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Mixing Paganism with the Passion
By Jan Markell
April 27, 2011
A very special week was hijacked by the environmental movement last week. What is known as Earth Day landed on the same day as Good Friday, so our crucified Lord had to share the spotlight that day. And if you think this was only the typical antics of the religious Left, think again. Evangelicals have now jumped into this arena. The cause of caring for God's creation is our responsibility, although we cannot "save the planet" as many herald. Should conservative Christians really be making the theological leap that it was significant that both observances were placed on the calendar on the same day?
The Episcopal Church issued a statement last week saying that the two events on the same day had "profound significance." Additionally, the statement read, "On the day we mark the crucifixion of Christ, let us remember that when Earth is degraded and species go extinct, a part of God's body experiences a different type of crucifixion and another way of seeing and experiencing God is diminished."
Dr. Mark Tooley of the Institute for Religion and Democracy weighed in stating what many evangelical leaders should have been saying. He states, "Shouldn't churches instead focus on explaining the Good News made possible on Good Friday to a broken world in need of redemption? These church agencies seem only to echo secular environmentalists. Shouldn't churches have a more powerful message during Christianity's most momentous week of the year?"
I agree, and thus I am troubled that one evangelical organization has a blog entry stating that "Earth Day and Good Friday Go Together." The writer states, "It is especially fitting that Earth Day happens to coincide with Good Friday this year. As we contemplate both the crucifixion of Jesus and the current state of the creation He died to save, an appropriate call to action has come out of the Cape Town Commitments." The writer then lifts a quote from that recent event which says, "Love for God's creation demands that we repent for our part in the destruction, waste, and pollution of the earth's resources and our collusion in the toxic idolatry of consumerism."
Wait a minute! Repent for our part in the waste and pollution of earth's resources? What about repenting just from blatant sin?
I, however, do applaud the Evangelical Environmental Network for their statement, saying that, "Since sin is the root cause of our environmental and social crises, there is ultimately no answer to these problems apart from Christ and what He did on the cross." I am not in agreement with their belief that Earth Day and Good Friday go together as Good Friday should cause us to only reflect on the suffering Savior who died that man might have eternal life. The nails in His hands had nothing to do with healing the planet, as more liberal outfits stated last week.
While true believers who are on the environmental bandwagon may not buy into the principles outlined in the environmental bible called The Environmental Handbook, you still need to know what this publication pushes. I suspect the religious Left has no problem with this prayer found in the book, "Mother, Father, God, Universal Power -- remind us daily of the sanctity of all life. Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation as we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet. Penetrate our souls with the beauty of the Earth as we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons. Awaken our minds with the knowledge to achieve a world in perfect harmony and grant us the wisdom to realize that we can have Heaven on Earth."
No, we cannot have Heaven on Earth unless you believe in Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology which teaches that. Dominionism is a false teaching. The world is too corrupted by the Fall in the Garden to have even a ounce of perfection.
A Lutheran Pastor in Abilene, Texas says, "Good Friday was Earth's greatest day, and try as we may to inspire awareness and appreciation for this earth, this promise about Earth's renewal is awesome."
The Bible says nothing about "Earth's renewal." It says a lot about Earth's ultimate judgment.
But the good folks at Blessed Earth: Serving God and Saving the Planet, had hoped we would wake up on Earth Day with a whole new spirit of serving God and saving the planet. They state, "I found God's Holy Spirit is convicting and calling Christians from all over the world to repent for the damage we have done, and to care for God's Earth."
Again, we repent from sin, not from what we might have done to the planet. There is no more appropriate week during the year to get right with God than Easter week. Repenting from the damage we have done to the environment on Good Friday is misplaced passion. Statements like that above just further reveals how the world has entered the church.
Here is a liturgical service from an Earth Day/Good Friday service. While evangelicals would never go to this extreme, you need to know what is out there.
Make no mistake that Earth Day does represent a "religion." It is the religion of "Mother Earth." This is not the kind of a belief system that evangelicals have paid much attention to until the last 15 years. The Green Bible boasts that there are far more references to Earth than to Heaven. That fact, even if accurate, shouldn't bestow sacredness and providence that Earth Day and Good Friday were on the same day in 2011.
As I write this, millions are perishing and headed to the wrong place for eternity. All the "signs of the times" tell us that the hour is very late. The passion of the cross is to remind us that our Lord's literal passion was souls. No Christian finds recklessness with the creation acceptable. All of our hearts broke at the sight of pelicans saturated in oil in the Gulf last year. But there are some, heavily on the religious Left, who need to understand that we can only redeem the planet from the Fall with the Lord's return.
For balanced information on the environment, we highly recommend The Cornwall Alliance. Director Cal Beisner is my frequent radio guest.
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