Some of our constituents have raised questions about ICR's specific mission, so this may be a good time to state it clearly.
Reasons for Founding ICR
Initially, ICR was a division of Christian Heritage College, which had been founded in 1970 as a unique Christian liberal arts college and eventually a university firmly committed in all programs to a specifically creationist (meaning literal six-day creation and global flood) worldview.
As CHC co-founder, I had argued for this approach as the result of my 28 years of teaching experience in five large secular universities, plus speaking on many other campuses as a result of the impact of our book, The Genesis Flood (published in 1961). All secular colleges had been structured completely around evolutionary humanism, and all evangelical colleges seemed to have accepted the evolutionary geological ages.
However, the accrediting association would not allow us to offer graduate degrees in science, so we had to do this through making ICR a separate institution. M.S. degrees are almost universally required for science teachers even in Christian schools, and these had to be obtained (before ICR, that is) from secular universities. So the ICR Graduate School was formed in 1980 and has been offering M.S. degrees in four key science areas dealing with origins since 1981. Over a dozen other Christian liberal arts colleges have also started teaching literal Biblical creationism in science, but ICR is still alone in offering graduate programs in science. ICR is now fully accredited through TRACS, a nationally approved accrediting agency.
What ICR's Purpose Is NOT
Because ICR has become internationally known largely because of its books, seminars, etc., I must first emphasize that these are all vital extension ministries, but not ICR's main purpose.
(1) ICR is NOT a publishing business
We cannot measure our success by book sales. I have written some 60 books myself, so I surely appreciate the importance of publishing substantive books on creation. But that is only an extension aspect of our basic mission.
(2) ICR is NOT a seminar ministry
Although I have participated in many seminars—even before CHC or ICR were formed—and these have been of significant influence in stimulating global awareness of the issue, this also is merely an extension of ICR's fundamental purpose.
(3) ICR is NOT a church renewal or correctional ministry
Many churches today surely need to return to sound doctrine and practice with respect to Biblical creation. I strongly believe in the local church—have served as teacher and deacon in three of them and pulpit speaker in hundreds. My wife and I even started a church (now thriving with a fine new sanctuary) that began with two families and several college students(meeting in our basement). But "straightening-out" churches is not our basic purpose at ICR.
(4) ICR is NOT a children's or youth ministry
We have great concern for children and young people, but again reaching them is not our main goal. My wife sponsored and taught Child Evangelism classes for many years, and we have seen many children come to Christ. As far as college youth are concerned, I have served as faculty advisor to Christian student organizations in 5 secular universities (in one, over 50 were saved in one year!).
(5) ICR is NOT an evangelistic ministry
Evangelism is vitally important, but is essentially an indirect result of the ICR mission. We are thankful when people are saved through one of our ICR books or seminars, but this is not our main purpose as an organization.
(6) ICR is NOT a missionary agency
Although a few churches have placed ICR on their missionary budget, and the outreach of our ICR books, seminars, radio, etc., has extended into six continents, this is not our main purpose.
(7) ICR is NOT a political organization
Although we would love to see creationism taught in all schools, we have never sponsored legislation to accomplish this. From the Biblical perspective, all education should be under the home, not the government, but we do not try to attain such an ideal with political pressure.
The Distinctive Purpose of ICR
There is nothing wrong with the above activities; all of them are very important, but ICR's main purpose (note Isaiah 51:1-2) is not evangelism or missions, not books or politics, not church growth or youth ministries.
Our primary ministry is education! Especially higher education, including relevant research at the graduate level. This purpose may seem mundane and relatively unimportant to some Christians. Evangelism, missions, political power, personal relationships—all may seem to be more glamorous and worthy of support. But that is not the way God sees it!
God's first commandment on the created earth was what has been called the dominion mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) and this has never been withdrawn or diluted. It was repeated and extended to the survivors of the global deluge (Genesis 9:1-7). This first divine mandate requires what we now would call scientific research and then the transmission of the accumulating information about God's creation to all succeeding generations (that is, by education!). Since this was His first priority, it surely warrants our obedience and support even today.
A second worldwide divine mandate is the "Great Commission," which could also be called the Missionary Mandate—calling for teaching about God's redemptive work. It was not given to all mankind (as was the first mandate) but only to believing Christians.
As in the dominion mandate, education again is emphasized. Jesus said that we should be "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). The new mandate thus not only commands preaching the gospel and baptizing believers but teaching everything taught by Christ!
This includes everything in His creation, "for all things were made by Him" and He is now "upholding all things" (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:3). As Creator, He had issued the primeval dominion mandate and this later mandate now implies teaching all things learned under the first mandate, in addition to teaching about His work of redeeming all things.
All true education therefore should be carried out in the context of both creation and redemption, Christ being the Author of both mandates.
Because of its key importance in God's plan for His creation, Satan has sought very successfully to gain control of education—especially higher education. His system of evolution is the key weapon in his control of education and he bitterly opposes all who presume to teach against that system. ICR was founded with this very issue in mind.
The ICR Graduate School therefore has the primary mission of providing true education, in its creation/redemption framework instead of the evolutionary humanistic system which permeates all secular colleges and universities and has led even most evangelical colleges to compromise with it.
Ideally, ICR (or some other Christian educational institution or consortium) should provide such creation-oriented education at all levels in all fields. This may seem impossible, however, as long as Satan is "the god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4). Nevertheless, the two mandates need to be implemented by means of at least one great creationist university (the very term implies "universal" coverage), which could serve as a model for others (and perhaps even as a foundation and model for the education system in a future millennium!).
ICR is not that needed central university of research and education, but we have made a start in the ICR Graduate School with its students and science faculty (full-time and adjunct). Our four science M.S. programs would be the key component in any such future university, or consortium of Christian colleges. There are now a significant number of colleges that have become committed to literal Biblical creationism, but none as yet offer graduate science programs except ICR.
Thus, as I envision it at least, ICR has four chief functions at present:
- Providing M.S. creationist training in the key sciences related to origins and earth history. Evolution dominates every field today, but those in all other fields do this on the basis that "science" has "proved" evolution (an utterly false concept!). This notion must be corrected.
- Training science teachers for other Christian schools, including elementary and secondary schools.
- Winning the "sciences" to Christ. That is, we are developing model curricula which teach the actual facts of biology, geology, etc., in a Biblical creationist framework. Also, ICR-sponsored research (e.g., RATE) is resolving supposed scientific problems in creationism.
- Developing extension ministries (books, seminars, radio, etc.) which can reach many others in all walks of life with the essentials of scientific creationism. In addition, no Graduate School is ever financed solely by tuitions, and ICR does not solicit or accept government grants, but these adjunct ministries also help win supporters. Our primary financial support must come from such concerned Christian men and women.
God has blessed ICR with a marvelous worldwide impact since we started on a shoestring in 1970. No doubt we can improve in many ways and we need your prayers, but we must never forget why we began and where we are going.
Finally, all this should be carried out in the light of eternity and God's ultimate purpose for us in His magnificent, infinite, and eternal creation.
*Dr. Henry Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.