After his years of faithful service, Dr. Morris, known affectionately around the office as Dr. Henry, was planning to retire from his ICR leadership position at the end of this month. A tribute article about him was included in the December issue of Acts & Facts.
We’d like to share some excerpts from that article as we reflect on what Dr. Henry has meant to ICR’s ministry and to so many people who have been touched by his life and influence over the years.
Dr. Henry M. Morris III has been at the heart of ICR's ministry work for decades, using his gifts as a leader, speaker, and writer to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and how science affirms creation. Some might say a passion for creation ministry has run in his family. His father, Dr. Henry M. Morris—widely known as the father of modern creationism—founded ICR in 1970, and his brother Dr. John Morris served as ICR President from 1996 to 2014 and as President Emeritus after that.
His impact on ICR can be traced to his roots growing up in the Morris family. His parents’ influence left an indelible mark on him, shown particularly in his love for the Bible. Reflecting on his childhood, Dr. Henry said:
The hustle and bustle of the Morris manor was usually right at the threshold of chaos. Except at breakfast and dinner…those table times were family times, and we always read from the Bible and prayed together….All of us had the freedom (in fact, were often encouraged) to ask questions about what we were reading. The Bible always had an answer. That was the way we learned to trust the Scriptures.
When he was 17, he joined the U.S. Army. Though he went through a season of testing limits and wandering, the Lord ultimately brought him back to his faith-filled beginnings. He watched his father leave a prestigious position at a renowned university to devote his life to creation ministry. Dr. Henry said, “For him to give all that up to serve the Kingdom was a startling thing. I remember thinking, ‘Boy, I just wonder if I can ever have that kind of commitment to just cut bait and let the Lord control.’”
Dr. Henry went on to earn four degrees, including a D.Min. from Luther Rice Seminary and the Presidents and Key Executives MBA from Pepperdine University. Over the years, he served as a college professor, administrator, and business executive, as well as pastoring two churches.
A Strategic Move
Dr. Henry joined ICR in 2000 as Executive Vice President for Strategic Ministries. In 2004, he and his wife, Jan, moved to the Dallas area to prepare for the relocation of ICR from Santee, California, to that more central region of the United States. Once they found a place to live, their home functioned as a hub of the Texas “branch” for about two years, with the Dallas staff working from their living room until an office building could be located.
In 2007, Dr. Henry was appointed Chief Executive Officer and oversaw the full move of ICR’s headquarters from Santee to Dallas. Only a few California-based employees moved along with the ministry, so Dr. Henry had the job of recruiting over 40 new staff members and scientists. Of this time, he said, “For all practical purposes, we became a new organization when we moved. It was an interesting challenge trying to find and hire and rebuild the organization during those first half-dozen years or so.”
In spite of the challenges, Dr. Henry kept ICR’s focus on its founding principles—trusting the accuracy and authority of the Bible, honoring Christ as Creator, advancing new research, and seeking God’s power through prayer. He said:
When the Lord asked me to step in and take the responsibility for ICR, I made the commitment—not just to the Lord personally but to the growing staff professionally—that in Him was where our loyalty would lie. It was not to the founder, not to the position, not to the bylaws (though those things ought to be a reflection of that), but our commitment was to the authority of Scripture.…And the Lord has honored that over the decades immensely.
Building the Team
Between 2007 and 2010, Dr. Henry worked to establish a new generation of creation scientists who would be eager to uncover new evidence for biblical creation. The most important criteria he looked for were an unwavering commitment to Scripture and strong technical training in a scientific field. He said:
I was looking for men and women in their early professional lives that had achieved a Ph.D. at a recognizable discipline in school but who were also solid, unquestionable believers in the authority of Scripture….We interviewed quite a few, and from that the Lord gave us a bunch who are still with us today.
Expanding the Ministry
Dr. Henry’s most visible work often involved the enhancement and expansion of ICR’s ministry outreach. For example, Dr. Henry made the decision to expand Acts & Facts from a small newsletter format into today’s 24-page full-color magazine packed with creation articles and resources, which greatly broadened its appeal.
He was also instrumental in the push to create a DVD series churches could use to introduce their members to creation truth without the time and expense of bringing in an ICR speaker. He said, “I became convinced that we needed to do something that would offer the smaller churches a quality educational resource without the expense of funding a seminar. That generated the idea of having a collection of these short, 20-minute, movie-quality episodes.”
The project required considerable funding, and ICR donors generously pitched in to produce the groundbreaking 12-episode Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis. This DVD series offers answers to the most pressing and controversial topics of faith and science. Twenty thousand copies have been distributed, and under Dr. Henry’s leadership ICR has since produced the four-episode DVD series Uncovering the Truth about Dinosaurs, Made in His Image, and The Universe: A Journey Through God’s Grand Design.
Encouraging the Believers
As a passionate and engaging speaker, Dr. Henry often joined the ICR science team at creation seminars and conferences. He communicated the importance of the authority and accuracy of God’s Word and exhorted Christian believers not to compromise but to uphold Genesis as a true account of our beginnings.
A prolific writer, Dr. Henry authored numerous Acts & Facts articles, Days of Praise devotionals, and books, including The Big Three: Major Events that Changed History Forever; Exploring the Evidence for Creation; 5 Reasons to Believe in Recent Creation; Six Days of Creation; Your Origins Matter; Places to Walk: Glorious Liberty of the Children of God; Stand Fast: God's Guidance for Kingdom Living; and Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis. His most extensive written work is the 750-page commentary The Book of Beginnings: A Practical Guide to Understanding Genesis.
A Greater Vision
But Dr. Henry’s biggest undertaking was the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History. It took years for this vision of a creation-based Dallas museum to come to pass as ICR encountered various obstacles along the way. He said:
Some kind of place to showcase our evidence and research had been on my mind—and on ICR’s mind as a matter of fact—for decades....But the vision for something greater germinated when I saw the announcement of the Perot Museum in Dallas. The lead article…back in 2008, I think…said that they were going to present the wonders of evolution.
He was intimately involved in the plans and decisions to ensure that the Discovery Center reflected ICR’s commitment to solid science and the ultimate authority of Scripture. It was his hope and expectation that the Discovery Center would equip Christian believers with the scientific evidence that confirms biblical creation and refutes evolution. He wanted the new facility to build visitors’ confidence in the Bible, as well as serve as a training ground for Christian pastors and educators. He had a heart to reach homeschool families and other students ranging from elementary through college.
Since the Discovery Center’s grand opening in 2019, thousands of visitors have already come to explore the wonders of God’s creation and gain confidence in the veracity of His Word. Dr. Henry said, “It’s been an absolute delight and joy to see it birthed from a scrawling idea on the back of a lunch napkin to something that is really significant.”
Committed to the Kingdom
Dr. Henry’s steadfast leadership has carried ICR through an era marked by renewed vision and expansion, and he faithfully upheld the ministry’s commitment to the authority of Scripture, which has been key since its founding.
He is preceded in death by his parents Dr. Henry and Mary Morris and his brother Dr. Andrew Morris. He leaves behind his wife Jan Morris, his son Henry Morris IV and wife Kelli, his daughter Scotta Latka and husband Thomas, his brother Dr. John Morris and wife Dalta, his sisters Kathleen Bruce and husband Les, Mary Smith and husband Paul, and Rebecca Barber and husband Don, as well as nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Scripture tells us to honor our leaders and those who have provided a faithful example for others to follow. Hebrews 13:7 says to “remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.” It’s our joy at ICR to give honor where honor is due. We are deeply thankful for Dr. Henry’s impact on ICR, his sacrificial investment in creation ministry, and his example of a life committed to the truth of God’s Word and the work of the Kingdom.
“Very rarely do you see somebody accomplish what Henry has done with ICR, which is to take another foundation (in this case, his father’s), maintain it, and build on it. And achieve great improvements and great success, but not change the essence of who ICR is.”
— Dan Mitchell, Chairman, ICR Board of Trustees
“He’s sincere. He’s humble. And I think most importantly, he’s a man committed to prayer and to God’s leadership in everything that he does.”
— Dan Farell, ICR Board of Trustees
“Dr. Morris assembled an extremely powerful team of research scientists. The quality of research that ICR is accomplishing at the end of his tenure is as good as anything that we have ever produced by a staff that is powerfully unified in heart and mind and accomplishing our mission.”
— Dr. Randy Guliuzza, ICR President
“It’s been really encouraging to see Dr. Henry’s trust in the Lord…and I think God has blessed ICR because of that trust in Him to provide.”
— Beau Patterson, ICR Chief Financial Officer
“He’s got business experience, he’s got theology experience, he’s got the heart of a pastor, and you put all of those things together and that makes a really good leader of an organization like this.”
— Chris Kinman, Director of the ICR Discovery Center
“I’m really impressed by how much time he spends in prayer for the staff of ICR. I think that’s really commendable and something that’s really stood out to me.”
— Dr. Jake Hebert, ICR Research Associate
“He can speak, but he’s not just a talker, he’s a doer. And the reason why we have a Discovery Center here in Dallas—and even why we have a Dallas operation—is because Dr. Henry had the vision. But he also followed through on that vision and made it happen.
— Dr. Jim Johnson, ICR Chief Academic Officer
“I think the Lord prepared him in his willingness to try things that haven’t been done before, his temperament that ‘we can get this done.’”
— Rebecca Morris Barber, ICR Discovery Center Associate