WWJD…About Climate Change?

I always thought Christians would be devout environmentalists. I mean, if you believe that the Earth is God’s creation, wouldn’t you do everything you could to preserve His work? Turns out I’m a little naive on the issue.

This is a terrific article about Rich Cizik and his conversion to the climate change cause. Mr. Cizik used to be vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). His “awakening” started in 2002 when he attended a conference where Sir James Houghton, a leading British climate scientist and promininent evangelical, was speaking.

“…for three days in Oxford, England, Houghton walked us through the science and our biblical responsibility. He talked about droughts, shrinking ice caps, increasing hurricane intensity, temperatures tracked for millennia through ice-core data. He made clear that you could believe in the science and remain a faithful biblical Christian. All I can say is that my heart was changed. For years I’d thought, ‘Well, one side says this, the other side says that. There’s no reason to get involved.’ But the science has become too compelling. I could no longer sit on the sidelines. I didn’t want to be like the evangelicals who avoided getting involved during the civil rights movement and in the process discredited the gospel and themselves.”

Cizik went to work. In 2004, he got the NAE to issue a paper “For the Health of the Nation” calling for “creation care” and living sustainably. Two years later, he helped organize the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Not everyone was pleased.

“I had people on my board who said, ‘Don’t touch the issue. If you do, we’ll make your life very difficult.’” Twenty-two evangelical leaders signed a letter urging the NAE not to take a position on global climate change.

But he pressed on…

Cizik believed he could still preach the gospel while also talking about these kinds of issues. “You need both. To go to bed at night and say that over a billion people live on a dollar a day and can’t go to bed themselves with a full stomach, can you live as a Christian happily in your suburban home, driving your SUV? Of course you can’t. Not as a real Christian. And if you happen to be a liberal, conservative or centrist, I don’t care. The gospel has priority over politics.”

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