Thursday, February 09, 2006

Christians and the Environment

Eighty-six evangelical leaders, including Rick Warren and other well-known "heavies" have signed a statement declaring their support for legislation to fight global warming.

I am delighted that they are concerned about the environment. Christians know that God has appointed us to be stewards of his creation, so we should be leading the wayin caring for the earth, the sea and the sky.

I am delighted that these men care about the environment, but I am amazed at the way they are doing it. There statement includes the following words.

In the United States, the most important immediate step that can be taken at the federal level is to pass and implement national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through cost-effective, market-based mechanisms such as a cap-and-trade program.
Where are these guys coming from. When they see a problem, why do Christians always reach for the state rather than for the Holy Spirit. We don’t believe that laws can change people. The best that the law can do is restrain the worst violence and theft. The law cannot make people good. We believe in salvation by grace and the Spirit, not salvation by law, so why would we think that laws can save the environment?

We know that the whole environment is groaning waiting for salvation. We know that the environment is waiting in eager expectation for the sons of God to get on with it (Rom 8:19,22). There are a couple of billion Christians in the world. If they were to change their behaviour, the impact would be enormous. If Christians got serious about changing the way they spend their money, businesses would have to change way they operate. Consumers decide what businesses produce, so if demand for gas-guzzling cars disappears, car companies will stop producing them. In Europe, car makers have had to get serious about recycling, because consumers demand it. If Christians gave a clear lead, millions of other people would follow their example.

We should think carefully about what we are doing when try to pass laws to change other people's behaviour. We are saying that we know better than them what they should do, and we believe that they will not do it unless a law makes them. We know what is best, and we need a law to make other people do it. This is a very arrogant attitude. Quite different from Jesus way.

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