October 1st, 2008
“Let nothing be wasted.” — John 6:12, The New Testament
Two evangelical groups are in the spotlight for their efforts to improve the environment. The most recent to join the eco-movement is a small group of Southern Baptists whose climate initiative is receiving a lot of press these days.
The Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative (SBECI) got its start with a divinity student, Jonathan Merritt. As the story goes, one day in divinity class, Merritt had an epiphany.
“I was sitting in theology class at Southeastern Seminary [in Wake Forest, N.C.],” he says. “We were discussing how God reveals himself both through scripture and through nature. My professor made the statement that when we destroy God’s creation, which is a form of divine revelation, it is similar to tearing a page out of the Bible.
“That broke me,” says Merritt, “and began a shift in perspective for me.” The 26-year-old son of noted evangelist Dr. James Merritt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, decided that his faith needed to get on board with global warming.