Consensus On Climate Change Is Political – Christians Should Be Good Stewards But Christ Is Salvation
Many are the significant issues facing America as a nation and as a people, and according to some sources, one of the more pressing of those issues is climate change. Mr. Don Burr, in his letter of July 1, 2015, very cordially set forth his view on this subject and invited conversation from the local clergy in response to the climate change matter.
Mr. Burr introduced the issue of climate change with the claim “the overwhelming majority of reputable climatologists around the world confidently assert that climate change (‘global warming’) is real and caused primarily” by man’s use of fossil fuels. In that I am no scientist and do not claim any grounding in science, it was my task to examine such a statement through other sources to determine if such a contention was a matter of incontrovertible fact or if there is another side to this claim. My research showed that the claim advanced by Mr. Burr is not completely accurate. I will of necessity need to be as brief as possible in this response. Dr. Leslie Woodcock, a former NASA scientist and professor emeritus of the University of Manchester School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, has debunked the idea of climate change, insisting that scientists with no political agenda will admit climate change is a hoax (http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/global-warming-at-NASA/2014/12/09/id/610163/). The founder of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore (whose doctorate is in ecology) testified to the U.S. Congress that climate change is a hoax; he says the earth has warmed some but there is no credible evidence to indict man as the cause of the warming (http://www.inquisitr.com/1155110/greenpeace-founder-climate-change-is-bogus/). A team of U. S. scientists, led by Professor Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Professor Fred Singer of the University of Virginia, signed a letter distributed to all members of the U. S. Senate with these terse words: “The claim of consensus is fake, designed to stampede you into actions that will cripple our economy, and which you will regret for many years. There is no consensus, and even if there were, consensus is not the test of scientific validity. Theories that disagree with the facts are wrong, consensus or no” (http://www.iceagenow.com/Consensus_on_Climate_Change_Is_Fake.htm). Other sources indicate the earth goes through periodic times of warming and cooling on its own. I could go on but I believe the point has been made. “Consensus” in climate change is not a “done deal” except where there is political advantage to be gained. In the research I did on this it became clear there is more politics than hard science on the issue of climate change.
I must take issue with Mr. Burr’s conclusion that pastors in Protestant churches should take up the cause of climate change and inform their congregations of the alleged danger. The so-called “social gospel” of the mid-20th century overarched the theological landscape of the day with the ideology that man’s immediate needs and plight is the overwhelming focus all things “Christian”. But in that social gospel ideology came a tacit if not outright rejection of the Bible as the foundation, source and authority for Christian belief. It became more pressing to address poverty, women’s rights, ecological issues and the like, than it was to preach the Gospel message. The proponents of the social gospel often pointed to Jesus as the model, saying He had compassion for the poor and the marginalized, and thus, so should the church in the modern era. While there is admittedly a very strong and necessary component of compassion for the poor and disenfranchised in the Scriptures, it is not the primary call. Compassion ministry flows from the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation for a humanity lost in their sin.
There is a responsibility, I believe, for Christians to be good stewards of the gift of creation; Christ-followers must not be wanton destructors of the land and the seas as it would show a tremendous disregard for God’s initiative in providing a beautiful creation for man to enjoy. But when the focus of Christian mission and purpose is swung to issues such as climate change, which qualifies as a component of the social gospel, then the resultant weakening of the Scripture message is a dangerous and unwise course of action. More than wondering whether the polar caps are receding or not, people need to hear about the Savior and His offer of salvation to all mankind.
I appreciate Mr. Burr’s interest in climate change and the condition of the earth, but I do not believe it can be established beyond a reasonable doubt that man is the culprit, or that there is some global climate change problem that should immediately occupy every waking thought of the day, and as such, the discussion is one of a more tenuous nature. But according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing is more important than declaring sinful humanity’s need for a Savior and the power of the blood of Christ, shed on the cross, to bring about that salvation. “Preach the Word”, the apostle Paul counseled (2 Timothy 4:2). That is the divine mission of Christian proclamation. Anything else seeking priority or prominence is a departure from the command of the Scripture.
Pastor Scott Osenbaugh
The Healing Place (Nashville Assembly of God)