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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The New Evangelical Left (XXII)

A Conflict of Visions

Today, I want to make use of two very different authors to make one point. Then, I want to take that one point and make multiple applications, especially to the PCA. (I will not complete those applications in this installment.) The header for this section is borrowed from two sources: Thomas Sowell’s book by that title,[1] and a header in his latest book entitled Intellectuals and Society.[2] The other author I want to employ is Samuel Miller (1769-1850), who wrote an introduction to Dr. Thomas Scott’s The Articles of the Synod of Dort.[3] Even though these two works were written in quite different times and by authors who excelled in different disciplines, both make points that are noteworthy and, even though their books are quite different in many respects, there is a remarkable amount of overlap as far as principles and insights are concerned.

I’ll begin with Sowell. His latest book possesses the same standard of excellence as his other writings. One of his theses is that far too many intellectuals have a very high regard for their own self-importance. Sowell opens his book with these words. “Intellect is not wisdom. There can be ‘unwise intellect’…. Sheer brainpower—intellect, the capacity to grasp and manipulate complex concepts and ideas—can be put at the service of concepts and ideas that lead to mistaken conclusions and unwise actions, in light of all the factors involved, including factors left out of some of the ingenious constructions of the intellect.”[4]

Sowell makes a distinction between the “special” knowledge of the intellectuals and the “mundane” common sense knowledge of others. The intelligentsia tends to have little understanding of or appreciation for “mundane” knowledge (common sense) because it’s well, mundane. He writes, “Since intellectuals have every incentive to emphasize the importance of the special kind of knowledge that they have, relative to the mundane knowledge that others have, they are often advocates of courses of action which ignore the value, the cost, and the consequences of mundane knowledge.”[5]

By virtue of the fact that these intellectuals believe that the ills of society are ultimately intellectual and moral problems, for which they are especially equipped to provide answers by virtue of their greater knowledge and insight, there emerges their “vision”—the vision of the anointed. The vision of the common sense people is termed the “tragic” vision. It is the one held by the “uninitiated.” Thus two visions: One from the intelligentsia (the anointed vision) and one from the common people (the tragic vision). Even though Sowell doesn’t say so, this is certainly the case with progressive secularists and progressive, new-left Christians. The intellectuals exist to take up the slack and inform the otherwise uninformed. Theirs is a noble task, indeed.

Whereas Sowell refers primarily to the secularists in his book, there is most certainly a Christian counterpart, isn’t there? Using words that could describe either the Christian or non-Christian visionary, Sowell declares, “These opposing visions differ not only in what they believe exists and in what they think is possible, but also in what they think needs explaining. To those with the vision of the anointed, it is such evils as poverty, crime, war, and injustice which require explanation.”[6] I would add global warming to that list. And by adding global warming or climate change to the mix, we could be talking about progressive humanists or progressive Christians. I have been pointing this out concerning the signatories of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Even after the telling disclosures and outright lies from Dr. Phil Jones from East Anglia University, there hasn’t been a peep from the well-known evangelicals who signed that piece of undocumented nonsense.

The dichotomy between the two visions in Christian circles manifests itself in those who want to hold on to traditional values (tragic) and those who want to break out of the confirming strictures of Scripture, the Westminster Standards, and the Book of Church Order (anointed). Thus, when it comes to holding on to traditional doctrines as opposed to those who are more cutting edge the anointed ones opt for the latter. Speaking of secularists, Sowell writes these words that could just as well be for the Christian: “There is no personal exaltation resulting from those beliefs. But to be for ‘social justice’ and ‘saving the environment,’ or to be ‘anti-war’ is more than just a set of beliefs about empirical facts. This vision (the anointed one—RG) puts you on a higher moral plane as someone concerned and compassionate, someone who is for peace in the world, a defender of the downtrodden, and someone who want to preserve the beauty of nature and save the planet from being polluted by others less caring. In short, one vision makes you somebody special and the other vision does not.”[7] While excoriating the so-called Religious Right, the New Evangelical Left worships at the shrines of Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, the ongoing dialogue/conversation (you need a smoking jacket and a pipe to participate. Oh yeah. You also must also have a lifetime membership at Starbucks, wear Birkenstocks, and drink tofu smoothies), and be able to find some redeeming quality in The Shack. It was well written and the author manifests a genuine struggle for the real issues of life and death. You know. The caring anointed visionaries are always ready with a sympathetic bit of intelligentsia.

Applying this to the current debate in the PCA regarding deaconesses, the notion that roils just beneath the surface of the debate is that those who are in favor of deaconesses really and truly have the women’s best interests in mind, are compassionate towards them, and understand their plight. After all, it is suggested, these are talented and sometimes “professional” women (No! Not that kind of professional!) and are lawyers, physicians, college and seminary graduates, and CEOs. They don’t understand why they can function in secular society as leaders and not in the local congregation. The stereotype is that the tragic traditionalists (are they tragically hip?) just want the women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

What Sowell questions is what the PCA should be questioning. What scriptural grounds are there for moving towards doing what the PCA has never done? Where is the wisdom, but also where is the overwhelming biblical proof that the traditional vision is the incorrect one? Lord willing, we will return to this notion frequently in future installments.

Samuel Miller’s Introductory Essay

Miller wrote his introductory essay to convince Thomas Scott’s readers that Scott was on the right tract, as was the Synod of Dort in combating the doctrines taught by Jacob Arminius and his followers. Of course, Arminius, whose last name was actually Harmensen, roundly denied holding to any opinions that even vaguely resembled Pelagianism and “declared his full belief in all that Augustine had written against those opinions; and promised in the most explicit manner that he would teach nothing contrary to the received doctrines of the Church.”[8] Right. He made this confession in order to be confirmed as professor of Theology at Leiden University. Thankfully, he was not teaching Ethics. Apparently, Arminius’s oath came with an expiration date because “after he had been in his new office a year or two, it was discovered that it was his constant practice to deliver one set of opinions in his professorial chair, and a very different set by means of private confidential manuscripts circulated among his pupils.”[9] Ah, the ethics of the anointed visionaries! Normal people would call this disingenuous and the uninitiated would take the Joe Wilson approach and simply yell out, “You lie!” One can only imagine what impact this obvious, blatant encroachment upon his oath had on his students who were preparing for the pastoral ministry. Moreover, Arminius “also frequently intimated to his pupils, that he had many objections to the doctrines usually deemed orthodox, which he intended to make known at a suitable time. Apparently, being disingenuous is acceptable if you choose your time when you’re going to finally tell the truth. You cannot allow this kind of deception to be known to those who are tragically traditional, because they’ll get their guns, form an ecclesiastical posse, and go on a witch hunt.

At a very simple level, this sort of disingenuousness occurs in the PCA regularly, frequently when candidates for ordination make no mention whatsoever that they plan to us females for reading Scripture and praying in the worship service, and, once ordained, simply begin to employ females this way as a matter of course. I’ve witnessed this in my own Presbytery and have even repeatedly mentioned it, but it seems that some pastors have consciousnesses that cannot be bothered by keeping one’s word. They somehow do not feel obliged to let their respective Presbyteries know if they have changed their views.[10] Besides, those who allow this type of thing to occur can always point their fingers at others who have been doing this with impunity. Evidently all are equal in the PCA, but some are more equal than others.

Now here is the instructive part of Miller’s essay. The Deputies (ecclesiastical deputies, that is) of North and South Holland finally nailed Arminius down to meeting with them. This he was loathe to do. Whenever easy, straightforward, Yes or No questions were put to him by the Deputies, Arminius would, according to Miller, equivocate. In other words, he “was never ready, and always had insurmountable objections to every method proposed for explanation or adjustment. It was evident he wished to gain time…”[11] His modus operandi was rather than answering the questions in an uncomplicated, clear-cut fashion to keep on “evading, postponing, concealing, shrinking from every inquiry, and endeavouring secretly to throw every possible degree of odium on the orthodox doctrines.”[12] Don’t we witness this same sort of thing today? We hear candidates of colleagues in the PCA say, “Yes, I hold to the Westminster Standards, but…” Or, a candidate will present a litany of exceptions to the Westminster Standards. I recently heard about a candidate that had five pages of exceptions. My initial response was, “Why does he want to be PCA and why would a Presbytery allow him to be?

Miller’s observation that when differences with doctrines or oaths taken occur with the disingenuous anointed, they are “never frank and open.”[13] He continues, “It always begins by skulking, and assuming a disguise. Its advocates, when together, boast of great improvements, and congratulate one another on having gone greatly beyond the ‘old dead orthodoxy,’ and on having left behind many of its antiquated errors: but when taxed with deviations from the received faith, they complain of the unreasonableness of their accusers, as they ‘differ from it only in words.’” (Emphasis in the original.)[14] They can act as they do because they possess the vision of the anointed.

In the final analysis, according to Miller, people who have something to hide or cover up “…are almost never honest and candid as a party, until they gain strength enough to be sure of some degree of popularity.”[15] He cites the cases of Arius, Pelagius, Arminius and his emerging “conversation,” Amyraut, and the Unitarians. There are, of course, others, but the ones Miller mentioned all had the following in common: “They denied their real tenets, evaded examination or inquiry, declaimed against their accusers as merciless bigots and heresy-hunters, and strove as long as they could to appear to agree with the most orthodox of their neighbours; until the time came when, partly from inability any longer to cover up their sentiments, and partly because they felt strong enough to come out, they at length avowed their real opinions.”[16] It’s so simple and straightforward even a cave man can understand it. Each time this type of thing occurs, it’s like the Charlie Brown, Lucy, and I’ll-really-hold-the-football-this-time scenario. This time will be different. You know, kind of like socialism working in America after it’s failed dismally everywhere else. That kind of “it’ll be different this time.” The other phenomenon is that the anointed accused the “tragics” of adhering to a simplistic and simple-minded “domino theory.” Sure, it may have gone down in flames before, but this time will be different.

Miller is, of course, correct. Today, when faced with analogous circumstances—not with heresy, but with error and deviation from an oath taken—the anointed smile and nod knowingly and accuse the tragic/traditional folks of being stuck in the past, of being dinosaurs, of being unconcerned about people and evangelicalism, or holding to the domino theory, which, as far as I know, has nothing to do with pizza.

I have taken a few moments and have given you an outline and I believe that parallels can be drawn from both Sowell and Miller to a number of the issues that face us in the PCA today ranging from deaconesses to the un-Presbyterian notion of site churches. But this should give us material for further discussion.

[1] Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions, (NY: Basic Books, 2007).

[2] Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, (NY: Basic Books, 2009), pp. 76ff.

[3] Thomas Scott, The Articles of the Synod of Dort, (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1993).

[4] Sowell, Intellectuals, 1.

[5] Ibid., 18.

[6] Ibid., 79.

[7] Ibid., 79-80.

[8] Samuel Miller, “Introductory Essay,” in Thomas Scott, The Articles of the Synod of Dort, (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1993), p. 12.

[9] Ibid., 12-13.

[10] The PCA Book of Church Order, Chapter 21-5.2 reads, “Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?

[11] Ibid., 15.

[12] Ibid., 15-16.

[13] Ibid., 16.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., 16-17. Emphases added.

[16] Ibid., 17.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The New Evangelical Left (XXI)

Progressive and Contemporary: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Typically, when we hear the word “progressive” we tend to conjure up images of things moving forward and getting better. We think of someone who is “forward looking” and knows far better than his forebears how things ought to be. Granted, “progressive” and “contemporary” are not synonymous terms, but there are some connections between the two. I also concede that “progressive” is a word that is most frequently employed in political circles, while “contemporary” is usually reserved for culture. In our ecclesiastical gatherings, we like to lean towards “cutting edge” to define that we are hip and with it.

Engaging the culture and being cutting edge presents a rather stark contrast to being traditional, which these days carries with it the connotation of “dinosaur-esque,” “stodgy,” “staid,” or “hung-up-in-the-past-with-all-the-dead-guys.” In other words, you’re still using the theological buggy whip instead of driving a Prius, but at least your gas pedal doesn’t stick and your brakes generally work. If you’re a traditionalist, you revere Calvin, Bullinger, Luther, the Puritans, and, of course, Herman Bavinck, and eschew newbies like Brian McLaren, who, by the way, has a new book out. It’s time for true confessions: I probably won’t buy or read A New Kind of Christianity, because even though the title trumpets something new and different, it will be the same old warmed over Social Gospel gruel like McLaren’s other books. One of my reliable sources—I have people—said that reading McLaren’s book would turn your stomach and I definitely don’t want that.

My source at the Pentagon also said the following: “He denies The Fall, Original sin and any concept of total depravity and boldly declares that he would rather be an atheist than believe in a God that involved those concepts.” In addition, McLaren has questioned the historicity of Genesis 1-3, so denying the Fall, Original Sin, and total depravity naturally fall into place. Some dare call this the “domino theory.” People still scream that this is not the domino theory and you simply have to take each of the emergent tribe, well, individually. I have been yelling loudly for at least half a decade that McLaren is a big problem ecclesiastically and theologically. Mr. McLaren might just be what he says he’d rather be: an atheist. Without trying to be a minimalist, I do believe it’s prudent and proper to ask what the irreducible minimum is for still being a Christian.

I know some will be thinking, “There goes Ron just being mean and mean-spirited again!” Maybe, but then again, maybe not and let me tell you why. A denial of the Fall and Original Sin must carry with it, logically, a denial of the need for a doctrine of the Atonement, which McLaren and the emergent tribe (with its groupies) have emasculated. How? They have dispensed with the biblical doctrine of the penal substitutionary atonement. No Fall; no sin; no radical corruption; and no atonement. I got it! McLaren has been reading Finney! McLaren is a Pelagian, but who didn’t recognize that from the outset? McLaren has been shouting his defiance at Christianity ever since “Neo” made his appearance followed closely by A Generous Orthodoxy. For those willing to read and to see, the program was available for all to view. Oh, there were some surreptitious items that you either had to dig deep or be astute to see, but they were there.

To confuse matters worse, there has been a cadre of those who call themselves Presbyterian or Reformed who encourage us to cull out “what is good and true” from McLaren’s and the emergent tribe’s works. Predominantly, we’re told that the Emergent church movement was much-needed to militate against the crass consumerism of the mega-church movement. Young people were desperately seeking community that was clearly and blatantly missing in the rampant impersonal nature of the mega-church, with its accompanying problems of horrible theology, crass entertainment, crowded parking lots, and long lines at the on-campus Starbucks.

All that being said, I totally disagree that the Emergent church movement served a much-needed change and still serves that need. The Emergent church movement was wrong from the get-go, because it was not biblically based and McLaren was at the forefront of the charge. To defend McLaren as “a nice guy” or “sincere” is trite, trivial, and totally missing the point. Moreover, what the Emergent church movement provided was not a biblical alternative to “doing church.” In point of fact, the proponent and non-leader leaders of the Emergent church movement denuded that movement of any meaningful theology and simply promoted a different type of “feel good” experience. Consumerism did not disappear off the radar it was simply placed in shrink wrap.

What was needed, since the mega-church missed the boat? The Old Testament British scholar, Christopher J.H. Wright, gives us an inkling to the solution in his book Walking in the Ways of the Lord.[1] Even though he is not one of the “dead guys,” Wright is still audacious enough to believe in creation as Scripture describes it, a literal Adam and Eve, their Fall into sin, the penal substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus, and his literal return. He is also so narrow-minded that he believes that only those are saved who have faith in Jesus Christ as the only possible way of salvation. No progressive that Wright! And, he even went to seminary and is glad that he did. In other words, he sees parsing Greek and Hebrew words as productive and not something to be scoffed at. My man at the Pentagon—DeepThroat—tells me that old Bri cannot resist taking another shot at people who go to seminary.

So what benefit was seminary for Wright? (He’s otherwise known as “The Other Wright.”) He informs us that because of the reality of Jesus Christ’s Person and Work, “we are not struggling to achieve victory but to apply a victory already won.”[2] Why, it sounds as if Wright believes that Jesus was the remedy for the Fall; for real sin. He adds, “The Christian gospel presents us with an accomplished victory over the effects of the fall in every dimension of our lives—spiritual, intellectual, physical and social, as well in the cosmic realm.”[3] My tradition teaches me, following the truth of Scripture, that God executes his decrees in creation and providence. Wright—the right Wright—adds that “Creation provides our basic values and principles.”[4] In addition, “The fall keeps us earthed in the reality of human stubbornness and a world under curse, preserving us from crippling disillusionment when things go wrong as they always do.”[5] Therefore, creation and fall provide us with a reasonable, cogent, and coherent ethics. How does that occur practically? Wright states, “The history, law and traditions of Old Testament Israel show us how God sought to work out his moral will in a specific historical and cultural context and provide us with a wide variety of actual responses to social, political and economic circumstances within the framework of theological assessment and critique. The incarnation brings God right alongside us in our struggle, especially with the knowledge of the presence of the kingdom of God in the world.”[6]

This last quotation is the precise opposite of what both McLaren and Jim Wallis do in their “ethics” books.[7] Yet, they continue to spew out their drivel and still some in the Presbyterian and Reformed camps want to tell us and their congregations what wonderful people they are. I have little doubt that Charles Finney was a nice person—even though he was a lawyer. But Finney, McLaren, and Wallis are dangerous theologically. What ever happened to Ezekiel 33:1-9? Continuing to praise these men—and those like them—is tantamount to throwing the sheep under the bus.

Where were we? Oh, yeah, I remember now: why the Emergent church movement and its emphasis on community is wrong. Well, Wright—the right Wright—comes to our aid once again. In terms of the Kingdom of God, we are not to assume that every “sincere” person on the planet is included. God’s plan is different from dual citizenship. You cannot be a Buddhist-Christian, a Hindu-Christian, or a Muslim-Christian. You could have been raised in any of those religions and jettisoned them at some point for the true faith: Christianity. Westerners need to undergo a kind of re-orientation if we are to see things from a biblical perspective. What is needed? Well, “We tend to being at the personal level and work outwards. We think of ethics as the means to the goal of a good and happy life. So our emphasis is to persuade people to live a certain kind of life according to this and that moral standard. If enough individuals live up to such a morality, then, almost as a by-product, society itself will be improved, or at least maintained as a safe environment for individuals to pursue their personal goodness. This is the kind of person you must be; that kind of society will result as a bonus.”[8] McLaren, Wallis, and the groupies want to improve society; to be “progressives,” all the while ignoring pertinent, indispensable truths of the Word of God.

Wright’s solution continues, “However, the Bible tends to place the emphasis the other way round: here is the kind of society that God wants. His desire is for a holy people, a redeemed community living under his kingship according to his standards, a model society in whom he can display, as far as is possible in a fallen world, a prototype of the new humanity of his ultimate redemptive purpose. Now, then, if that is the kind of society God wants, what kind of person must you be to be worthy of your inclusion within it, and what must be your contribution to the furthering of these overall social objectives?”[9] Good question. What kind should you and I be? What both the mega-church and the Emergent church movement failed and failed miserably to understand is that “biblical ethics are covenantal.” What does that mean specifically? At a minimum it entails the truth that “personal ethics are ‘community shaped’, and the ethic of the redeemed community is that of a ‘priesthood’—for the sake of the rest of society. It is the nature of the community God seeks which governs the kind of person he approves.”[10]

Community? Yes, community is important and spoken of often in Scripture. But it’s not the kind of “community” that the mega-church presents, which is almost virtually non-community, nor is it the flippant, frivolous, relativistic Emergent church movement stuff that passes for Church. Both the mega-church and the Emergent church got it wrong—badly. I said from the outset when I first started writing about both movements, what is most needed are biblical Christians. What continues to be needed are Christians who take the whole counsel of God seriously. As stodgy as my Presbyterian tradition is, here is what it says about how the Word of God is to be read (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q/A 157): “The Holy Scriptures are to be read with a high and reverent esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God, and that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self-denial, and prayer.” Of course, the divines are dead, but I’m just sayin’.

Whether the subject is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Fall, Original Sin, the Atonement, or anything else, Christians must derive their doctrine and their ethics from the Word of God. It’s time to grow up and mature spiritually folks. It is time to put childish and immature ways behind us, to become once again truly and deeply concerned about mortifying sin, to become students of God’s truth, and to realize what the Kingdom of God really is. One parting shot: I cannot force Warren, Hybels, McLaren, Mouw, or any of the other signatories on that ludicrous, insipid, stupid, and false IPCC resolution to remove their names. They should, but they will not. It’s a pride thing; it’s an arrogance thing. While I cannot coerce them to do the right thing, I would like to appeal to my fellow-colleagues to stop putting their arms around them—figuratively—and embracing them to the detriment of God’s people. If you want to embrace people like McLaren, please keep it to yourself and don’t encourage God’s people to read them or trick them into thinking McLaren is “okay.” He is not.

[1] Christopher J.H. Wright, Walking in the Ways of the Lord, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995).

[2] Ibid., 19.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 21.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007); Jim Wallis, God’s Politics, (San Francisco: Harper-Collins, 2005).

[8] Wright, Walking, 24.

[9] Ibid., 24-25.

[10] Ibid., 25.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

The New Evangelical Left (XX)

The Danger of the Intelligentsia and Other Snobs

I know a little bit of Glenn Beck’s frustrations waiting for his spiffy red phone to ring with a call from the White House telling him where his facts are wrong. My problem, however, is not with the White House—well, maybe a little—but rather with the Christian celebs that signed the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. That sounds so officious, doesn’t it? Who would not listen to an intergovernmental panel? The short answer is: someone with a modicum of common sense.

In a world filled with sound bytes and “gotcha” politics, we’ve come to accept the premise that if it’s on TV or in print, it must be true. Well, no, not necessarily. You see, I’ve been trying to get Christian celebs like Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Bill Hybels, Dan Kimball (an old Facebook friend. Yes, it’s true. Dan and I are Facebook buds, but it appears that Dan is too busy doing cutting edge things to remove his name from the IPCC resolution.), and Richard Mouw, of Fuller Seminary to get in touch with me and explain why they refuse to take their names off the IPCC signatories. Actually, they don’t even have to get in touch with me. No, they can merely go public and tell all their avid followers that they made a mistake in signing the IPCC document. It’s really not all that painful to say.

I’ll even give them a head start. They could say or write or both something like this: “At the time I signed the IPCC document I genuinely believed that the planet was overheating and that man was the problem and that CO2 was a pollutant. I didn’t do well in high school science and slept through the class on photosynthesis. Please forgive me for signing such a bogus, political document and leading so many of you astray. It was not my intention. It was an honest mistake.”

There. It’s over, but if I were you, I would not hold my breath waiting for any recantations. On February 3, 2010, that pesky economist, Walter E. Williams wrote a column entitled “Global Warming Update,” in which he said this: “John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, in an hour-long television documentary titled ‘Global Warming” The Other Side,’ presents evidence that our National Climatic Data Center has been manipulating weather data just as the now disgraced and under investigation British University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit.[1] The word “manipulating” in the previous sentence is a euphemism meaning more something like “fudged” or “tweaked it to say what they wanted it to say.”

Just like the UN and its IPCC resolution, the NCDC has a political agenda and likes the fat grants taxpayers fund and, of course, everyone loves a climate crisis, especially the recipients of those juicy grants. I’ve been reading one of the most fascinating secular books I’ve read in a while. It is by another pesky economist and another black man, Thomas Sowell. Both Sowell and Williams are amazing black because they don’t even write with a dialect, unless, of course, they want to. Sowell’s book is not one that you skim through or gloss over while you’re watching TBN. No, even though it truly is a “page turner,” it is a read that requires your undivided attention. It’s a little like his book A Conflict of Visions and is entitled Intellectuals and Society.[2] One comment from Sowell sets the table for us. “Since many, if not most, intellectuals operate under the implicit assumption that knowledge is already concentrated—in people like themselves—they are especially susceptible to the idea that a corresponding concentration of decision-making power in a public-spirited elite can benefit society. That assumption has been the foundation for reform movements like Progressivism in the United States and revolutionary movements in various other countries around the world.”[3]

Christian celebs are not immune to that kind of thinking. They are often considered experts on everything, even if they know little or nothing about the subject. So, it’s a given that getting some well-known theologians to get on board with global warming is relatively easy. It sounds good, plausible, and feasible, so these Christians are willing to put their name on a document, especially if it gives the impression that “it’s for the poor” or my other favorite: “It’s for the kids.” As I’ve pointed out, a more than superficial examination of (stubborn) facts discloses that quite a bit of environmentalism is more PC and more political than it is ever considered to be. Moreover, for Christians to be signing on to the major tenets of environmentalism would be like the early Christian Church signing on to Gnosticism. In fact, the whole Gaia gig (you know, Mother Earth, with capital letters) is a direct derivative from Gnosticism. The New Age movement falls under the same criticism. And here’s the kicker: PC ideology, Gnosticism, Gaia, Mother Earth, and global warming are anti-Christian. I imagine that some poor soul will continue to attempt to fit them together in some kind of syncretism, but ultimately, it cannot be done.

Christianity and Gnosticism are arch-enemies from the opening words of the Old Testament: in the beginning God… Yet, many Christian celebs have no trouble signing on the IPCC line and, what is worse, the lion’s share of evangelicals have no trouble with them signing it and then not taking their names off when it’s discovered that the Emperor is wearing no clothes—or that his clothes have been manipulated a little to suit grants and “research outcomes.” For example, between 1960 and 1980 the number of stations used for calculating global surface temperatures was around 6,000. By the early 1990s, that number had dwindled to about 1,500. Williams observes, “Most of the stations lost were in the colder regions of the Earth. Nothing adjusting for their lost [sic] made temperatures appear to be higher than was in fact the case. According to Science & Environmental Policy project, Russia reported that CRU was ignoring data from colder regions of Russia, even though these stations were still reporting data.” (1. Emphasis added.) For the uninitiated, this is sometimes called neutral scholarship. It’s just your friendly, underpaid scientist with leftwing political leanings gearing up for some grant money.

But it was also reported that National Climatic Data Center “engaged in similar deceptive activity where they have dropped stations, particularly in colder climates, higher elevations or closer to the polar regions. Temperatures are now simply projected for these colder stations from other stations, usually in warmer climates.” (Ibid. Emphasis added.) Allow me to translate this for you. The NCDC lied—repeatedly and intentionally. They used selective data that would skew the results to favor their agenda. Williams correctly notes, however, that there is big, big money in the global warming hoax. While we’re watching those greedy insurance companies (you know, the ones who average a 3% profit, which the wonks, hacks, and pundits call “gouging”), Chicago has developed its own Climate Futures Exchange “that plans to trade in billions of dollars of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Corporate America and labor unions, as well as their international counterparts have a huge multi-trillion dollar finance stake in the perpetuation of the global warming fraud. Federal, state and local agencies have spent billions of dollars and created millions of jobs to deal with one aspect or another of global warming.” (Ibid., 2. Emphases added.)

Sadly, this entire scam is about substantially more than money, although money is a huge carrot. Williams writes, “Schoolteachers have created polar-bear-dying lectures to frighten and indoctrinate our children when in fact here are more polar bears now than in 1950. They’ve taught children about melting glaciers. Just recently, the International Panel on Climate Change was forced to admit that their Himalayan glacier-melting fraud was done to ‘impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.’” (Ibid. Cursives mine.)

After all this, you’d think that the celeb signatories would feel some compunction to remove their names from such a scandalously corrupt resolution, but no. Nothing. Nothing. Not a word of contrition. I wonder if they preach about biblical conduct and behavior. I know. Maybe they could preach on how building an Ultimate Fighting cage in the foyer, next to the Starbucks, would bring more men back into the Church. Oh, wait, some modern churches have already thought of that. It’s all a sham just like the Crystal Cathedral that just announced that it’s $55 million in debt, which, by the way, is more than I make a month.

[1] (Emphasis added.)

[2] Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, (NY: Basic Books, 2009).

[3] Ibid., 18.