I don't think so.
I've heard arguments for the majority of my life that have stated something to the effect of: "Without understanding a literal seven-day creation by God, unbelievers will not be able to understand and embrace the gospel." This statement is then backed up by quoting 1 Corinthians 1:23, "but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles" (HCSB). I have been told numerous times that the gospel is a stumbling block for the Jews because of the shame of the cross, and foolishness to the Gentiles/Greeks because their ancient cosmology - or understanding of how the world came to exist - teaches something other than the biblical understanding of a literal seven-day creation by one God. And so, as the argument goes, if only the gentiles could understand cosmology correctly, then they would come to faith in Christ.
But that's not what the Apostle Paul is talking about at all! Look at the broader context: "For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength" (1 Co. 21-25 HCSB)
This text has nothing to do with cosmology (as I've been told over and over and over again). It has to do with human wisdom and humanity's understanding of strength. For the gentiles, the crucifixion of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin is foolishness because it looked like an event of weakness, rather than strength. How could Jesus save the world through sacrifce? Through shame? Through death?
So, I return to my original question: Does a person need to embrace Creationism and reject Evolution in order to become a Christ-follower?
Check out this short clip (2 min.) of Dr. William Lane Craig's thoughts:
So, what's happened here? Again, well-meaning Christians have taken a secondary issue (God creating the world in a literal seven days) and we've elevated it to a primary issue . . . and not just a primary issue, but one we've implicitly made into a requirement for salvation!
Is Creationism an important issue? Yes. Should we explore all the data and make conclusions? Absolutely. But we should do so within the church and as a secondary (maybe even tertiary) issue. Not in public debates and declarations.
When the church reaches out to her community, the entire focus should be on Jesus and His Gospel. If it isn't, we've missed the point completely.
If you disagree with me, show me the chapter and verse where Jesus, Paul, Peter, or John declare that belief in a seven-day creation is a requirement (or prerequisite) for salvation.