Christianity: Doctrine and Ethics

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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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The New Evangelical Left (IX)

Climate Change and the God of Scripture

I mentioned in the last installment that a number of “name brand” theologians—virtually all of them are evangelicals and not real Presbyterians or Reformed—have signed the document Evangelical Climate Initiative. I also mentioned that what strikes me when I read that document is the horrible lack of biblical support for what is contained even in the evangelical statement, let alone the utter disdain for God that a number of secular progressive scientists and politicians demonstrate.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying there is nothing that a Christian can learn from a non-Christian. I am saying, however, that your life and worldview and your presuppositions play an integral role in how you approach a subject. For example, I suppose there are some things I might be able to learn from a Wiccan, but they would be few and far between. Certainly, I would not be looking for anything theological from such a person.

I expected, would like to have seen more of, a biblical understanding of God and the environment coming from such an august group of signatories. I was greatly disappointed, although I’ve come to expect that from writers like McLaren and Wallis. Biblical exegesis is not their long suit, but truth by declaration is.

A truly evangelical (in the good sense of the word) explanation of the environment and man’s care of it should begin at Genesis 1. As we read through the creation account, we encounter a “defining moment” set of verses in 1:26-28: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image (tselem), after our likeness (demuth). And let them have dominion (rdh) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

So what do we learn from these verses? First, it is clear that even before the fall of man into sin God gave man a position of responsible stewardship that entailed having dominion over the earth and subduing it. How was that mandate to be carried out? The simple answer is the second point: man would do the best job by thinking God’s thoughts after him. That is to say, as the Lord revealed certain things to man, man was to follow the pattern that God gave him and not try to go it alone or autonomously. Thus, there is a clear mandate as well as the way the mandate was to be implemented.

In Genesis 2:15, we’re told that the Lord God “took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” The mandate is now expanded to include two very specific things. Man is to work or cultivate the garden of Paradise and he is to keep it. E. Calvin Beisner believes that these words from God imply “that it is right and good in principle for people to interfere with nature.”[1] In other words, God placed the ability to create a black tulip or a black swan in creation itself, but did not necessarily create either himself. He left that up to man. In the same vein, God did not create hybrid corn, genetically modified vegetables, or other biotech food.

A wide range of Presbyterian and Reformed scholars have made the point that when the Lord placed man in the garden “that the Garden Adam was told to till and keep was not the same as the earth he was told to subdue and rule.”[2] This is important and essential for us to grasp, because Adam’s mandate involved tending the Garden in such a manner that the rest of the earth would eventually look like the beautiful Paradise God had entrusted into his care.[3] Taking the mandate to the Garden, Adam was then gradually and bit by bit to transform “the rest of the earth from glory to glory.”[4]

The Garden, as Adam received it from God’s hands, was in perfect order. Therefore, it would have made no sense to have told Adam to “subdue” that which was already perfect. The rest of the created order did not look like the Garden, but it was man’s duty, thinking God’s thoughts after him, to take the beauty and perfection of the Garden to the rest of creation.

Of course, as Christians we need to keep in mind that the very notion of dominion is repugnant to many, most of the secularists. Much of the literature dealing with the environment, especially the New Age, feminist, deep ecology, and PETA brands, tend to blame Christianity for failing to care for the environment precisely because of this creation mandate. That God intended man to rule the earth and have dominion over all the animal kingdom is a major point of contention with secularists. Wishing to dismiss God and to live autonomously, these secular progressives overlook (intentionally?) what Scripture teaches about true dominion. For example, the Bible talks about “caring for animals (Ex. 23:5, 12; Num. 22:32-3; Deut. 5:14; 22:1, 3-4; 22:6-7, 10; 25:4), tree (Deut. 20:19-20), and land (Lev. 25:2, 4; 26:34, 43), for instance.”[5]

But there is much more in play here than many evangelicals realize. Much of the secular literature speaks about man as “Mother Earth’s” problem and fails to mention God in the equation at all. That ought to tell evangelicals a great deal. Some of the more radical environmentalists are clearly opposed to man and believe the world would be a better place without him. That would be a hard proposition to prove if every human were removed from the planet. Can you imagine if the last person on earth discovered that the theory was bogus? Oh well. Too late. But seriously, far too many evangelicals seem unaware that environmentalism is a theological problem.

Much of New Age thinking is inextricably tied to the ancient heresy of Gnosticism with a heavy dose of human autonomy thrown into the mix. Moreover, there is one more difference between secularists and Christians on the environment, namely the curse because of the fall into sin. Beisner is quite correct when he appends this awful truth to what I just said: “There is a marked tendency among evangelical environmentalists to ignore the Biblical doctrine of the Curse.”[6] The document entitled The Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation does not mention God’s curse on the earth because of sin, neither does the ECI. Again, Beisner explains that “there is a difference between the Fall and the Curse. The fall is man’s sin, and the Curse is God’s response to man’s sin. The Curse is on the earth, and the Curse specifically mentions a degradation of the earth that makes it less fruitful than it initially was.”[7]

Claim 1 on the ECI (Human-Induced Climate Change is Real) does not mention the curse, nor does it even hint at what God promised in the Noahic covenant. I am convinced that failure to take the curse and the promises made by God in the Noahic covenant will, at best, give the Christian environmentalist a very truncated view of reality. To that end, in our next installment we will look at the particulars of this much-neglected covenant administration.

[1] E. Calvin Beisner, Where Garden Meets Wilderness, Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), p. 12.

[2] Ibid., 13.

[3] Comp. John Fesko, Last Things First, Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor Books, 2007), pp. 57-76.

[4] Beisner, Garden, 13.

5 Ibid., 17.

[6] Ibid., 19.

[7] Ibid.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Do We Credulously Believe “The Litany”?

We are living in a day and age that seems surrounded by information—the so-called information highway—and yet is incredibly unknowledgeable about important matters. Moreover, a shift is occurring in the so-called evangelical church towards a warmed-up version of the Social Gospel. In essence, the Social Gospel was a disguise for liberalism, political, economic, and theological with a strong emphasis on “social justice.” Sound familiar?

During the 1960s and early 1970s, the hue and cry was also for social justice. Three Dog Night sang about it, so it must be true. But just like in the 60s and 70s, we need to differentiate between fact and fiction, between truth and perception. To that end, I have been walking you through the article “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” that was signed by a number of prominent evangelicals. The document gives the impression that if we really want to be in tune with the planet, then we too should become signatories.

Whereas I do not doubt the sincerity of those who signed the document, I do believe that it is prudent for us to “hurry up slowly” as the Dutch saying goes. Just as it is unwise to pass legislation that no one has read, it is equally unwise for Christians and non-Christians alike to accept as true in the realm of environment what science has not yet proven to be true and to claim a “consensus” among scientists, when no such consensus exists.

It also strikes me as just a little odd that throughout the article, accompanied by its “Claims,” there is so little biblical evidence. In fact, until we reach the third claim, there is not one shred of biblical evidence in the document. Yet, it is precisely in that third Claim that we read, “Christians, noting the fact that most of the climate change problem is human induced, are reminded that when God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better (Gen. 1:26-28).” (p. 4. Emphasis added.)

Calvin Beisner and friends published a very worthwhile paper in 2006 that bore the title, “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming.”[1] This document is also signed by a number of evangelicals as well as by climatologists. It is an excellent counterbalance to CC. In the Preamble in Beisner’s article, a deep and abiding love and concern for the poor as well as the biblical worldview, theology and ethics of those who signed CC. (p. 1.) Neither do the authors of ACTPPP question the motives of the Evangelical Climate Initiative’s “Call to Action.” They do, however, question ECI’s assumptions, which is totally legitimate. What are those assumptions?

First, they believe that “Human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as we burn (fossil) fuels for energy are the main cause of global warming.” (Ibid.)

Second, they further believe that “Global warming is not only real (which we do not contest) but is almost certainly going to be catastrophic in its consequences for humanity—especially the poor.” (Ibid.)

Third, “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions would so curtail global warming as to significantly reduce its anticipated harmful effects.” (Ibid.)

Finally, “Mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reductions would achieve that end with overall effects that would be more beneficial than harmful to humanity and the rest of the world’s inhabitants.” (Ibid.)

The main difference between the two publications is that each believes the other is false. Danish professor, Bjørn Lomborg reminds us of the propaganda that often passes as information in our world. In the case of the environmental agenda, he refers to it as the “Litany.” He asserts that “Even children are told the Litany.”[2] What is the “Litany”? After quoting an article that asserts that “We humans are about as subtle as the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs,”[3] he continues, “This understanding of the environment is all pervasive. We are all familiar with the Litany: the environment is in poor shape here on Earth. Our resources are running out. The population is ever growing, leaving less and less to eat. The air and the water are becoming ever more polluted. The planet’s species are becoming extinct is [sic] vast numbers—we kill off more than 40,000 each year. The forests are disappearing, fish stocks are collapsing and the coral reefs are dying.”[4] And this is on a good day. I’m still trying to figure out the part about the asteroid wiping out the dinosaurs. One asteroid got ‘em all? And non-Christians laugh at Christians who believe the Flood actually occurred.

At any rate, Lomborg sets the stage for the remainder of his book when he says the following about the Litany: “We know the Litany and have heard it so often that yet another repetition is, well, almost reassuring. There is just one problem: it does not seem to be backed up by the available evidence.”[5] As we move forward, we will have more occasions to return to Beisner, Lomborg, the works of Driessen, Spencer, and others.

The ECI’s first claim reads: “Human-Induced Climate Change is Real.” This is otherwise known as “truth by declaration.” These folks put forward the thesis that “Since 1995 there has been general agreement among those in the scientific community most seriously engaged with this issue that climate change is happening and is being caused mainly by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.” (CC, 2.) Taken at face value, this is a false statement. First, it is fallacious to assert that there has been “general agreement” since 1995, unless we want to include the non-scientific communities of politicians and media wonks.

Who doesn’t want to be the reporter that breaks the story that the world will end tomorrow, in a week, in six months, a year, or as Al Gore asserts, in about six years? If Al had not failed theology, he would, no doubt, have been among the ranks of those who predicted the return of Jesus.

On the other hand, I concur that scientists agree that climate change is happening. The rub comes, however, when a number of scientists tell us that climate change is a constant. Climate fluctuations have been around a very, very long time, changing, for example, Greenland from a lush farming community to being so cold that all the farmers either left or died out. So, sure, climate change is a reality. What the debate is about today is what causes climate change. That is to say, in times when America burned far, far less fossil fuels why were there very hot periods of time, especially if the argument is against greenhouse gases.

Beisner’s report reminds us that “a number of studies support the conclusion that natural causes—e.g. fluctuations in solar output, changes in cloud forming, and precipitation microphysics—could outweigh human CO2 emissions as causes of the current global warmth.”[6] This does not sound nearly as alarmist as the media would prefer, but it does offer a reasoned and reasonable alternative to going off half-cocked. My question is: are Warren, Hybels, Wallis, McLaren and others willing to listen to the other side or are their minds already made up? You need to realize that there is a great deal more at stake here than just winning a debate. The factors in the discussions surrounding the environment involve money—a lot of money. There is money in the forms of grants as well as tons of taxpayer dollars being sent to deal with the poor in developing and Third World countries. We need to look at the Claims of ECI less emotionally, but none the less passionately.

[1] E. Calvin Beisner, Paul Driessen, Ross McKitrick, & Roy Spencer, “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming,” www.CornwallAlliance, 2006.

[2] Bjørn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, (NY: The Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 3.

[3] New Scientist, 2001:1. Emphasis mine.

[4] Lomborg, TSE, 4.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Beisner, Call, 2-3.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Christian or Neo-Pagan Worldview Regarding the Earth?

As we began our investigation of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, we noted that there are two main sections on their web site: The first is entitled “For Concerned Citizens”” and the other, longer article bears the name “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.” These documents were signed by “name brand” Christians or “Christian celebrities” including Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Jim Wallis. To these names we can add Leith Anderson (President of the National Association of Evangelicals), Robert Andriga (former-President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Peter Borgdorff (former-Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church), Paul Corts (President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities), Andy Crouch, (Editorial Director, Christian Vision Project, Christianity Today), Timothy George (Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School), David Gushee (Mercer University), Jack Hayford, Roberta Hestenes, Dan Kimball, Gordon MacDonald, Richard Mouw (President, Fuller Theological Seminary), Ron Sider, and a whole gaggle of United Methodists.

That is to say, all of these signatories have engaged themselves “to offer a biblically based moral witness that can help shape public policy.” (Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action, 1.) Ironically, these are some of the same people who formed such vociferous opposition to the Religious Right trying to shape public policy. This Saul Alinsky-esque approach translates into this: it’s okay to help shape public policy if you’re on the Left and agree with us. These are also some of the same people who descried America’s position as “the most powerful nation on earth” when the issue was war, but when it’s such a noble cause as saving the environment and the planet in the process, it’s acceptable to refer to America’s greatness. The signatories expect the U.S. to “contribute to the well-being of the entire world.” (Ibid. Emphasis added.) Well, that’s going to be a tall order. In addition, we are told that we are in the public square, like it or not, and we will not withdraw.

The signatories admit that they had been lax in engaging in study, reflection and prayer regarding climate change, but now it has become a pressing issue or major priority (p. 2). Now let me get this straight: Christians are in the public square (apparently holding major entertainment sessions that claim to be the worship of God in a building, which qualifies as being in the “public arena”) and it took the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to convince them that they needed to be more involved. Those of us who are on the Religious Right might need to bone up on just who and what the IPCC is. As the line in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid went, “Who are those guys?” If we want more than a Wikipedia blurb, there are some books that will help us get a handle on this auspicious sounding organization. Once you dig a little, you discover that the IPCC and the now-defunct “hockey stick” graph fit together. What is the “hockey stick” graph? Well, it actually has little to do with Canada. If it did, it would probably be known as the “Tim Horton’s Doughnut” graph. This was a graph that ostensibly showed average global temperature over the past 1,000 years, “with a huge spike upward during the twentieth century, giving the graph a dramatic hockey stick-shaped appearance.”[1] The “stick” became synonymous with the manmade global warming “crisis” and was a featured item in “the 2001 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”[2] Oh, wow! The evangelical report seemed to omit that the IPCC was connected with our good friends at the United Nations.

Anyway, the hockey-stick was retired by a Canuck, Steve McIntyre, who got bored with the long, cold Toronto winters, which are due to global warming and Dick Cheney, actually spent $5,000 of his Canadian dollars (plus the obligatory Goods and Services Tax) “trying to validate the hockey stick graph.”[3] What McIntyre discovered was that the “mathematical technique used to generate the graph is prone to generate a hockey stick shape no matter what data are used. Thus, he showed that the hockey stick graph proved nothing.”[4] Well, you’d think that this would be a handy piece of information to have, but if you thought that the kinder, gentler environmentalists would appreciate being shown the truth, you’d be dreadfully wrong. Once McIntyre thawed out from all the hockey-stick global warming, he contacted Dr. Michael Mann of the University of Virginia. Originally, Mr. Iron-Fist-in-a-Velvet-Glove was receptive to his northern neighbor, but eventually dismissed McIntyre as a frivolous nonscientist. This is the environmentalists’ tack of: when in doubt cast aspersion and call names.

This will come as a surprise to you, I bet, but there were some who didn’t consider McIntyre’s works as “frivolous.” In fact, his calculations “resulted in congressional hearings, the discrediting of the hockey stick graph, and the graph’s omission from the most recent IPCC report on climate change.”[5] But that is probably just an oversight among the Evangelical Left devotees. Why, heck, (remember: I don’t swear), we might even call McIntyre’s findings an Inconvenient Truth.

But there are a couple of essential connections I want you to see. This is not the end of the story and it involves more than just some fuzzy math. There are far deeper connections that need to be made. The effects of McIntyre’s findings have more far-reaching effects, apart from the fact that the media all but ignored the man’s findings. There are political and economic implications and ramifications that also need to be brought to the forefront, not to mention some biblical truth. Because there is such scant citing of a few biblical texts in Climate Change, more direct and pertinent biblical truth needs to be brought to bear on this before evangelicals go out and assume that just because the U.N. says it, it must be true.

There are some huge monetary exchanges going on between U.S. tax dollars and “aid” to Africa, for example. Roy Spencer writes, “When you see pictures of emaciated children in a dry desert location in Africa, you can bet it is not because of a lack of food. It is because of governmental policies or deliberate acts of warfare that have prevented food from reaching the people. In today’s world, famines are almost never the result of a lack of food.”[6] Spencer goes on to suggest that the real solution “is to remove the political and economic barriers that prevent food from reaching these people in the first place.”[7] The U.N., however, would be loathe to do that, which leaves the Christian community with the following dilemma: “Even though Americans send billions of dollars in aid to Africa, much of that money is siphoned off by corrupt governments to help them remain in power.”[8] I’m certain that law of “unintended consequences” kicks in here, but the Evangelical Left would do well not to throw more money at Africa, but to spend that money dismantling the U.N. in order to do some real good.[9]

The IPCC is tied in with a number of “protocols” from previous years, including the Montreal Protocol as well as Kyoto. There certainly is no unanimity that the IPCC is “the world’s most authoritative body of scientists and policy experts on the issue of global warming.” (CC, 2.) Roy Spencer opines, “I suspect I really do know the reason why the U.N. is not interested in solutions to humanity’s problems. If the people of the world are empowered to solve their own problems, the U.N. bureaucrats will no longer have a job. It is as simple as that.”[10] The Kyoto Protocol, which is the nickname of the policy actually known as “the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” has not been ratified by the United States. In fact, it was defeated 95-0 during the Clinton years.

Some people are still cheesed (otherwise known as “The Angry Mob with Swastikas Syndrome) that Kyoto got so badly thumped by both Democrats and Republicans, especially in light of the assertion that it is supported by over 2,000 climate scientists that all agree that global warming is a serious problem. Why would reasonable people reject the advice of over 2,000 climate experts? Milloy states, “…it’s no wonder the greens resort to procedural hijinks like touting an imaginary United Nations consensus on global warming endorsed by 2,000 scientists, while ignoring a petition signed by more that 31,000 scientists rejecting global warming alarmism.”[11] Roy Spencer weighs in on the claim made by the 2,000 scientists by explaining to us that all the “Dr. Experts” listed among the 2,000 are not scientists at all. He writes, “In truth, most of those 2,000 ‘scientists’ are actually bureaucrats and governmental representatives; very few of them are climate scientists.”[12]

To someone trying to do his or her best to be eco-friendly, this should come as a shock, even to the Evangelical Left. Someone is cooking the books as far as the numbers go notwithstanding the fact that the signatories of CC are convinced that the IPCC is the world’s most authoritative body of scientists and policy experts on the issue of global warming (CC, 2.) If Spencer is correct then the IPCC is weighted more on the side of policy experts (otherwise known as the Dr. Pinhead Expert Syndrome) rather than on bona fide scientists, even if Sir John Houghton, a devout evangelical Christian is involved. Any Christian accepting something on face value simply because someone is touted to be an evangelical Christian might get fooled in the process. Brian McLaren is considered to be an evangelical. Dan Kimball, who authored a book entitled The Heretic’s Guide to the Trinity, is considered to be an evangelical. Jim Wallis ostensibly falls within the evangelical camp, as do the proponents of Open Theism. In other words, the word evangelical has become so elastic and inclusive that it means little or nothing anymore.

As far as the sacred 2,000 are concerned, they might have bowed the knee to the god of Big Government Grants, otherwise known as the Follow the Government Money Syndrome. Spencer adds regarding the assertion that the 2,000 scientists and scientist-wannabes that they never actually signed on the dotted line; they never really subscribed to the global warming statements of IPCC. He writes, “And no one actually polled any of the scientists to ask them to agree to any such statement on global warming. Instead, a handful of politically savvy scientist-bureaucrats use the IPCC as a scientific cover to promote policies for which the science just happens to be a latest justification.”[13] This statement precedes another when Spencer concedes that the IPCC report is pretty thorough and even-handed. Why the criticism then? Well, it sounds very much like what our legislators are doing now with the universal health care bill. Spencer believes that no “policymaker has read it all the way though [sic].”[14] Instead, the IPCC has a talking points memo entitled “Summary for Policymakers,” which is a tenured professor’s “Global Warming for Idiots.” The summary makes Al Gore and Michael Moore giddy and sends a tingle up their legs. In Michael’s case, it takes a while for the tingle to travel to his happy place.

Summaries are summaries, but this one is especially tendentious. “Any uncertainties associated with predicting climate change are either downplayed or ignored. Potential natural sources of climate variability are treated only superficially, and the bulk of the report deals with a variety of estimates of what will happen to the climate system for various assumed future scenarios of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.”[15] Recall that in the section “For Concerned Citizens” the signatories of CC called for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is more than aggressive. A more appropriate word might be “unreasonable” or worse. Once Kyoto went into effect in 2005, it was abundantly clear that those who signed on to it would not meet their emissions reduction targets by a long shot. “The negative impacts on business are being increasingly felt, power outages are starting to occur in Europe, and the bureaucrats are learning a lesson in basic economics the hard way.”[16] Apparently, these hard economic lessons are being lost on the New Evangelical Left. By the way, “even if these countries do meet their emissions reduction targets, it has long been understood by everyone that the resulting effect on global temperatures would likely be unmeasurable.”[17]

Next time we’ll compare the “Claims” in CC with reality.

[1] Steve Milloy, Green Hell, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2009), p. 221. Please note: one person on my blog, who has a foul mouth, has accused me of hypocrisy because I cite the work “Green Hell.” Of course, it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Citing a title and having a foul mouth as a Christian are synonymous. Therefore, any further reference to the book will contain the words Green Heck.

[2] Ibid., 222. No swearing now! Emphasis added.

[3] Ibid. I mean it! No swearing!

[4] Ibid. Emphasis added. I’m not kidding! Don’t do it!

[5] Ibid.

[6] Roy Spencer, Climate Confusion, (NY: Encounter Books, 2008), p. 148.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] See Eric Shawn, The U.N. Exposed. How the United Nations Sabotages America’s Security and Fails the World, (NY: Sentinel, 2006).

[10] Spencer, Confusion, 148-149.

[11] Milloy, Green Heck, 5-6. See

[12] Spencer, Confusion, 149. Emphasis added.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., 150. Emphasis added.

[16] Ibid., 151.

[17] Ibid. Emphasis added.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Arrival of the New Evangelical Left (VI)

This is a photo taken at the "Beer Summit." Notice how SGT. Crowley is helping Dr. Gates down the stairs, while the President is totally unconcerned. The law enforcement officer is compassionate, while the President is unconcerned about his good friend.

Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action

At, which is part of the “Evangelical Climate Initiative,” you can download a statement concerning one of the new “darlings” of the Evangelical Left: climate change or global warming. Apparently, the Evangelical Left finds the terms interchangeable. The signatories of the document on the web site, “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” believe that it’s high time for American evangelical Christian leaders “to offer a biblically based moral witness that can help shape public policy.” Commendable indeed. The signatories acknowledge that America is the most powerful nation on earth and that it should contribute to the well-being of the entire world. Again, commendable, but I’m not certain how we would go about doing that. Nevertheless, the wording is noble.

Among the signatories of this document are Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Jim Wallis, and Brian McLaren. One can easily detect the influence of the emergent contingent in this document in the second paragraph of the Preamble: “We are proud of the evangelical community’s long-standing commitment to the sanctity of human life. But we also offer moral witness in many venues and on many issues.” (Emphasis added.) This caveat, this qualifier is rapidly becoming one of the trademarks of the Evangelical Left: Yes we are concerned about abortion, but… We are concerned about abortion, but there are other pressing matters out there that need our attention as well. We are concerned about abortion, but we have no qualms about voting for a presidential candidate who has a 100% approval rating with NARAL and Planned Parenthood, just for starters. We are concerned about abortion, but we’ll support a universal health care bill that will include provisions for both abortion and euthanasia. We are concerned about abortion, but we will listen to the progressive secularist talking points memo when it comes to global warming/climate change. We are concerned about abortion, but we also believe that we can measure the temperature of the globe at any given moment. As we proceed in our examination of this evangelical “call to action,” it will become increasingly evident that the evangelical signatories are walking in lock step with the secularists on many unproved aspects of global warming/climate change, and, by their signatures and influence are leading many in their respective congregations and schools to follow suit. Like their progressive, secular counterparts, these evangelicals are acting as if global warming/climate change is an undisputed fact.

In order to get us started, I want to give an outline found on the web site entitled “For Concerned Citizens” and then move on to list and then comment upon the four “Claims” also contained in the main document.

For Concerned Citizens

The opening sentence in this section grabs the reader’s attention: “If you’re a committed Christian and you care about creation, we believe that addressing climate change is one of the most critical moral issues facing the church today.” Well, which Christian doesn’t want to be a committed one? Which Christian doesn’t want to care about creation? Which Christian doesn’t want to address one of the most critical moral issues facing the church today? This begs the question, of course, “Can you be a committed Christian, who cares about creation and not believe that climate change is an alarmist issue or even one of the most critical moral issues facing the Church today?” Well, you can ask that question, but these days expect getting yelled and screamed at by progressive secularists and leftwing Christians alike.

Are you not one of the faithful if, after studying the issue, you conclude that God is in control of weather and that we are not rushing headlong towards a climatology Armageddon? Can you be a committed Christian, who holds to the Creation Mandate issued to man by the Lord in Genesis 1:26-28 and be free to conclude that a great deal of the hype about climate change is just that: hype? Can you be a committed believer and think that much of what passes for “fact” regarding climate change is actually junk science? I’m just asking, and the reason I’m asking is because to many of us, this is not an issue where the debate is “over.” As Glenn Beck aptly noted, “‘The debate is over’ is a line that’s used only by those who realize they would never win a debate.”[1]

The “For Concerned Citizens” segment of the web site offers three items that will help us get on board with climate change as Christians: Learn, Pray, and Act. Let’s look at then in turn.


The signatories tell us that we can “Learn about the science behind global warming, and discover its impact on everyone, and especially on the poor and vulnerable abroad. There are some important domestic impacts as well.” For these folks, it is a foregone conclusion that there is irrefutable science behind the information we receive about global warming. Given the way the words “global warming” are inserted in this section, it seems that the signatories equate climate change and global warming. Dr. Roy Spencer, former climatologist with NASA reminds us to be careful because “What scientists claim to know about manmade global warming is based as much upon faith as it is upon knowledge.”[2] You don’t read that in the paper every day do you? The dirty little secret is that “The roots of the conflict over global warming go much deeper than a simple disagreement over what’s happening in the climate system.”[3] Yet, it seems at the outset that the Evangelical Left has bought into the notion that global warming is a fact, that it impacts everyone, especially the poor and vulnerable abroad. Oh yeah, there are some important domestic impacts as well. Really? What might they be? A couple of timely and pertinent examples would serve the domestic public well instead of the vagaries in this first point.

But back on point, which committed Christian would not be concerned about the negative impact of global warming, especially for the poor and vulnerable abroad? Honestly folks, the only thing that gets our attention more is when the government schools lie to us and say, “It’s for the children.” Anyway, to drive the point home, there is an accompanying photograph of a destitute mud hut with a thatched roof. Smoke is emanating from the open space that is door. What they don’t tell you is that the smoke is probably from the cow dung they’re burning in the hut because environmentalists have categorically refused to allow these poor and vulnerable abroad to use biotech. Instead, they’re required to use cow dung to cook their food because some environmentalists have voted and decided that it’s better than giving them sustainable energy. For example, in 2002, over 80,000 delegates flew into Johannesburg, South Africa for a World Summit on Sustainable Development. The only thing better would have been for them to have had a “beer summit” with the poor and vulnerable. The delegates struggled through the meetings, staying in five star hotels. At the end of this august “World Summit,” Kenyan James Shikwati quipped, “What gives the developed nations the right to make choices for the poor?” Good question.

One of the main problems is that environmentalists, “Using moralistic, yet blatantly dishonest slogans and pseudo-science, the environmental movement has digressed dangerously and has replaced some of the radical movements for social experimentation of the last century.”[4] An excellent book to show you the other side of user-friendly environmentalism is Paul Driessen’s Eco-Imperialism. Clearly, the signatories have not read, digested, or addressed Driessen’s arguments. But when you’re on a mission, those kinds of things (like reading) can be such a terrible nuisance. If you don’t believe me, just ask our elected officials. They’re discovering more and more reading, digesting, and addressing pertinent points in trillion dollar House and Senate bills can be such a downer.


Next, we’re informed that we can also “Pray for God to help us find effective, just, and compassionate solutions to the problem of climate change.” Okay. Fair enough. But are we certain that climate change is a problem that we can solve? That is a question that must be faced squarely and honestly. Climate change has been occurring since creation and, to date, man has done nothing about it, primarily because he is incapable of doing anything about it. “Wait,” an environmentalist alarmist screeches, “what about CO2!” What about it? Oh, I get it! Some actually think that we can do a lot about CO2, and that all the CO2 is manmade and man’s fault. Well, that’s simply not true, as will become evident in subsequent installments. Yes, it is a greenhouse gas, but so are nitrous oxides and methane. We’ll come back to this argument in a moment, but for now I just want to draw your attention to the concept of greenhouse gases.


This is the third plank in this house of cards. In other words, get out and do something!! Equip yourself with the facts, or what passes among the greenie alarmists as facts—it’s all the same—, and the “impacts and basic science”—this might take a little while—then “do what you can in your life, household, church, community, and business.” Since this section is very imprecise, you might have to think a little. Recycle papers, cans, bottles, buy a Honda or Prius, use those nice government approved mercury filled light bulbs that require a HazMat team and about $2,000 in costs if you drop one and break it—you know, unlike the old incandescent bulbs you use now, get your church to offer non-CO2 yoga classes, and if you own your own business, cave like BP did to environmentalists’ pressure and lobbyists. If you own cattle and sheep, convince them to stop belching and passing gas. Yep. I’m not making this up. Now not only man is a huge problem for the environmentalists, but so are cattle and sheep that are constantly belching and ridding themselves of their flatulence. That throws all kinds of methane gas (remember: greenhouse gases) into the air. Maybe there’s a market for cattle and sheep Bean-o.

Then, the signatories suggest that we contact our elected representatives. There you go! Have you tried that lately? Haven’t you seen just how eager your elected and appointed officials are to talk to you? If you call one of these prima donnas, you’re treated like an inconvenient truth. You are wasting their precious time. Oh, yes, by all means call your elected representatives. That will help enormously.

Did you hear that Senator Dick Durbin accused many of those attending the townhall meetings concerning universal health care as “plants” brought there by insurance companies? Have you noticed the looks of disdain and bewilderment on the faces of our elected representatives at those meetings? They’re flabbergasted; flummoxed. Some have resorted to calling the law-abiding citizens a “mob.” Yep. It sounds like they want to hear from us all right. The media is rounding the attendance numbers at these meetings way down. If 10,000 show up, they report 200. That’s right. You really don’t exist anymore. So to the deep philosophical question: Do I exist? The answer from many politicians is a resounding No! Why do they do that? It’s because the media is, by and large, comprised of leftwing, ideological hacks. To add to the lunacy, our evangelical leaders, committed to the care of creation and for the poor and vulnerable abroad believe that by our actions there can be “an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” Common sense has left the building. These leaders do not even entertain the possibility that if we stopped breathing and took every car off the roads we could not reduce greenhouse emissions (methane, nitrous oxides, and CO2) by anywhere near 80%.

The 4 “Claims” of the Evangelical Climate Initiative

We’re running out of time for this installment, but before I go, I want to give you the 4 “claims” and then we’ll come back to each of them in our next issues.

Claim 1: Human-Induced Climate Change is Real.

Claim 2: The Consequences of Climate Change Will Be Significant, and Will Hit the Poor the Hardest.

Claim 3: Christian Moral Convictions Demand Our Response on the Climate Change Problem.

Claim 4: The need to act now is urgent. Governments, businesses, churches, and individuals all have a role to play in addressing climate change—starting now.

Don’t ask me why there was a change in capitalization in these claims in the document. My guess would be that it was the product of global warming.

[1] Glenn Beck, Common Sense, (NY: Threshold Editions, 2009), p. 17.

[2] Roy Spencer, Climate Confusion, (NY: Encounter Books, 2008), p. 85.

[3] Ibid., 86.

[4] Michael Economides & Ronald Oligney, The Color of Oil, (Round Oak Publishing Co., 2000), p. 141.

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