The Washington Times reported the announcement. The declaration, signed by the president of the Southern Baptist Convention among others and released today, shows a growing urgency about climate change even within groups that once dismissed claims of an overheating planet as a liberal ruse. The conservative denomination has 16.3 million members and is the largest Protestant group in the United States.
The signers of "A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change" acknowledged that not all Christians accept the science behind global warming. They said they do not expect fellow believers to back any proposed solutions that would violate Scripture, such as advocating population control through abortion.
My first reaction to the news was to start brainstorming ideas to help. For example, if Christian television preachers and hosts/hostesses voluntarily switched from hairspray to gel I think that would make a substantial impact on the ozone layer. Maybe the megachurches could start a hybrid bus ministry to save precious fossil fuel for the people that drive over twenty miles to go to their churches instead of local churches. Perhaps the biggest contribution the evangelical community can make is to reduce the volume of hot air generated over philosophical issues that are not critical to the essential message of Christianity. Like arguing over global warming.
It is okay to disagree about issues like global warming. Really. Global warning is not a part of the Apostolic Creed. I applaud the men and women who took the initiative to produce this document. Are they right about the danger of global warming? Who knows? But a call to action doesn’t seem too radical to me. If these men and women who generated the document feel led of the Holy Spirit to take this action then I will support them. I am not as smart as some Christians who can apparently discern God’s will for everyone. Our Lord said that “wisdom is proved right by her actions.” Time will tell if the Lord is leading their actions. I think that letting the culture know we care about the planet is a good message. And I don’t mean that just to be politically correct. Christians believe in a Creator and to proclaim that we must be excellent stewards of that creation is a logical response to that belief. To me this is a non-starter and not an issue worth having one of our family feuds over.
E. Stanley Jones succinctly noted that "when we talk about what we believe in we divide. When we talk about Who we believe in we unite.” When we disagree let it be gracefully. When Jesus prayed for us on the eve of his betrayal He spoke about unity.
I pray not only for these,
but also for those who believe in Me
through their message.
May they all be one,
as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be one in Us,
so the world may believe You sent Me. (Holman Christian Standard Bible, John 17)
I am just fine with showing the planet a little love. A little love for one another wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.