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Relevant magazine recently did an article on Rob Bell and his Mars Hill Bible Church (not to be confused with Mars Hill Church in Seattle), and they focused on mostly environmental and social issues like poverty. I dig some digging on him and apparently he has single handedly re-invented church and made it relevant for thousands of young people in Michigan who must be pretty irrelevant considering they can get fired up about poverty and the environment, but sin and salvation seem a bit better suited for the back burner. This guy doesn’t come right out and deny or defame orthodox Christianity, but he nonetheless is subtle redefining what it means to be Christian with some ideas that are very hostile to Christianity, which will have to be another post at another time. Anyway….

I’ve long understood the relationship with liberal Christianity and social activism. I mean, when you subtract the supernatural aspects of Christianity like a virgin birth, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection,- all you’re left with is a social gospel; moral platitudes of service to others, justice, and good will towards man. But the dividing line between the two camps of orthodox Christianity and a more Liberal “gospel” isn’t so stark as it was half a century before. There are new issues on the table this time around like pacifism and environmentalism as historical Christianity is being parodied, by new voices like Rob Bell and a whole new generation of young people lined up to make the same mistakes.

As far as environmental issues, I’m down with trying to make less of a negative impact on the earth. God created us to be stewards of His creation after all. I compost what I can instead of sending it to a landfill. I drive a small car that gets 35 mpg, and I seriously think we need to get off of fossil fuels. I would be an avid recycler if the county I lived in made that possible. And I respect people who try and “build green” as long as it means they aren’t gutting a place and sending all the debris to a landfill in the process so just so they can live in their eco-friendly monument to their own human merit.

But what I don’t get is the idea that somehow God created all of this; land, water, air, trees, animals, and most importantly PEOPLE- and somehow caring about all the elements of creation have taken precedence over said PEOPLE, more specifically the state of a man’s soul and standing with a Holy God. Nowhere in the Bible did God judge a nation for disrespecting tracts of land or polluting an area. I mean, Jesus referred to “gehenna” as a being a horrible place without actually condemning anyone for the fact it was such a horrid mess. But he had plenty of scorn for those who hid their sin under a false façade of piety, and those who committed idolatry.

I believe for some, this newfound Eco Movement is the new Baal. They might as well craft a golden statue where Hollywood elites can come burn their money in front of it, which is about the equivalent of buying carbon credits. To see people running after the arrogant idea that man has not only created a climate crisis but is also capable of solving it if just evil corporations and other obstacles (you know like those pesky people who like to have electricity and won’t settle for wind-generated power that would struggle to power our toasters) would just get out of their way is bad enough. But to see so called Christians jumping on board is like the High Priest seeing Israelites in line to offer their sacrifice turn and leave to go burn incense to Baal outside the city gates instead. I would imagine that High Priest would shake his head in disappointment, except this is the New Covenant and the High Priest and Mediator of this covenant is Jesus Christ Himself who has to witness the great exchange taking place in His church, that exchange being the trading of clinging to His righteousness for grace that covers our sins, for the coolness factor of being hip progressive Christians who care about the environment and eliminating poverty instead.

“When people say that the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Jesus is in question, actually it’s their social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus that’s being threatened,” Bell says. “Generally lurking below some of the more venomous, vitriolic criticism is somebody who’s created a facade that’s not working…But I love everybody and you’re next!” he says, giggling. “That’s how I respond to criticism.”

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