In for a penny, in for a pound(ing). This has just been published on Australian Presbyterian.
The Green Captivity of the Church
Even as I pressed the send button I knew it was a risky moment. And so it proved to be. As soon as the article was published on a Christian website, there were cries of ‘heretic’, ‘he should lose his job’, ‘how unloving and unChristlike’, ‘cancel him’!? What was the crime? What heresy was I expounding? I had dared to suggest that perhaps the Climate Change debate was not over, and there were lots of questions that still had to be answered, and that we should approach the subject with a great deal more humility.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not a ‘denier’ and as far as I can see there has been a degree of warming throughout the world and some of that is due to human activity. My concern was just simply to ask three questions: How much? What can realistically be done about it? And why has this been turned into a new doctrine that Christians must accept or be excommunicated from polite Christian society? The purpose of this article is not to put the pros and cons of the scientific, political and social debates. But rather to suggest that the Green movement is in danger of being a Trojan horse to bring in anti-Christian teachings in to the Christian church.
The response to my article confirmed to me something that I have feared for some time – that there is a new doomsday cult in town – the Climate Change cult. I wrote about this a year ago – https://www.christiantoday.com/article/is.there.a.climate.change.cult/134046.htm
But over the past year it has become clear to me that this is not just a cult on the fringes inhabited by a few eccentrics and a host of frightened, indoctrinated young people. This cult has morphed into a fully-fledged religion – complete with its own high priests, child prophets, demands of sacrifice, unquestionable doctrines, and its apocalyptic end times predictions. What is worse is how this particular false religion is capturing, not just the liberal Church (whose normal methodology is just to baptise whatever progressive/regressive ideology is in fashion), but also a great section of the evangelical church. People are writing about their ‘conversion’ to the cause of climate change. There are few evangelical organisations and publishing houses who would dare to question, at least publicly, the current accepted narrative.
You can see why. Most heresies are not outright negations of the truth – they tend to be subtle distortions of it. The Bible does teach us that we are to be stewards of the planet and that we are to care for it. It does tell us that we are to care for the poor and that we are to seek justice. The Bible is not anti-science; indeed modern Western science was largely founded upon a biblical worldview. Therefore, when we are told that ‘The Science’ is settled – that the world is doomed; it’s only ‘one minute to midnight’; Cop26 was the most important meeting in human history; it is the poor who suffer most from climate change; and God commands us to save the planet. Who would not want to get involved? Surely the Christian response is obvious. Indeed, it is because some Christians believe this so fundamentally that I received demands that the heretic should be silenced. To question any of this is deemed to be blasphemy.
There are so many examples as to how much this new religion has become part of the liturgy and doctrine of the church. For example, the Archbishop of Canterbury was forced to apologise last week for suggesting that those who failed to act to limit climate change at Cop26 could be worse than the leaders who ignored the threat of the Nazis in the 1930’s. Hymns are being rewritten to accommodate the new religion. This example by Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gilette from the PCUSA is one of the worst.
ST. DENIO 220.127.116.11 (“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”)
The climate is changing! Creation cries out!
Your people face flooding and fire and drought.
We see the great heat waves and storms at their worst.
We pray for the poor, Lord — for they suffer first.
We thank you, for leaders, courageous and brave,
who know that the Earth is worth fighting to save,
who care about justice and what they should do,
who listen to science and work hard for you.
Dave Brennan wrote a perceptive and disturbing article about the ‘Gaia’ exhibition currently touring the UK. https://www.christiantoday.com/article/what.is.a.pagan.goddess.doing.in.a.place.of.christian.worship/137680.htm
As he points out this is pagan, godless worship, and it is being imported into churches, all in the name of climate change. There was a time when evangelicals viewed the culture through the eyes of Scripture, now there is an increasing tendency to do the opposite.
But rather than look at things in general let me offer you some examples as a warning from the old Jerusalem of Presbyterianism – my native Scotland.
The Church of Scotland is in freefall – in fact along with the Methodists it is the fastest declining church in the UK. It is divided, declining and devoid of any meaningful beliefs. The one area where it appears that evangelicals and others can unite is on the question of climate change. The C of S magazine and website reveal that the basic doctrines of the culture have now been baptised and adopted wholesale by the church. What are these doctrines? The world is broken. We broke it. Climate change is man-made. We have ten years to fix it. We can fix it – but only if we adopt the good news according to CC activists. Cop 26 marks the most important period in human history. The end is nigh – turn or burn. Christ, the Bible, God, Heaven and Hell are just secondary doctrines in this new religion, if they feature at all.
I watched two ‘services’ from Glasgow during Cop26 which demonstrate just how deep the rot has set in. Firstly, there was this interfaith prayer vigil held in the centre of Glasgow –
It was heartbreaking to watch supposedly Christian churches join in prayer with a pagan who prayed to ‘the great spirits and sacred ones, the winged creatures – you are us and we are you”. And the Imam who had no qualms at all about praying (in Arabic) to Allah, (Allah-u Exber), who he declared as the greatest and the only God and Muhammed as his messenger. The church in Scotland has fallen into the greatest sin of the people of Israel, which was to prostitute themselves to the gods of the nations – to the Baal’s and Ashtoreths – and to mix the worship of the one true God with the worship of idols. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) is, like most of the other commandments, forgotten.
As an example of Christless ‘Christian’ worship there was the COP26 Christian ecumenical service from Glasgow cathedral.
Superficially there was much to like. The cathedral is a majestic building and the music matched it, including the singing of two psalms. In principle it is good to have civic dignitaries meeting in a service of public worship, together with professing Christian leaders from many denominations. But if you watch the whole service the question arises – just who exactly are they worshipping?
It was not the God of the bible. Job 12 was read, but only verses 7 to 9. The Bible was used as a cute children’s illustration to tell us to listen to the creation. But the passage tells us to listen to the creation which is telling us to listen to the Word of the Lord who controls the creation. Moreover, he is the God “who silences the lips of trusted advisors and takes away the discernment of elders…who pours contempt on the nobles and disarms the mighty” (Job 12:21-22). The God who “deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light, he makes them stagger like drunkards” (Job 12:24-25)! Oh, for a Knox like figure, to read and preach on that passage as describing the world leaders gathered in Glasgow! That would have set the heather alight!
Matthew 25:31-40 was read – conveniently missing out v.41-46 which mentions one of the greatest motivations for caring for the poor: the fear of judgement and Hell! This is pick’n’ mix Christianity. This is creation without the Creator. The Bible without the Spirit. The Church without Christ.
The preacher was Rev Dr Susan Henry-Crowe – a typical representative of the American progressive imperialistic school of divinity who believe their doctrines should be spread throughout the world. Apparently Psalm 23 is about coming home to a renewed world, a world where the seas are restored to their original inhabitants (the mermaids?!), and where we can return to paradise. It’s about praying for the world to turn from selfish capitalism – a message given by someone who is funded by that same capitalism. The world has been corrupted, not by the Fall, but by this selfish capitalism. Sin did not really exist until the industrial revolution! We are to listen to each other and especially to the indigenous voices who lived in perfect sinless harmony with the world until the coming of Western ideologies. The one person we were not invited to listen to was God speaking in and through his word.
The most extraordinary part was when we were told what the Lord’s table was. COP26 is the table for God’s creation. Without a hint of irony, we were told that Jesus turns upside down the order at the table – he reaches out to those at the margins, the most vulnerable. I say without irony given that the ‘table’ in the cathedral was for the religious and civic dignitaries, who all paraded in, in exact order and were seated according to their status in the place of honour. No equality here. No tramps and hawkers, no beggars and prostitutes there. What was even more ironic was the spirited rendition of Burn’s ‘A Mans a Man for a That. In the midst of the bells, smells, robes and finery we were read “Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine; A Man’s a Man for a’ that” ……” Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord, Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that; Tho hundreds worship at his word, He’s but a coof for a’ that’. Which being translated simply meaneth – robes, names of honour etc are meaningless. Applauded by people wearing robes and sitting in places of honour! The prayers were largely about and to ourselves. God hardly got a word in.
Let’s talk about the poor. Actually, let’s not. Let’s ask who are actually proclaiming the Gospel to the poor rather than just talking about them. Do we believe what James says, “has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?” (James 1:5) When I contrast the service in grandness of that Cathedral, with another Presbyterian service I watched that same week, in an old shop in a run-down working class housing estate in Dundee I know which one was more Christlike.
The interaction with the people, the power of the Word and the love of Christ shone. In the Cathedral people spoke about the poor; in the Charleston Community church they spoke to, and with the poor. In that wee group was more hope than in all the grandiose speeches and theatrics in the Cathedral. There is the nuclear power of the Gospel!
I am thankful that in Glasgow and Scotland there are others who have not bowed the knee to Baal. E.g. Rev. Willie Philip of the Tron church in Glasgow, a flourishing city centre church which left the Church of Scotland, explained why he put a banner which was stolen outside of the church in this article – https://www.premierchristianity.com/opinion/the-church-must-preach-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ-not-climate-change/5683.article?utm_source=Premier%20Christian%20Media&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12762711_Voice%20of%20hope%2003.11.2021&dm_i=16DQ,7LJRR,KFBMV3,UXTS4,1 He also preached this sermon – the one that should have been preached in the Cathedral – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/tronline-high-quality-the-tron-church-glasgow/id79866967?i=1000541039780
Glasgow cathedral is named after St Mungo who was banned from the city by a pagan King. We have gone back to the future. Now a pagan religion is throwing Christ out of his Church. Glasgow’s motto used to be ‘let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of your Word and the praising of your Name”. The city council changed that to ‘let Glasgow flourish’. The fact is that neither the city nor the church will flourish without the preaching of the Word and the praising of The Name.