Worry Not; The Sky Is Not Falling

Worry Not; The Sky Is Not Falling

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

If you asked me to belay the fears of those worried about climate change quickly, I would do so by citing one Scripture. Granted, this would only work for a minority of people who 1) believe in God and 2) accept the Bible as His infallible revelation to humanity. Nevertheless, I would still begin with God’s words to Noah. 

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Genesis 8.22 NLT) 

If you are a person of faith, that is all you need to hear. It does not matter what computer models claim. Behind the climate change hype, one notes that, typically, politicians are trying to seize more money and control through industry regulation and carbon taxes. I realize that it feels empowering to think the task of saving the planet is yours to undertake. I imagine it gives a sense of purpose. Yet, a person of faith sees that this ability to “save the planet” exceeds his or her grasp. God told the patriarch Job that He alone could bring the sword to His creation (Job 40.15ff). 

Lastly, people of faith will likewise acknowledge that Holy Writ reveals a history of periods of extreme weather. In particular, one notes the seven years of feast and famine foreseen by the pharaoh and interpreted by Joseph via God’s Spirit (Genesis 41.29-31). That dearth of food, brought on by drought, was bad enough that it impacted even Joseph’s brothers living many miles away (Genesis 41.57-52.2). The foretold famine of Genesis 41 was not the only drought depicted in Scripture. The conditions leading to famine understood as drought, caused the patriarchs Abraham (then Abram) and Isaac and Naomi and her husband to take refuge where they could find food (Genesis 12.10; 26.1; Ruth 1.1).    

Drought was not limited to the Old Testament. For example, in Acts 11.28, the prophet Agabus foresaw a “great dearth” (KJV) that would occur during the reign of Claudius Caesar. Though people have repeatedly undertaken the challenge of disproving the veracity of Luke’s scholarship, Luke has always proven true. There were, in total, four famines noted in secular history during the reign of Claudius Caesar. One such famine centered in Judea and served as the impetus for Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 11.29-30). At this point, hopefully, the person of faith has had his or her fears about “climate change” assuaged. But what about those who do not accept the existence of God or the inspiration of Scripture?  

Well, let’s play devil’s advocate. The late comedian, George Carlin, had a great point about “saving the planet” within one of his stand-up routines for those embracing evolutionary dogma. He mentioned that the planet has allegedly been here for billions of years by evolutionary timetables. In comparison, humans have supposedly only been here for a couple of hundred thousand years. Even then, humanity has only engaged in heavy industrialization for about 200 years. Yet, species of flora and fauna have come and gone whether “we” have done anything or not. Carlin says that nature takes care of itself.1 (By the way, Christians agree somewhat with this sentiment since we accept that Christ sustains His creation—Colossians 1.15-17; Hebrews 1.3.) 

Meanwhile, the evidence touted by academics promoting today’s climate change hysteria points to such things as more significant amounts of greenhouse gases in earth’s remote past “before man.” (These scientists said that our current greenhouse gases, purported to be thanks to human activity, now matchedwhat they observed in that distant past.) 

Other factors impacting weather and climate have nothing to do with man. For example, thanks to volcanic activity, our world entered a mini-ice age persisting for several centuries, despite the birth of industrialization, into the late nineteenth century.3 And there are likewise such factors as orbital changes (i.e., Milankovitch cycles) and sunspot activity influencing the weather. Regarding the impact of sunspots, scientists note the Maunder minimum that persisted for over twenty years between the latter seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It added bitterness to the already cold mini-ice age.4 

The weather is going to change. It always has and always will. Though the climate is different from weather, one notes climate is the weather record over a protracted period. And when was the last time your weatherman gave you an accurate weather forecast for a month into the future? Of course, they cannot do that, can they? No, they are constantly observing the computer models and giving you their best guess from their resources’ data. A forecast can drastically change within a day. 

Computer programmers have a mantra as old as modern computing: “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, a program is only as good as the data entered into it. Therefore, if you have bias, the results of your programming will reflect that bias. Those crying “climate change” benefit from computer modeling that paints an apocalyptic future picture. Fear is a great motivator. Unscrupulous people will use unfounded fear to get you to go along with the message they are peddling. 

Does this absolve us of our role as God’s caretakers (Genesis 1.26-28)? No, we ought to be good stewards. Therefore, we accept as a principle what Paul said of man’s stewardship of the Gospel: God must find us faithful (1 Corinthians 4.2). If God has given us stewardship of the planet, we ought not to pollute or abuse it. The Dust Bowl and Georgia’s Providence Canyon reveal what happens from poor farming practices that rob the earth of the protective soil: severe erosion. In like manner, belching industrial smokestacks and burning fires wreak havoc on the lungs of the asthmatic. Without rushing headlong into a hysteria that ultimately doubts God’s power or fails to accept His promise, we can grasp these truths. 

I will close as I began, with those words God spoke in the presence of Noah to all of humanity. 

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Genesis 8.22 NLT) 

Sources Consulted 

1 Carlin, George. “‘Saving the Planet,’ by George Carlin.” Wheelersburg Local School District, Wheelersburg Local School District, www.wheelersburg.net/Downloads/GeorgeCarlin.pdf

2 Freedman, Andrew. “The Last Time CO2 Was This High, Humans Didn’t Exist.” Climate Central, Climate Central, 3 May 2013, www.climatecentral.org/news/the-last-time-co2-was-this-high-humans-didnt-exist-15938

3 Parry, Wynne. “Volcanoes May Have Sparked Little Ice Age.” LiveScience, Future US, Inc., 30 Jan. 2012, www.livescience.com/18205-ice-age-volcanoes-sea-ice.html

4 “Maunder Minimum.” Edited by Erik Gregersen, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 Feb. 2011, www.britannica.com/science/Maunder-minimum

Where Is Your Faith?

Where Is Your Faith?

Neal Pollard.

How many household conversations begin, “Where is my?” Women leave purses in restaurants, men leave their wallets in the other pants pocket, and kids are apt to leave just about anything anywhere. How many vacations begin with the family wondering where some vital item is, fearing that it is sitting at home and not packed in the suitcases?

The disciples had just heard Jesus deliver some powerful lessons (Luke 8:10- 21) and now they were heading across the lake from Galilee to the country of the Gerasenes. En route, while Jesus slept, a fierce windstorm descends and rocks their little boat. In a panic, they awaken Jesus, pleading, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” (Luke 8:24). Jesus calms the storm and subsequently their fears, but He admonishes them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:26).

That is a fair question. They had just heard the Master teacher doing His usual, masterful job (Luke 7:22-28, 31-36; etc.) and seen Him do some incredible miracles (Luke 7:1-10; 11-15; etc.). Between disembarking and the present distress, where did their faith go? The question Jesus asked His disciples is a fair question for each of us today. “Where is your faith?”

IS IT LOST (Luke 18:1ff)? Jesus positively teaches a parable about this in His story about the widow and the unjust judge. The woman was persistent and the judge, who feared neither God nor man, granted her petition due to her tenacious pursuit. Jesus makes application by asking, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). It is possible for any one of us to lose our faith. The parable of the sower and the soils shows that people can lose their faith as a consequence of both good times and bad times (cf. Luke 8:11ff). It is equally tragic to see people lose their faith just a few steps into their spiritual journey, several miles down the road, or especially near the end of the road!

 IS IT HIDDEN (Luke 8:16)? Jesus demonstrates how ludicrous a view hidden faith is from heaven’s vantage point by illustrating it this way: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed” (Luke 8:16a). His point is that light is not doing its job when it is covered, and our faith is not doing its job when it is covered. There will be many settings throughout life when being a Christian and standing up for the Lord will not be popular, admired, or congratulated. What will we do with our faith in such circumstances?

IS IT MISPLACED (Luke 18:9ff)? Everybody puts their trust in someone or some thing. The Bible says that people trust in their own power and might (Psalm 44:6), their wealth and riches (Psalm 49:6), their national leaders (Psalm 146:3), their own hearts (Proverbs 28:26), their idols (Isaiah 42:17), mankind (Jeremiah 17:5), their own achievements (Jeremiah 48:7), or their physical beauty (Ezekiel 16:15). Many of these attributes can serve us in properly placing our faith in God, but far too many are resting all they are or hope to be on those rather than God. In Luke 18:9, Jesus speaks a parable in warning against those who “trust in themselves.” Despite a culture that preaches the preeminent idea of “believing in yourself,” God makes that subservient to trusting in Him.

IS IT VISIBLE (Luke 7:9)? A centurion whose servant was dying was humble, devoted and perceptive in his approach to Jesus, pleading with Him to heal that dear one for him. Jesus marveled aloud, “I have not found such great faith, even in Israel!” The Centurion did not have to wear a badge or button that said, “I believe in the Lord.” People are watching us every day, our speech, decisions, attitudes, actions, and reactions. While it is nice when someone asks, “Are you a Christian?,” how much better for them not to have to ask?

So, “Where is your faith?”

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The 2019 Bear Valley Bible Institute graduating class

Wisdom Is Vindicated By All Her Children

Wisdom Is Vindicated By All Her Children

Neal Pollard

Jesus said, “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35). He said this in response to the hypercriticism and unrighteous judgment of those who condemned both John the Baptist and Him. They said John was too conservative and Jesus was too liberal. They hacked at the methods and message of both, without justification or legitimacy. They were libelous name-callers, but Jesus simply responded with a proverb. What a good one! It’s a needed one today, especially in the face of those who sit and snipe at the works of others. For those who get gun shy at the prospect of such snipers, please remember Jesus’ words and Jesus’ reward for those who keep at the good work.  This principle applies to:

  • Elders and preachers
  • Missionaries
  • Worship leaders
  • Young parents
  • Bible teachers
  • Deacons and ministry leaders
  • Christian Colleges and schools of preaching
  • Soul winners
  • Youth ministers
  • Lectureship and workshop directors
  • Church program organizers
  • Christians in the workplace
  • Teenagers
  • Students in their various schools
  • Camp directors
  • Writers and authors
  • Publishers

There are undoubtedly other categories of people who fall under the purview of Jesus’ saying, but they share the burden of having their works criticized by naysayers, ne’er-do-wells, nitpickers, and needlers. In Luke 7, Jesus took the magnifying glass and turned it on the critics. We can take heart this idea: “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth” (1 Pet. 1:17). We have a responsibility to conduct ourselves righteously, but we can rest in the confidence that we will be judged impartially by the perfect, righteous Judge. Let us commend our efforts to His eyes. He will get it perfectly right!

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A Literal Appeal For “Help”

A Literal Appeal For “Help”

Neal Pollard

In an interview given at her home, Ann Rodgers appears a bit eccentric but a wonder to behold. The 72-year-old woman survived 9 days in an Arizona desert by eating plants and drinking pond water. She was driving to Phoenix via a remote stretch of back country road on the White River Indian Reservation when she got lost and subsequently ran out of gas. Thus began a series of efforts, building signal fires to draw the attention of rescuers or the forest service. She got lost while climbing a series of ridges trying to get cell signal. She and her dog faced gloomy odds, but she kept trying. She went missing on March 31st. On April 3rd, she used sticks and rocks to spell out “help.” To further draw attention to it, she found an antelope skull nearby and placed it with her message (via nbcnews.com). Since moving out west, I have learned that people frequently get lost in the vast stretches of deserts and mountains. I cannot find statistics for how many people get lost or how many are found alive or dead in the United States, but each incident is obviously traumatic for those involved. Can’t you imagine how desperately and completely those who realize their lostness long to be saved?

Wherever you go today, the vast majority of the people you encounter are going to be wandering through this world lost in the most profound way. Without rescue, they are heading for a fate infinitely worse than physical death. “Lost” is the way Jesus, the Good Shepherd, describes those not right with God. While He uses the word that way in three of the four gospels (Mat. 10:6; 18:11; Luke 19:10; John 18:9), it is the parables of Luke 15 that most vividly speak in these terms. The first parable, that of the lost sheep, draws on the search and rescue metaphor (Luke 15:4). That’s how Jesus likens the situation with one outside of God’s redemption.

Be watching for signs from the lost. They often send signals, if we are looking in the right places. Whether personal problems, major life changes (like marriage or having children), those new to the area, or those demonstrating an open mind, they may be just like the Ethiopian Eunuch and hoping for someone to guide them (Acts 8:30-31). Jesus has us here to conduct search and rescue missions. May we have our eyes peeled and keep ourselves equipped to rescue the lost. They are out there everywhere.

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