by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. *
The focus of the mission of the Institute for Creation Research is expressed in three words: Biblical. Accurate. Certain. Although these terms are related and flow from one another, they are quite different in their specific requirements and applications.
“Being Biblical” is the “box” that sets the parameters around our thinking, helping us to both direct and limit the various ministry initiatives we undertake.1 These criteria are rather simple:
- We do not doubt the written Word of God.
- We do not deny God’s capability.
- We will not denigrate God’s character.
Achieving accuracy in what we do flows directly from our biblical commitment. Although ICR deals with many aspects of biblical truth, we are always driven to ensure that whatever we are declaring and teaching others is “accurate” in its expression of biblical facts, principles, or concepts. Perhaps the best way to express our core drive for accuracy is by citing some passages that speak to that issue.
Paul instructed young Titus: “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity” (Titus 2:7). The three key terms used are important.
- Uncorruptness—literally “with nothing that would destroy” (not harmful)
- Gravity—entitled to respect and veneration (honesty)
- Sincerity—unaffected by corruption or decay (lasting)
Since our first priority is to be biblical, it follows that we should seek to emulate the character of God in our communications. Moses made a similar commitment:
I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)
The “perfection” of God’s work comes because God is certain qualities.
- Judgment—processed and careful, ensuring clear and suitable application
- Truth—firmness, fidelity, steadfastness
- Without Iniquity—no deviation from truth
- Just—lawful, ethical, careful to adhere to known truth
- Right—straight, correct, fitting, proper
It is thus incumbent upon us to ensure that our communications meet as many of these criteria as humanly possible. Because we are first biblical, we then are focused on achieving accuracy in all of our teaching, seminars, articles, books, and global communications.
Given that we are committed to these principles that can produce accuracy, how do we achieve it? What are the practical elements that would ensure accuracy?
ICR is committed to careful and comprehensive research.
Although this might be more easily understood in the context of our scientific projects, it also must and indeed does apply to every article that we write, each of the presentations that we give in our seminars, and every message that we are asked to give from the pulpits of the churches in which we minister.
Humanly speaking, since we are not omniscient or infinite in our resources, it is possible to miss data or misunderstand any matter—especially when dealing with the matters of origins and the early history of the earth. But in spite of these admitted limitations, our drive to be biblical—to please the One to whom we must one day answer—leads us to strive to make every effort to carefully and thoroughly review and research the subjects we must declare…before we present them publicly.
Fortunately, much of what we routinely handle does not require much time. Much of our material is foundationally complete through decades of evaluation (ICR is now in its 40th year) and often only requires additional testing against newer information. Our staff is experienced and well-educated, and can therefore provide rather quick feedback on the data presented in most of our articles and various seminars.
ICR is committed to peer review.
Such a commitment means that we subject our thoughts to others within our disciplines, so that we get honest critiques about the thoughts and intents of our deliberations. Timing, audience, and delivery mechanisms all figure into how this is implemented. Sometimes a commitment to accuracy delays what we might otherwise wish to react to in the news—or perhaps even to publicize. Always, haste makes waste. Accuracy is more important than emotive response.
In our science projects, the process is often intricate and technical. Sometimes the very scope of the investigation requires long consideration and many months prior to its completion. Our RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) project consumed eight years before the results were published in 2005. The current efforts of our biological research team are focused on key research questions they have identified in the field of origins biology. They have begun to evaluate the scope of the research and will require several years to bring the project to completion.
The Scripture teaches that “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). All of our ICR researchers and public writers and speakers are careful to seek such counsel as we develop ideas and prepare communications. None of us is an “island” to themselves, and we covet the sincere critique of those who share a like passion and background.
This not to say that we seek biblical critique from those who are not committed to being biblical. Please remember that ICR faculty are first and foremost driven to “please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4). Those who have deliberately chosen to deny the biblical information can hardly be expected to be concerned with biblical accuracy. We do, however, seek input from purely secular sources to help us fine-tune the accuracy of our scientific analysis. The interpretation and application of that data depend on factual information. ICR is committed to peer review.
ICR is committed to clear communication.
This point may seem obvious, but is often not considered—especially in the communication of technical materials. Of course, there are various levels of presentation and special publications that require technical verbiage to accurately give the specifics of an idea or potential conclusion. Surely there is a place for such challenge among the technically trained of our world.
However, much of what ICR must do is to prepare the information in such a way that even those without highly trained backgrounds in the sciences can profit from the information. Our commitment is to study, teach, and communicate the wonders of God’s creation—to all people to whom we are privileged to minister, not just to the technically trained.
In practice, the pastor and the Sunday school teacher, the faithful Christian school teacher, the dedicated homeschool parent may need ICR’s information more critically than the trained scientist. Our skeptical and secularized society bombards us daily with atheistic information—a barrage of evolutionary and humanistic material that rarely ceases.
How vital it becomes, therefore, for ICR to be careful to clearly communicate our research and our expertise. God’s creation is foundational to understanding much of God’s character, and is indeed the core focus of initial faith (Hebrews 11:3-6). Hence, accuracy is the second of our heart commitments to Kingdom ministry.
- Morris III, H. 2011. Being Biblical. Acts & Facts. 40 (4): 4-5.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris III, H. 2011. Achieving Accuracy. Acts & Facts. 40 (5): 4-5.