September 23, 2014

Environmentally Friendly Churches?

Jesse Flowers

One of the latest society fads that is growing in both public pressure and popularity is “saving the environment.” The “global warming” message of doom and gloom has been gathering much momentum in recent months.

Hollywood has gone “green.” Washington (politicians) has gone “green.” Many companies have also gone “green.” And the very latest, churches are going “green”! That’s right. Various churches have allowed themselves to be pulled into the climate change debate.

Earlier this month the Vatican updated their list of deadly sins. “After 1,500 years the Vatican has brought the seven deadly sins up to date by adding seven new ones for the age of globalization. The new deadly sins include polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.”[1] “In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong appeals for the protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had become gravely important for the entire human race. So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of “new” sins such as causing environmental blight.”[2]

Southern Baptist leaders have just recently changed their tune on global warming. Only a year ago the denomination cast serious doubt on humans being responsible for global warming. However, now several prominent leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant denomination in the United States) have stated that Baptists have a moral responsibility to fight climate change. “Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed.”[3]

So, is this local church not fulfilling its moral responsibility by not joining in the fight against global warming? Like the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention have concluded, do we have a biblical duty to “save the environment”? Is this global warming thing just a big hoax, or should we be truly fearful of how humans are destroying the planet? Does the Bible contain any information on this subject that would prove helpful to us?

Global Warming . . . Truth or Lie?

Isn’t it interesting that thirty years ago many supposed “experts” thought that global cooling was the biggest threat, a matter of faith? “It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species,” wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.[4] Wow! Aren’t those words eerily familiar, but only with the present mantra of global warming instead of cooling?

The voices and pens of many notable scientists and professionals in climatology have grown stronger in recent times to express their objections and criticisms of those who preach the gospel of global warming. These men are honest in admitting that the world has warmed, but that the climate changes occurring are “well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun” (4). They conclude that when one examines all the evidence of past and present climate fluctuations, that there is nothing unusual going on.

This is what Dr. Timothy Ball (doctor of science; Ph.D, in climatology) wrote on the matter: “Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970′s global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990′s temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I’ll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.”[5]

If find it rather ironic that John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, refers to global warming as “the greatest scam in history.”

The Bible and Climate Change

In light of the direction that many churches of men are moving towards today, one would think that 1 Timothy 3:15 reads: “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of saving the environment.”

No question that the Bible teaches the child of God the important principles of stewardship, and that a faithful steward will responsibly take care of those things with which he has been entrusted (Luke 12:42; 16:2). Human beings have been entrusted with that which is on this earth. From the very beginning, God commanded men to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion . . . over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). The Bible teaches us to have a respect for the lives of others. We should be respectful of the belongings of others. The Christian should always be concerned with the welfare of those around him. We should even have a healthy respect for our environment.

However, there is a huge difference between being conscientious stewards of God’s creation and worshiping the earth. If only men were as concerned with saving their soul as much as they are with saving the earth (Matt. 16:26). Instead of worrying over man’s destruction of this planet, they need to be fearful of God’s destruction of the heavens and earth. That is what the world needs most to concern themselves with—the global warming that Jehovah will bring about in the future.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Pet. 3:10-12) The sinner needs to get busy repenting (v. 9), and the saint needs to be busy maintaining holy and godly lives (v. 11).

Let’s keep in mind God’s promise to mankind following the earth’s destruction by means of the floodwaters. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22). God, who cannot lie, has promised (Tit. 1:2). Changes in the earth’s temperatures will certainly rise and fall from time to time. Men will continue to pollute the earth, and men will continue to fight pollution. But man will not be the one that destroys it (which seems to me to be an arrogant claim to begin with).

Yes, we need to be respectful of the environment and the earth upon which we live, but let us focus our energies upon the saving of the soul (Heb. 10:39), and the lost souls all around us (2 Cor. 5:10-11). The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Let’s get busy teaching it and warning men of God’s wrath and judgment “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). And let us leave the future demise of this planet in the hands of the great God who created it!


[1]. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,336330,00.html.

[2]. http://green.yahoo.com/news/nm/20080310/ts_nm/pope_sins_dc.html.

[3]. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/10/baptist.climate/.

[4]. http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/global-warming020507.htm.

[5]. Ibid.

Truth Magazine Vol. LIII: 9 September 2009
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