part on incorrect evidence from Australian anti-creationist Ian Plimer, who "reported that PCI is not accredited or authorized to grant degrees" and claimed that "Any degrees from this 'College' are illegal in Australia and are clearly being used fraudulently in the U.S.A.". The article is reproduced on the TalkOrigins Archive.[20]

Kuban's claims have been repeated by many other anti-creationists, including Wikipedia, which has an article about Pacific International University which paints it in a negative light, and mentions Wilson as the founder of it. The short article's largest single section is the "Criticism and controversy" section, which includes Kuban's NCSE article as a source.

Other anti-creationists, citing Kuban's article, are more explicit, declaring the organisations to be "diploma mills"

However as shown above, the PCGS was in fact accredited.

Wikipedia article

Wikipedia had an article about Clifford Wilson, but it was deleted without discussion on the grounds that it "does not indicate the importance or significance of the subject". Proposals to delete articles on Wikipedia are typically discussed by interested contributors to the site, unless there is obvious reason to delete them, such as the article being an act of vandalism or otherwise clearly not a suitable topic for an article. The provision under which it was deleted explicitly says that it "does not apply to any article that makes any credible claim of significance or importance" (emphasis in original). The article (an early version of which has been reproduced on Psychology Wiki[5]) listed many of Wilson's activities and achievements, including that he was the author of a best-selling book, Crash go the Chariots.[21] It clearly did "indicate the importance or significance of the subject".

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Ron Suter, private communication, April 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Wood, Bryant G., Remembering Clifford A. (“Cliff”) Wilson, May 10, 1923–April 4, 2012, 3 May 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Chris Field, Dr Clifford Wilson Passes Into Glory, 14 April 2012.
  4. Chris Field, Tribute to Barbara Joan Wilson, 3 June 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Psychology Wiki (NB: This article, originally on Wikipedia, was written by a nephew of Clifford Wilson.)
  6. kamikaze, Australia's War 1939 – 1945.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 W. R. Miller, Archaeologists of the Christian Faith: Ancient Evidence for the Bible … in Spades, Tektonics.
  8. "War of the chariots" debate between von Däniken and Wilson. (Catalogue entry for a recording of the debate).
  9. "pilgrim", UFO's, Physical, Spiritual, Extraterrestrial?, praize discussion forum (forum-user repost of now-offline advertisement) Tue. 15th August, 2006Tue. August 15th, 2006.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 A brief history of the Pacific College of Graduate Studies Melbourne, Australia
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Bob Thomas, Rev Dr Clifford Allan Wilson, New Life 74:16, p.2, Sun. 15th April, 2012Sun. April 15th, 2012.
  12. See picture of inside front cover of first issue.
  13. Stones Cry Out, Associates for Biblical Research.
  14. Pacific International University,
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Wieland, Carl, Archaeologist confirms creation and the Bible, Creation 14(4):46–50, September 1992.
  16. The Doctor Who Wrote History, Bible and Spade 03:1, Winter 1974.
  17. Clifford A. Wilson, Where does history begin?, Creation 14(3):44–45, June 1992.
  18. Clifford Wilson, God's Creating Gods.
  19. Esther Livingston, A History of ABR: Its Founders and Associates (1969-1994).
  20. Glen J. Kuban, A Matter of Degree: Carl Baugh's Alleged Credentials, NCSE Reports Vol 9, No. 6, Nov-Dec. 1989.(Content warning: This link contains pro-evolutionary material.)
  21. Clifford Wilson on The Full Wiki. This is a copy of the Wikipedia article as it existed on 16 November 2009.
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