Part VII: "Occupying Faithfully Until He Comes"
In the six previous articles of this series, I have tried to review the events that led to the founding of ICR 25 years ago, including some of my own personal experiences, then the history of ICR itself, and finally the current activities of ICR and its Graduate School. I trust the Biblical convictions upon which our ministries are based have been adequately explained and justified, but I would welcome any questions or comments from readers.
In this concluding article, I would like to indicate what I hope the future might hold for ICR, if the Lord Jesus doesn't return first. That prospect, of course, is what we all would long to see most of all. I have been looking daily for Christ's return for over 50 years and am still watching and praying for that "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13). A little plaque, saying Perhaps Today, has been hanging on my office wall where I can easily see it from my desk all that time. On my desk is another little plaque containing the familiar couplet, "Only one life—'twill soon be past; Only what's done for Christ will last." These simple mottoes have helped to keep me focused on those things that are of eternal value.
In the first article of this series, I mentioned my long-time dream of a great Christian educational complex, comparable to one of the large state university systems, but with all curricula, other activities, and services governed by creationism and Biblical inerrancy. That dream may never be fulfilled before the Lord returns. But we must all "occupy till (He) comes" (Luke 19:13), and I trust we shall keep moving toward that goal.
For one thing, we would like to see all our present programs—seminars, workshops, radio, publications, museum, etc.—increased in size and scope. It would be great if our seminars could each reach 50,000 people instead of 5000. A larger staff of scientist speakers would, of course, permit more seminars and other ministries, but this must wait on God's provision of the necessary financial resources. We've been able to write and market more than 75 creationist books and about 50 creationist videos, but books and videos based on Creation and the Scriptures are needed in every field and for every age level.
The Graduate School especially needs to be enlarged. In addition to the four M.S. degree programs we have carried since the Graduate School started in 1981 (Astro/Geophysics, Biology, Geology, and Science Education), we need to have M.S. and Ph.D. programs in every field of science. Then, of course, schools of law, medicine, engineering, and all the other areas implied under the primeval Dominion Mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) and Christ's Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) need to be established, centered around creation and the Biblical revelation.
There is also a great need for extension and correspondence courses, especially in scientific Biblical creationism and Christian evidences. The Museum of Creation and Earth History could be greatly expanded, as could the radio ministry of ICR. Another need is for professional production of creationist films and television programs, CD-ROMs, etc.
The Institute for Creation Research has no ambition to develop and orchestrate the programs of local creation centers or associations, for these should all operate independently and be self-sustaining. It would be good, however, if we were able to provide more guidance and encouragement in their formation, in both this and other countries. Creation organizations already are functioning in many countries, but there is still a great need in Latin America, Africa, and, of course, the Islamic nations. In that connection, many more translations of creationist books are needed, and in many different languages.
A great need—but very expensive—is that of more high-quality scientific research. We have been able to accomplish much significant research with our limited staff and our graduate students, but much more is needed, especially in the various problem areas of geology, archaeology, anthropology, and astronomy. In the secular world, this type of research is very largely funded by government grants. We, of course, do not have access to government funding, and would not accept it if we did, so this is a serious inhibiting factor. In the meantime, even though we do not yet have answers to all the problems in scientific creationism, the answers we do have are better than those the evolutionists and "progressive creationists" have. We can at least do literature research, using the experimental data acquired by evolutionary scientists and reinterpreting such data in terms of Creation and the Flood. The modern creation revival has, in fact, largely been developed by this process.
There are still more needs and opportunities that could be discussed if space permitted. In the meantime, rather than being appalled by the enormity of the tasks ahead—the undertaking of which would continue to encounter great opposition from all the forces of anti-Christianity and anti-creationism—I am amazed and thankful for what the Lord has accomplished through ICR during its 25-year history. Then, too, from my own personal perspective, viewed from over 50 years of studying and teaching scientific and Biblical creationism, I am deeply thankful for what has happened in the past half-century. Indeed, "this is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).
The year 1995-96 represents ICR's "silver anniversary" year. We began in September 1970 as a small division of a very small Christian college, with nothing much except a dream and the deep conviction of a great need. Now, with a dedicated team of 50 (including both scientists and support staff), plus literally thousands of supporters around the world, the future challenges may be formidable, but they are attainable, by God's grace, as long as we remain faithful to the Lord Jesus and the clear teachings of His inerrant Word.
Many people, knowing that I have decided to retire (I was 77 in October), have asked whether ICR might change its character and direction at that time. I am confident it will not, and I sincerely believe it will become stronger, and more solid than ever. My son, Dr. John Morris, has been chosen by the ICR Board to become President in January, Lord willing, and he has the same convictions on both science and the Bible that I have. His educational background is similar to mine (engineering and geology), and he has been with ICR (except when he was on leave to do graduate work) for over twenty years. He is a keen student of Scripture, is an engaging speaker, and deeply committed to the ICR ministry. I am sure that ICR will be in good hands for the foreseeable future. John will need prayer for continued health and wisdom, of course, and we trust that all of our readers will be faithful in prayer for him.
The rest of the key staff members will continue with ICR, and they also are fully committed to our Tenets and goals. I have referred to several of the other scientists in previous articles, but I should also mention Don Rohrer, our Business Manager and CFO, who has been with ICR almost from the start. More than anyone else, he has been responsible for our financial integrity and operational efficiency. All the other dedicated and godly men and women on the service staff have, I believe, been led to us by the Lord, and we trust He will continue to guard and guide in all things, just as He has in the past.
I'm also thankful the Lord has enabled me recently to finish and publish my annotated Defender's Study Bible during this 25th anniversary celebration. If you don't already have a copy, I trust you'll get one, use it frequently, and find help and strength in its pages—and also that it will help you to remember me in your prayers.
Even after I retire, I hope to continue studying and writing for ICR, as well as praying, until the Lord either comes or calls me home. Upper-taker or undertaker—either way, "to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). My long-time colleague, Dr. Duane Gish, who will perhaps also be retiring in the not-too-distant future, feels the same way.
So please join with us in thanksgiving to God as we celebrate our 25th year in this unique and vital complex of ministries called the Institute for Creation Research. I'm very thankful that God has allowed me to lead the organization during all these years and for all that He has done through it. And, of course, those who have prayed for us and helped with finances share equally with us in all these blessings. Thank you so much for being so faithful!
*Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.