A De Facto Declaration


By: Guest Authors

Unmasking the deceptive Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change
By James Brown Jr.

There are several troubling issues concerning Jonathan Merritt’s A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change. Every Southern Baptist needs to consider these issues with great care.

Being new to Southern Baptists I suppose I should stay out of the political side of it, unfortunately, it is completely against my nature. I champion what most say are lost causes. I am not saying this in an attempt to sell or build myself up. I only mention this to let you know that I understand that standing against the “big boys” is not smart politics. I am not looking for your affirmation or sympathy but your attention without all the side issues.

Therefore, with that out of the way I want you to answer me truthfully. Do you suppose I could get away with writing “A Southern Baptist Declaration on Calvinism and Reformed Theology?” I never would but you get my point. I do not have the right to speak for anyone else without due process.

What if one of Merritt’s environmental buddies wrote an SBC affirmation for population control? Would it be right for one or even a group of Southern Baptists to speak for or make it appear as if they were speaking for the whole? Absolutely not!

There is no justification for Merritt thinking he can enact policy without representation. By this act, he denied suffrage to every Southern Baptist church. The travesty is that our denomination is now tagged as a bunch of climate wacko’s and we didn’t even get to debate it much less vote.

I do not appreciate anyone speaking for me without due process. The arrogance this displays is unacceptable among Southern Baptists. Jonathan Merritt is not authorized to speak to the media or any other entity on behalf of Southern Baptists, nor was the opinion of this resolution made by a majority of registered messengers.

Although one could chalk it up as a mistake by this 25-year-old seminary student, the problem is that this declaration has also been signed by his father, Pastor James Merritt of Cross Pointe Church and former SBC President in 2000-2002. Yet, it doesn’t end there. Look at the highly regarded names who signed it:

•Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, 2006-Present (Taylors, SC)

•Johnny Hunt, Pastor of First Baptist Woodstock (Woodstock, GA)

•Jack Graham, Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church and former SBC President, 2002-2004 (Plano, TX)

•Ronnie Floyd, Pastor of First Baptist Springdale (Springdale, AR)

There are many more prominent names on the list but these really stood out to me. What were they thinking? Baptist Press titled it correctly in their report Climate change project is not SBC’s.

If the contents of this declaration is their opinion, they have every right to publish it. My beef is that it is appearing in every media report as if it is an official SBC position. What’s more is that the name of the declaration, the name of the ministry, and even its presentation is designed to make the media and everyone else believe that it is.

Though I might be challenged as to Mr. Merritt’s intent, let me say that I am not judging the motives of his heart. However, this could all be cleared up if he would simply set the record straight with the media and the public. Failure to do so speaks to the issue of motive by itself. If he did not mean to misled everyone, change the title and ministry name.

Even though you and I might understand that the declaration is not an action of Southern Baptists, but a few who happen to be Southern Baptists, the world does not understand this.

Case in point is an article written by Joseph Farah of World Net Daily, Whither the Southern Baptists, who stated:

“What is it about major Christian denominations that leads them, inevitably and inexorably, into error? What is it about the world that seduces Christian institutions to forsake the Bible in favor of pop politics and junk science? What is it about big groups that make them so undiscerning and cowardly? These are a few of the questions that came to mind as I read through the Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change.”

News headlines all over the world suggest that this declaration and action is coming from Southern Baptists as a denomination. Headlines read, “Church to step up climate fight,” “Baptists shift on climate change,” “Southern Baptists: Mad As Hell About Global Warming,” and the list goes on.

One of the most blatant was “Southern Baptists urge action on climate change while Catholics deem pollution a sin.” The subtitle read, “The nation’s two largest religious denominations have taken significant steps to promote a healthier environment.”

No matter the intent of Mr. Merritt, many news reports prove this declaration and ministry to be de facto, which simply means that this ministry and declaration is being accepted, for all practical purposes, officially as a Southern Baptist ministry and declaration even though it isn’t. The fact is that the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative is not a Southern Baptist entity. Neither is the resolution, A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change, an official Southern Baptist action.

Even though we should always give our brethren the benefit of the doubt, the media did not get this wrong. There were many reports that corrected the misconception themselves. However, the declaration begins by stating:

“Southern Baptists have always been a confessional people, giving testimony to our beliefs, which are based upon the doctrines found in God’s inerrant word—the Holy Bible. As the dawning of new ages has produced substantial challenges requiring a special word, Southern Baptist churches, associations and general bodies have often found it necessary to make declarations in order to define, express and defend beliefs. Though we do not regard this as a complete declaration on these issues, we believe this initiative finds itself consistent with our most cherished distinctives and rooted in historical precedent.”

At no place does this declaration make it clear it is a separate group calling on Southern Baptists to heed and act on the information contained in it. It is under the presumption of being a Southern Baptist project.

As a Southern Baptist action, this declaration is de facto (illegitimate or unlawful). Since we Southern Baptists believe in representative government, the appearance of this procedure goes against everything we are about.

This is why it is so shocking to me that our current and a few former SBC President’s names are signed on to this document. Do our leaders not understand our own principles?

Maybe it is true we Southern Baptists operate too much like a democracy and not enough like a republic. But these are issues to be debated lawfully in our convention and not usurped independently.

Let me repeat, they are free to express their opinions on any subject they want as individuals, within the lawful authority of their own church or organizations, but they do not have the right to speak for me or anyone else without our consent and/or due process. Therefore, establish organizations to fight for what you believe in, but for heaven’s sake do it in the name of a distinguished title and process that doesn’t bear false witness.

I hope Mr. Merritt will change the declaration’s title and the way it was presented. The end does not justify the means and if this perception is not corrected, these men should take their names off the list even if they wholly believe in this global warming myth. If it is not corrected I believe action should be proposed this convention against the actions of these men.

This now brings us to the declaration of the myth itself. First, this world is not going to self-destruct unless God wants it to. It is a covenant between God and man, which was given to Noah in Genesis 8:21-22:

“I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Emphasis mine)

Now, do not misread what I am saying. God has also given man a dominion mandate, which is another covenant between God and man. Mankind has been given the responsibility to care for God’s creation. It should be noted we already failed once in this regard. This is the reason the earth and mankind is under a curse. Still yet, in this fallen world I believe we are still under the dominion mandate God originally gave mankind.

Therefore, we should be good stewards of God’s creation. This world does not belong to us but to our heavenly Father. God help us not be unprofitable servants in our stewardship of the earth.

With that said, we must also remember that the earth was made for man and not man for the earth. God gave us the fruit of the ground for food and for our enjoyment.

“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;” -Psalms 104:14

God gave us animals for meat and we are told in 1 Timothy 4:4 that “every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”

The earth is our life source given to us by God. The earth sustains us and supplies the things that we can use for advancement. Job 28:5 says “As for the earth, out of it cometh bread:” As bread sustains life so too does the earth sustain mankind in that it gives us the resources to live, and not to simply have life but enjoy an abundant life so that we might glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Within this, we also understand that God sustains the earth. It is this sovereign God of the Bible “who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever” according to Psalm 104:5. This same God “watereth the hills from his chambers” so that “the earth is satisfied with the fruit of [His] works“ (Psalm 104:13).

These simple things the environmentalist world does not understand or accept. They have rejected the Word of God and believe that mankind is here to sustain the earth. They do not believe God made the earth but hold to a theory of natural generation and continued progression while warning us of apocalyptic degeneration.

Although it is imperative to be good stewards, we must understand that the earth’s problem is not global warming but the curse of sin through the fall and our rebellion against God. God has promised blessings upon those who trust in Jesus Christ and follow the Holy Scriptures but curses upon those who do not.

The fact is global warming is not one of the challenges mankind is facing. Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, wrote on February 5, 2007, “Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn’t exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen…”

In 2007 over 400 prominent scientists issued and signed a U.S. Senate report disputing man-made global warming claims. In this report, Dr. Nathan Paldor, Professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explained the intimidation factor against scientists who disagree with the man-made global warming myth:

“Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media.”

It should also be noted that only 52 scientists participated in Al Gore’s United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) Summary. In conjunction with this organization and their work, Al Gore and the UN IPCC were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The reason why I offer this information is so that you know where all the disinformation is coming from.

Knowingly or unknowingly, Paleoclimate expert Augusto Mangini of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, upheld the Biblical view of the earth when he criticized the UN IPCC summary by stating in an April 5, 2007 article:

“I consider the part of the IPCC report, which I can really judge as an expert, i.e. the reconstruction of the paleoclimate, wrong…The earth will not die.”

A member of the IPCC review committee stated that Al Gore’s project was completely flawed. Madhav Khandekar, a Ph.D meteorologist and a scientist with the Natural Resources Stewardship Project wrote, “To my dismay, IPCC authors ignored all my comments and suggestions for major changes in the FOD (First Order Draft) and sent me the SOD (Second Order Draft) with essentially the same text as the FOD. None of the authors of the chapter bothered to directly communicate with me (or with other expert reviewers with whom I communicate on a regular basis) on many issues that were raised in my review. This is not an acceptable scientific review process.”

In case you still think that I am some lone wolf writing against man-made global warming or the Kyoto Protocol, in writing for the Canadian Free Press, Garth Pritchard wrote in the article Kyoto Protocol–Propaganda or Censorship:

“The numbers of scientists staggered me–17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two thirds with advanced degrees, are against the Kyoto Agreement. The Heidelberg Appeal–which states that there is no scientific evidence for man-made global warming, has been signed by over 4,000 scientists from around the world since the petition’s inception. I strongly questioned these high numbers, since I’ve had benefit of the Canadian government’s public relations machine on this issue. Dr. Leahey has since sent documentation to back his figures up.”

Now we come to the the real issue in this story, which is the anti-American crowd attempting to draw us into the Kyoto Protocol. Of course it doesn’t have to be the Kyoto Protocol but it is the one presently before us. There is no doubt that it will soon change to something else since the intent is to get the U.S. into treaties and other agreements which take away our sovereignty and unite us into the brotherhood of mankind, i.e., destroy that which stands in the way of their humanistic agenda.

Although these attempts always sound nice and sweet, the fact is they are just disguised efforts to force a modern Tower of Babel. The forces of darkness have long attempted to bring the world under their control. Its not that I am against a united world, it is my dream for the entire world to come under the dominion of Jesus Christ.

Yet, all these liberal pursuits of global unity are for the purpose of a humanistic, socialistic reign of the Kingdom of Satan. Any global agenda that swears allegiance to Jesus Christ and His Word as our final authority will find me first in line. I believe in global conquest for Jesus Christ, which is why I oppose the surrender of our nation to the control of those who seek to dethrone Christ.

Besides the fact that global warming is just liberal mumbo jumbo, this treaty would cost billions of dollars in an economy that is on the verge of collapse. Billions of dollars to uphold a myth is stupidity.

Voting 92-0 in 1997, the U.S. Senate resolution also stated the proposed treaty because it would cause economic damage to the US. Although the costs would have significantly risen since then, one consulting group estimated at that time it would double energy and electricity prices, cost 2.4 million US jobs and reduce US total output $300 billion, reduce the average annual household income nearly $2700 at the same time the cost of products would be sharply increasing, and reduce state tax revenues by $93.1 billion due to job and output loses

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla), former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, concluded a speech on the Senate floor with these words:

“With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.”

I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, our younger evangelicals have grown up attending public schools, watching MTV, and being influenced by Hollywood movies made by liberal activists. Is it any wonder they think our problems are the result of an angry “Mother Earth?”



James Brown Jr. is the director of Baptist Vision of Georgia and pastor of McDonald Baptist Church in Sylvania, GA. He has been married to his wife, Sonya, for over 15 years and have 7 children.

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