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God Rules Everything -- Even The Climate

People are getting a kick out of comments Rep. Tim Walberg (R.-Mich.) made at a recent town hall. Because he’s a Christian, his faith is in the Lord — not science. “I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time. I believe there are cycles. Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.”

So what’s going on here, aside from non-Christians still being surprised and repulsed by Christians for giving Christian answers?

With President Trump recently withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, it’s a great time for left-leaning “news” outlets to get a few extra clicks by turning the congressman’s comments into a story. Huffington Post wants you to know “you can rest easy now,” mocking Walberg. MSNBC thinks the congressman’s remarks are “problematic” because we could apply his logic when he says, “if there’s a real problem, [God] can take of it,” to everything from national defense to healthcare.

So what’s going on here, aside from non-Christians still being surprised and repulsed by Christians for giving Christian answers? Is the congressman correct? He said he believes “there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And [he’s] confident that, if there’s a real problem, [God] can take care of it.” Is he wrong?

God is the creator and the sustainer of the universe. And if that’s true, people—with all our pollution and carbon emissions and plastic water bottles—will not be able to render ourselves extinct by changing the world’s atmospheric makeup.

Sounds like Walberg is expressing one of the most basic beliefs of Christianity: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). God is the creator and the sustainer of the universe. And if that’s true, people—with all our pollution and carbon emissions and plastic water bottles—will not be able to render ourselves extinct by changing the world’s atmospheric makeup. The simplest of Christian beliefs is that God is the ruler of everything, including time and history. It sounds like the congressman is only expressing a belief that since God created the world, God will rule it in such a way that if a changing climate is not God’s ordained means of ending the world, then we’ll be fine.

What Walberg didn’t say is that we should be irresponsible or not take any steps to steward God’s creation well. Because along with the basic belief that God created the world and knows how to keep it going until the end, is another basic Christian belief that people were given dominion over the creation and the responsibility to care for and steward it. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28).

Should we, as Christians, care about the world? More than anyone else! Is it important; should we be conscious of the impact we make on the environment? Absolutely. If we can take reasonable steps to guard our negative effect on the climate, we should. The trick is finding agreement on “reasonable steps.”

But should we, as Christians, place all our eggs in the science basket and abandon our trust in God’s providence? By no means. God’s promises are truer than all our climate data. Should we denigrate those who disagree with us — either for or against climate change? Not if we are followers of Jesus.

And should we maybe not read so much into a couple of insignificant passing remarks made by a congressman at a local town hall meeting? Now that’s an answer everyone should be able to agree on!

It's Slippery Out There Sinning For The Greater Good

What happens when trying to be a good Christian makes you a bad Conservative? 

Whoa. One sentence in, and some of you may already be scratching your heads. I know there are some who think those two words are synonymous--but it is possible to be good at one and bad at the other. Maybe this is just one of those tensions we have to accept, like trying to reconcile God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. Or the Trinity; how can God be three and one at the same time? It's like that. How can a person be a good Christian and not be incensed at the Grand Jury's decision to indict David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt? 

I don't share my political views often; in fact, I almost never talk politics--on purpose. It suffices to say that you'd spot me if you look a little right. Which is where I find myself questioning the way I'm supposed to respond to the news that a Houston Grand Jury indicted the videographers who exposed Planned Parenthood last year.

For a short version of the most commonly asked questions about the news, this is a great summary. And for some great cultural analysis from a Christian viewpoint, take a listen to the first ten minutes of yesterday's episode of Al Mohler's excellent podcast, The Briefing. I agree with Mohler; we are living in a world turned upside down. And it's appalling that Planned Parenthood will continue (at least for now) to get away with their atrocities, especially in light of the videos. That part of me is as red as it gets. Don't misread me: Abortion is evil, murder, and an abomination. In other words, it's sin.

But so is lying.

So is breaking the law by falsifying government documents. So what if all reporters do it to get the story.

We’ve moved into a bigger, more theoretical (dare I say age-old) question of whether it’s okay to commit a little sin for the “greater good.”

See my dilemma? I'm supposed to join my Facebook timeline in raging about the "injustice" done these two videographers who busted Planned Parenthood, thus making me a good Conservative. But I'm having a hard time saying it's okay for them to sin because the other people are bigger sinners. I'm having a hard time justifying their sin for some kind of greater good; I don't think I can do that and be a good Christian. Because that's what this has turned into. "It's okay they lied because the other people are killing." The line to get on the slippery slope is long, but it's moving pretty fast.

With the conservative outrage over the Grand Jury's decision on Monday, we've moved beyond the question of Planned Parenthood's evil. We've moved into a bigger, more theoretical (dare I say age-old) question of whether it's okay to commit a little sin for the "greater good." And where's the line? Which sins are small enough to be okay? Is it okay to bomb an abortion clinic? If falsifying government documents will bring down Planned Parenthood, is that okay? Bombing, I'm guessing we all agree, no. But lying? It seems my fairly conservative Facebook feed agrees, yes.

But then my Bible still says, no.

Sin is sin is sin. Falsifying government records sent Jesus to the cross. Killing babies sent Jesus to the cross. Neither is beyond the reach of the gospel--but neither honors the Lord, either. One may be more or less heinous to me and you, but they both assault the sovereignty and glory of God. They are both cosmic treason to a Being infinite in his justice and holiness.

So I find myself not outraged at the Grand Jury in Houston, but a little let down by David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. I wish they'd done things the right way, maybe done a little more research, maybe gone the extra mile to make sure the bases were covered. Because my stomach turned at the videos they released. I want their work to mean something. But I can't be a good Christian if I expect the system to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for breaking laws, without holding these two accountable for breaking laws.

Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose," calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. Isaiah 46.8-11

I can be a good Christian, though, by remembering and trusting that God is sovereign, that his purposes can't be thwarted, and that he allows and works through our sin to accomplish his purposes. He used the sin of Joseph's brothers to save many people (Genesis 50.20). He used the sin of the Pharisees and the Jewish crowd to save his people through the murder of Jesus (Acts 2.22-24). 

And he can still use the sins of a couple of videographers to expose the sins of a nationwide abortion provider. So let's stop acting like these two didn't deserve their indictments, like they were martyred--but let's not stop praying that their work might yet succeed in its aim to expose greater evils.