Anniversaries are exciting events, particularly when they celebrate decades of commitment, as is the case in 2010 with the 40th anniversary of the Institute for Creation Research. Our usual "Year in Review" issue has a wonderful new dimension, a celebration not only of the many blessings of 2009, but also a reflection on the working of God over the past 40 years at ICR.
The primary mission activities at ICR involve scientific research, graduate-level and professional education, and diverse platforms for communicating the truth of the creation message through publications, events, and mass media. Below is a recap of just some of the highlights of ICR's past year. In the pages that follow, our desire is that you get a sense of how and why ICR was founded, and that during the many years of ministry our commitment to the truth of the Genesis record and the authenticity of the entire Bible has remained steadfast.
Scientific research constitutes the core of ICR's activity, providing foundational data used in our various educational programs, as well as in our various forms of communication, such as books, conferences, radio, etc. This past year saw further growth in our science department, both in terms of personnel and projects.
Climatology--Dr. Larry Vardiman continued his work on the ICE AGE project, a paleoclimatology research effort looking at the behavior of glaciers during the post-Flood Ice Age, particularly the effects observed in Yosemite Valley. Read his article "Ice Age Glaciers at Yosemite National Park" at icr.org. Dr. Vardiman will also be publishing a new and expanded work on the issue of global warming in 2010.
Geology--Senior geology researcher Dr. Steve Austin continues oversight of the Flood Activated Sedimentation and Tectonics (FAST) research program. Recently, Dr. Austin held the annual FAST science meeting in conjunction with the Geological Society of America (GSA) convention, where he also led a GSA-sponsored field trip to the slopes of Mount St. Helens. Dr. Austin's peer-reviewed field guide article titled "The dynamic landscape on the north flank of Mount St. Helens" was published by GSA in 2009.
Biology--Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, a recent Harvard graduate, has now joined Drs. Charles McCombs, Jeffrey Tomkins, and Randy Guliuzza to round out ICR's most significant research team, now tasked with planning a new multi-year science program that ICR will undertake in 2010. Please pray for wisdom as these men work through the many details that comprise this comprehensive project.
During 2009, ICR's National Creation Science Foundation (NCSF) has sponsored nine research grants, including Dr. Steve Austin's Argentina project on the Santa Cruz River, which was published in February 2009. In this project, Dr. Austin demonstrated where Darwin went wrong over 150 years ago in his geological interpretations. Many other projects are still underway, and ICR continues to encourage research-minded supporters to partner with us in this work that is now in its 40th year.
Education is an imperative at ICR. Now offering three educational programs, ICR has expanded its efforts in training men and women to effectively communicate truth with an unwavering commitment to the authority and authenticity of the Bible.
The ICR Graduate School continues to impact science teachers from around the world. While the new M.S. program is primarily completed online, face-to-face laboratories are conducted throughout the year. This year's labs included biological origins, planetary and stellar astronomy, paleontology, and geology. Students experienced a variety of hands-on science. Several in the program are slated to graduate in June 2010.
A recent survey of graduate students revealed that ICRGS has had and is continuing to have an impact on the creation science movement. Attendees use their degrees and/or the knowledge they gained about creation science at ICRGS to establish their own creation ministries, to promote accurate biblical science teaching in the Christian school classroom and/or while giving lectures, and to further their work with scientists. The response to the survey substantiated that our goals--(1) to prepare science teachers and other individuals to understand the universe within the integrating framework of a biblical perspective using proven scientific data, and (2) to prepare students for leadership in science education--are being met.
In October 2009, ICR launched a brand-new graduate school called the School of Biblical Apologetics (SOBA), which offers a two-year Master in Christian Education and Apologetics degree. Students currently meet each week at ICR's campus in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Jim Johnson leads this new graduate program and has enlisted ICR faculty, as well as well-known theologians such as Dr. Stan Toussaint and Dr. Eugene Merrill from Dallas Theological Seminary. Read more about SOBA at www.icr.edu.
The Creationist Worldview professional certificate program continues to be one of the most popular apologetics study programs at ICR, engaging adult students in some 33 courses over the year-long, self-paced course of study. Check out the video and demo for the Creationist Worldview at icr.edu/cw.
And finally, as the leading creation science research organization, ICR scientists and faculty launched plans in 2009 for a series of science education teaching supplements called Science Education Essentials. These teacher-friendly units address many aspects of the biblical view of origins and earth history, with the goal to provide science teachers a depth of knowledge on vital science topics and to offer meaningful curriculum material for classroom use. Pilot-tested with real teachers and students, each Science Education Essentials supplement contains a teacher's content book along with a supplement disc containing hundreds of pages of instructions, lesson plans, lab activities, PowerPoints, and other reproducible material for K-12 science teachers.
The first supplement, Origin of Life, debuted at the many Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) conventions held around the country in October and November. Hands-on sessions were conducted at the Portland, Kansas City, Seattle, Sacramento, and Anaheim ACSI conventions to give teachers practical activities that are biblically and scientifically based. Some 50 curriculum supplements will eventually be produced, including The Structure of Matter, Human Heredity, Genetic Diversity, Geologic Processes, and more.
The Communications emphasis at ICR comprises the outward-looking activity of the ministry in the areas of Publications, Events, and Media. During the past twelve months, ICR has expanded in each of these areas.
Acts & Facts monthly magazine continues to be the anchor of ICR communications, offering timely scientific and biblical articles to a readership of over 200,000 each month. In February 2009, ICR presented a special double issue of Acts & Facts to highlight the fallacy of the evolutionary message popularized by Charles Darwin, whose 200th birthday was celebrated that same month. This special-edition Acts & Facts was distributed additionally to thousands of pastors and educators at conferences around the country, such as the Shepherds Conference, the Jacksonville Pastors Conference, the Moody Pastor's Conference, ACSI conferences, and many more.
The Days of Praise devotional booklet, distributed to nearly 300,000 individuals each quarter, continues to be a leading personal Bible study help to many here in the United States, and now additionally in the Russian language through a special partnership with the Slavic Gospel Association.
ICR also published in 2009 a number of new resources, including:
- Five Reasons to Believe in Recent Creation--Dr. Henry Morris III
- Thinking God's Thoughts After Him--Christine Dao
- Exploring the Evidence for Creation--Dr. Henry Morris III
- A New Theory of Climate Change--Dr. Larry Vardiman
- Origin of Life (Science Education Essentials)--ICR Faculty
- Made in His Image--Dr. Randy Guliuzza
- Earth's Catastrophic Past--Dr. Andrew Snelling
- The Fossil Record, Teaching Poster
- Days of Christmas--Dr. Henry Morris
Many more resources will be in print during 2010, including The Fossil Record by Dr. John Morris and Frank Sherwin, along with several more Science Education Essentials curriculum supplements.
Communicating creation truth through seminars and conferences has been a hallmark of ICR's ministry since its founding in 1970. Even prior to that, Dr. Henry Morris routinely spoke on college campuses and in churches on the topic of scientific evidence for creation and the Flood.
In 2009, ICR sent many of our faculty and staff throughout the country to speak on these very same issues at churches, Christian schools, education conferences, and pastor's conventions. Of special note were a sold-out creation tour at Yosemite National Park, requests to lead 74 seminars at the ACSI conferences around the United States, and hosting three major "Demand the Evidence" conferences in Florida, California, and Texas, featuring guests teachers Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. Mac Brunson, along with main sessions taught by Dr. Henry Morris III, Dr. John Morris, Dr. Randy Guliuzza, and a youth ministry session by ICR's Lalo Gunther.
Radio continues to be a major tool for the creation message, as ICR continues to air its three programs around the world on some 1,500 outlets. Science, Scripture, & Salvation airs each week, Back to Genesis with Dr. John Morris airs each day, as does De Regreso a Genesis, the Spanish-language version of Back to Genesis. New stations pick up an ICR program every month, and we were able to secure digital satellite distribution for much of our programming early in 2009.
ICR also routinely fields media requests from news media and production studios looking for the scientific perspective of our scientists and staff. Interview requests this past year have come from outlets such as Fox News, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Moody Radio Network, American Family Radio Network, many radio talk programs, and a couple of movie studios.
Much of the mainstream media requests in 2009 focused on Charles Darwin and evolution, as the world began celebrating this man and his popularized notion that God had nothing to do with the origin or development of life on our planet. Other requests discussed the rise of Islamic creationism, the fossil discoveries of "Ida" and "Ardi" and dinosaurs with flesh, and dragons and dinosaurs, and ICR's battle with the state of Texas over our application to move the 28-year-old Graduate School from California to Texas.
A highlight of 2009 was the request to have Dr. John Morris lead a scientific expedition on the Galapagos Islands with Vision Forum president Doug Phillips for the newly released movie Mysterious Islands. God has indeed worked in marvelous ways to communicate His truth to literally millions around the world through the ministry of ICR and the many daughter ministries it has birthed over these past four decades. Thanks be to God!
VITAL SUPPORT AREAS
Of course, the three major missions above cannot function without the crucial work of others at ICR, those who facilitate the day-to-day operations of our ministry. Here are some highlights of what's been happening in other areas in 2009:
In April 2009, ICR began to see the first fruits of our participation in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), a national charitable gifts program for government employees, such as military personnel, postal workers, etc. Henry Morris IV and his staff attended the large CFC convention at the Pentagon in the fall and placed announcements throughout the fall in a special edition of the Washington Times. ICR has been unanimously approved to participate in the upcoming 2010 CFC campaign.
Planned Giving with ICR reached new heights in July 2009 with the unveiling of the Gift Legacy website. ICR supporters can now explore a variety of tax-saving plans, build their own custom proposals, and use financial calculators to test various ways to partner with ICR. Nearly 10,000 page-views have been recorded in the first four months of operation. Visit www.icr.org/give for more information.
Dr. Henry Morris III traveled throughout the country in fall 2009 to meet with many faithful partners of ICR, holding informational dinners in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, and Florida, and thanking many long-time supporters of ICR for their ongoing commitment to the ministry started 40 years ago.
Each year ICR is independently audited for fiscal soundness, and the ministry once again demonstrated significant reductions in administrative costs, helping many more donation dollars to be used for our three primary areas of ministry.
The ICR website continues to expand both in terms of power and impact. Convenient RSS feeds were added to further distribute our Daily Science Updates and Days of Praise articles in electronic form. And, for creation advocates on the go, icr.org now includes a "Mobile View" link on the home page in order to display ICR's pages on your cell phone or other mobile device.
A new "Share" button has been added so that visitors can easily share ICR's vast library of thousands of articles with others with just a few clicks, sending timely information to friends and family via email, Twitter, Facebook, and many other social sites. ICR's Facebook presence is now followed by 16,000 fans, many of whom are also fans of the Great Scientists Who Honored the Creator, a series of unique pages on Facebook highlighting the men of science who were also men of God. Are you a fan of ICR?
At the end of 2009, ICR began posting relevant videos on our site in order to enhance the viewer experience. These clips include an Introduction to ICR (www.icr.org/discover), the National Creation Science Foundation (www.icr.org/research), and the Creationist Worldview Professional Certificate Program (icr.edu/cw). Look for more Video on Demand in 2010.
And remember, www.icr.org is a treasure chest of 40 years worth of professional articles on science and Bible topics, all freely available 24 hours a day. Start surfing today!
The Battle for Science Education
In April 2009, ICR filed both federal and state lawsuits in the state of Texas in order to defend our right to move the 28-year-old ICR Graduate School from California to Texas. (The state suit was originally needed because a state agency cannot be sued involuntarily in a federal court.) Many will recall that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) denied this move in 2008 because of that agency's insistence that science can only be defined in evolutionary terms.
The THECB and some of its officials, as defendants, chose to "remove" the state lawsuit to the Austin federal district court, combining the triable issues from both cases in one federal court, a result not possible apart from the defendants' voluntary "removal." (The Dallas case is now dismissed, due to the Austin federal case containing all of the triable issues.) Meanwhile, ICR continues to appeal the THECB's administrative decision within the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Both the federal and SOAH trials are scheduled for next summer, and ICR is currently working through a long list of standard pre-trial motions and activities.
As you pray for ICR in these cases, please keep in mind that this effort affects not only our graduate school operating in the state of Texas, but the viewpoint of any non-profit educational institution that may disagree with the state agency officials' beliefs about the age of the earth, a "big bang," or the like. Discrimination of an institution's viewpoint, both on free speech and religious grounds, is at stake here, so please continue to pray for God to guide these important legal matters.
REFLECTION AND ANTICIPATION
There were many more activities in which ICR was involved during 2009 that we feel were significant to the growth of the ministry or the effectiveness of our efforts. There is no doubt in our minds and hearts that the unique work of ICR continues to be vital to the communication and defense of truth within a culture that would rather avoid truth or redefine it altogether.
Genesis 1:1 is the ultimate apologetic, if you really think about it. If you cannot open your Bible and believe that "in the beginning God created…," then how will you trust any other miracle described in the Bible? The fact that ICR is a science organization does not negate our unwavering acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is Creator and Lord of the universe and all life. Real science is God-honoring science. Looking forward to the months and years ahead, ICR is eager to discover how God will use us in understanding, educating, and communicating the wonders of His creation. Pray that we will do His work in His way, and for His glory.
And while a number of ministries have had to cut back on projects and personnel, God has allowed us to continue expanding in both of these areas, encouraging us with the prayerful financial support of many faithful partners and allowing us to streamline many of our operations to make the work as efficient as possible, as good stewards of the grace you and many others have contributed toward us through your gifts. We do not take this grace for granted, and we are more circumspect than ever about the resources God has placed in our hands; your ongoing support is needed more than ever. However, we also are prayerfully moving forward with anticipation of His continued blessings on the work He entrusted to us 40 years ago.
Throughout 2010, look for various special 40th anniversary events and publications at ICR and join with us in celebrating what God has done!
* Mr. Ford is Executive Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Ford, L. 2010. Counting Our Blessings: A year in review, a legacy in perspective. Acts & Facts. 39 (1): 4-7.