It's time for the PCA to fire the NAE...

Richard Cizik is VP of Governmental Affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals. Lately he's given his best time to serving as an evangelist for global warming within NAE's constituency. This earned him a prime interview on public radio's Fresh Air this morning where Terry Gross dutifully lobbed him a bunch of softball questions.

What struck me about the interview was Cizik's references to his newfound focus on global warming as the product of his own personal "conversion" on the issue. Repeatedly he referred to this personal "conversion," explicitly drawing a parallel between his conversion to global warming and "a conversion to Jesus Christ."

Believe it or not, I have no opinion concerning global warming. I used to be an environmentalist but Calamity Jane scholars cried "Wolf!" too many times to retain my trust.

In this particular case, though, my concern is not Cizik's belief in global warming, nor his evangelizing others toward a conversion by which they come to share his convictions on the issue. Rather, I object to his explicit and constant use of Gospel language to argue his case in the public square. He reminds me of the past three decades of mainline religious leaders who redefined salvation as "liberation."

And I find the thought of global warming being the primary thrust of the man called to head up NAE's governmental affairs office to be spiritually repugnant. The frail elderly, defective newborn, terminally ill, and unwanted unborn are being murdered around the world at the rate of fifty to seventy-five million per year and Cizik evangelizes others by talking about his own conversion to global warming?

A courageous defense of the millions of unborn children slaughtered by the citizens of the developed world each year isn't likely to bring prime exposure on Fresh Air. But it will bring our Lord's commendation:

"I was unwanted in my mother's womb and you picketed the abortuary where my mother went to kill me. Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, my brothers, you've done it to me."

Mr. Cizik must be bound by his own conscience, but there's no reason for the Presbyterian Church in America to continue to pay his salary. The NAE has long been moribund and the recent tragic fall of its president alongside this squandering of its moral authority is only accelerating its decline.

It's time for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to stop wasting money paying the salaries and travel expenses of men who speak of their global warming "conversion" and evangelize for the Kyoto Protocol.

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Comments

So who's writing the overture to General Assembly?

Cizik actually paid a visit to my Christian college a few weeks ago, and your description of his message is dead on with his presentation there as well. He also kept referring to a "centralist" standpoint during his classroom visits, which concerned some of the students. A group of us is going to the NAE's leadership conference in January, but with the NAE track record lately, I'm less excited.

Write one up, Phil, and see how many presbyteries you can get to adopt it.

Have you actually spoken with him? It sounds to me like you are beating war drums, when the more biblical response would be to go the brother himself? Maybe you have taken appropriate steps in an effort to voice your concerns?

Have you read the NAE core values statement? I found this a few minutes ago-

NAE seeks the maximization and stewardship of all the resources God has given to us. (Number 4 of 8 core values)

As far as I can tell, this man is ministering in one of the areas where the NAE has made clear it is called to minister. There must be Christians who engage in the public square and address contemporary issues.

You seem to be polarizing positions in your argument. That is distressing and concerning to me! Your post is more of a rant than anything.

I agree with Michael. Your anger at Cizik for using "conversion" to describe his realization that global warming is a clear and present danger should lead to an e-mail or phone call to talk with him about it. Also, I heard part of the Fresh Air program: what did you find "softball" about the questions she asked? Finally, what should we do about the 50 to 75 million women each year her murder their babies? I really don't know the answer but you seem to have strong feelings about it; as I am an elder in the PCA, I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

Blessings

Michael and Ben, the realm of political leadership is impersonal and public. Thus when Cizik is interviewed and that interview is broadcast nationally on public radio, to criticize Cizik on another public radio program is no violation of the rules of Scripture dealing with conflict. But since Terry Gross has not invited me to be interviewed on Fresh Air, this blog will have to do for now.

You yourselves have demonstrated this principle by publicly criticizing me for not taking my criticisms to Cizik privately before posting them on the blog. Ironically, though, neither one of you brought your criticisms to me privately before posting them on the blog, publicly.

Were you both wrong? Not at all.

Tim: I don't think it's a zero sum game; that is, criticism of Cizik on your blog doesn't foreclose a real time conversation that might lead to a better understanding of your brother (much like the dispensationalist you met--or was it David?--who made you realize you knew less about dispensationalism than you at first imagined. But I didn't make that clear in my post. For that I apologize.

Would you mind responding to the other questions in my prior post?

Thanks.

Benjamin wrote: "Your anger at Cizik for using 'conversion' to describe his realization that global warming is a clear and present danger..."

Actually, no anger at all, but rather boredom. I've watched too many evangelicals "grow" when they come into the limelight, from Billy Graham (who for years waged a moral and political campaign for disarmament while remaining silent about abortion) to C. Everett Koop (who went from barnstorming the country with Francis Schaeffer and "Whatever Happened to the Human Race" to hawking condoms and having his "Time" portrait shot by renowned S&M photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe) to Ted Haggard (who was hobnobbing with the rich and famous, including President Bill Clinton, in New York City just a couple months before his resignation from the NAE). I stifle a yawn as I watch this latest repetition of evangelicals pandering to our eastern seaboard chattering classes. But as I yawn, I say "Cut off their money and make them evangelize for Kyoto on their own time."

Benjamin wrote: "Also, I heard part of the Fresh Air program: what did you find 'softball' about the questions (Terry Gross) asked?"

For starters, right near the beginning Gross asked Cizik why his name no longer appeared on the "Call to Action" he'd successfully lobbied a number of evangelical leaders to sign. She knew about a letter ten or so evangelical heavyweights had written the NAE leadership, complaining about Cizik's political advocacy in behalf of global warning. She knew this letter had led to Cizik's name being removed from the "Call to Action." And she knew Cizik would be in an awkward postion to bring up the matter himself. So she brought it up, identifying the names of two or three of the influential evangelical leaders who had forced Cizik's signature to be yanked--Chuck Colson and Jim Dobson. So once again, Jim Dobson was portrayed as an evangelical bully on the side of the forces of ignorance while Cizik appeared both magnanimous and enlightened.

Benjamin wrote: "Finally, what should we do about the 50 to 75 million women each year who murder their babies?"

Clicking on the "Abortion, euthanasia" subject archive on the left column of the main page will take you to many posts containing suggestions concerning the sort of actions Christians can engage in to defend the little ones. Concerning mothers who kill, or pay others to kill, their unborn children, they should be held responsible for their actions just as a mother of a newborn would be if she killed her infant herself, or hired someone else to do so.

And it's so unlike Terry Gross to "dutifully softball" anyone--especially someone associated with anything remotely conservative or religious in nature. What's up with that?

Public comments always permit public evaluation. If Cizik said what he said publicly, no one else is obligated to contact him privately.

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