Richard Cizik

April 21, 2016

Cizik Preaches Climate Conversion at National Cathedral

Evangelical Christians are in need of a conversion about their role as stewards of the environment, according to a prominent Evangelical official who preached April 10 at the Washington National Cathedral.

“God sees each of us individually, and he calls us his children in the Kingdom of God, and he asks us first, in Genesis, to be stewards of his creation,” declared New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good President Richard Cizik. “Why do we not see that?”

Speaking on the third Sunday of Easter, Cizik addressed the congregation of the Episcopal cathedral, but his message was squarely aimed at fellow Evangelical Christians, who he maintained were lacking in his own understanding of the urgency of environmental concerns.

Citing an Evangelical Theological Society study of scholarly papers over a 30-year period, Cizik noted that less than one percent drew any connection between the doctrine of creation and man’s responsibility.

“No wonder millions are living as though it doesn’t matter,” Cizik stated. “Some on the Right get it wrong because they think that the fall into sin has diminished creation – once created good is now evil, and is simply passing away. We can abuse creation, dominate and exploit it without guilt or shame. They do believe this.”

Recalling an encounter with a student at a chapel in Abilene, Texas who challenged him saying “it doesn’t matter, Jesus is coming back,” Cizik replied to the young man that God asked him to be his steward until he returns.

The former National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) official stated that some on the Left believe it is “our job, our calling” to restore the goodness to creation and that “ours is the work of being good people”.

Recalling a visit with an environmentalist from Maine who claimed the trees sent him, Cizik replied, “For me, it is the salvific work of Christ” that drove special concern for the environment.

Cizik compared climate change skeptics to the biblical persecutor Saul, who in the book of Acts sees Jesus and is blinded.

“Human beings are in rebellion against God and suppress the truth – faith comes by the supernatural work of God’s spirit in regenerating a person – given that they are our friends then (many of whom do follow Jesus) and yet do not see any responsibility to address the care of creation or the coming catastrophe called climate disruption – what gives?” Cizik asked. “What is this blindness?”

“A significant percentage of Americans believe climate change is a lie – a conspiracy,” Cizik reported. “But they also think green lizards run the government. But there is a blindness. It comes from seeing one’s self as lord of this world, not a steward in the Kingdom of God.”

Cizik proposed that Christians needed to “open our eyes – to behold”. Noting that Jesus used the word “behold” regularly, including from the cross, Cizik added “and we, I would suggest, as stewards have to really behold the world differently.”

The former NAE Vice President for Government Affairs described his 2002 “conversion” to concern about environmental causes as an “identity moment”, “My Peter moment, if you will – I was denying the Lord.”

“What changed? I changed.” Cizik shared his realization that the Genesis 2:15 passage in the Hebrew “means to be caretakers, not just takers.”

A turn in a new direction – a metanoia, in Greek, was required, Cizik proposed: “Millions in our churches need a metanoia … to be born again is just the beginning, not the end, my Evangelical friends.”

Cizik, who attends an Evangelical Anglican congregation in Fredericksburg, Virginia, praised the Mainline Protestant Cathedral, known for its social activism on environmental and a number of progressive causes.

“Stewarding of creation belongs to the church – I’m so happy to be here, [National Cathedral Vicar] Stewart [Kenworthy], and every one of you here, because you do teach this here, God bless you,” Cizik cheered.

Cizik proposed that church members must be converted and teach others, “not to another political philosophy or ideology, but to Jesus.”

“We must act more boldly for creation and justice – call it a moral conversion to one’s civic duty,” the climate activist declared. “The more we experience Christ’s love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and spiritual power, the more we love him, and the more we care for this planet.”

“Lord, forgive us for not loving you enough, or loving the things you love: the creation,” Cizik concluded.


7 Responses to Cizik Preaches Climate Conversion at National Cathedral

  1. Curt Day says:

    Certainly, being good stewards of creation is a practical theology issue. Thus, it should be preached on provided that the gospel is not reduced to being good environmentalists.

    But one other point can be made to the message above, one of the main reasons why we are tempted not to believe the reports on climate change is that the implications of believing would call on us to change our way of life, in particular, to change some of our appetites.

    • Mark Brooks says:

      No. People don’t believe claims of man-made catastrophic global warming because the facts contradict the theory. Cizik is simply moving on to a new God, like Al Gore did, and like Al Gore, his belief is one he adheres to, not because of facts and evidence, but because he believes it is “right thinking”. Rather than acknowledge that those who disagree with him do so because they don’t believe the evidence supports the theory, he suggests that those who don’t think as he and his little tribe do are in the pay of the oil and gas industry, which has become his new Satan. The hatred he feels for those who oppose his new God is palpable in the quotations in the article. Green lizards?

      It is important to remember that Cizik was separated from the NAE, and a position of trust he held, because he decided he no longer wanted to believe the scriptures on homosexuality. It wasn’t the first time he contradicted NAE positions on an issue, but it was the last time.

      HIs speech proves that he is willing to twist scripture in the service of his new religion, and frankly, is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read. Like Jim Wallis, he uses the words, but he means something by them other than what a plain reading of scripture leads to. This tiny group of false prophets help to maintain the myth of an “evangelical Left”. So he is supposedly an “evangelical Anglican”? He sounds very much like a conventional liberal Episcopalian might sound. New wine in old wineskins.

      “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

      It all ends in fire, and Cizik has changed his God, but pretends otherwise so as to mislead many. That’s all that going on.

      • Curt Day says:

        Mark,
        Will have to disagree and so do many scientific organizations (see https://www.opr.ca.gov/s_listoforganizations.php ). Thus, accusations, like global warming is an effort to bring socialism here or that global climate change new god are neither scientific responses nor are they proper theological responses to the what has been claimed; they are merely efforts to discredit the claims themselves so that life doesn’t have to change. There are proper scientific and theological ways to challenge those who are convinced by the evidence regarding global climate change, but making accusations is not one of them.

        Now just because global climate change might be a fact doesn’t imply that Cizik or others are not misusing the subject or moving on to other gods, it is that Cizik’s theological faults are independent of the claims of global climate change. In fact, I find your eagerness to make such claims about Cizik disturbing because of the serioiusness of your accusations and how lightly you made them.

        Yes, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. But realize that this should most concern those who are given to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life than for those who believe. And as I wrote before, one of the reasons why people are reluctant to believe the reports on global climate change is because if these claims are true, then we are obligated to drastically change our way of life.

        • Mark Brooks says:

          Your disagreement is noted, as are your own accusations. I suggest you don’t argue against straw men, it is neither useful nor persuasive on the “anthropogenic global warming” issue. Nor does it commend you to criticize people for making accusations, and then make them yourself, particularly when those accusations appear to consist largely of insinuations. As for the persuasive value of a list by the government of California of bureaucratic governmental “scientific” enterprises, real science is not a matter of politics, and truth not a matter of consensus. There is ample evidence to show that there is no world-wide, man made, catastrophic global warming problem, which evidence fills books, and I feel no need to flesh out here. The article is about Cizik, what he says, and the no doubt sincere beliefs behind those statements. Beliefs that cannot be reconciled with Biblical Christianity.

          Cizik isn’t a creature of yesterday, Curt. Anything I have said regarding him has foundation, if not explicit affirmation, in his own words, conduct, and chosen associations. His breach of trust after prominent evangelicals came to his defense in 2008 (wrongly, as it turned out, much to their embarrassment) alone justifies suspicion as to his motivations, but his not terribly subtle attack on the doctrine of the Fall, repeated misquotation of scripture in the service of his environmental beliefs, and insulting ad hominem attacks on those Christians and others who fail to adhere to his new evangelical faith — and I will remind you that he himself has described it as a conversion experience, I have not put words in his mouth — merits response. He has by this point a clear history, and it is necessary to make clear that he is preaching another Jesus, so that those who are not Christians and might wonder will not be deceived.

          His frequent protestations of disbelief that others cannot see what he sees, or believe what he believes, combined with his sneering contempt (again I say, green lizards?), marks him as a specimen of “smug liberal” as described in this Vox article:

          http://tinyurl.com/j7f26yb

          so much so that he isn’t trying to convince anyone anymore. He has reached a point where he simply excoriates the unbelievers of his new religion before friendly audiences such as he might find at the Episcopal Church’s National Cathedral. By his own words, he has made it clear that you either “get it”, i.e., are “right thinking” or not, and he views this as a conversion experience, a remarkable concession by a man who still says he is an “evangelical”. But what he evangelizes now is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ did not command Christians to go out and save the trees, or prevent carbon emissions, or fight for the political power in worldly institutions to achieve such goals. None of the Twelve preached such messages or did such things. His beliefs are not founded in scripture, read plainly and in context. Rather, he cuts and pastes little proof texts in the classic manner of eisegesis. He makes the Christian scriptures serve his environmental religion.

          The is no biblical mandate for environmentalism of Cizik’s stripe. The material world is corrupted and fallen, and will be cleansed by fire. God has made it clear in His scriptures time and again that He will provide for his people; to disbelieve this is to call God a liar. The scriptures have made it clear how the world will end; to disbelieve this is to call God a liar. God’s promise inherently negates ideological environmental alarmism, whether of the old “global cooling” or newer “global warming” variety, and the two cannot be reconciled.

          “While the earth remains,
          Seedtime and harvest,
          Cold and heat,
          Winter and summer,
          And day and night
          Shall not cease.”

          I trust God on this. I do not trust the IPCC. I do not trust John T. Houghton. I do not trust Richard Cizik. I trust in God’s promise. This is what He said, I believe Him, and there it is. God doesn’t change. God is not a man.

          It certainly makes sense to prevent people from doing deliberate harm to common things or to one another when we can, it makes sense to conserve common resources for human use, though these are all things where the details are debatable, but one cannot serve two masters, as our Lord made clear, and whereas conservation was a matter of prudence, environmentalism of Cizik’s variety is a matter of faith, a belief system that carries with it a certain view of the state of man and the natural order. For those with a Biblical worldview, the sins of humankind are not sins against the material universe. Nor is there any hope in the world, kosmos, the human sphere. A fallen humanity cannot save itself, Curt. Only Jesus will do that. The corrupted natural order cannot be saved by human effort. The scriptures, again, are clear on that.

          Ciziik’s new doctrine is love of the world and the things in it. Here is what John said of that love:

          “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”

          And that is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, Curt, the misguided love of the things in this world. As for Cizik, the fact that he should retain the language, or pose, of an evangelical, to preserve an ambiguity that leaves room for doubt in the mind of some, wouldn’t be new for the man who claimed to have voted for Barack Obama in the primaries in 2008 to provide “cover” to evangelicals who voted for Obama in the general election. Cizik knows how politics is played, and as Christians are required to practice discernment, that should be remembered.

          • Curt Day says:

            MArk,
            Not arguing against straw men, I am arguing against what I have constantly heard. I am sure there are other claims that I have not heard. But I am not addressing any straw men.

            Mark, you made a specific statement that the facts go against global climate change and thus people like Cizik and Gore were just ushering in new gods. You made the claim without any effort to prove it. And you asserted something that many scientific organizations flatly disagree with after reviewing the evidence. So please address that before you accuse of anything.

  2. Tiger says:

    When an “evangelical” sounds just like a Unitarian, the term no longer has any meaning.

  3. greenpeaceRdale1844coop says:

    A great article about Cizik’s important experience and message. I have also been interested in Matt Sleeth, MD’s environmental evangelism, which is clearly linked to the lifestyle issues involved.

    I returned to Christianity under the revelation that God’s love through Christ has been manifested in the things I love most about modern society, the modern university, Science, and Civil Society advocates of social and environmental justice.

    I find Cizik’s point about doctrines of salvation and personal responsibility very interesting.

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