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Science Behind Climate Change

After reading “Global Warning(s)” by Brian Martin (November 2011), I was left shaking my head in dismay. First, he begins by subtly chastising those with differing views as having “dismissive comments.” He further uses questionable correlations that CO2 is the cause of “serious changes in global temperature.”

While chiding people to take a long-term view of climate, he then uses a short-term example of a glacier receding over 50 years, thus contradicting his own argument. . . .

Rather than a thought-provoking article, this turned out to be more of an elitist view being passed off as facts. This is the least scientific presentation of this subject I have ever read. But it is not a surprise since the Banner editorial staff already concluded that “we must act on the assumption that climate change is real.” Wow.

—Robert J. Ribbens
Muskegon, Mich.

Your article “Global Warning(s)” and editorial “Why Play Favorites?” (November 2011) were lopsided and unscientific—more of a political statement than a faith issue. Reading my church publication should enhance my faith, not try to persuade me of the virtues of liberal politics.

Cancel my subscription immediately.

—William Krzymowski
Gallup, New Mexico

There is probably no way to publish an article on a controversial subject without stirring up a lot of debate. However, your reasons for not publishing pro and con views in the same issue have a downside too. . . .

I do want to point out that a consensus among believers is not proof of the validity of their belief. The reason for this from a scientific standpoint is clear: consensus follows the establishment of fact; it does not verify it. Whenever physical evidence is lacking or incomplete on a matter in the physical world, the subject under discussion is not considered as fact but as a theory. Had you written about the subject of global climate change 40 years ago and come down on the side of the consensus viewpoint, you would have supported the conclusion that the world was headed for another ice age.

—John A. Clark
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Because the “scientific community” considers the view against “human-caused” global climate change to be a minority opinion, The Banner will not publish it (“Why Play Favorites?”). On the other hand, in the same issue it publishes an article (“How Should We Read the Bible?”) and letters that support those who question the reality of Adam and Eve, even though that remains a minority opinion in the membership of the CRC. If “majority rules” is the standard for publication, The Banner should be more consistent. The best standard, of course, is not science or majorities but, rather, the reliable words of Scripture from beginning to end.

—Michael DuMez
Oostburg, Wis.

How Should We Read the Bible?

Regarding Clarence Vos’ article “How Should We Read the Bible?” (November 2011), what a timely gift to the Christian Reformed Church!

This is the Reformed tradition at its best: reading both God’s Word and God’s world without fear. Now I remember why I first came to love the CRC.

—Robert A. Arbogast
Columbus, Ohio

Vos says that during discussions of the CRC’s Committee on Infallibility, Rev. Louis Praamsma, my father, noted that Abraham Kuyper maintained that “the historiography of the Bible was not that of a camera but more like that of an artist’s brush.”

Vos says that quote was an eye-opener for him, a suggestion that there is more to reality than the camera can capture. . . .

I would like to point out that my father held to a literal view of the Bible and would have been appalled to have his name linked to any suggestion to the contrary. Not only did he believe it important to accept the Genesis creation account as literal truth, he also actively promoted this viewpoint.

—Christine Farenhorst
Arthur, Ontario

Obviously this is a troubling article and needs much more explanation for certain questions that come up.

One of the key principles in hermeneutics is that the message of the Bible is historical—that it describes what happened to real people who lived in real places. Are we now saying that principle is no longer true?

It sounds to me in 1 Corinthians 15: 22 and 15:45 that Paul believed that Adam was literally the first person and that we all descended from Adam and Eve. Were Paul’s words not inspired?

And what happens to original sin if we now believe that Adam was not the first person God created and that through him we all have imputed original sin? . . .

We better have good, solid biblical answers so we can defend our faith.

—Harry VanMunster
Holland, Mich.

Trick or Treat?

The article “Trick or Treat?” (October 2011) left me with a heavy heart. To be advised that I can casually follow pagan customs with indifference, just as many unbelievers are indifferent to the gospel at Christmas, is appalling. Did the author consider, for example, the martyrdom of Perpetua (A.D. 203), who could have saved her life by following a simple act of sacrifice to a pagan god? She was told that she could perform the act without meaning it. Would the author have given Perpetua such counsel before her death? As a Christian, I fail to see how or why I would participate in a feast that celebrates fear and death when Jesus Christ has come to bring us life and life to the full.

—Phyllis Schouten
Burnaby, British Columbia

See comments (32)

Comments

Congratulations to The Banner and Brian Martin for the article in the November issue on climate change. This article serves as good introduction to the much longer and more detailed report of the climate change task force that will be presented to Synod next year. The Banner and Martin should be congratulated not only for taking a leading position in our denomination but also for their courage because they--and everyone else who follows this issue closely--knew that there would be unthinking "blow back" from the Luddites in the denomination. It is so sad that, as confirmed Christians, we have so many people who are in fact anti-science and such poor stewards of God's creation. In point of fact, the science is settled on this issue--climate change is a reality. It is not some "left-wing" plot--that is a silly myth. The hundreds of thousands of scientists span the political spectrum from left to right. In addition to highly accurate computer models, there is overwhelming empirical evidence. If climate change is not real how do we explain the unprecedented melting of ice caps and glaciers all over the world, the increased dessification in Africa and Asia, lengthened growing seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres, etc. Yes, there are "sceintists" who argue against climate chnage, but they are a distinct minority in the scientific community and most of them are paid by interets that have a financial and/or political reason to stand in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. The National Association of Evangelicals, the Catholic Church, the Lutherans and most other religious denominations have realized the reality of climate change. How ironic, while on the campaign trail this past summer, Texas Governor Rick Perry rejected the reality of climate change at the same time his state was literally on fire, was suffering through unprecedented drought and record heat. Amazing!

Re: How We Should Read the Bible. Maybe this is why young people keep rolling their eyes when I talk about the theological training I received at Trinity Christian College many years ago; understanding the Bible through Historical Redemptive Revelation. Is my theology wrong, or just out of date?

I can't take this progressive / liberal track anymore. How does one cancel their subscription?

Steven Meyer calls the rest of us "Luddites." I think Steve Meyer is a "Chicken Little," or worse, a can't-say-die fan of Paul Erlich (author of Population Bomb and subsequent apocolypse books), who, in the present tradition of AGW Alarmism, has predicted the virtual end of life on earth as we know it a number of times since the early 1970's. All for reasons AGW Alarmists would be proud of (and many actually say so).

Steven says, "The National Association of Evangelicals, the Catholic Church, the Lutherans and most other religious denominations have realized the reality of climate change." Wow, now those organizations are indeed climate science authorities.

Steven: One question. So are you advocating for a lot more production of nuclear power, just as James Hansen does? Serious question. I'd like an answer.

OK, one more question. Since the great majority of the same scientific community who are AGW Alarmists also believe God doesn't exist, do you defer to that position as well?

For everyone else, isn't the larger lesson here that the denomination, whose purpose is, or should be, to serve CRC congregations, should not be moving in the direction of becoming a political proxy for all CRC Members? I think our church denomination should be a church denomination. If you think likewise, please say so. Our denomination is quickly moving to be otherwise.

Here is a question for FAQ's:

What do you think about Christian's attending the local "Yoga" class or hosting a "Yoga" class at their church?

Global Warnings(s)

I appreciated the leadership position taken by the Banner on climate change in the November issue. Brian Martin's article outlines the basics of the science concisely, agreeing with what I’ve read over the last ten years in Scientific American. The one fact that dominates is the steady rise in CO2 concentrations from 270 to 390 PPM over the last two centuries. That’s a 44% increase and it is due mostly to human use of fossil fuels as we have industrialized. The links to global warming and ocean acidification are solid, and the resulting impacts on human life are at least significant and potentially catastrophic if we continue on our current path. The Banner’s choice to present this information to us in a compelling way is commendable. We as a church believe in the idea of always reforming, of changing our ways as we become aware of systemic problems to which we are party.

So why aren’t we all getting on board to change direction? Why all the debate? Why all the conspiracy theories? A few analogous science-driven debates from the past may be instructive. Is the earth flat or round? Is there a link between cigarettes and cancer? Is there a link between chlorofluorocarbons and depletion of the ozone layer? In each of these debates, new science challenged established thinking, habits, and ways of life. In each case it took time for the public to become educated on the science and for a new consensus to form. In each case the new knowledge originated with an “elite” group of people doing their science and challenging “common sense” or “personal freedom.” We all tend to be defensive when we’re first told that our established paradigms and habits are wrong or have bad side-effects. We want to be “right” and not need to change.

The remedies to climate change make demands on everyone’s habits. Western culture has invested heavily in fossil fuel technology. Almost all of us use automobiles, heat our homes, and enjoy products of industry powered by hydrocarbon fuels dug or pumped from the earth. Living with the conveniences of a fossil-fuel-driven world has become a way of life. The scope of the changes needed over the next few decades is very large.

As reformed Christians, we can help our society make these changes. We can do our homework with humility, shun the conspiracy theories, and help our world to face the fact that our industrial success has a downside and is causing an emerging high-stakes problem. As Reformed Christians we aren’t surprised that we’ve managed to miss the mark and need to reform our ways, again. We can model a willingness to roll up our sleeves and do whatever we can to help solve the problem.

Martin concludes his article with the following practical and hopeful suggestions: 1. Become knowledgeable. (I suggest doing so by reading the science and not those who politicize it. I think it is a horrible shame that this issue has become identified with political parties.) 2. Encourage our political leaders (of both parties in the USA!) to find ways to reduce our CO2 footprint. 3. Act in faith as stewards of creation in whatever big or small ways we can.

In summary, let’s work together to create or adopt sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels that provide similar levels of blessing without the unintended negative consequences. Let’s live up to our calling and be “always reforming” in this crucial area.

Global Warnings(s)

I appreciated the leadership position taken by the Banner on climate change in the November issue. Brian Martin's article outlines the basics of the science concisely, agreeing with what I’ve read over the last ten years in Scientific American. The one fact that dominates is the steady rise in CO2 concentrations from 270 to 390 PPM over the last two centuries. That’s a 44% increase and it is due mostly to human use of fossil fuels as we have industrialized. The links to global warming and ocean acidification are solid, and the resulting impacts on human life are at least significant and potentially catastrophic if we continue on our current path. The Banner’s choice to present this information to us in a compelling way is commendable. We as a church believe in the idea of always reforming, of changing our ways as we become aware of systemic problems to which we are party.

So why aren’t we all getting on board to change direction? Why all the debate? Why all the conspiracy theories? A few analogous science-driven debates from the past may be instructive. Is the earth flat or round? Is there a link between cigarettes and cancer? Is there a link between chlorofluorocarbons and depletion of the ozone layer? In each of these debates, new science challenged established thinking, habits, and ways of life. In each case it took time for the public to become educated on the science and for a new consensus to form. In each case the new knowledge originated with an “elite” group of people doing their science and challenging “common sense” or “personal freedom.” We all tend to be defensive when we’re first told that our established paradigms and habits are wrong or have bad side-effects. We want to be “right” and not need to change.

The remedies to climate change make demands on everyone’s habits. Western culture has invested heavily in fossil fuel technology. Almost all of us use automobiles, heat our homes, and enjoy products of industry powered by hydrocarbon fuels dug or pumped from the earth. Living with the conveniences of a fossil-fuel-driven world has become a way of life. The scope of the changes needed over the next few decades is very large.

As reformed Christians, we can help our society make these changes. We can do our homework with humility, shun the conspiracy theories, and help our world to face the fact that our industrial success has a downside and is causing an emerging high-stakes problem. As Reformed Christians we aren’t surprised that we’ve managed to miss the mark and need to reform our ways, again. We can model a willingness to roll up our sleeves and do whatever we can to help solve the problem.

Martin concludes his article with the following practical and hopeful suggestions: 1. Become knowledgeable. (I suggest doing so by reading the science and not those who politicize it. I think it is a horrible shame that this issue has become identified with political parties.) 2. Encourage our political leaders (of both parties in the USA!) to find ways to reduce our CO2 footprint. 3. Act in faith as stewards of creation in whatever big or small ways we can.

In summary, let’s work together to create or adopt sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels that provide similar levels of blessing without the unintended negative consequences. Let’s live up to our calling and be “always reforming” in this crucial area.

Dale: So are you willing to advocate for a significant increase of nuclear energy production? James Hansen, revered father of all who are climate change alarmists, is and does.

By Hansen's logic, and he is not shy about it, if you are not willing to push for nuclear, you are pretty much in the "greenwashing" camp (that's a pejorative term for Hansen). So where are you?

Neither Bob DeMoor nor Dr. Martin seem to want to touch the nuclear question. You? How about Scientific American? As much as I disagree with Hansen's conclusions about climate change, I regard him as at honest about his views because he is willing to advocate for the only altnernative source of energy that can replace the fossil fuel energy needed by the human race. And he does this knowing the "politically green" folk also reject nuclear.

So again, where are you? Are you willing to join Hansen and depart from those who are "politically green" only? Or are you another one of those "greenwashers".

By the way, we know one thing for sure from the ice core samples. An increase in global temperature increases atmospheric CO2. No, no, not the other way around. Remember Al Gore's chart, suggesting that rising CO2 as associated with global temperature? That was true, but, as we later found out, the rising global temperatures PRECEDED increased atmospheric CO2. Did Scientific American stress that as another "fact that dominates"?

Bob DeMoor does lead. My problem is that his leading is, by his own admission, blind. And Dr. Martin's articles fails to even mention the Alarmists' assumption of "net positive feedbacks," or explain why that hypothesized phenomena (not CO2 effect) is the dominant cause of the catastrophe they predict, nor how little evidence there actually is for that hypothesis.

Doug:
I'm not familiar with James Hansen or Bob DeMoor.

I am cautiously open to nuclear. I'm an engineer and tend to think we can solve the safety and disposal issues if we can muster the political will to do so.

The situation in Japan is certainly a reminder that things can go horribly wrong if we have not built in enough fail-safe mechanisms.

I think solar and wind will fill a niche, but don't expect they'll win the economic race to do everything.

I'm also not familiar with any data saying warming preceded CO2 levels. In fact, a recent National Geographic article I happened to see referred to strong correlations between temperature and CO2 levels going way back to a very hot time when there was no ice anywhere on earth (CO2 way up at something like 1200 PPM if I remember right). What is your mechanism for warming if not CO2 and other greenhouse gases? Same question for acidification.

Dale: Respectfully, and I really mean that, the Banner taking the leadership you admire is quite a bit like your opining about the Banner's leadership.

Commenting on Climate Change and not knowing who James Hansen is is like commenting on US History of the 1960s and not knowing who John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson were. Without Jim Hansen, no one would be talking about Climate Change. Bob DeMoor, by the way, is the Editor of the Banner, the person who took the leadership you appreciated.

As to warming leading CO2 increase, you may recall the long historical graphs shown on the very big screen by Al Gore in his award winning movie. It had lines for CO2 increase/decrease and temperature increase/decrease over the past hundreds and hundreds of years, as shown by ice core sample. They were "in sync." And before scientists were able to able to look at the ice core data more precisely, they presumed that increase in CO2 preceded increase in temperature. Pretty simple conclusion then for today, eh? But, when scientists became able to read the data more precisely, they found that temperature increase preceded CO2 increase. What?!?! Go watch the movie and Google key words for more explanation. Now you can extrapolate certain conclusions from today's measurements of temperature and CO2, but frankly, the time period we have to work with is simply inadequate, which is why both sides visit long periods of history to attempt to "prove" their case. Michael Mann's invention of the "Hockey Stick" is such an attempt and Steve McIntyre's destroying of Mann's statistical processes in creating that "Hocky Stick" was evident that Alarmists were attempting to "manipulate" history to push their claims.

Again, respectfully, your response to the Banner's "leadership" is Exhibit A for why the Banner shouldn't attempt to play a leadership role on this. After reading the Banner, you tend to be even more convinced that Alarmists are correct, which in fact all you are observing is a human "social bandwagon" phenomena. Once supposedly responsible people say something is true, others (including engineers) parrot "me too," not because they have independently verified the conclusions (the subject matter is far to complex for that), but because they are told all the smart people say it is true.

The fable about the King who had no clothes is in fact on point here. The IPCC has some clothes, but (I would suggest), nothing more than skimpy underwear.

Doug:
Hmmm...seems to me we are all capable of being parrots. The best leaders are the best followers...so the key to you and I being good leaders is to know who and what to follow, right? Seems to me we've chosen very different crowds for reasons I attempted to probe in my original post.
Forgive my ignorance on names. I'm not an expert and I'm horrible at remembering names. I do read Scientific American and based on that and some practical experience in science and engineering believe we have grounds for accepting the theory of human induced climate change as extremely probable.
Frankly, your arguments sound a lot like those who argued against the CFC / ozone depletion link, which I'm familiar with because I work in HVAC.
BTW: you didn't answer my questions.
Dale.

Dale: First, you ask why I didn't answer your questions. Because they reek with being rhetorical, not questions. Did you really want an answer to, eg. "Why all the debate?" or "Is the earth flat or round?", etc.?

My primary argument in all of this is that neither the Banner nor the CRC should be taking a leadership role on this, any more than you should. Climate change is a combination of scientific, economic and political questions that are clearly outside the Kuyperian sphere of authority and competency of the Church. So my major disagreement with you relates to whether the Banner should have taken this leadership position.

The only likely results of the CRC/Banner taking a leadership role on these questions are: (1) there is a certain amount of "blind leading blind" that will go on; (2) it will unecessarily divide the church.

Beyond that, as a matter of principle, my denomination has no business being my political proxy on this. With the CRC, as denomination, taking up more and more political issues, it becomes less of an institutional church and more of a political association. Neither appropriate in principle nor constructive within the body.

Doug:
You're right; first post was rhetorical.
Second post was specific in response to your position that CO2 increase followed warming; "What is your mechanism for warming if not CO2 and other greenhouse gases? Same question for acidification."

I too have no interest in the denomination being my political proxy. I do have an interest in the church critiquing the politics and the spin that the parties put on the issues. And as I stated below, I think it's a shame that the climate change issue has become politically identified as it has. The core of the question is pure science; is it warming and why? From what I've read, the people closest to the pure science are saying "yes it's warming and it's due to our modern habit of burning fossil fuels." The science sphere is the one we all need to heed first on this question.

Of course the science has political and moral implications, justice for people all over the world and proper stewardship of the earth. On these points the church has an interest and a duty to advocate. My opinion is that it was a gutsy leadership move for the Banner to decide that the evidence was clear and it was time to advocate.
Dale.

Dale: OK, may answer to your question: what is my mechanism for warming?

First answer, recovery from the last ice age (it's undisputed by all sides that we are recovering, such that we should be warming).

Second answer, natural variability (it's undisputed by all sides that there will be warming and cooling variation as generally there is temperature increase).

Third answer, solar variations and winds (it's undisputed by all sides that these elements are poorly understood at best).

Fourth answer, some combination of the above.

Fifth answer, some combination of the above and/or other causes we simply don't know about yet.

Another answer is a question. So what caused the global cooling from the 1940's to the 1970's? CO2 was certainly on the rise. So why did it cool?

Another question. Why was actual warming in the past decades nowhere close to what Hansen predicted in testimony Congress decades ago?

I'm much more willing than you to recognize the incredible, almost infinite complexity of the planet's climate system. We may understand it pretty fully some day, but that certainly isn't now, seeing how we learn so much new every year, with no sign of that ending soon.

As frankly admitted by Trenberth (I think it was him), in one of the "Climategate" emails, we simply do not know the complete energy equation for the planet at this point in time.

By the way, we could also get hit by a yet undetected planet killing meteor 50 to 100 years from now that will destroy all life on earth, yet I would oppose crippling the world's economy in order to build protection from that. You?

Finally, why in the world do you want some men and women, from your denomination, who have absolute no academic or occupational qualifications regarding the science, economics, or politics of climate change, "critiq[e] the politics and the spin [re climate change] that the parties put on the issues?" Have they run out of things do that do require their qualifications? Or do you want to divide the denomination along political lines?

Dale: Further response (these posts have a word limit).

You say you think its a gutsy leadership move by the Banner to take up this question and state a position on climate change. Maybe, but one can be gutsy and incompetent at the same time.

Again, neither the Banner's Editor nor Editorial Committee have ANY academic or occupational qualifications regarding the science, economics, or the politics involved in Climate Change?

You are apparently involved in HVAC systems (as an engineer). Would it be gutsy, or just arrogant and stupid, for me--or the Banner Editor for that matter--to declare you are wrong as to your HVAC systems conclusions?

Truly reasonable people would (should) give no heed to what the Banner's Editor declares about HVAC systems (or the Federal Reserve, or new generation nuclear power plants, or cold fusion, or thousands of other topics) because he knows nothing about it. And if the Banner Editor were to waste time, energy, paper, ink and denominational dollars on any of those subjects, he would be doing just that, wasting. Worse though, he would not be spending his time doing what he should be doing. Worse yet, he would be eroding the unity of the church for no constructive reason (and we want to adopt the Belhar in order to work toward unity????).

So maybe gutsy I suppose, but still horribly misguided. What more meaningless (for lack of expertise) "truth" could the Editor "declare" that would create more division within the denomination?

I can't really think of any.

I was really disappointed to read the article about global “warning” in the November issue. I would hope that the committee to Synod would consider some of the following problems to this theory:
1) It has been found out from leaked e-mails that University of East Anglia Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (whose “facts” the UN and many others use) has cherry picked their facts, omitted data that had inconvenient facts, suppressed opposing viewpoints, and have organized boycotts of scientific journals which publish material contradicting their findings. When faced with a freedom of information request, they deleted correspondence and data. There is now a searchable data base of the 5,000 released e-mails that can be used.
2) Do we have a memory of the 1970s when some of these same scientists were warning us about a coming ice age?
3) Al Gore’s documentary which promotes this type of science was brought to court in Britain where a judge ruled that there were nine points made in the film that were troubling because the evidence was not there for them. Al Gore refuses to debate his ideas. He only speaks to friendly audiences. He is not a trained scientist, only the “inventor of the internet.”
4) You may have noticed that it is no longer called “global warming” since the facts actually show cooling the last 10 years.
5) There is a Global Warming Petition that 31,478 American scientists have signed including 9,029 with PhDs, disagreeing with Gore’s view on “global warming” and the claimed detrimental effect of CO2 on the earths’ environment. The petition says:
“…There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
6) The “hockey stick” graph was created to erase the medieval warming period in world history. A Canadian statistician in 2003 already showed the hockey stick graph to be flawed.
7) The UK Telegraph has called climate change the “worst scientific scandal of our generation.” John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel calls global warming “the greatest scam in history.”
8) People who like this theory like to blame people and ignore events like the volcanic eruption in Iceland this summer. At any time there is an average of 20 volcanoes exploding and spewing into the air. Forest fires are another natural event that defeats our efforts to reduce carbon in our world.
9) I see much of this panic mode on climate change being pushed to encourage an agenda where some of the answers are seen as Cap and Trade (which could cause family utility bills to increase as much as $3,000 a year), large monetary penalties on industrial nations, and a dictated environmental position. Often people who push this point of view would cede the US sovereignty to the United Nations or another world organization which could then dictate to us how we should use our energy. Global warming “science” can be seen as a method to gain greater control over people’s lives.

Doug:
Thanks for spelling out your views.
Clearly you're an intelligent person, so I find your choice of sources puzzling. I can't resist posting this link to the very first search result I found on your global cooling reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

I think you have chosen sources poorly.
You think I'm incompetent and naive.

I'll end this discussion this way.
Once upon a time there was a global warming alarmist who had a spirited debate with a conspiracy theorist with access to special knowledge.
One of them was correct, as time will tell.
And there's hope for both of them.
In Christ,
Dale.

Dale: I think, as I believe you do, that it is good for brothers in Christ to have this debate. Yes, time will tell.

What I don't think is that our denomination, yours and mine, should decide to pick which of us is right, which is wrong, and that the only way to do some "serious God imaging" is by being on the side the denominational magazine Editor says is right. That is both offensive and devisive to/for many of your brothers and sisters in the CRC.

That is the more significant issue.

The sky will or will not fall, regardless of what you or I say about climate Change, and regardless of what the denomination or the Banner says. After all, the CRC brings to the world at large absolutely no weight to the science issues, no understanding to the economic issues, and no influence as to the politics of the issue.

What our denomination does do when it "takes sides" on issues outside its jurisidiction and competency, is to suggest to some CRC Members that they should be shown the door. Indeed, your opinion that the Editor's position was a laudible, gutsy move is far more troublesome to me than your thinking about Climate Change. Had it took "my side," I would have been equally alarmed. You and I, like the denomination, will have no influence on the Climate Change debate/struggle, but you and I, and Synod and the Banner, will have an influence on people in our denomination. Our brothers and sisters. I've been through more church division than you can possibly imagine. Most of it is regretted by pretty much everyone after the fact. Maybe by everyone if they are honest with themselves. The denomination choosing sides on these kinds of issues are, per se, acts of dividing. If this continues, it won't end well. As to that question, I am pretty expert, just because I have a lot of first-hand experience.

I would hope you could possibly join me in suggesting to the Banner that it would do well to examine what it's role is, and isn't, for the sake of unity of that part of the church univeral we call the CRC.

Finally, I'd offer a "climate science link" for you as well. Warren Meyer is not a climatologist, but he does have expertise in feedback systems (which to me is at the heart of the real science dispute, alarmists claims about what skeptics object to notwithstanding). Watch his video presentation sometime.

http://www.climate-skeptic.com/

And/or Google and check out John Christy sometime. A highly respected brother in Christ who works for NASA on Climate Science issues -- and doesn't agree with you. :-)

Blessings to you.

Surprised CRC is dwindling? Not at all! I have been part of the CRC for 46 years and cannot believe what I see happening here! We seem to be gravitating to the Politically Correct take on nearly every emerging political topic: global warming (uh, I mean climate change), evolution, Belhar Confession, women, homosexuality, green, etc. I would like to point out that the Bible is absolutely not politically correct and can be downright offensive in today's society! The Bible cannot and should not be molded to fit our lifestyles; our lives must be molded to fit into God's Word. The CRC's lack of growth and/or retaining our children is directly due to our not even believing what the Bible (actually God) tells us. Am I now supposed to believe in evolution because science knows more than the fairy tales portrayed in the Bible? I suppose that if Adam and Eve are merely characters in a parable, then Jesus is probably also, or at least could arguably be, just another character in a parable. Jesus life is filled with some pretty far fetched things that could be much easier to explain away as just another parable with some really good life lessons. Believing in this parable character Jesus would still cause a greater good...I don't think so! Jesus is real, as is everything from Genesis through Revelation! Time to return to our roots and believe what God gave us: The Holy Bible (Literally).

There has been an Untied Nations invasion into our church. The Office of Social Justice of our denomination is implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals that synod endorsed back in 2004. I agree with the person who advocated that we shut down the OSJ, -

I would not stop there. We also need to withdraw our membership from the negative influence of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Let me respond to some of what has been said so far--partly in reaction to my earlier note.

First of all, one contributor wanted to know how I felt about nuclear power. Certainly nuclear power avoids the carbon problem. But there are serious problems with it. For one thing, it is very expensive. But, perhaps more importantly, the nuclear fuel cycle has some serious dangers--especially in disposal of nuclear waste. If that part of the cycle can be conquered nuclear power has some real possibilities, but right now it is simply too dangerous.

Second, there was a snide comment about the lack of climate change expertise of the many denominations that now recognize the reality of climate change and the reposnibility of stewadrship. These denominations have examnined the science in detail over many years before they came to their conclusion. In fact, some of them changed thier views after examining the science.

Third, another contributor mentioned the East Anglia controversy. Quite simply,those scientists should not have done what they did--it was wrong. BUT, in no way does their action undermine or change the overwhelming science confirming the reality of climate change.

Fourth, the same contributor asked the often asked question about the same scientists who predicted a cooling of the climate in the early 1970s, but now were predicting warming. Over time the climate had been alternating between warming and cooling cycles. In the 1970s the "normal" cycle change should have been toward cooling. But, we have so damaged the climate that this expectation did not come to pass. Instead, the climate began to warm and computer models and empirical evidence now confirm this.

Fifth, a writer states that most climate scientists do not believe that God exists and asks whether I hold to that position as well. This is really a strange thing to posit. First, what is this contention based on? Have you seen surveys confirming your statement. If you have, please let me know where to find them. But, perhaps more important, what difference does it make? I suspect that there are believers and non-believers on both sides of this issue. My dentist is a non-believer, but she is still an excellent dentist--she understands the science of dentisty very well. And, of
course I believe God exists.

Sixth, perhaps some of the most remarkable comments concern the so-called "liberal" agenda behind climate change, whether it is legitimate for The Banner to take on such "political" issues and, remarkably, that this issue has no place in Kuyper's sphere sovereingty position. This question is not--and should not be--a matter of political disposition. It is something that needs to be based only on science. This is exactly the kind of issue The Banner should discuss because it has such important ramifications for God's creation and we have divinely mandated requirement to care for His creation. In like manner, the physical world fits very well into the Kuyperian sphere sovereignty and more arrangement and more importantly it is a very Reformed area to consider. But, also a quick comment on politics. We are very much requiured to become politically involved. Such involvement has a Scriptural basis, the entire fourth book in Calvin's Institutes concerns politics and Kuyper (a Dtuch Prime Minister) was very much involved in politics. In fact, how is it possible for a Reformed Christian not to be involved in political issues?

Steven: Let me respond in part. First as to nuclear, are you really suggesting you know more about that than James Hansen? If so, you need to disclose your credentials. Hansen has done more than a little research on nuclear, has the power of NASA behind him, has greater "green" credentials that perhaps any person on the planet, and in articles he's written that you can easily find, he responds quite persuasively to your objections.

For me, your opposition to nuclear means, like it does to Hansen, that you aren't really serious about your CO2 concerns, or you are simply hopelessly underinformed about it. For Hansen too.

Next, as to denominations. It makes no difference how much "denominations" study the science of this issue, nor the conclusion they draw. 0 times 0 = 0. I wouldn't suggest consulting the opinion taken by church denominations to support either position.

Finally, your Sixth point. You suggest the climate change problem shouldn't be a political question. OK, maybe shouldn't be but it obviously is. Indeed, BOTH SIDES bemoan how politicized the issue has become. And it is an incredibly complex political question because it involves the politics of every country in the world. Now you might think (and I might agree) that this should only be a science question, but it isn't. Beyond that, it's an economic question, and a really, really complex one of those.

In fact, I would challenge you to identify another issue, in all of human history, that presents a more complex scienced, political, or economic question. I sure can't. So, why do you want a Theologian/Editor, or a Synod composed of 1/2 Theologians, for that matter, to decree what the right answers are on these issues?

Answer: because they happen to agree with you. Were the Banner Editor to conclude opposite of what he does, you would not be cheering for the Editor to take this question up.

Many are unaware of Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is the Untied Nations blue print to completely transform the world and human societies, using the excuse of global warming and cutting back on our carbon footprint to bring communities, energy, resources, private land, property, and you under their control. They provide funds through government grants to non-government organizations like the CRWRC, to help introduce, push and write their policies, at the UN level. Going green and Sustainable Development is Agenda 21. They are writing curriculums for your schools, churches, and private businesses through the Millennium Development Goals and Comprehensive Development Plans to bring you and your religion into conformity and control of a centralized government.

Agenda 21 and Sustainable development has already locked up farm land, private land, resources, energy, and water. The UN policies will excel food, water and energy shortages, drive up cost, and raise taxes to make up the difference.

The CRC through the Office Of Social Justice, the CRWRC, and the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) are bring our church community into political compliance with Agenda 21. Our Church leadership has endorsed and are already implementing a radical doctrinal shift toward compliance. Little do they realize that they are contributing to their own demise.

I must say, I am thoroughly disappointed with the global warming article. Since when is one man's opinion unquestionably right? And why am I the idiot for NOT believing in it? Are we to blindly swallow that the earth is millions of years old? What happened to the Biblical chronology of the earth being approximately 6500 yrs old? I'm with William Krzymowski of New Mexico - you do not need to send the Banner to me any more. If I continue to receive it, I will burn it in its entirety for two reasons: 1) out of protest to the overt support of global warming, and 2) to add as much carbon dioxide to the air as I possibly can while I'm alive.
Kent Zevenbergen

Where does the Bible say--or even indicate--that the world is only 6500 years old? Dating the "start" of the world is not what the Bible is about. We know that the earth is much older and the science that has established that fact is not inconsistant with Scripture. BTW, the science of climatre change is not based on the opinion of one man, but of many thousands of scientists--some are believers and some are not. Not believing does not make you an "idiot," just uninformed.

George VanderWeit's answer to the question "Can a person vote for a Mason?" in the FAQ section is false. Since Mason's swear allegiance to the false god of the Masons, a true Christian can never vote for a man who is so divided in his loyalty. "Can a man serve two masters?" is the principle at stake here. Google: “Ex Masons for Jesus”. Similarly, a vote for a Muslim or a homosexual (I assume practicing) is also forbidden by scripture. Why vote for one who espouses evil against Christ? In reformed theology, presented by Calvin and Kuyper, we learn that God is to be LORD of our vote. Run for office yourself. Vote for a Christ follower first. Pray and help Christians to be elected and help them govern according to biblical principles. Help them stand for truth and righteousness! Leave the results to God. If we vote for the lesser of two evils, we will only have evil left to vote for.

The crisis of ethics we see in our society and churches is part and parcel of the compromising spirit I read in VanderWeit's answers. How can he state the CRC position against lodge membership and then suggest we could vote for a lodge member? Confusing, yes; misleading, definitely. Plainly - FALSE. Pity that readers may accept such a lie!
Since the RCA accepts Masons as elders and members we should not seek ecclesiastical fellowship with them unless they accept our CRC statement against Lodge membership.
Sincerely,
Irma DeVries
RR#4
Harriston ON N0G1Z0 Canada

I wanted to defend the two points in my November 29 letter that Steven Meyer disagreed with in his December 4 letter.

You state about the East Anglia controversy that “in no way does their action undermine or change the overwhelming science confirming the reality of climate change.” Their research WAS a large part of the “overwhelming science.” When the main source of information for climate change cannot be trusted it is a BIG DEAL! When someone has lied to me about several things, I start to suspect the other information they are giving out and question why they feel the need to misrepresent things if the real facts are on their side.

You also state “in the 1970s the ‘normal’ cycle change should have been toward cooling.” Interestingly in the TIME article of June 24, 1974 people are blamed for the cooling. (“…climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere…may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth…Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climate balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within a few hundred years.”) The April 8, 1977 TIME cover would suggest scientists don’t see it as “normal” cooling. (“How to Survive the Coming Ice Age”)

I would agree with Marnix Lub that the CRC has tended to go along with the politically correct views of many issues. As a person who has spent her whole life in the CRC, I am proud of many things about our denomination. I have met people from other denominations who have said things like, “I have admiration for your denomination.” “Those are good people.” However, I have always seen our denomination as having some arrogance about our intellectual superiority as compared to some denominations where their faith has more to do with emotions or very simple trust. I think it is a good thing to study the scriptures and be very informed as to what is in the Bible and why we believe it. However, the CRC has a desire to throw its hat in with academia and the elite in the media and their cultural views. This is a very poor choice. Many in the media openly mock Christians and their beliefs. Many college professors are the most rabidly anti-Christian members of our society.

I would agree with the Roels (December issue) that “The evolution issue is a microcosm of why the denomination is hemorrhaging college-educated young adults…”; however, I would see the reason as being that many were convinced by their college professors that if evolution is true then they should doubt the Bible’s veracity.

Shouldn’t young people be exposed to some of the problems with evolution? (The fossils don’t support the evolution theory. How do you account for symbiotic plants and animals that need each other to live not dying off before the other one evolved? The requirements for life are so complex that chance and even billions of years cannot explain it.)

As a young adult my husband studied evolution and was an enthusiastic supporter. Because of classes offered in the church he attended (Grace Community in CA) he was made aware of all the arguments against the evolutionary theory. He has been a further student of it through the works of Dr. Walter Brown (creationscience.com), Institute for Creation Research, and several other organizations. The Roels might want to examine the book The Fossils Say No by Duane Gish.

Actually, the East Anglia effort was a relatively small part of the scientific investigation into climate change and it certainly was not a large part of the science. You are simpoly asserting that without evidence. The science has been established literally by thousands of scientists all over the world. The mistake by the East Anglia crowd was a human failing that unfortunately has given skeptics a small opening into an increasingly settled issue. Please let me encourage you to open your mind and read the science. Go to such sources as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Stewardship Task Force Report written by our own denomination--it is quite good. Yes, it is true that some particles expanding into the atmosphere can reduce sulight and have a cooling effect. That is exactly what happened when Mt. Pinetubo exploded in 1991. But, that is not what is happening now. Please, again, read the science.

Irma asks:

>How can he (Vander Weit) state the CRC position against lodge membership and then suggest we could vote for a lodge member? Confusing, yes; misleading, definitely. Plainly - FALSE.

I have an obligation to state the CRC position when a questioner asks what it is. I’m sorry you thought that stating it meant that I believe it is true. Perhaps it would have been less confusing if I had said it is false, but I’ve written that numerous times before and didn’t think this was the context to say it again. I did hint at that by saying that synod adopted our current position “even though both the majority and minority of the synodical advisory committee expressed disappointment with the work of the study committee.”

Whether our position is true or false makes no difference when it comes to our vote. Voting for a Mason, Muslim, Jew, homosexual, adulterer, gossiper, etc. etc. does not mean that I agree with everything that person says or does. It simply means that I believe that person will serve better than the others on the ballot.

I’m having surgery tomorrow. I don’t know if my doctor is a Christian. But if I had to choose between an incompetent Christian and a competent atheist, I’d choose the latter and receive his/her skills as a gift from the “God from whom all blessings flow.”

If the fundamentalist evangelical movement is wrong about the theory of evolution maybe The Roels can explain why Harry Londale at http://www.originlife.org/ is offering $50,000 research grants for any cogent and plausible and even off the wall explanations for how life began to help scientists solve the great remaining problem in biology when all this time scientists have been telling us that evolution was fact.

I would like to respond to two of the letters published here, regarding the article last fall on climate change. One writer wonders how we should decide which is the "correct" temperature for us to "set" if we try to address this problem? Since climate has clearly changed naturally through geological time, this is a reasonable question. Scientists are concerned about the expected changes in temperature and precipitation in the coming years because they are predicted to happen much faster than anything that earth has experienced in the past. While ecosystems are resiliant and adaptable, we don't know how they will respond to such rapid change. In addition, while natural ecosystems are quite adaptable, human infastructure is less-so - it's not easy to move highways and houses, for example, to reduce the risk of flooding from sea level rise.

Another writer suggests that it would be more important for us as Christians to address problems like starvation, disease and poverty before tackling global warming. This suggestion misses the fact that each of these problems is likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Droughts and floods will affect regions where crops are currently grown. Malaria and other diseases spread by tropical insects may also become more common in other regions of the world. I would argue that responsble stewardship of our natural resources calls for reducing the effects of climate change precisely because climate change will harm the poor more than anyone else.

-John Ausema, Environmental science and biology teacher, Greenbelt, MD

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