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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Environmentalism and More Government Control

Steve Milloy rightly dedicated an entire chapter in his book Green Hell to the fact that America has its first green president. Steve is also the founder and publisher of junkscience.com, which is a worthwhile web site to visit. He begins chapter 11 of his book by asking the following question: “So what does the election of Barack Obama as president mean for the green agenda?”[1] Many today would merely shrug their shoulders at such a question. Do we need to connect the dots between the president and environmentalism? Indeed, we do. We might also add political correctness to the dots that need to be connected.

Two green organizations that invested financially in Mr. O’Bama’s run at the presidency are the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters—not Conservative voters, but Conservation voters. Both of these organizations invested in O’Bama’s state Senate race as well. Thus, after two substantial donations to his “cause,” it’s payback time. Carl Pope, Sierra Club president stated what payback meant in no uncertain terms when he said, “We are not electing the Archbishop of Canterbury or a saint. We’re electing an American politician. Is he susceptible to pressure? He damn well should be. This is a democratic society. Do I worry that he’s going to cave massively in response to special interests? No, I don’t. We’re not going to go away when he’s elected. We and other forces that are supporting him are going to stay organized.”

Astute readers will recall that during the primary, Mr. O’Bama promised—that’s the best word here—that if his green policies passed that the American consumer would see a drastic hike in the costs of electricity and gasoline. They would be a necessary consequence of his programs. Few were paying close attention then, it seems. Of course, this is of a piece with Mr. O’Bama’s belief that human beings are causing global warming/climate change. Since man is part of the problem in Mr. O’Bama’s equation he needs to be punished. The Lieberman-Warner proposal was not stringent enough for the president. According to LW, tradable emissions permits to coal-fired electric utilities and carbon-emitting companies would be issued. “Seventy-five percent of the permits would have been given to emitters for no charge, while 25 percent would have been auctioned. This plan was described as a ‘financial disaster’ by the CEO of Duke Energy, Jim Rogers.”[2]

Mr. Rogers—no the other one—is a greenie himself, but he calculated that the 75-25 split in LW would require Duke to increase its electricity rates by 40% in the first year! Here’s the kicker: The current cap-and-trade bill favored by O’Bama and the Dems “is much more severe than the failed Lieberman-Warner proposal.”[3] This means that for the family that endures the long, cold winters in Minne-so-cold and has a heating bill of $300/month, they can expect a heating bill around $420 for the same service. In addition, Mr. O’Bama just doesn’t seem to get it that higher electricity prices “will stoke inflation and raise unemployment.” Again, this translates into Americans losing jobs—Ohio unemployment is now around 15%—and still having to pay higher electricity costs. No doubt, the O’Bama administration will find a welfare program, paid for by a couple of millionaires to help the unemployed. When in doubt, tax the rich.

This begs the question: Why would an evangelical church support such nonsense? Neither O’Bama nor evangelical leaders can reverse the curse that God placed on the created order because of sin. This is one of the areas that never gets mentioned in the current global warming debates.

Far as the Curse is Found

This summer, I’m preaching a summer series on the biblical doctrine of the covenant. We’ve had a number of visitors from broadly evangelical backgrounds visiting and they hear us talking about being a covenant community and a covenant family and they wanted a word of explanation. Therefore, I decided to give them a summer of explanation. As is prudent, I began in the book of Genesis. I introduced this summer series by laying out a couple of key texts that will guide us through the entire series: Isa. 46:8-10[4] and Luke 24:27,[5] 44[6].

The Isaiah text not only speaks about God declaring the end from the beginning, but also about God’s sovereignty in his counsel and purpose. In Luke, the emphasis is on the fact that Jesus is to be found throughout the Old Testament. Therefore, we are very imprudent to neglect finding God’s plan and his Messiah—not O’Bama—in Scripture. My point here is simply that rather than depending on “science” to show us the way on global warming, evangelicals might want to first do a thorough study of the Word of God and then to measure “science” by God’s infallible Word.

Dr. Roy Spencer issues an apt warning to us so that we don’t place science on a pedestal. He writes, “I will explain why the theory of manmade global warming will always remain just a theory, despite increasing numbers of people who are trying very hard to convince you it is a fact. The emotional attachment that these people have to catastrophic global warming can be traced to a variety of self-interests—careers, political and social policies, philosophies and religious beliefs—all masquerading as science.”[7]

Far too many of us today bow at the altar of science, as if it is the panacea for all of life’s questions. We believe that scientists are a separate breed and that scientists are neutral, somehow unaffected by the fall of man into sin. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Spencer shocks us, but puts matters into perspective when he writes, “In order to begin to understand why there is so much debate about manmade global warming in the science community, you need to first accept that science doesn’t provide us with truth. The practice of scientific investigation involves tools to help us explain how the physical world might work.”[8] He adds, “In our technologically driven age, people want to believe that all of life’s questions will eventually be answered through science.”[9] Many really do, don’t they?

Scientists are, therefore, human beings—fallen human beings. “They have religious, economic, and political biases and opinions—their own worldview.”[10] What this means is that a Neo-Pagan scientist will give you the “Roman” answer to the question of global warming and will leave God out of the picture. How can this be, in any way, acceptable to evangelical churches? Spencer further shocks the scientific world when he states, “Manmade global warming is simply assumed to be true because we have no reliable way of observationally separating natural sources of global warming from human sources. Maybe the ‘fact’ that the Earth has warmed can be considered to be ‘truth.’ Why the Earth has warmed, though, is another matter entirely. If you want possible physical explanations for what we observe in nature, go to science. I you want truth, go to church.”[11] While scientists may hypothesize about the earth’s “thermostatic control mechanism,” the Christian will speak of God. Moreover, many people live in areas where the weather changes rapidly. In Southern California, where I live, predicting the weather is a piece of cake: paradise. Hawaii is the same. Summers in Phoenix are calculable: You’re going to roast your backside off. 120 degrees of dry heat will eventually cook a twenty pound turkey.

But Boston and other places are more difficult to predict what the weather’s going to be. If our climatologists cannot predict more than ten days in advance what the weather is going to be, why do we trust them to go back hundreds of years to tell us what was not recorded? In our next installment, we’re going to investigate what Scripture says about creation, the Fall, and man’s total depravity; all unlikely candidates for discussion about global warming, but you’ll see that they have everything to do with the way we think about this issue. Here’s a hint: how many secular environmentalists take God’s curse upon the created order because of Adam’s sin seriously? For that matter, how many modern Christians do?



[1] Steve Milloy, Green Hell. How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You can Do to Stop Them, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2009), p. 195.

[2] Ibid., 197.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, your transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose…”

[5] And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

[6] Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

[7] Roy Spencer, Climate Confusion. How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor, (NY: Encounter Books, 2008), p. 9.

[8] Ibid., 35. Emphasis in the original.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 37.

[11] Ibid. 44.



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21 Comments:

Blogger James said...

Grateful for your writing. Gretchen Baugh remembers you quite fondly and has asked that if I ever bump into you to shake your hand and tell you so.

I'm probably jumping the gun a bit, but I hope you will deal with Rom 8:20-21, where God explicitly says that He has subjected the creation to futility and bound it in corruption in hope that the freedom that it will enjoy will be that of the glory of the children of God.

So... if God is the One who has bound it; and, we attempt to undo it in any other way than serving His mission of calling, justifying, and glorifying the saints; then, we are essentially battling God. As a military man, you can probably advise us on the wisdom of battling an enemy of God's abilities.

I'm not arguing for being irresponsible--just saying that "saving the earth from men" is irrational and irresponsible. However, it is exciting to learn from this text that the spiritual truth in those verses boils down to: "evangelism is the ultimate environmentalism"!

If we want to see "earthy" new creation, we have to begin with the new creations to which 2Cor 5:17 refers. Rom 8 is pretty clear that God isn't letting creation out of its bondage to malfunction and decay until it can enjoy the freedom of its governors, when the glorified sons of God are revealed.

Thanks for this exciting topic!

8:44 PM  
Blogger sister said...

Here's what I don't get about your argument, so far:

While we can assume that Obama might be prematurely predicting the end of the world, aren't some of the ideas (especially around conservation, and ending dependence on foreign oil) in line with the biblical principles you've written about in the past?

On the other hand, Max Schulz has said "Conservation is a prayer, not an answer." Isn't that contrary to the wise management of money and resources that we've discussed previously?

9:40 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

James,
Please tell Gretchen hello for me! Also, thank you for your kind remarks. Yes, once we finish in Genesis, I will include Rom. 8:20-21 in the exposition.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Sister, Brother, Neuter,
Of course "some" ideas on conservation are good, but we need to be very circumspect about which conservation ideas we accept. I recommend Paul Driessen's "Eco-Imperialism." He's almost as smart as me.
Yes, I would love to end our dependence on foreign oil. I would do that by drilling offshore and in ANWR. Wind and solar are two of the least efficient means of "renewable" energy. I would use our natural gas supplies for public transportation and allow America to build oil refineries, since we have not built one in over 30 years. This would create real jobs and not government bureaucracies. Then, I would advocate nuclear power for American homes. Again, the creation of many jobs and clean energy.
There is a yawning gap between government "conservation" and individual stewardship. Government conservation is quite often ideology and agenda driven. Again, I'd recommend Driessen and Steve Milloy's "Green Hell" for direction.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Sermonwriter said...

My point here is simply that rather than depending on “science” to show us the way on global warming, evangelicals might want to first do a thorough study of the Word of God and then to measure “science” by God’s infallible Word.

...how many secular environmentalists take God’s curse upon the created order because of Adam’s sin seriously? For that matter, how many modern Christians do?


Amen, and amen!

1:20 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

How do you read and recommend a book titled 'Green Hell' and have a hard time when people mention the word on your blog as a 'swear word.'

Please explain wise one.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Oh one of slow brain,
It's really quite simple. I am giving the title of a book--transparently and authentically, of course.
You know, Randy, I don't know if you're really this thick or trying to play "gotcha." I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you're really this thick.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
If it makes you think that I'm less of a hypocrite, the book is entitled "Green Heck."
Hey, since you're so concerned about Africa, I suggest you read Paul Driessen's "Eco-Imperialism." It has a great deal about how the greenies are ruining the lives of the poor in Africa. He's a former member of the Sierra Club and US senator. It's really food for thought for the Evangelical Left.

10:11 PM  
Blogger sister said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:46 AM  
Blogger sister said...

Think before you type. Think before you type. Think before you type. Think before you type....

11:50 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...

hey Ron

In Kenya last December, I saw hundreds of acres of greenhouses (for flower production) around Lake Nakuru. The lake is drying up due to so much water being sucked out of the lake for flower production.

When the lake is dry, when the international companies leave the greenhouses to rust for the next century, you going to tell me that 'green' is harmful to Kenya?

Your senator may have his perspective, but international corporations don't give a damn about God's creation.

When Yahweh tells us to be caretakers of his creation in Genesis 1, was he kidding or was that only for Adam and Eve to do?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

So what would you have us do, Randy? Tear down our houses, get rid of our cars, wear loincloths, and hunt for the nearest caves? Or better yet, maybe you'd like about half the population to die as soon as possible because we're cluttering up God's green earth.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Jim W said...

To tag on a bit with Joel's post: Blue Cross is running an ad campaign in my area (maybe in others as well) that tries to get people up and moving to lose weight. They say cavemen had no cars, no escalators and no love handles. Implication being that because they didn't have these modern conveniences, they were much healthier. Too bad the ad doesn't mention that everyday was a struggle for survival and that primitive man was lucky to live to their teens. That ad is just as dishonest as Randy. Maybe he's an ad-writer?

2:21 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

The irony is that I'm not dishonest. Multi-national corporations care ONLY for the bottom line, only for the almighty dollar. Let's at least acknowledge this.

Then we can move forward, and at least recognize that our government has great potential for doing good, AND not only when we are fighting wars.

There are plenty of things we can do such as drive more efficient vehicles, encourage the development of power that won't leave toxic messes for millions of years, and we could particularly pay attention to the biblical text.

The biblical text would be a great starting point, but for whatever reason economics wins over our biblical mandate to care for the creation. Perplexing to say the least.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Jim W said...

No Randy, you're probably not actually dishonest, at least not intentionally. You are intellectually dishonest, though. You have yourself so deceived by your liberal agenda that the real irony becomes the fact that you keep putting the creation ahead of the Creator.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy, I wish you'd pay as much attention yourself to the biblical text as you do admonishing the rest of us to pay attention to it. At least most of us seem to have little difficulty dealing with it in context, and yes . . . relevance.

8:00 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...

I find it so interesting the people who don't claim to follow Jesus care more for his creation. They intentionally hope that God restores his creation. They intentionally hope that the kingdom comes on earth as it is in the heavens.

When we fail to do these things, we fail to live into our calling. When we fail to hope for the restoration of the kingdom, we fail to pray the Lord's Prayer. When we fail to hope for God's return and putting wrongs to right, we have lost the gospel entirely -- other than perhaps saving our butts from an eternal hell.

So, while I may be not know the biblical text well, I hope that it matters more than a republican agenda for America... and I believe Gods' words matter -- that we are really called to care for his creation.

If we fail Genesis, we fail everything... either the story of God with his people matters or it doesn't. You decide.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Jim W said...

And once again, Randy delivers one of his patented, supremely well crafted (not) arguments. Once again, Randy doesn't just use a straw man argument-he burns the scarecrow! Oh, to be so blind.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Every time I think you couldn't get any worse, you surprise me. A very good argument can be made that rather than greedy corporations (Kool-Aid time!), it is actually the environmentalists who are harming the developing and Third World countries. I suggested that you get Driessen's book and read it and then we can talk--more on topic and dealing with facts, I hope.
I would argue that environmentalists have done more to starve and harm (even kill) people in developing and Third World countries. Do da name, Rachel Carson ring a bell?

4:53 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Ron,
You won't even acknowledge that humans have had an impact on God's creation. You won't acknowledge that our pollution has added to the issues of our planet.

Since you ignore the facts that scientists tell us, I'm not sure how I would discuss anything with you. Your agenda clouds the biblical text more than a bit.

As for corporations and their lack of values, have you ever held a significant position within one? If not, you don't really know.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I acknowledge that human have had an impact on the earth, but probably not the hysterical alarmism that the New Evangelical Left (you, McLaren, Wallis, Warren) believe it has had.

Actually, Randy, I read quite a bit of literature from scientists. My argument is not necessarily with science or scientists, but with those who are more politicians and lobbyists than scientists. My argument is with ideologues and with "scientists" who take big money (you know, like the corporations you hate so much that create jobs) only to parrot what the donors want to hear.

You've used this specious argument before. Your seem to be arguing (and this is really silly) that if someone has never run a corporation, they have no clue what it's about. You just described McLaren, Wallis, Bell, Miller, and most of the House, Senate, Speaker of the House, and President. Moreover, in your bias and rage, remember that you just tried to lecture me about the military on a separate post. Have you ever served in the military? Have you ever led troops? Does your argument cut both ways or are you going to remain a mindless hack for the rest of your adult life?

10:02 PM  

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