Temperatures Rising over SBC's Focus on Climate Change

Despite growing research to the contrary, a handful of leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) have formally jumped on the global warming bandwagon, calling it an urgent issue for its 16.3 million members. The proclamation, signed by SBC President Frank Page, came as a shock to the members of America's largest Protestant group, which has long been skeptical of such claims. This global warming pronouncement is a definite departure from official statements from the SBC membership, which passed a resolution just last year questioning the evidence of global warming. This past week in New York City, a group of 100 leading scientists on the issue released a new report stating that there is no "convincing evidence" of a man-made global warming crisis. Instead, they demonstrated through data that the world has been experiencing a noticeable cooling pattern over the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the signatories of the SBC declaration, none of whom are scientists, insist that the threat to the environment "requires government action to assure the health and well-being of all people." While environmental conservation and less dependence on foreign energy sources are vital concerns to all people of faith, the global warming agenda threatens to be a wedge issue that divides and distracts Evangelicals. Unfortunately, these SBC leaders are lending credibility to a movement that sorely lacks it. Like the Evangelical left, these SBC leaders are relying too heavily on government intervention, which usually creates a bigger mess than it solves. As Harry Jackson and I talk about in Chapter 12 of our book, Personal Faith, Public Policy, Christians must take a balanced approach to the stewardship of our planet--one that doesn't rush to bad conclusions, bad science, bad policy, and bad results.