Baptist Buzz: Southern Baptist Environmentalism

I was a little amused tonight when I caught word of the recent buzz over Southern Baptist Environmentalism this weekend. I kept reading and it turns out many are calling this a “movement.” Here are what some SBC Voices are saying.

The Southern Baptist Environment & Climate Initiative
This is the official website that hosts the declaration and list of signers. They offer a resource link list of environmental resources to educate Southern baptists on the issues.

Baptist Press released a couple of articles to clarify this is not an “official” statement of Southern Baptist policy, since the convention only expresses its will at the annual meeting.

The Southern Baptist Blogosphere had a lot to think about. Here are what some SBC Voices were saying:

Rodney Albert examined the statement point by point concluding:

Sadly, when you get past all the glitz, there just ain’t much there. The document seems more about connections and contacts then it does about content. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to reign in my sarcasm which will be obvious in my retitling of the Declarations various sections, if not in the commentary itself.

Bart Barber started a little conversation on the topic with his post First Church of the Weather to which he adds:

Media reports have pitted this statement at odds with the resolution adopted at this year’s SBC annual meeting. I’m not so sure that the two statements cannot be reconciled. I don’t think that the denominational employees who have endorsed this later statement would knowingly and willfully take a stand in public opposition to the expressed will of the convention.

John Stickley raises some concerns about the wording of the declaration. He writes:

Here’s my suggestion. If you’ve got no “special revelation”, “special training”, or the like that allows you to assess “whether global warming is occurring and, if it is occurring, whether people are causing it”… stick to the theological issues and principles that lead Christians to a position of environmental stewardship, and leave climate change out of your statements.

After all, isn’t human-influenced climate change covered by environmental stewardship? Of course it is. So why hit the hot button issue? Political expediency and media coverage. At least that’s what it looks like to me.

If that was your goal, I extend my congratulations… you made top story on for a while, and are sure to receive plenty of publicity for the cause.

Micah Fries is more optimistic, he signed the declaration and encourages his readers to join the initiative. He writes:

I just finished signing my name to it. Hopefully this will be an encouraging step in the right direction as we make a concerted effort to care for God’s creation and consider scientific evidence from a biblical perspective and be better stewards of what God has given us.

John Hall isn’t sure what to think of this and wants to talk it over.

Nathan Finn likes the idea, sharing the opinion that Southern Baptists have been slow to engage this issue. He writes:

I signed it about ten minutes ago. I am thrilled that some Southern Baptists want to engage this issue more holistically (and biblically) than is the tendency among many ideological conservatives.

My 2 Cents?

As a young guy myself, still only 30, I deeply sympathize with this cause. Fossil fuels have done things to our environment that we are just beginning to understand. Climate change seems a little over-hyped, but clearly Western society has been reckless with the environment.

This may indeed be a conversation that creates change, but I fear we’re headed for another Baptist battle. Good work Jonathan.


  1. says

    Just posted a blog about this myself the other day. I always cringe when the SBC is thrown into the national media. I think the SBC convention got it right last summer and it frightens me that the SBC name was thrown on this. It seems to have absolutely no scientific credentials at all. I remain unconvinced that we need to meddle in this at this juncture. There seems to be lots of opinion on this. Add mine to the list. Be very cautious in this arena.

    Scott’s last blog post..How Did We Live?

  2. says

    Good work Jonathan.

    No. Not really.

    This young man by choosing the words he did placed himself as the spokesman for the entire SBC. Whether he spoke truly or not matters not by the falsehood of that action! Is he one voice speaking for all with responsible authority granted by the convention?

    Deceptive work, Jonathan. Its time to cram for the Christian Ethics midterm it seems.

    Scott’s last blog post..Thus Saith the Lord