Press Release: Climate Change Divides Convention, Kills Evangelism

Tim Brister —  March 12, 2008 — 23 Comments
[Disclaimer: If you are a Southern Baptist and cannot laugh at yourself, please read NO further. The statements below are a light-hearted attempt to satirize that thing we do as Southern Baptists, you know . . .]

Things have really been “heating up” here in SBC world. For the two of you uninformed on the matter, a significant number of leading Southern Baptists have gathered together to form what they are called “the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative” (SBECI). Inspired by a blogger (gasp) and seminary student (double gasp), Jonathan Merritt, this initiative has sought to raise the bar when it comes to involvement in creation care and stewardship of the environment.

I first caught on to this initiative through reading Nathan Finn’s blog, and within hours, the news was being spread on the Drudge Report, New York Times, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and other major media outlets. The secular interest in this matter is perhaps the greatest regarding Southern Baptists since the days of the Disney boycott. Nevertheless, the official news outlet of denominational executives (X-Comm), Baptist Press, was quick to note that “the seminary student’s climate change project is not SBC’s” (note: the title was changed to leave out “seminary student’s” part in the revised version). At the point, Baptist Press began an all-out media blitz with several articles regarding the climate change initiative, certain that such a matter demanded an authorized (KJV style) version on global warming, as contrasted to that of a “seminary student” and his project. This tit-for-tat battle for who speaks for Southern Baptists raises just another issue on just where and how Southern Baptists define themselves.

So yet again, the SBC is embroiled in another battle, and in the midst of this, we are reminded of one thing that does not change-controversy. In fact, historians have filed this latest issue of climate change as the 2,356 controversy since 1845, surpassed only by the number of resolutions of the SBC.

In an effort to contribute to the media blitz, correspondents from P&P have been asking for statements and responses from leading Southern Baptists regarding this hotly debated issue. Below are the responses we have gathered thus far. As you can clearly see, the issue of climate change has divided the convention and is threatening to kill evangelism-something which neither the other “C’s” (Calvinists and charismatics) have been able to do. That alone says a lot about the power of a changing climate in the SBC atmosphere.

Frank Page: “I think what you see by the events of this week is that we are headed for ‘tumultuous days‘ in the future. In light of this, I look forward to contributing to the conversation with my new book, Trouble with the Thermometer: Taking a Closer Look at Five Tenets of Global Warming (forthcoming by Broadman & Holman).”

Frank Cox: “I have many friends who are concerned about climate change today, and I have no problem discussing these issues. However, what concerns me today is this new strain of aggressive, hyper climate change advocates who are dividing the convention today.”

Richard Land: “This climate change initiative is not the official policy of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am here to tell you that the 2007 Resolution on Global Warming is a sufficient statement for all Southern Baptists, and I am prepared to make a motion in Indianapolis to bring to the convention floor” (that is, the “Land Motion”).

Timmy Brister: “To the best of my estimation, this new PDF compilation I have created will far exceed my ‘Chronicling the Current Controversy of Calvinism in the Convention’ by a good 200 pages.”

Danny Akin: “Regardless of what side you fall, it is imperative that all ministers be honest and transparent with their churches and where they stand on climate change. Simply put: for integrity’s sake, put all your environmental cards on the table. Don’t be deceitful by not telling your church what you believe. If you are for climate change, drive a Prius. If not, then drive your SUV. But don’t pretend to be someone you are not and disrupt the unity of our churches.”

Roger Moran: “I am prepared to go to the Executive Committee with a motion to defund all Southern Baptist Churches who have bought into this clandestine initiative called climate change. This motion must be considered and implemented effective immediately.”

David Dockery: “As Southern Baptists and evangelicals, we are called to have a balanced understanding of our Baptist identity that preserves our distinctives and also provides a biblical worldview that encompasses all areas of life, including climate change.”

Florida Baptist Witness: “Denominational loyalty requires that we make it clear where we stand on climate change, and as Southern Baptists, we are creating a new organization to unite Southern Baptists around creation care in a movement we are calling ‘The Noah Convergence’. More details will be announced, including how you can sign up.”

Tom Ascol: “My dispensational friends have been trying to influence me by checking out their eschatological charts to determine if I am rapture ready, but at this point I remain unconvinced that global warming is a sign of the apocalypse.”

Wiley Drake: “I’m just trying to get the temperature right inside the church, not outside.”

Steve McCoy: “And people wonder why my series, ‘Reasons Why I Hate Us‘ gets so much Google traffic.”

Jerry Vines: “I told you about some ‘Baptist Battles‘ in years past, but this here is a battle for the future. On this issue of climate change, you will find who the real bible-believing conservatives are, and you will also find those who are heading down the road to apostasy.”

Bill Wagner: “As a nominee for President of the Southern Baptist Convention, I realize the importance of climate change among my fellow Southern Baptists, and I am creating a special page on my presidential campaign website to lay our my vision for dealing with such a delicate issue.”

Nathan Finn: “There is a growing problem of stereotypes in the SBC, and when it comes to creation care, it is no different. In the coming days, I am going to start a series for the purpose of setting the record straight about environmental stereotypes.”

Paige Patterson: “The Anabaptists can teach us a great deal about climate change, of that I am sure.”

Ken Silva: “This is clearly evidence that we are living in a Laodicean age. The influence of Brian McLaren, Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis has made God want to spew us out of his mouth.”

Ben Cole: “Two words: Jimmy Carter.”

SBC Evangelists: “We are planning to hold a conference this weekend in Nashville to lament the rise in interest of climate change. Southern Baptists are not about changing the climate but changing lives, not saving trees but saving souls. All eight of us are ready to make our stand on the Great Commission and protest this development.”

Nelson Price: “I really believe that the neo-Calvinists are behind this. Don’t be fooled.”

Ed Stetzer/Thom Rainer: “LifeWay Research has conducted a scientific survey of Southern Baptist pastors and have found that 8.5% of pastors consider themselves Climate Change advocates. Nevertheless, we looking into hosting a new conference this fall, entitled, “Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Climate Change.”

Florida Baptist Convention: “Through the generous donations of several folks in our state, we are happy to announce that every pastor will be receiving next month a complimentary DVD of Al Gore’s landmark documentary, An Inconvenient Truth in an effort to inform Southern Baptists on the matter.”

Malcolm Yarnell: “I voted for the climate change before I voted against it.”

As you can see, Southern Baptists are battling it out on this matter, and P&P reporters are committed to giving you the accurate and most up-to-date details on all the projects of seminary students and everything else cookin’ in the SBC oven. In the meantime, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

[End note: These statements are the product of previous statements or events imported to this controversy. They are completely contrived and are not intended to offend. Please put your guns away. For real satirical blogging, please visit Purgatorio and Team Tom in the Box.]
[End note 2: If you read all these quotes and understood the context from whence they came, you are officially a hyper-extreme-militant Southern Baptist. Go take a cold shower and recite the Apostle’s Creed. If you got 50% of them, there’s still hope for you. If you got less than 10%, consider yourself privileged to dwell in such bliss! :)]
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  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com Stephen Newell

    I really, really, really needed this after a rough night on the belt. I lost it totally when I read Ben Cole. Thanks for the much-appreciated laugh!

    BTW, I got pretty much all of them. I need a life.

  • http://www.worshipleader-ron.blogspot.com Worship Leader Ron

    Bravo! Well done. The “of that I am sure” is very pattersonian. I especially liked the idea of the Noah Convergence. And how about good ole’ Dr. Yarnell. Perhaps he voted against it because of the conflict it would imply regarding church autonomy? Great stuff, Timmy.

    It’s official, I’m certainly must be a hyper-extreme-militant something or other…

    I believe in the God, the Father Almighty…

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  • http://sagordon.blogspot.com Scott Gordon

    for further top shelf satire i recomend chadwickivester.wordpress.com

    sola gratia!

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  • W.A. Scrogham

    I drive a hybrid myself, but I don’t consider CO2 an issue worthy of division. That said, I implore all of my fellow Baptists who operate vehicles with standard combustion engines to emit only in moderation, and to remain diligent lest they inadvertently encourage a weak brother or sister to purchase a high-emission, gas guzzling SUV. Though scripture does not explicity forbid the operation of standard combustion engines, there’s a risk of them becoming a block of stumbling.

  • http://www.eutychus.net Eutychus

    Well done!

  • JD

    Hilarious –

    After reading the one on Malcolm Yarnell, my office chair slipped out from under me I was laughing so hard.

  • http://minormutterings.blogspot.com Jerry

    A little more global warming would make missions easier in Greenland.

  • http://motopolitico2.blogspot.com G. F. McDowell

    Thanks, Timmy. I needed that. Well, off to my cold shower.

  • http://www.thisbreadalways.blogspot.com Kevin

    Do you really have a PDF on the Calvinism controversy in the SBC? Seriously…? Could I see it? :)

  • Nancy Drew

    This is good stuff. There’s more Baptist satire at SBC TooDazed.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Well, if anything, I am learning that there is much to parody in the SBC (and learning about blogs who do it better than me!).

    I did notice that Johnny Hunt is offering “Hot” Prizes for his Timothy Barnabas Conference. There’s got to be a secret message regarding global warming in there somewhere. After all, he gave away Hummers last year, and giving away Hummers while signing an initiative in favor of climate change is like recommending Dave Hunt while preaching stuff from John MacArthur. :) At least this year, the prize vehicle is a suped up sports car . . .

    http://www.timothybarnabas.org/bf_prizes.asp

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Kevin,

    Yeah, I have a PDF, but the most updated one is not online as of yet (I don’t think so at least). Here is the most recent one online (from November of last year):

    http://timmybrister.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/a-chronological-survey-of-the-calvinism-arminianism-controversy-in-the-sbc-with-contributing-factors-30.pdf

  • http://frightfullypleased.blogspot.com Stephen Ley

    Excellent! I can tell this post was a labor of love.

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  • http://drjamesgalyon.wordpress.com Rev

    I’m a “hyper-extreme-militant Southern Baptist”? Oh man! Getting ready to go take a cold shower, but I’ve already recited the Apostle’s Creed three times today. ;)

  • http://drjamesgalyon.wordpress.com Rev

    BTW, Timmy, this is a brilliant post! Very funny stuff!

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Thanks Rev. I talked to my father who is a lifelong Southern Baptist, and he told me that he did not know the context of any of these. I was a bit saddened by this revelation. Well, not really.

    The sad thing is that I thought of these off the top of my head while driving home from work the other day. I need help. Bad, real bad.

  • caddiechaplain

    To quote that famous theologian, Larry the Cable Guy, “I don’t care what anyone says, that’s funny right there!”

  • http://physicsdoc.blogspot.com Bill Nettles

    Yarnell is amazing! (both ice cream and man). First Louisiana College, now the SBECI.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Bill,

    I am going to chalk that up to the providence of God. :)

    Here’s why. God has been doing some amazing things in the last couple of years at LC, and I am rather certain that none of it would have been possible if Yarnell was president. I’ve got a buddy who is bringing 20 students up for T4G, and that alone would not have happened under an Anabaptist influence. ;)

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