Bryan Fischer
Evangelicals make necessary change at the top
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By Bryan Fischer
December 13, 2008

"Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28)."

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) does not speak for every evangelical or evangelical church (the Southern Baptist denomination, for example, is not a member of the NAE), but it certainly speaks for a great majority of them.

It has been around for 66 years, and represents 50 denominations and more than 45,000 churches. Its national convention in 1983 provided the occasion for Ronald Reagan to denounce the Soviet Union as an "evil empire."

The performance of its vice president for government affairs has been a source of deep concern among clear-thinking evangelicals in recent years because of his aggressive advocacy for global warming alarmism. He appeared to many in the press to be speaking for the evangelical movement in general, and did little to discourage such perceptions.

Yet evangelicals have been among the least gullible in accepting the utterly unsubstantiated claim that global warming is being caused by human activity. Recent polling data suggest that evangelicals are less likely than almost any other demographic group to embrace the hysteria surrounding the global warming movement.

And in truth, global warming isn't even happening anymore. There has been no discernible global warming for an entire decade now, regardless of who or what is responsible for climate change.

The evangelical tradition preserves a conviction that God created man with authority over all creation, to serve as his vice-regent over all that he had made. This stewardship is to be benevolent, for man must answer to God for how he manages what God has created, but this stewardship clearly involves not just creation care but natural resource development.

In other words, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, man has a "hands-on" relationship with the created order. In the environmental movement, of which Cizik had become an apostle, man has a "hands-off" relationship with nature.

In a biblical worldview, man has the authority and the responsibility to extend his benevolent stewardship, management and development of natural resources over the whole earth.

In other words, man's imprint on the created order, as God's vice-regent, is intended continually to expand as man converts natural resources to human use to accommodate a growing and expanding population.

In environmentalism, however, the thrust is to reduce, minimize and eliminate man's imprint on nature. Nature is virtually worshipped, and man is thought of as a noxious, invasive weed. Since Gaia is God, anytime man tampers with Nature by extracting and converting its resources to human use he is committing an act of blasphemy.

These are fundamentally incompatible views of man's relationship with the environment. Cizik, while he certainly would give lip service to the Bible's teaching on dominion, seemed in practice to be sliding into the camp of hard core environmentalists who worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator.

As a result of his conversion to radical environmentalism, Cizik was named by Time magazine earlier this year as one of the 100 most influential Americans.

This drift away from evangelical moorings began to manifest itself in other parts of Cizik's worldview, leading him to cast a vote for the most radically pro-abortion presidential candidate in U.S. history and to tell NPR that his view on gay marriage and civil unions was "shifting." He forthrightly said, "I believe in civil unions," a position which evangelicals must reject since civil union status gives societal endorsement to non-normative sexual behavior clearly proscribed in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

The best Cizik could do in response to a specific question on homosexual marriage was to say, lamely, "I don't officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don't think."

This clearly implies he "unofficially" supports homosexual marriage, and is not even sure if he really believes in the definition of natural marriage any longer.

He even reached the place where he supported the taxpayer-funded distribution of condoms.

In his relentless advocacy for global warming alarmism, and his collapse on the sanctity of life, sexuality and marriage, he was failing utterly to represent faithfully the evangelical tradition and the vast majority of evangelicals themselves. More than two dozen evangelical leaders, including James Dobson and Tony Perkins, attempted to oust him last year. It finally became unmistakably clear to all that it was time for him to go. He issued a mea culpa this week, but it was too little and too late.

As Dennis Prager observed, there truly are just two worldviews from which we must choose: either secular fundamentalism or the Judeo-Christian tradition. Cizik, perhaps without even realizing it, was trying to straddle both and wound up tumbling into the chasm that lies between them. As Elijah said, it is impossible for very long to "limp along on two opinions."

I suspect that Mr. Cizik will land at a leftwing religious organization such as Sojourners, where his environmental views will be welcome and where in truth he likely belongs.

His unfortunate experience may perhaps serve as a cautionary warning to other evangelicals who are tempted to twist the historic standards of Scripture in an effort to make them conform to trendy and popular ideologies.

For, if you can find a way to get around the plain teaching of Scripture on man's dominion over creation, why couldn't you find a way to get around any other politically incorrect assertion in the Bible?

© Bryan Fischer

 

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Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the host of the daily 'Focal Point' radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. 'Focal Point' airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.

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