Dr. Russell Moore’s Senate Testimony on Global Warming

Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was on Capital Hill today. He was speaking to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. It was a Full Committee hearing entitled, “An Examination of the Views of Religious Organizations Regarding Global Warming.” The session notes are available as PDF download. However, the PDF is 4.3 MB and 60 pages long. So, I have typed out a short summary of Dr. Moore’s testimony. I anticipate that the entire document will be posted at the Henry Institute in the next several days. The first six pages contain Dr. Moore’s testimony. The rest of the document is appendixes. This could easily constitute an Evangelical Reader On Global Warming. He includes a collection of evangelical statements on the environment and several scholarly essays. You should print the PDF and to keep in your files – then email a ‘thank you’ to Dr. Moore and his staff.

Here is a summary of Dr. Moore’s testimony:

“The role of religion, and specifically of evangelical Christian theology, in the global warming conversation has been and important part of the public policy debate for several years . . . Yet, religious voices on the issue of global climate change are not as uniform as some might suggest. There is a significant constituency within American evangelical Christianity deeply concerned about the use of biblical texts and theological rhetoric to pursue specific policy proposals on climate change, proposals that could have negative repercussions both at the level of public policy and at the level of evangelical identity.”

“The refusal of many conservative evangelicals to accept at face value the arguments for drastic governmental involvement and action regarding global warming should not be seen as a lack of concern for the care of creation. It is not as though conservative Christians are asking, “What hath Jerusalem to do with Kyoto?”

He notes Francis Schaeffer, Carl F.H. Henry and the Southern Baptist Convention’s resolutions as evidence that evangelical Christians are concerned about the environment. He then describes three Southern Baptist concerns regarding environmental policy:

  1. The Bible must not be used “as a vehicle for a political agenda—no matter how commendable the agenda might be.”
  2. “Southern Baptists and other conservative evangelicals are wary of the utopianism present in many of the environmental proposals on climate change—both secular and religious.”
  3. “Southern Baptists and like-minded evangelical Christians are concerned that any public policy proposals on global warming do not compromise the uniqueness and dignity of humanity. The 2006 SBC resolution warns against a “neo-pagan” environmentalist replacement of God the Father with Mother Earth . . . The unique dignity of humanity must be addressed in the global warming debates chiefly on two issues: that of population control and that of the world poverty.”

During his second point, Dr. Moore framed the conversation with a concise and helpful exposition of the Christian worldview:

“An evangelical Protestant commitment to creation is built on an understanding of the narrative of history as outlined in Scripture. God created all things, and declared them good, for the purpose and goal of presenting the universe as an inheritance to Christ Jesus. Humanity, God’s image-bearing vice-regent, declared treason against God’s lordship and plunged the natural order into captivity to a curse. In Christ, Christians believe, God is redeeming the world—by putting away sin and death. And, ultimately, God will redeem his creation by freeing nature from its curse. We understand that we live in the “already” of an “already/not yet” framework of this restoration.”

Dr. Moore concludes:

“The SBC and other like-minded evangelical groups are not opposed to environmental protection. We have no pronouncements on what Jesus would drive. We are sure that He would call us to protect the earth, care for the poor, and to protect innocent human life.” We forthrightly state that our understanding of this matter has everything to do with theological considerations—as do many of the proposals from environmentalists sounding the alarm on global warming. As citizens of a Republic, we do not demand that our fellow citizens adopt our theological convictions, though we are quite willing to discuss how our commitment to biblical principles shapes the questions we ask on such matters. We are, however, concerned about the ways in which religious arguments are used in this debate, possibly with harmful consequences both for public policy and for the mission of the church.”

HT: Steve Weaver, Mark Overstreet, Denny Burk, Trent Hunter

Posted By Tony Kummer

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3 Responses to Dr. Russell Moore’s Senate Testimony on Global Warming

  1. Pingback: Above All Things » Blog Archive » Russell Moore, The Senate & Global Warming

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