By Paul Chesser on 3.12.08 @ 12:07AM
The Christian denomination that was so ostracized (or admired, depending on your perspective) for resisting liberal modern-day pleas to conform to contemporary culture has finally caved in on so-called “climate change.”
Maybe it shouldn’t surprise that the Southern Baptists have thrown in the towel on the environment. Having been beat up for so long on issues like homosexual marriage, evangelizing others’ religions, and wifely submission to their husbands, they were overdue for a compromise. Sure enough some who claim to represent conservative Christians, like Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, have baited the hook with the tempting rhetorical phrase “creation care,” and apparently the Southern Baptist Convention’s discernment has melted away.
What is surprising is that the SBC, which prides itself on its claims of adherence to Biblical inerrancy and authority, has absolutely botched its interpretation about what man’s responsibility over the Earth is. Its position statement (featured at its brand new, Soylent Green-tinted website), titled the “Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative,” makes so many absurd statements about planet protection (with allegedly supportive Bible citations) that you’d think you’re reading the beliefs of the Unitarian Universalists.
Examples from SBECI:
God’s command to tend and keep the earth (Genesis 2) did not pass away with the fall of man….Therefore, we humbly take responsibility for the damage that we have done to God’s cosmic revelation and pledge to take an unwavering stand to preserve and protect the creation over which we have been given responsibility by Almighty God Himself.
And, both before and after the fall of man, the garden (and later the earth) was given for the man’s use and benefit. “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely,” God told Adam in Genesis 2:16. Verse 2:9 says, “God caused to grow every tree” good for food. Therefore, the natural resources were brought forth by God and He told Adam, “have at it!” (with one significant exception, of course). To summarize, there is no declaration by God (or within Scripture) to maintain the earth in some pristine, unspoiled, Garden-of-Eden-type condition. God gave for man to use as he saw fit — and after the fall He cursed it and explained that the work was going to get much harder.
More from SBECI:
We must care about environmental and climate issues because of our love for God…through whom and for whom the creation was made….Therefore, any damage we do to this world is an offense against God Himself (Gen. 1; Ps. 24; Col. 1:16). We share God’s concern for the abuse of His creation.
More Bible misapplication from SBECI (and the ECI):
Within these Scriptures we are reminded that when God made mankind, He commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures (Gen. 1:26-28).
And by the way, why all this SBC commotion over keeping the soil and water immaculate, while the poor puppies and kitties get short shrift? God, as with the earth, created all the non-human living beings on the fifth and sixth days of creation, called them “good,” and commanded for them to be fruitful and multiply — yet we haven’t heard the Baptist leaders call for their members to go vegan. Why must we preserve a pristine earth but not the special critters He created?
It’s all evidence that the SBC has been intimidated into addressing an issue over which there is no clear Biblical mandate, and in which its members are sharply divided. When the signers say they must “humbly take responsibility for the damage we have done…,” they should speak for themselves. They only reveal their ignorance in areas of science and economics, and their cowardice in compromising their Biblical principles in the face of political pressure.
Paul Chesser is executive director for the American Tradition Institute and a senior fellow for the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. The views he expresses do not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.
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