Emerging church writings say very little about the salvation of the soul, but they say a lot about the salvation of society and creation. Their activism runs toward all sorts of very liberal social-justice concerns--environmentalism, animal rights, you name it--anything except the winning of souls. If there is any emphasis at all upon the winning of souls, it is a secondary thing.
They use terms such as “missional” and “holistic” to define this agenda.
The Emergent Village says:
“We see the earth and all it contains as God’s beloved creation, and so we join God in seeking its good, its healing, and its blessing” (Emergent Village web site,
Tony Campolo claims that believers are saved in order to change the world:
“Our call is to be God’s agents, TO RESCUE NOT ONLY THE HUMAN RACE BUT THE WHOLE OF CREATION” (Campolo, “Why Care for Creation,” Tear Times, Summer 1992).
Rob Bell, author of Velvet Jesus, says:
“The Bible paints a much larger picture of salvation. It describes all of creation being restored. ... Rocks and trees and birds and swamps and ecosystems. God’s desire is to restore all of it. ... A Christian is not someone who expects to spend forever in heaven there. A Christian is someone who anticipates spending forever here, in a new heaven that comes to earth. THE GOAL ISN’T ESCAPING THIS WORLD BUT MAKING THIS WORLD THE KIND OF PLACE GOD CAN COME TO. ... To make the cross of Jesus just about human salvation is to miss that God is interested in the saving of everything. Every star and rock and bird. All things” (Velvet Elvis, pp. 109, 110, 150, 161).
The environmental part of the emerging church’s agenda is not just to keep the air clean and the streams pure; it goes far beyond that to a position that is akin to earth worship.
In May 2008 Pastor Jeffrey Whittaker attended Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change tour at Goshen College in Indiana, and he witnessed the environmental frenzy first hand (“A Pastor Reports on McLaren’s Everything Must Change Tour,” June 2, 2008, http://herescope.blogspot.com/).
The very first session was titled “Focusing on the Wounds of Our Planet.” They sang a song based on Francis of Assisi’s poem “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” and watched a DVD by the Sierra Club “exposing the immoral mining techniques used by energy companies in West Virginia.” Then they were treated to a song that cried out against “our rape of Mother Earth.” The second day’s session began with another environmentalist song that said mining is a “scar cut across the face of Mother Earth.” They were constantly reminded that “catastrophic consequences due to global warming are upon us.” Another session opened with the “Hymn of Remorse,” which bewailed the supposed desecration of the earth. “We repent for covering your colorful earth with gray cement ... for cutting down trees ... for scarring your earth ... Lord, have mercy, can we be restored? What of the lands of tribes and nations who lived here first ... the noise of traffic is drowning out the songbird’s song...”
By no stretch of the imagination can such a position be supported by the Bible. From the very beginning God gave man the right to use the earth.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Man has a divine right to subdue the earth and use its resources, to cut its trees and mine its ore and pump its oil. This does not mean he has the right to destroy the earth and make it into a filthy cesspool; no one in his right mind is in support of polluting the air and water and such things. But God has given man the right to use the earth’s resources in a responsible manner.
The environmentalist movement is not based on proven science; it is not merely the push for reasonable conservation; it is a blind religious faith. Its most zealous proponents are gullible tools in the hands of one-worlders who intend to use the environmentalist cause to increase their authority at a local, national, and global level. When Marxist globalists jump on the environmentalist bandwagon, you have to know that something other than love for a clean earth is driving the agenda.
Jonah Goldberg has wisely observed:
“At its core, environmentalism is a kind of nature worship. It’s a holistic ideology, shot through with religious sentiment. ... Environmentalism’s most renewable resources are fear, guilt and moral bullying” (“The Church of Green,” Los Angeles Times, Op-Ed, May 20, 2008).
As for “global warming,” it is not an established fact. In reality, it is nothing more than a weak theory; and many scientists do not believe it. In March 2008, for example, more than 100 prominent environment scientists presented papers at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York City. They concluded that global warming is a natural process rather than the result of human activity. Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, said: “The purpose of the conference is to provide a platform for the hundreds of scientists, economists, and policy expert s who dissent from the so-called ‘consensus’ on global warming” (“Scientists Meet in NYC to Challenge Gore, UN,” WorldNetDaily, March 4, 2008).
The radical environmentalist agenda is simply not based on proven science. Take the frenzy to ban plastic shopping bags, for example.
“Scientists are attacking the global campaign to ban plastic shopping bags, saying the activists’ claim that the modern conveniences are responsible for the deaths of 100,000 animals and one million seabirds is based on a ‘typo’ in a 2002 report [by the Australian government] and there is no scientific evidence showing the bags pose a direct threat to marine mammals. [The report was derived from a Canadian study in Newfoundland that only sited the death of marine mammals by discarded fishing nets and made no mention of plastic bags!] Researchers and marine biologists have told the London Times plastic bags pose, at best, a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds” (“Anti-plastic Crusaders Stuck Holding the Bag,” WorldNetDaily, March 9, 2008).
It takes more energy to make and recycle paper shopping bags than plastic ones, but banning plastic bags makes the environmental activists felt better and that is what is really important.
Consider the frenzy to save the polar bears.
“The U.S. government just put polar bears on the threatened species list because climate change is shrinking the Arctic ice where they live. Never mind that polar bears are in fact thriving--their numbers have quadrupled in the last 50 years. Never mind that full implementation of the Kyoto protocols on greenhouse gases would save exactly one polar bear, according to Danish social scientist Bjorn Lomborg, author of the 2007 book Cool It! Yet about 300 to 500 polar bears could be saved every year, starting right now, Lomborg says, if there were a ban on hunting them in Canada. What’s cheaper, trillions to trim carbon emissions or paying off the Canadians to stop killing polar bears?” (“The Church of Green,” Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2008).
The common sense evident in this paragraph is what is often missing in the environmental movement.
The movement is also shot through and through with duplicity. There appears to be a willingness to say anything and ignore any inconvenient fact as long as by so doing you can further your cause.
“During the 2000 presidential campaign, for example, much was made of Houston becoming the ‘smog capital of America.’ But Houston’s overall air quality was improving at the time. Houston became the nation's smog capital only because Los Angeles’s air improved even faster, passing Houston in a race of positives. Perhaps the commentators who spoke as though Houston's air were getting worse did not understand the issue. More likely they did not want to understand-for cleaner air would violate the rule of Good News Bad” (Gregg Easterbrook, “Bad News Good, Good News Bad,” Brookings Institute, Spring 2002).
Environmental activists have claimed that more U.S. cities are violating air standards, but what they don’t say is that the EPA standards have grown progressively stricter and that the pollution levels have actually gone down dramatically. Data produced by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that between 1976 and 1997, ozone declined 31 percent; sulfur dioxide, 67 percent; and nitrogen oxide, 38 percent. In that same period, the population rose 25 percent, the gross domestic product doubled, and vehicle-miles traveled increased 125 percent!
Activists have claimed that pollution is rising at runaway levels under President George Bush’s watch. “Yet the overall number of bad-air days has actually been falling steadily. In 2001, there were fewer than half as many air-quality warning days across the country as in 1988. Los Angeles has experienced just one Stage 1 ozone warning in the past five years, an incredible decline. During the 1970s, Los Angeles averaged about 100 Stage 1--alert days per year” (“Why Bush Gets a Bad Rap on Dirty Air,” Time magazine, May 22, 2003).
Further, the environmentalists too often focus their attention on America and other developed countries rather than the countries that are really and truly raping the earth. America has made great progress. Its water and air is cleaner than in a generation and its forests are more widespread than even in the 19th century. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons are off the endangered list; black bear and coyotes and moose and buffalo and deer and other wildlife are increasing dramatically. The Brookings Institute web site recently observed: “Arguably the greatest postwar achievement of the U.S. government and of the policy community is ever-cleaner air and water, accomplished amidst population and economic growth” (http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2002/spring_energy_easterbrook.aspx).
If an environmental activist wants to spend his energy on saving the earth, let him leave America or England or Switzerland where environmental consciousness is high and the people have plenty of resources to solve their problems, and move to Russia, India, or China, to name some countries that are true environmental disasters, and dedicate his life to solving their problems.
The fact is that the environmental movement’s dire predictions have been proven wrong for more than a half century. It has being crying “the sky is falling,” but it has not fallen. There has been no silent spring. During George H.W. Bush’s term of office in the early 1990s environmentalists were threatening a “new silent spring” of dead Appalachian forests. In fact, the forests have made a wonderful comeback.
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