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Editorial
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On this page Prof. Brian Martin warns that global climate change is largely caused by human activity and that we must mend our ways before it’s too late.

I alert you to this because I anticipate a replay of what happened several years ago when The Banner published a similar article [“Climate Care,” April 2007]. We received numerous requests for equal time from those who disputed the author’s position. We refused. In frustration some of those respondents appealed, as is their right, to The Banner’s editorial council, demanding that we allocate equal space in the magazine to the contra-global warming position.

We did print Letters to the Editor and an IMHO arguing the contrary position, but, admittedly, those didn’t balance out the initial presentation either in space or in weight. With Prof. Martin’s article that imbalance only grows. We wish to let you know why we don’t, for example, simply publish two articles side by side, one pro, one con. That sounds like the fairest approach. Why play favorites, given the inarguable fact that Banner editors are not scientists?

We have two main reasons for not allocating equal time to these contradictory positions.

The first is that a side-by-side presentation would make it appear that the judgment of the scientific community is equally divided. It isn’t. While there are scientists who still have doubts that the causes of climate change originate in human activity, the overwhelming majority are convinced and alarmed. There are few, if any, reputable scientific associations that take the contrary view. So allowing equal treatment would seriously misinform our readers.

There are many issues where The Banner should, and does, give equal opportunity to both sides: the Belhar Confession, Christian day schools, evolution theories, to name a few recent examples. But with climate change the gap is just too large.

Our second reason for not allowing equal treatment of this issue is precisely because we editors are not experts on climate change or global warming. We need to rely on the insight and wisdom of the scientific community as a whole to guide us in making our editorial judgment on this issue. That’s why we have sought and received the advice of many scientists in the field. Regardless of our own personal views, we must act on the assumption that climate change is real and that we humans need to make the painful commitment to curb emissions from carbon-based fuels. Given the many strong warnings, we need to act even if some of us still have second thoughts.

Besides, even if the vast majority of scientists turns out to be wrong (could happen!), then we still need to curb our appetite for fossil fuels, because we are rapidly running out of them. And on that score there is unanimity.

God calls us to be good stewards of the creation as a whole and of its resources. At the rate we’re burning through the carbon-based stuff, our grandchildren will be in serious trouble.

It’s time to step up to the plate to do some serious God-imaging.

About the Author

Bob De Moor is a retired Christian Reformed pastor living in Edmonton, Alta.

See comments (50)

Comments

This is the most misguided editorial I've ever read from Bob DeMoor. After acknowledging the "inarguable fact that Banner editors are not scientists," Mr. DeMoor proceeds as if he is one.

But let's assume what is facially acknowledged, "that Banner editors are not scientists?" Why then would the Banner, its editor, or its editorial council, take sides on this issue? The only answer I can think of is to persuade the tens of thousands of Banner readers to join in what is essentially a political position.

But if the editor of a church denomination publication isn't a scientist, how is he particularly qualified to promote a political position on an issue of such complexity? Mr. DeMoor's essential answer is that he can count opinion heads.

I would suggest that Mr. DeMoor is not very good at counting heads on this topic, and that counting heads on this complex a subject matter isn't likely to lead to a reliable conclusion anyway. Witness, for example, that all doctors minus one from Australia not long ago were utterly wrong about a simple medical question: what causes ulcers in the human stomach. Climate change is what, thousands of times more complex?

Mr. DeMoor does not even frame an appropriate question for this subject matter. He assumes only two possible positions, again badly oversimplying perhaps the largest scientific/economic/political set of questions the world has ever taken up. I've been practicing law for 32 years, an occupation where figuring out who/what is right/true is actually part of the job. That experience has taught me that the more any question is subjected to publicity and politics, the less likely it is that the majority of opinions has any relationship with the truth of a matter.

But here is what bothers me the most about this editorial. My demonimation is increasingly deciding what political views I and other members should take. The more it does that, the less of a CHURCH it becomes and the less cause there will be for members to remain CRC. I remain CRC because because it is a church. And although I believe a church should ENCOURAGE its members to engage in all of life (I am very "Kuyperian"), it should not become an POLITICAL ADVOCATE in all spheres of life. Crossing that line, as faint as it may seem to be to some, will have negative effects for the CRC, perhaps more so than all the C02 all of its members are aggregately exhaling into the atmosphere.

So we need to side with the reputable scientific organizations on matters of creation? What's their consensus opinion about Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of that same creation and must we follow their majority opinion on that as well?

It is not worth the time arguing with the liberal Banner staff, whether it is Climate Change, Women in ministry, Homosexuals in the pulpit or the Belhar confession, etc. . You assume you know what is best for the rest of us and you preach it. If you don't like what we say you just don't print our letters or opinions. (or shut down the blog) Too bad you are so out of touch with the majority of your readers!!
I will assume that these experts you mention are the same as those who say that there is no God, that the world and all it contains is the result of time and chance, that Jesus Christ never lived or was simply a Jewish rabbi who taught some cool social ideas, that miracles never happen, that life after death is a placebo for the weak minded and Christ is a crutch for the mentally lame.
I will also point out the sarcastic assumptions of your closing statement. I believe the Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible word and that following God is more important than following the latest fad.

Henry actually makes a pretty good point. I've interacted for years on some of the more serious AGW alarmist sites (including realclimate.org--Gavin Schimdt & company) and have frequently heard alarmists mockingly associate the thinking of "skeptics" with the thinking of Neanderhtals who still believe in God and other such invisible things. Indeed, I never post on these sites in a way that even hints at my underlying faith because that would be met with immediate derisive dismissal.

Certainly, AGW alarmists are happy to take the political support from Christians who agree with them on AGW, but at the same time, many (maybe most) of the prominent AGW alarmists have little more but disdain for people who believe in God. Curiously, James Hansen is the exception.

This editorial shows the Influence, persuasion and true colors of the political ideology to re-shape the doctrine of the church. This just goes to show where the leaders of the CRC are taking us.

This type of thinking matches the United Nations goal to unite politics and religion into a One World Global System. By the way, Canada is leading the way, forcing change. But isn't this what the Bible predicts will happen in the days pryer to Christ return? It's a sign of the times.

Bob said,

"We need to rely on the insight and wisdom of the scientific community as a whole to guide us in making our editorial judgement on this issue...Regardless of our own personal views, we must act on the assumption that climate change is real..."

This is where the church leaders are miss guiding us. They are looking to the wrong source to guide us; whether it be evolution, homosexuality, or global warming. The Word of God is an endless Library of truth.

This is what the Lord God Almighty says: "Should you not fear me? declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts: they have turned aside and gone away. They do say to themselves,'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of regular weeks of harvest." (Jeremiah 5:22-24)

"I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. (Amos 4:7,8)

Sorry, Bob. You're wrong on this one - very wrong.

I could go through and argue with you about it, but what good would that do? You've just told me that I'm not a serious Christian if I disagree with you - at least, I'm not serious about our Father's commands concerning stewardship of the creation, which amounts to the same thing.

This is one of the worst editorials I've read over 35 years of reading the BANNER. It is intellectually dishonest and characterized by a vapidly defensive self-righteousness that you yourself would find difficult to take were it coming from, say Focus on the Family or Pat Robertson.

Forgive my harsh words, but I'm not the one saying those who disagree with me on political questions are not Christian. You are. It is beneath you, and beneath the office you hold as editor, and I think you owe me and quite a few others an apology.

@Doug Vande Griend

You nailed it. I've been protesting the politicization of the CRC since I was in seminary arguing against the Contemporary Testimony.

As far as the denominational leadership is concerned, it seems we aren't so much a church as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party.

We've lost 60,000 members over the last 20 years - a trend that corresponds directly with this politicization. One only need glance at denominations like the ELCA or the PC(USA) to see where that path leads. It's sad.

Not to monopolize on this, but I really think this editorial clearly exposes an issue that cannot but seriously damage the denomination I have loved dearly for my entire life.

Mr. DeMoor says, "We wish to let you know why we don’t, for example, simply publish two articles side by side, one pro, one con."

The right answer is not in Mr. DeMoor's question. The right answer is: Publish NEITHER.

If the denomination cannot pull back from this trend (also exhibited in Board of Trustees rule and the incessant pushing of the Belhar), this will end badly.

Here's the point, if its not already clear. I get to argue all sorts of political issues elsewhere; I get to argue climate change elsewhere; I get to argue economics elsewhere, etc. And in all cases, I argue in forums that are frankly more competent than the editorial department of the Banner.

I don't talk with my wife or kids about the same things, or in the same way, that I often talk with opposing attorneys. Not that either is bad, but there is a time and a place (and a "sphere") for everything.

I know there are people in my church with whom I very much disagree on political, economic and other such questions. What I love about my church is that I can worship with them, confess one Lord and Savior, despite those differences. And I sometimes talk with them about those difference, even vigorously argue with them. BUT, neither of us demands that our position be the position of the church in which we both worship. Neither of us demands that we are excluded on a question of politics.

The CRC cannot be both a competent (I would also say faithful) church and also the political organization that tells me what political (etc) views I need to hold. It should encourage me to consider involving myself politically as part of my response to the work of my Savior, but it cannot, should not, may not, tell me what that involvement should be. The Banner, the CRC, is doing that in this editorial and associated articles.

Please, please understand this. This isn't a question of who has the right answer but rather of where and why we should restrain from the using the pulpit power we have because we have it.

@Doug Vande Griend

Again, amen and amen. It would be difficult for me to agree more wholeheartedly.

In the interests of helping Rev. De Moor understand why some of us find this editorial so outrageous and offensive, I've taken the liberty of boiling it down to its essentials:

"Anyone who disagrees with the claim of anthropogenic global warming is disobedient of the divine command to be a steward of God's creation, opposes God and science, and is mean to grandchildren. I am compelled to make this absolute, definitive statement because I don’t know what I’m talking about."

It seems to me the Banner is being a relatively naive consumer of a certain kind of political perspective. I cut some of my high school teeth on Paul Erlich, significant successor to Thomas Malthus, one of the original "doomsdayers." Some things change, some things not much.

Forty years later, I have a retrospective perspective. Many predictions of "Armageddon" come and go. Some of the predicters are (unfortunately) brothers in Christ (well, presumably), but others are not, although in real ways just as religious. In my discussions with AGW Alarmists, I've found they quite consistently supporter Erlich (and are equally as "religious"). I'm not an Erlich fan of course, but I did think it could instructive on the AGW question to take a look as some of his predictions. In my mind, AGW Alarmism, which all is said and done, if very "Erlich-ian." Here are some of Erlich's greatest hits.

“The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines . . . hundreds of millions of people (including Americans) are going to starve to death.” Ehrlich, 1968

“I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Ehrlich, 1969

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make, … The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” Ehrlich, 1970

“In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.” Ehrlich, 1970

“When you reach a point where you realize further efforts will be futile, you may as well look after yourself and your friends and enjoy what little time you have left. That point for me is 1972.” Ehrlich, 1971

“Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity…in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion.” Ehrlich, 1976

“Human-induced land degradation… affects about 40% of the planet’s vegetated land surface… [and is] accelerating nearly everywhere, reducing crop yields.” Ehrlich, 1997

“…humanity’s prospective collision with the natural world… [means that] what is at risk now is global civilization.” Ehrlich, 2004

When you get into the type of mindset that Mr. DeMoor is expounding. (to save the plant). It is not a far leap for this type of socialistic, or rather social justice thinking to advocate population control by allowing abortions.

Way to go Mr. Demoor. You correctly recognize that the decisions made to curb CO2 emissions are necessary any way to permit future generations more time to adapt to life without fossil fuels.

As you said, "Besides, even if the vast majority of scientists turns out to be wrong (could happen!), then we still need to curb our appetite for fossil fuels, because we are rapidly running out of them. And on that score there is unanimity."

Are other commenters actually suggesting we do not have a responsibility to curb our consumption? Do we really have the right to take all the fossil fuels the creator arranged to be put on our doorstep in a few short generations? I just wonder what justice princple is in play to support such a view? Please educate me.

@Tim Bennema

So should we divide the CRC over the issue of what the correct scientific and political answers are to climate change?

Respectfully, I think your post misses the point that the "other commenters [are] actually suggesting." I and others are only suggesting--pleading even--that the Banner, spokes-publication of the entire CRC, not take sides and politically advocate on a question that is so outside its area of competence and concern.

You and I could probably argue about many climate change questions for a long time, but should the CRC, as your/my denomination, actually take sides, which Mr. Demoor admits he and the Banner's editorial committee are doing?

This is question the "other commenters" have raised.

@ Doug Vande Griend Oct 22, 2011
Yes I understood the other writers and their belief that it is a matter of politics and as such feel it doesn't belong as an issue for presentation in a church magazine.
What I tried to emphasize was that it really doesn't matter if the scientists are right or wrong about the AGW, the objective of conservation of non renewable resources is relevant if AGW is real or not, it is at it heart a justice issue. I believe we have a responsibility to share not only with others in the world but also future generations.
As a justice issue it is relevant for discussion in a church forum indeed Christians should be leaders in the world in matters of justice. So I am not suggesting that we divide the CRC over this matter but rather that we unit, show we are serious about our responsibilities.
I have to ask again are you suggesting we are not responsible to conserve resources for future generations?

Tim:

1) No, I'm not suggesting we shouldn't conserve resources for future generations. No one who has posted has suggested that. And that goes for soil, air quality, water quality, gold, copper, and oodles of other things. But frankly, that wasn't the core message of this Editorial. This explicit and stated purpose of this editorial was to explain that the Banner was taking sides on what amounts to a set of scientific and political answers on climate change, telling members quite clearly that if they didn't get on the AGW Alarmism train, they were not reflecting the image of God, nor being stewards of creation.

2) I agree Christians should be leaders in the work in matters of justice (been working at that all my life, including in my 32 years of practicing law, and I take that VERY seriously). On the other hand, I don't think my demonination should take a position about exactly what that justice is, nor how its members should do it. My church should encourage me, strongly even, to do justice (and love mercy and walk humbly with my God), but it should NOT take political positions as to what bills to vote for, or whether to promote "Capitalism or Socialism," or even how many pro bono hours I should dedicate from my practice of law.

3) My concerns--and that of the other commenters--has to do with jurisdiction, so to speak, knowing/deciding what is within our denomination's (Banner's) competency and proper sphere of authority, and what is not. Pushing AGW Alarmism, or for that matter opposing AGW Alarmism, is something I (and other commenters) clearly believe to be OUTSIDE the denomination's (Banner's) area of competency and authority. Beyond that, just as a generalized practical matter, it is so unwise for the denomination (Banner) to do this. It will only invite division. Given the first sentence of your post, it seems you agree?

@Tim-

Yes, and everything under the sun is a "justice" issue. And naturally, those who take a position different from the one you and Rev. De Moor hold are blatantly unjust, unfeeling, unconcerned about God's creation, future generations, righteousness and truth.

Gosh, by that kind of reasoning, why not just excommunicate everyone who disagrees with you and Rev. De Moor on these disputed questions? Just kick them out of the church, they're so short-sighted, narrow-minded and obtuse.

THAT is what we are objecting to. You believe what you want about global warming. Advocate as you like for this bill or that bill, but don't tell me I'm not fit to call myself a Christian just because I have a different view on this complex, disputed political question.

Just out of curiosity, will the Banner also be advocating against the Resurrection? After all the consensus of a great majority of respected scientists is that this is most assuredly a myth.

I had to re-read the editorial because after your letter I thought I must have missed some content. Your letter and many others seem to suggest it the editorial and the related article is partisan and that it is pushing a particular set practical or political solutions. Yet no such words can be found in either. The editorial is a cri de coeur that we must do something, nowhere does it say what, or how. In the end it says, and I tried to emphasize that even if we are wrong about AGW, very same actions that minimize CO2 emissions are necessary to slow the incredible depletion of natural resources that we undertaking. If the AGW upsets you get over it because the end goal is the same so the reason for the goal becomes irrelevant. I suppose one could argue that resource depletion is not actually occurring, history shows one can never under estimate humans capability for self delusion.

In my view to call it partisan is nonsensical since none of the current political parties Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservatives are even asking the right questions. This is precisely why the Christian faith with its inherent self critical spirit and altruistic mindset is so badly needed. We can ( and must) free ourselves of old paradigms speak and act boldly.

PNR

Your sweeping generalization and habit of putting words in peoples mouth drastically diminish ability to contribute effectively to this discussion. I cannot coherently respond to your statement because you accuse me of saying things I didn't, and believing things which I don't.

I know you mean well.

@Tim -

I know you don't MEAN to say it. But let's review what you (and Rev. De Moor) said.

He says we have to agree with him in order to be good stewards, care for our grandchildren, and "do some serious God-imaging". You say AGW is a "justice issue". I deliberately took this line of thinking in a pedal-to-the-metal fashion to highlight it's absurdity. And it is absurd.

By saying AGW is a "justice issue", you in effect conflate AGW with stewardship of creation. Essentially you are stating that one cannot be a good steward without accepting AGW as true.

I reject that conflation of two distinct issues. AGW is NOT a "justice issue", but creation stewardship is. I reject the claim that only those who believe as Rev. De Moor does on the question of AGW are serious about modeling Christ to the world.

And if you are willing to start from a position that those who reject AGW are equally concerned about the care of God's creation and for justice, then we have a basis for discussing how best to obtain those ends. We also have room for coming to different conclusions without saying the other is oppressive, rejecting the command to be a steward of what is God's, or refusing to model Christ to the world - accusations which, if true, would preclude us from participating in the Church together.

Hypothesis: CO2 traps heat. Where is the scientific proof?

Tim: Notice the Editorial says "we humans need to make the painful commitment to curb emissions from carbon-based fuels."

It doesn't say "each of us needs to consider whether we should ...".

It doesn't even say "we in the CRC should consider ...".

It advocates, fairly read, particular political action. It quite literally demands of it's (largely CRC) readers that they advocate for the political positions, although somewhat vaguely phrased but still, that have been advocated by the AGW alarmist side.

After so demanding, it then says "God calls us to be good stewards...". Does the reader really not connect that with the prior demand? Does this not really say the reader is not a "good steward" if the reader does not take and also advocate the same political position?

And then the editorial says "it's time to step up to the plate to do some serious God-imaging." This too is a follow up of the demand to political advocate.

You're just not wanting to read what the Editorial says.

“The world's climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age.” (Science Digest, February 1973) “A major cooling of the planet is widely considered inevitable.” (NY Times, May 1975) We can expect “a full-blown 10,000-year ice age” (Science News, March 1975) Time, Newsweek, and others echoed this global cooling consensus in the 1970s. I don't think The Banner jumped on the global cooling bandwagon at that time. Perhaps it ought not jump on the global warming bandwagon now.

Whatever the truth may be about global warming, for church leaders and church publications the main problem is the silly attempt to weigh in clearly and authoritatively on one side of a debate in areas beyond our pastoral calling and competence (such as climatology), while not speaking clearly and authoritatively in areas where God's Word clearly calls us to speak (such as sexual morality, Adam's reality, and damnation of unbelievers).

"We need to rely on the insight and wisdom of the scientific community as a whole to guide us in making our editorial judgment on this issue. That’s why we have sought and received the advice of many scientists in the field?"

You mean the same scientific community that denies biblical history and creation?

You mean the same scientific community that denies Jesus Christ is Lord and is hostile towards the Gospel

That is what we should put are trust in for wisdom? I can clearly see that my days in the CRC are now numbered.

Doug,
Yes I agree living faithfully and consuming less fossil fuels shouldn’t be considered "painful" so in that sense Mr. De Moor should have more carefully chosen his words. As Jesus himself says “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Clearly when you believe we have a responsibility to protect our non-renewable resources for future generations, it is axiomatic that you must agree in the need to curb our use ( and do it joyfully).
The possiblity of AGW only adds even greater urgency to act now.

PNR

I have no issue with those who do not believe AGW, my fairly consistent point (also made by Mr. De Moor) has been that even if AGW proves to be invalid, the necessity to curb our fossil fuel consumption remains. And this necessity remains in order to enable mankind to have a smoother transition back to a fossil fuel free reality which some day will come, and will come rather more painfully if we do not act.

@Tim -

All you've done is change the disputed assertion from AGW to "the necessity to curb our fossil fuel consumption". This is no more an incontestible fact than is AGW, nor is the claim that a government-forced transition would be "smooth" even if what you mean is smoother than some other transition. These are political and economic judgments and there are valid reasons for making different, opposite judgments.

So we still have the problem of an official in the Christian Reformed Church who has no creditable basis for making ANY of these political, economic, or scientific assertions, declaring that those who disagree with him are not serious about stewardship, modeling Christ to the world, or caring for future generations. And we have the problem of you (among others) trying to defend such an indefensible act.

What if he were to write an editorial declaring that the only biblical position on taxes was a flat tax at 10%? Those who insist on demanding more for Government than we do for God are placing government above God! Whatever the merits of a flat tax or a 10% rate, such a statement would be as morally wrong as it is factually false.

Neither you, nor I, nor the editor of the Banner, has the authority to pronounce, ex cathedra, that there is only one biblically acceptable stance on these questions. We may not drum out of the Church those who differ from us on such earth-bound matters.

@Tim

I appreciate your reply but it misses my point, or perhaps I wasn't clear in mine.

You had suggested the Editor wasn't really urging readers to take a political position. I disagreed and said he was, quoting from the Editorial, "we humans need to make the painful commitment to curb emissions from carbon-based fuels." The word "painful" wasn't a concern to me but rather the reference to "we humans." Were the editor to say "each of us should consider...", that would communicate encouragement that each of us think about being stewards. But he does a much different thing when he says "we humans neeed to make ...", because the only possible way any one of us can do that is by invoking the only tool available that has the power to do that: which is government mandate. Thus my characterization of the Editor as having taking a political position, which I deeply oppose.

I have no problem talking about stewardship, or even what that might entail when it comes to CO2, methane, etc. What I have a big problem with is the Banner (1) pronouncing and advocating political positions, (2) especially on issues outside its competence and jurisdiction. Doing so causes division in the body for no constructive reason. The results are losses and no gains. It is also the case that the Banner shouldn't do wo as a matter of principle (this is outside the Banner's proper sphere) but the division this causes it what really motivates my objection.

I wish you would whole-heartedly join in objecting to the Banner "crossing the line" on this. Were it to take a political position that I agreed with, I would frankly be just as dismayed, and for the same reason.

Doug,
I find it quite ironic that one who is advocating for less centralized government believes that the only solution to this problem is through government action. You are stuck in symmetrical mimetic trap. Now I understand why you and many others saw this article as political when no such words can be. It seems that many who object to AGW as a possibility, assign a blanket worldview and proposed path to the "solutions" to those who do not object to the possibility of AGW.

While I personally believe that government can have a role to play in creating a regulatory framework that adds appropriate value to non-renewable resources, I do not believe by any means that is" the only possible way". In fact really the only possible way is through individual action, which is where I quarrel with your suggested wording of the article. You suggest "each of us should consider", my assessment, and I suspect the assessment of the team that supported Rev. DeMoor in preparing this editorial is that there has been enough " consideration" and "talking about stewardship". It is time to act.

So to help all you who believe this is a political editorial act in an apolitical way in this matter let me offer a few suggestions for action. 1) Next time you buy a car, put fuel efficiency ahead of your personal comfort, 2) eat less meat, 3) consider driving instead of flying to your next vacation spot, 4) downsize your home. 5) get your shoes repaired instead of replaced. There are so many opportunities to act my head spins, but know this, that when you act your neighbor will see you and it will make it easier for them to act as well. We don't need government, we need faithful action.

PNR
Please explain to me what is contestable about "the necessity to curb our fossil fuel consumption". I cannot think of any possible way to justify proceeding on the trajectory that we are on.

Tim: I'm don't know if I'm stuck in a "symmetical memetic trap" but I do know (because they say so) that those in the US who are the dominant "movers and shakers" of AGW alarmism look predominantly--perhaps only--to government action as the only possible way to avoid the catastrophic results they predict. My goodness, what do you think the Kyoto Protocol, subsequently proposed world-wide treaties, the UN IPCC, US cap and trade political pushes, the recent EPA move to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, and other compulsory, government dictated measures/efforts are all about?

OK, so lets look at this from another way. James Hansen, AGW Alarmist godfather, advocates governments across the world pushing much more nuclear power because, Hansen insists, greatly increased nuclear is the only realistic way to replace fossil fuels, and thereby avoid global armageddon. Now, Hansen is no climate change wimp. Indeed, he is the universally recognized top dog. But Hansen would go so far as to call your kind of "stewardship suggestions" as feeble at best, irrelevant at worst, because they simply won't solve the problem he, and the Banner, have declared to exist.

So, based on what the top AGW dog thinks, do you think it would be appropriate for the Banner to promote a government push for more nuclear plants? After all, if the Banner really wants to do some "serious Go-imaging," and the top scientist said we must, shouldn't the Banner get on that science/politics bandwagon as well?

I'd suggest the Banner would NEVER promote nuclear because the political cognitive dissonance would overwhelm the editorial staff (the Alarmist political community has cognitive dissonance with this part of Hansen as well).

You've misunderstood me, Tim, or you choose to not understand me. Yes, I'm a political decentrist, but I also DISBELIEVE AGW Alarmists' climate science conclusions. I do believe we must be stewards, but I don't believe our use of fossil fuels, on a large scale even, equals a lack of stewarship. CO2 has not been shown to be a pollutant, Obama and his appointed EPA head nothwithstanding. In this case, I am convinced the science has been polluted (pun intended) by the politics.

The scientific conclusions I and many others--yes, including many qualified climatologists, the Banner's denials notwithstanding--are quite different than those the Banner declares in this editorial. And when Mr. DeMoor and the Banner "choose sides" on these science questions, it also, necessarily, "chooses sides" on the political questions, because in the world we live in, those questions are joined at the hip. And hey, NEITHER science or politics are within the Banner's areas of competency/jurisdiction. But if you think the Banner is not intending to take a political position here, I believe you are simply being naive (that's my less sophisticated retort to your symmetrical mimetic trap accusation -- :-) ).

Don't these scientists realize that Bob DeMoor has spoken the final word. How dare they disagree.
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/10/how_many_eco-frauds_can_danc...

@Tim

That you cannot see a way does not mean such a way does not exist.

But there are several assumptions at play in the statement that it is necessary to curb our use of fossil fuels: 1)that it is in fact non-renewable; 2) that it is necessary to make this drastic change now through gov't fiat; 3)that there are viable alternatives currently available. There may be more.

Given recent discoveries of oil reserves, some have started to wonder if the earth is not "producing" oil, and how that might be. As it is, a lot of dinosaurs must have died all together in a very few places for the oil we've got to exist.

There are quite a few untapped oil deposits known to us, and in any event, market forces will compel such a change - should it become necessary - with far less disruption then would gov't fiat.

There are no viable alternatives.

Hence the assertion is contestable.

But more to the point, as we have repeatedly stated, the BANNER is not the forum for such a discussion, and the accusation that those who contest what you or De Moor consider incontestible are not sincere in their attempt to be faithful to God when the issue is not specific to the faith - that accusation is immoral and untrue. You may think me ignorant, irrational, dumb, or foolish. You may not think me unchristian.

The troubling trend of the CRC expanding its definition as a "church denomination," illustrated by the Banner taking a political and science position on Global Warming, is also illustrated by "Hope Equals," which is called on the CRC's home page a "Key Initiative" of the Christian Reformed Church.

Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. I'm estatic (Kuperian that I am) that CRC people, or Christians of any tradition for that matter, would see fit to expend part of their lives involved in a difficult matter like the Israel/Palistinian conflict. Indeed, even if I were to completely disagree with positions taken by Hope Equals (I like some, perhaps dislike others), I would still cheer them on for the reason that they are being salt and light as best they know how, which means they are being FAITHFUL. And amen to that.

But whether or not the effort of this group should be a CRC "Key Initiative" or not, or an effort of the denominational World Missions (which it is), is a different and separate question.

There is no mistaking that Hope Equals take political positions. Two clicks from the denomination home page, on a page copyrighted by "Christian Reformed World Missions," Hope Equals asks readers to "tell[] congress NOT to pull US aid from the Palestinian Authority."

Again, it's great that Christians are involved political, but not that the CRC powers that be allow them do so as the CRC.

If we continue in this direction, there will be split-off from the denomination because members/congregations will refuse to endorse political positions taken by them via their denomination. And who within the denomination decides on these political positions anyway?

This is not a small matter. Please start making some noise about this in your own congregations and classes -- before your denomination becomes as much a political party as a church denomination.

Tim Binnema: Can we agree on this?

@Doug Vande Griend -

How about CRWRC with it's "58:" program? What about the "show of hands" push in favor of the UN Millenial Development Goals? What about the Micah Statement? The CRC, at the institutional level anyway, has already become a thoroughly political animal and largely a left-wing one at that.

But we saw the same kind of damage done when churches jumped on the Moral Majority bandwagon - it's not liberal or conservative that makes the difference. It is whether we are truly a harbinger of a Heavenly Kingdom, or simply another faction trying to gain power in this earthly one.

The Office of Social Justice should be disbanded entirely.

I have taken the liberty of making recommendations to the Banner Council. Four of the five follow.

1) When the editor of the Banner is ignorant about a matter, he should refrain from making absolutist statements on it, especially statements that imply, insinuate, or (worse) flatly state that people who hold divergent opinions are not fit to be heard and/or barely qualify as Christian. He should also retract statements made in the editorial in question which do exactly that. I would even recommend that he refrain from such statements where his is not ignorant unless the divergent opinion is in contradiction of the Forms of Unity. He may call me “stupid” (in a suitably Christian and polite manner, of course) as much as he likes. He may not call me unchristian without a very good reason.

2) The editor of the Banner should vary his sources of secular news, particularly seeking out expressly politically conservative sources in order to correct an obvious misperception of his – that a single view holds sway – thus reducing the likelihood that he will make blanket statements on disputed political questions that are contrary to fact in the future (such as those regarding “consensus” and “unanimity” in the editorial in question)...

3) The editor of the Banner should apologize to those offended by his recent attempt to silence brothers and sisters who might hold different political views, particularly in light of his own statements during his presentation to Synod when he took this job – statements to the effect that he would make a concerted effort to present multiple viewpoints. That effort seems to have waned of late.

4) The Banner should, as a rule, refrain from taking sides in politically disputatious matters unless expressly directed to do so by the Board of Trustees or Synod. It is a magazine for the CRCNA, not secular politics. It neither should nor can compete with existing secular forums for those discussions. This is not to preclude laying out principles which should figure in to the debate. For instance, an article that acknowledges the debate over Global Warming, but then says regardless of one’s position on that debate, these biblical objectives (stewardship rather than ownership, care for less fortunate, etc.) should be met in any environmental program, would be appropriate. This sort of approach holds all members engaged in political discourse to scriptural tenets without suggesting that only one group is really serious about them. It also leaves those so engaged the freedom to prioritize among those principles, as is often necessary in the rather messy venue of politics, without escaping from those principles. In rare instances, the Banner might even offer guidance on such prioritization...

So...you're telling me, God designed a planet and an eco system so fragile , man can destroy it by breathing out co2? God could not forsee us developing fossil fuel that He put in the Earth as a renewable energy source, oil, using too much of it and destroying human life on this planet? We will never run out of oil. We are finding more and more of it every year.

This is bizarre thinking. Did not God say that the seasons would continue as they are until He comes again? Are you so impressed with the advances of humankind that we have some how outsmarted the Creator of the Universe?

With all your degrees you still lack the wisdom necessary to see the end from the beginning. Man is not responsible for any climate change. He cannot even predict tomorrow's weather with a high degree of accuracy. Get over yourself!

A fragile planet? Hardly...more like a fragile faith!

time out boys.... It's almost 2:00am and I'm going to be the line judge and call the match for today.

Doug VG = all the points for truth
Tim B. = big fat epic fail = zip

Sorry Tim I just spent the last hour reading all the comments and well... you and Al Gore got nothin...

Honorable mention: Mark (ex-CRC member)
"Just out of curiosity, will the Banner also be advocating against the Resurrection? After all the consensus of a great majority of respected scientists is that this is most assuredly a myth."

Bonus point: Erik Smith
"You mean the same scientific community that denies Jesus Christ is Lord and is hostile towards the Gospel..."

By the way, if the revised Form of Subscription (or "Covenant for Office Bearers") is adopted, this is all moot. We will have made acceptance of anthropogenic climate change a requirement for office bearers in the CRC.

The revised Covenant for Office Bearers says that we "affirm" the Contemporary Testimony and are "formed and guided" by it.

Article 51 of the Contemporary Testimony states:
"51. We lament that our abuse of creation has brought lasting damage to the world we have been given: polluting streams and soil, poisoning the air, ALTERING THE CLIMATE, and damaging the earth... (emphasis added)."

Sorry, Doug.

You start out by saying that you are not a scientist. Very good, then don't talk about something that you are ill advised to speak out on. Did you even try to look at other sides? A simple google scholar search produced this link: http://creation.com/global-warming-facts-and-myths

It seems to me that The Banner is trying to politicize a view instead of talking about God. As Christians, we need to be mindful about what we do each and every day to be good stewards to what Christ has given us.

CO2 is a pollutant. Wrong. Other things coming out of smokestacks and car exhausts are indeed pollutants; things both harmful and undesirable. Such pollutants can be greatly reduced, and should be. But carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless gas, is a God-designed part of the cycle of life. We do (and must) exhale it with every breath. The amount of CO2 in the air would have to increase some hundredfold before it would affect our breathing.

Articles like this have made me research this issue. May I suggest you do the same thing. This sounds to me like politically correct evangelicalism.

I am with Doug, if you can't publish both points of view, then don't publish either!

@Steven Westra

Steve: I actually go a bit beyond suggesting the Banner shouldn't publish when it can't publish both points of view. There are some issues -- lots of them actually -- that simply should not taken up by the Banner.

Obvious illustration: the Banner should not take up the question of whether Oregon's rules of civil procedure should be amended to add interrogatories as a discovery device (a current topic out here -- I voted 'yes'). Why should the Banner not take this up? The subject matter is outside it's jurisdiction (Kuyperian sphere of authority) and competence (something of a corollary to being outside the sphere of authority).

Although perhaps less obvious (at least to some), but for exactly the same reason, the Banner should not take up the thousands of scientific and political sub-issues (literally) that are necessarily in fact taken up when it takes up the issue of global warming (climate change). The subject matter is outside it's jurisdiction and competence.

Now, some will undoubtedly say, 'but climate change has to do with God's creation and our stewardship over it'. That's just false, hyperbole based justification. One could as easily argue that adding interrogatories as a discovery device in Oregon's rules of procedure is a JUSTICE issue, citing Micah 6:8 and other passages in support. Indeed, I do want interrogatories because I think they will reduce litigation costs, which equals an increase in justice. Still, I'll tell my denomination (and the Banner) to leave it alone if they ask whether they should get involved.

All of which means this perhaps: the CRC, as a church denomination, should perhaps start afresh to consider and decide upon its jurisdiction (Kuyperian sphere of authority), ESPECIALLY if it is going to so dramatically move outside of it's historical sphere of authority (which is has done in that last 5 years or so).

This is not to say of course that CRC members shouldn't be involved in the question of climate change (or adding interrogatories to Oregon civil procedure) -- they should. We all have lives outside our church (not to be confused with suggesting parts of our lives should be cut off from our faith). I say AMEN to Kuyper's "not one square inch ..." proclamation -- I just object, and vigorlously, to CRC clergy/heirarchy becoming pope-like. After all, I'm a Calvinist.

I have something to confess. I've not really been "keeping up" with denominational doings for the last 5-10 years. I was a delegate to Synod in 1992 (on the commitee tasked with recommending whether or not to ratify removing the word "male' as an ordination requirement). For about a decade after that, I was involved, as an attorney, in a number of church splits--events that tore apart so many brothers and sisters in Christ. The only upside to that was learning church order in excruciating detail, and figuring out how it interplayed with state corporate law and the establishment clause of the federal First Amendment.

I have to admit, my stomach was more than full of that sort of stuff when it finally ended. I've declined nomination as elder since. Stomach still too full. Needed to do better things, for me and mine, funny as that may sound.

Seeing the very green (Freudian implications intended) cover to the CO2 themed Banner, and reading the Editorial taking political sides on the issue, has been cold water in my face. Maybe I shouldn't have been away so long.

And so I've perused the CRC website and am a bit stunned--in a bad way. No, not about theological/doctrinal issues, but about political issues. Huh? Even the theological/doctrinal issues seem to be mere followers of political positions.

It would seem the CRC, as a denominiation, now wants to step in line with the United Nations, take sides slightly with the Palestinians, adapt political centrism (organizing political society from the top down, aka Obamism), favor liberation theology (which is really more politics than theology), green up local church operations (grant program), and rule the denomination by its corporate Board of Trustees instead of Synod (this isn't from theology/doctrine).

Wow, what is this place?

Seriously, I'm starting not to recognize the CRC AS A CHURCH, although it's political alignment is pretty clear. The denomination that is, not my local church.

So why has this happened? Have other CRC Members been as uninformed as I have been? Are most CRC members OK with becoming a political organization, and one that is starting to exclude the politically incorrect?

@Doug Vande Griend -

I've been informed, but for a decade I was busy with other things and largely separated from the CRC (I was in the Navy as a chaplain, and there's a war on, so...).

But I tried to sound the alarms on some of these trends when I was in seminary, and since I've been back as a civilian, I've been trying again.

There are a couple trends going on. First, since 1982, the structure of the denomination has become increasingly centralized and isolated from the rank and file of the denomination's membership. There's a bit of an echo-chamber effect. Some of this is the move to regional representation on boards, but that's not all.

Second, as Synod has shrunk down in time, they have little opportunity to truly deliberate. People want to rush through things without really thinking about them because thinking about them means making waves, irritating people, pointing out the emperor is naked - not polite, that. And it's resented.

Finally, since 1992, people have been largely content to manage their own garden, ignoring the trends in the denomination as a whole.

I hope it's not too late. I fear that it is.

I just wanted to say thank you to both Eric and Doug for the great comments and spot on insight…
Oh where to begin!
I rarely read the Banner online but was so disturbed by Bob DeMoors’ comments I decided to see if there were others who shared my outrage.

The Banner has become the propaganda arm of CRC which is pushing a progressive political agenda. IMO CRC members are an apathetic lot and would not publicly admit that fact until the emperors bandwagon is rolling down the street. Then they would wait to jump on until it’s almost full and the all clear light is flashing. Others sit silent expecting God himself to fix it.
Politics should be kept out of church matters… but is that possible? The Democratic party has been hijacked by the progressive/socialist/Marxist/communist movement and that is not acceptable in any way shape or form. Progressives have infiltrated our schools, indoctrinated our children and clearly are infiltrating our churches. It needs to stop.
This matter of the Banner as a propaganda machine should be set before synod but alas I also fear as does Eric it is probably too late.
And then there’s the Office of Social Justice…Israel …UN and Global Governance …Oh my, I really need to take another blood pressure pill.
What will God say to those, whose apathetic silence, allows this progressive poison to spread? One would expect ones own denomination to be the beacon of truth. Please stay on your horses and keep ringing the warning bells.

Coincidentally (or perhaps providentially), I received an email yesterday inviting the e-signing of a petition relating to the Belhar. I did. Maybe doing that is a good start toward "adjusting some things". It's at

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/crcna-belhar-petition/

I suspect, Eric, that your observations and analysis are pretty fair/accurate.

When I was a synod delegate in 1992, it was two weeks. Certainly, I couldn't imagine it being any less than that. Two weeks was plenty short. And indeed, if Synod shortens, the BOT and agencies would fill the gap left.

I perused the website more for info about the MDG and the Micah project. I found it amazing that the bureacracy of the CRC could take the adoption of the statement (p. 555 of Acts of Synod), "3. That synod endorse the Micah Call and encourage strong CRC participation in the Micah Challenge", and do with it was has been done. This statement encourages members. It does direct the BOT or Agencies. It only "endorses." It doesn't direct the creation of programs. And yet here we are. I'll give anyone odds that the committee recommending adoption didn't foresee what has happened.

Of note, CRWRC is not funded by ministry shares. That's not new news of course, but the point should be instructional. CRWRC does good stuff. I like them. Still, I would oppose the CRWRC receiving ministry shares because it's work is not "core institutional church work." It is proper that it not be a recipient of ministry shares and I suspect the decision way back when that is not receive them was based on a respect for the proper jurisdiction of the CRC as a church denomination. It seems we've all but abandoned that sense of self-restraint.

Calvin College (not seminary) should also be "cut loose" -- should have been decades ago. Would be better for it, just as not receiving min shares is, I think, good for CRWRC, and for Dordt College, etc. Concepts like "jurisdiction" (sphere sovereignty) can sound like dry theory, but they are oh so practical in real life. Follow them and you might just get a prosperous era of Western democracy; ignore them and your get the Soviet Union. Something different at the church level, but still similar.

I'd suggest I'm discouraged but not defeated. And I'd suggest that some who have been asleep (I'm one of them) may have been recently stirred by a number of firings, finding out just how much power the BOT has (that they thought Synod had), reading Banner articles that make them wonder what political party they just joined, etc. That's me at least.

I do wonder what Henry DeMoor thinks of all of this. I've always appreciated his obvious understanding that underlying rules for church function (what others often see as mundane) are critically important.

Perhaps this is a bit more macro than what Dr. DeMoor typically deals with (church order is more narrow that deciding what the church's jurisdictional sphere is), but still, I would think the question of the denomination so expanding its role (and BOT decision making replacing Synodical decision making) would be one he has given a good deal of thought to.

Does anyone know of anything Dr. DeMoor has written about this subject matter?

I don't think there is universal consensus that we will run out of them "soon". As an economist I want to offer a counter to the popular "peak oil" theory.

As oil prices rise, exploration for new sources grows. And we are still making new finds, such as large offshore depositis in Brazil's coastal waters.

As oil prices rise, we develop better ways of recovering oil. The use of pressure injection has made some old fields productive again.

As oil prices rise, we become more efficient users. Just compare the fuel efficiancy of today's cars to those of 40 years ago.

Peak oil is based on projecting present oil use and exploration trends into the future. But I don't htink that is valid. Technological change and energy efficiency may mean that we continue to use oil for a very long time.

Afterewriting all that I do agree we need to curb our use of fossil fuels. O rfind a way to use them without emissions. I want to see this to reduce pollution. That is a laudable goal for us no matter what we think abouth the science of climate change.

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