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12 March, 2008 / theexpositor

Being green in the SBC

I come from a long line of men who made their living as farmers. In fact, I was one of the first to pursue a different vocation, even though I did work on the farm as a boy and as a young adult. I remember something my Dad said once in regards to environmentalism.  He said, “Every day is earth day for farmers.” He was right.

It was shocking to me to read of an initiative led by prominent Southern Baptists  to take what is popularly know as the green route. Jonathan Merritt, national spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative, and son of former SBC president James Merritt, is leading the way to encourage more Southern Baptist to be more engaging on environmental issues.The group have released a declaration titled, “A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change”, and its signatories include SBC president Frank Page, Southeastern Baptist Seminary President Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist and Merritt’s father Dr. James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church.For those of you who may not know, I came to salvation in Christ through the ministry of a Southern Baptist church, licensed and ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, served as a pastor and evangelist and the majority of my family remain members of SBC churches to this day. I left the denomination about a year ago because of theological concerns I had with the SBC and as I became more and more committed to Reform theology. There will always be a spirit of gratitude and love in my heart for what God has done, and is doing, through the ministry of Southern Baptists.

With that said, I have great concerns as to why this environmental move has taken place in the SBC, especially when there are far greater issues. I have noted in numerous articles and radio programs doctrinal issues that I feel are threatening what is described as the nation’s largest protestant denomination.

Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed an alarming trend in the SBC toward a greater emphasis on what Pastor Jeff Noblit calls “hoop jump evangelism”, or what I unapologetically would label as “hyper-Arminianism”, the implied or distinct teaching and mindset that God cannot save someone without that person’s agreement or allowance.

Then there is the tremendous influence of Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Life. I have described Warren as the “golden boy of the SBC’ as he is seemingly untouchable within the denomination and whose doctrine and practices are seldom ever questioned by many leaders in the Convention.

Add to this the money-driven practices of LifeWay, the growing influence of emergent church doctrine and the mess labeled as youth ministry in many churches, and it is easy to see that there are many, many more important things to consider than whether or not the planet is going to be destroyed because of global warming.Should we be wise stewards of the land? Yes. But why not spend time and money on clearly defining the Gospel and preaching that Gospel, rather than doing the popular “green thing”.

It may make good conversation over a pumpkin spice latte, but it’s not the Gospel.

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4 Comments

  1. Darren Sapp / Mar 12 2008 15 37

    Global Warming, like evolution is a theory that does not have any actual emperical data to prove it. Evolution we know is wrong because of Scripture but it can be compared with global warming becuase they have the same mindset, “man is in control of his destiny.”

    Good stewards yes, but we need to see this for what it is. Global warming might be a concern but so was global cooling in the 1970’s.

    There are many people where secularism is their religion and evolution is their messiah. The last thing they want is an acknowledge of God’s control.

  2. Jim / Mar 13 2008 0 22

    Mike,

    Thank you for your stand for The Truth, and your efforts to call men back to the Biblical Gospel.

    If more men in the pulpits and the pews would open their Bibles and follow the pattern set forth, the church would be focused on the true calling of the Gospel, with what little time there is to do so.

  3. Brett S / Mar 13 2008 14 46

    Thank you for reminding me of my good ole’ grandfather in Texas who died a few years ago. He spent 92 years on a farm out in the middle of nowhere, raising watermelons and cattle, and smoking Marlboros. I remember every time we went to visit, the first 2 hours were spent talking about the weather; and not because it was a way to make small talk. In so many ways the enviroment and the changing seasons were the focus of every day life, and the primary gift by which he lived on.

    Environmentalists sure ain’t what they used to be.

  4. Russ / Mar 15 2008 18 20

    Interesting. Seems that Rome is doing the same:

    “Vatican lists “new sins,” including pollution”: http://green.yahoo.com/news/nm/20080310/hl_nm/pope_sins_dc.html

    Just remember the prophetic words of Kermit the Frog, “It’s just not easy being green”

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