Southern Baptists Sign Environmental Vow

That human beings are called to exercise wise stewardship of God’s creation cannot be seriously disputed, at least without ignoring numerous passages of Scripture. Just what that theological commitment entails in terms of actions we pursue, policies we support, etc., can admittedly a more difficult matter to discern. As a result, navigating our way through the current environmental debates and their potential implications will surely demand careful reflection on the part of the church.

With that in mind, I thought I’d include a link to a story that caught me eye this morning. It reports the recent call of several Southern Baptist leaders to heed current scientific evidence for global warming and actively work to limit our human contribution to the phenomenon. As the article indicates, this call is one that some conservative Christians are likely to oppose.

To help widen the circle of (hopefully reasonable and respectful) debate, I’ve also included one statement of The Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Change, the group the article mentions:

It Is Prudent to Address Global Climate Change.

We recognize that we do not have any special revelation to guide us about whether global warming is occurring and, if it is occurring, whether people are causing it. We are looking at the same evidence unfolding over time that other people are seeing.

We recognize that we do not have special training as scientists to allow us to assess the validity of climate science. We understand that all human enterprises are fraught with pride, bias, ignorance and uncertainty.

We recognize that if consensus means unanimity, there is not a consensus regarding the anthropogenic nature of climate change or the severity of the problem. There is general agreement among those engaged with this issue in the scientific community. A minority of sincere and respected scientists offer alternate causes for global climate change other than deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.

We recognize that Christians are not united around either the scientific explanations for global warming or policies designed to slow it down. Unlike abortion and respect for the biblical definition of marriage, this is an issue where Christians may find themselves in justified disagreement about both the problem and its solutions.

Yet, even in the absence of perfect knowledge or unanimity, we have to make informed decisions about the future. This will mean we have to take a position of prudence based partly on science that is inevitably changing. We do not believe unanimity is necessary for prudent action. We can make wise decisions even in the absence of infallible evidence.

Though the claims of science are neither infallible nor unanimous, they are substantial and cannot be dismissed out of hand on either scientific or theological grounds. Therefore, in the face of intense concern and guided by the biblical principle of creation stewardship, we resolve to engage this issue without any further lingering over the basic reality of the problem or our responsibility to address it. Humans must be proactive and take responsibility for our contributions to climate change—however great or small.

(Read the entire document here.)

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