ICR and the Word of God (VI: ICR, For Such a Time as This)
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
The Institute for Creation Research complex of ministries is essentially unique in the world of Christendom. ICR is not a church, of course, but in a very real sense is an arm of the church. Its foundational message of true creation is vital for churches of all denominations if they are really to teach "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). Over the years we have brought a creation-oriented message in churches and schools of just about every denomination, as well as many nondenominational churches—even in Catholic schools and Jewish congregations. Creation is not the whole doctrinal structure of Christianity, of course, but it is the foundation on which the other doctrines must be based if they are to be truly Biblical. Without Genesis 1:1, the rest of Scripture is pointless.
As an arm of the church, ICR has a vital evangelistic ministry, as creation is the foundational component of the saving gospel of Christ (note Revelation 14:6, 7; Colossians 1:13-23; etc.). ICR is also a foreign missionary agency with outreaches in every continent (and most nations) by way of literature, radio, and direct ministry (ICR scientists have spoken in at least 40 countries), as well as through numerous local creation organizations formed through the help of ICR. It also is involved in home missions (e.g., literature in prisons, hospitals, and schools).
The church's Great Commission includes that of "teaching all things" (Matthew 28:20), and ICR is preeminently a ministry of education, implementing the primeval Dominion Mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) in the context of the complete gospel (the work of Christ from Creation to Consummation).
This teaching ministry is primarily centered in its unique creationist Graduate School of Science, but the associated extension teaching ministries are many and varied. The graduate school was discussed in Part V of this series, but there also are the week-long summer institutes we have held over the past 24 years for about 25 different Christian colleges. Furthermore, ICR books have been used as textbooks or reference books in scores of schools and colleges, possibly hundreds.
Dr. Richard Bliss—now with the Lord—led in preparing materials for teaching science in Christian schools and home schools and scheduled "Good Science Workshops" in numerous cities all over the country. These are continuing stronger than ever.
In a very real sense, all of our seminars, conferences, debates, and other public ministries have also been teaching ministries. Along with our books, these other ministries have been one of the most important factors—possibly the most important factor—contributing to the significant revival of creationism around the world in the past 25 years. There is also the wide outreach of our radio broadcasts. Even our new Museum of Creation and Earth History has provided a unique learning experience for over 75,000 visitors since it opened three years ago.
God has blessed the ICR work in marvelous ways, not even possible to count. Furthermore, all of these ministries have been carried out financially mainly by means of contributions (mostly small contributions) from thousands of concerned, praying Christian believers. We also have had significant income from ICR books.
Two important rules have governed our financial practices. First, our fundraising has always been low-key. We never employ professional fund-raisers or letter-writers, have no phone solicitations, do not put on money-raising banquets, or other methods that many organizations use. We do have a one-man "stewardship" department, designed to help people with wills and trusts, when they request such help. Otherwise, our income is mostly from those who receive and use our Acts & Facts newsletter and Days of Praise devotional quarterly. These publications are free and are not, in themselves, fundraising publications. They are intended primarily to be a source of faith-strengthening information and inspirational Bible study for their readers, and we have received over the years probably thousands of testimonies that they have indeed been just that.
In each case, my cover letter includes a very brief encouragement to the reader to help support the ministry in prayer and giving. We never use mailing lists from other organizations, nor do we let anyone else use ours. All those on our list have specifically requested to be there.
The second rule is that we are careful not to spend beyond our means. We try hard to be very frugal in our expenditures, and no one has a large salary or expense account. Sometimes—especially during the summer when the graduate school is active—cash flow becomes a problem, but always by the end of the year, by God's grace and the generosity of God's people, the bills have been paid and the financial statement is back in the black.
There is, of course, another key to God's blessing. ICR began and has continued through the years in answer to prayer. We have a daily staff prayer meeting, and a great many friends on our mailing list, by their own testimony, pray regularly for us as well. God does answer prayer.
As far as I am concerned, however, the most important distinctive of ICR—and which must continue to be its distinctive if God is to continue to bless—has been our commitment to the absolute authority of the inerrant word of God. We emphasize and honor all true science, of course, but the main reason for our scientific defense of special creation is our conviction of the truth of Biblical creation, as found all through the Bible, God's inspired word.
The "Statement of Faith" of ICR and its graduate school consists of two complementary divisions: the "Tenets of Scientific Creationism;" and the "Tenets of Biblical Creationism." The two sets of tenets are independent of each other, but also are completely harmonious with each other. The real facts of science will always agree with Biblical revelation, because the God who made the world of God inspired the word of God. If there ever seems to be a conflict between the two, the Bible must govern because God does not lie, and the written word is easier to understand than any tentative human interpretation of natural phenomena. When all the facts are in, and rightly understood, they will inevitably be found to agree with Scripture.
The Biblical tenets of ICR stress the uniquely infallible, inerrant, and authoritative character of the Bible. In particular, we believe that the Biblical record of primeval history in Genesis 1-11 is factual, historical, and perspicuous and, therefore, that all things were created and made in six literal days (note especially Exodus 20:8-11). Further, this means that the Biblical flood was global and cataclysmic.
Our tenets also incorporate all the basic components of the gospel (e.g., deity of Christ, the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace through faith in His finished work of redemption, Christ's future bodily return to earth, and eternal life for believers, with eternal punishment for unbelievers).
Both faculty and board members sign this statement annually, and the statement cannot be modified. Of course, just agreeing to a doctrinal statement cannot substitute for a real love for the word of God and a heart's desire for full submission to its authority. It is vital also to obey and proclaim God's word, and I am confident that ICR as an organization—as well as its individual scientists and other staff and board members—will continue to demonstrate that dedication.
In this age of evangelical compromise, our continuing commitment to full Biblical inerrancy, perspicuity, and authority, to literal recent creationism and the cataclysmic flood, to traditional Christian standards of dress and behavior, to low-key fundraising and pay-as-you-go budgeting, to daily prayer and Bible study, and even to the most beautiful and reliable of all English Bible translations (the King James) may seem anachronistic, but I believe God has blessed and will continue to bless the ICR ministries because of this commitment.
I believe the promise of Revelation 3:8 applies specifically to churches and church-arms of our sort in the last days. The Lord Jesus says: "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast [but] little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." I trust all our supporters and other readers of these articles will pray with us that we at ICR will always continue not to rely on our strength, but on His (for we indeed are weak, whether or not we know it), that we will continue to keep (that is guard) His Word, and to honor His great name (as Creator, Savior, King, and Lord). Then, He will continue to open doors, supply the need, and bless His word as we teach and proclaim it through a strong message of creation and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the final article of this series next month, I plan (Lord willing) to set forth my own hopes for the future of ICR.
* Dr. Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) was Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.