Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Change of Southern Baptist Climate

This week a group supposedly representing the Southern Baptist Convention (I am still unclear as to their identity) released a statement on global climate change entitled "A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change." As far as I can understand, the main author of the declaration is a seminary student. The declaration comes with 46 signatures.

Three points:

1. I've read the full text, and I have no major objections to the wording, except maybe to the degree that global warming is considered primarily caused by humans. I agree fully that Christians should be the first ones in our society to promote a biblical view of environmental concern. Reduce, reuse, recycle...and take only pictures.

2. The media seem to be picking the story up as if it is a position change for the SBC. (i.e. CNN: Southern Baptist Leaders Shift Position on Climate Change.) While I expect that this will again be an issue during the one week of the year in which Southern Baptists do have a "convention," the current document can hardly be promoted as the new view of Southern Baptists any more than if my previous blog entry suddenly had 46 affirmations from people in Southern Baptist Churches (including such "weighty" names as James Merritt.) (Yes, a resolution on Oceanic Airlines may be in the works for the next convention.)

3. The main thing: the gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems that the SBC (read: 'the dominant voices within the SBC') always wants to walk a thin line when it comes to making political statements and "world-changing" declarations on behalf of the 16 million-member-strong denomination. (There will be 6 million, maybe, in gathered worship this week - you do the math.) It completely befuddles me that any statement at all should need to be made about topics which are not central to the purpose of the SBC: to cooperate toward a unified effort in the missionary task of spreading the gospel.

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