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Posted by on Jun 2, 2010 in Environmentalism

Russell Moore on the Oil Crisis and the Uneasy Evangelical Conscience

Back on May 2, 2010, I wrote a post about the underwhelming public Christian response to the BP Oil Spill.  Since then, many Christian leaders have addressed this crisis.  However, as I highlighted in my May 2 post, Russell Moore – Dean of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – has been outspoken on this ecological crisis from the beginning.

Here are a few snippets from Moore’s most recent post titled Ecological Crisis and the Uneasy Evangelical Conscience:

For too long, we evangelical Christians have maintained an uneasy ecological conscience. I include myself in this indictment.

We’ve had an inadequate view of human sin.

Because we believe in free markets, we’ve acted as though this means we should trust corporations to protect the natural resources and habitats. But a laissez-faire view of government regulation of corporations is akin to the youth minister who lets the teenage girl and boy sleep in the same sleeping bag at church camp because he “believes in young people.”

The Scripture gives us a vision of human sin that means there ought to be limits to every claim to sovereignty, whether from church, state, business or labor. A commitment to the free market doesn’t mean unfettered license any more than a commitment to free speech means hardcore pornography ought to be broadcast in prime-time by your local network television affiliate.


As I’ve seen the people I love, who led me to Christ, literally heaving in tears, I’ve wondered how many other communities have faced death like this, while I ignored even the chance to pray. The protection of the creation isn’t just about seagulls and turtles and dolphins. That would be enough to prompt us to action, since God’s glory is in seagulls and turtles and dolphins (Gen. 6-9; Isa. 65).

Pollution kills people. Pollution dislocates families. Pollution defiles the icon of God’s Trinitarian joy, the creation of his theater (Ps. 19; Rom. 1).

Will people believe us when we speak about the One who brings life and that abundantly, when they see that we don’t care about that which kills and destroys? Will they hear us when we quote John 3:16 to them when, in the face of the loss of their lives, we shrug our shoulders and say, “Who is my neighbor?”

I’m leaving Biloxi today, with tears in my eyes. But I’ll be back. I’ll be back whether the next time I see this place it’s a thriving seacoast community again or whether it’s an oil-drenched crime scene. But I pray I’ll never be the same.

This is really an excellent heartfelt essay from Russell Moore.  I obviously disagree with a few of Moore’s points and characterizations.  However, I think Moore has a good message here for his fellow conservative evangelicals.  Hopefully a few will listen and a conscience for ecological concerns will emerge among conservative evangelicals that have, up to this point, been hostile or apathetic to environmental issues.

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