Henry Morris and the ICBI

Russell T. Cannon (rcannon@usa.net)
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 16:54:43 -0600

In a previous post, I said that Henry Morris had "voted" against the
acceptance of OEC/TE/EC as acceptable Christian doctrine. Since then,
several people have requested, both directly and through the reflector,
that I give my source for this information. This is not unreasonable
and I happily comply.

Before I do so, however, I want to apologize for the tone of my post.
Although no one said anything about this, I felt after reading the
reflected post that my tone was more combative than I intended. This
may have been due to the fact that I was so hurried in the writing of
that message. I did not mean to convey a condescending or derogatory
tone. I consider YEC's as my Christian brothers and carry the same love
and respect for them in my heart as I do for all other believers.


One of Henry Morris' efforts to oppose acceptance of the OEC position as
a doctrinal alternative to YEC is documented by Dr. Hugh Ross in chapter
17 of his book _Creation and Time_. In the few pages of this chapter,
Ross talks about a Summit of the Internation Council on Biblical
Inerrancy (ICBI). This meeting occurred in 1982 and Henry Morris was in
attendance. The following material is quoted verbatim from Dr. Ross'
book where he describes what happened in that meeting.


Three full length papers were presented at the 1982 summit. First,
Walter Bradley, professor of mechanical engineering (a former advocate
of the young universe perspective), presented the case for interpreting
the Genesis creation days as long epochs. Next, Henry Morris, founder
and president of the Institute for Creation Research, presented the case
for six consecutive twenty-four-hour creation days. Finally, Gleason
Archer, professor of Old Testament and Semitics (Semitic languages and
culture, including Hebrew), presented his analysis of the original
language of the Genesis text.

After presentation of these papers, the scholars in attendance, mostly
theologians, deliberated over them for many hours. Afterward, the group
concluded that adherence to six consecutive twenty-four-hour creation
days is nonessential to belief in biblical inerrancy. The Summit
participants then framed the following set of affirmations and denials
with respect to natural science. All but Morris signed it.

We *affirm* that any preunderstandings which the interpreter brings to
Scripture should be in harmony with scriptural teaching and subject to
correction by it.

We *deny* that Scripture should be required to fit alien
preunderstandings, inconsistent with itself, such as naturalism,
evolutionism, scientism, secular huminism, and relativism.

We *affirm* that since God is the author of all truth, all truths,
biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the
Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature,
history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases
extrabiblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and
for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.

We *deny* that extrabiblical views ever disprove the teaching of
Scripture or hold priority over it.

We *affirm* the harmony of special and general revelation and therefore
of biblical teaching with the facts of nature.

We *deny* that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the
true meaning of any passage of Scripture.

We *affirm* that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.

We *deny* that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that
scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may
be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

[End Quote]
[Ross, Hugh, Creation and Time (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994),
pages 156-157.]

The question that comes to mind is why didn't Henry Morris sign this
document? I think it was probably because if an OEC were to draft such
a document, this is more or less what it would say. I am sure that
Morris agreed with most of these points as far as they went, but as Dr.
Ross went on to explain, "Morris would not accept any statement short of
a flat denial of any possibility for a creation time scale longer than a
few thousand years."

Russell T. Cannon