Every Living Thing

I’ve had enough with the ERLC.  I can’t stomach anymore.  I’m not trying to be mean-spirited, I just don’t know any other way to put it.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me is the “Every Living Thing” campaign.  I watched the video.  I saw a vegetarian state that being a disciple of Jesus means “giving up conveniences to make your life more in alignment with God’s will” (obviously referring to eating meat). 

I saw a young couple adopt a puppy with all the sweet sappiness one would expect of bringing home an actual baby from the hospital, rejoicing that they can take part in God’s “restorative work, taking a life and making it meaningful and special.” Good for them for picking up a stray dog but, I’m sorry, to frame it that way is an insult to those who have made great sacrifice to bring a sweet child – an actual image bearer of God – into their home to love, and raise, and pour their heart and soul into.

The video ends with a woman’s voice imploring us to take part in this “redemptive work of God’s grace.”  Gag.  Again, to refer to God’s “redemptive work” and His “grace” in reference to animals is nauseating to me.  This is a cheapening of the cross and a practical denial of the Imago Dei.  Obviously there is a sense in which all of creation (the natural order) will be restored in the new Heavens and Earth.  But to imply that Jesus died on the cross to redeem individual animals – creatures with no soul – devalues the precious sacrifice Christ made for His beloved elect, the chosen people of God.

And lest you think I’m exaggerating this whole deal, I communicated with the Every Living Thing campaign via Twitter, and asked them this question, “Do you believe that animals (pets) have souls and will be in Heaven?”  Their response, “Animals cannot make eternal decisions (salvation) but Scripture is clear they will be part of a restored creation.”  Hmm.  That answer seemed rather ambiguous to me.  I asked them one more time to clarify their position.  Their response? – “We are excited to find out!”

Folks, I’m flabbergasted.  I don’t even know what to do with that.  That’s so far from where I come from, we’re just on totally different planets.  

I grew up with animals.  I was taught to love and respect all of God’s creation.  I had two dogs – black labs – that I loved dearly.  They were faithful companions on many fishing and camping trips.  But I was also taught this...  Only man had the "breath of life" breathed directly into his nostrils by God Himself.  Only man is invited into a covenant relationship with God.  Humans have eternal souls; animals do not.  Animals are gifts from God to be enjoyed (some as pets, some as nature, some as food), but they must never be elevated to the place or importance of a person.  Put it this way, if an F-5 tornado was coming and I had to choose between allowing five family pets into my shelter, or one homeless man I had never met, there wouldn’t even be a decision to make!  The man has infinitely more value than the animals!

Where I grew up, to blur that line between the value of people and the value of animals was to fundamentally misunderstand the rightful order of God’s creation.  This was a basic tenet, not only of my home, but the entire culture. (And I believe rightfully so.)  And these were people (farmers) whose livelihoods were there animals. 

“Every Living Thing” will point to the explanation of their statement and say it clearly spells out they don’t elevate animals to the place of people.  Obviously, they were smart enough to get a group of people in a room that understand conservative evangelicals and come up with a sufficient number of disclaimers to placate them.  I’ll give them credit for that.  But watch the video.  Feel the spirt of what they’re doing.  For heaven’s sake, look at who they’re aligning themselves with!  (Humane Society)  That tells you all you need to know.

Even before Dr. Moore came on board at the ERLC, I was convinced the SBC didn’t need the ERLC.  I am even more convinced now.  And the thing is, I like Dr. Moore.  I agree with a lot of what he says.  He’s a brilliant man.  But I think it’s pretty clear the ERLC has become a socially progressive, centrist institution that does not represent the majority of Southern Baptists.  I take issue with many of the ERLC's recent positions.  For instance, I take issue with amnesty for illegal aliens.  I take issue with Christians being encouraged to attend gay wedding showers.  I take issue with ecumenism.  I take issue with irresponsible allegations toward law enforcement.  And I take issue with the animal rights agenda.  (I wonder how long before the ERLC takes up gun control?)

Maybe you don’t take issue with any of those things.  That’s fine.  They’re not issues of primary doctrine.  I am glad to call you my brother or sister in Christ.  We can be friends.  But I absolutely object to my CP dollars being used to promote a social agenda that I believe is wrong-minded and, in some cases, non-biblical. 

For now, I am done with the ERLC.  I will not attend their events or support their causes.  And quite frankly, I haven't been able to get anyone from the ERLC to respond to any of my correspondence over the past year, so I don't think they'll miss me too much.

I will lead our church to continue to give our 10% to the CP, but I will hold my nose at the small amount being passed on to support the ERLC.  How I wish the SBC could return to the premise of cooperating together purely and simply for the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. 

Finally, we live in a time of crises:  marriage is being redefined, we are facing the greatest refugee crisis of our generation, we are pulling back 600-800 missionaries because we can’t afford to keep them on the field, we have babies being butchered and sold for parts, and we are using our energy and resources to talk about animal rights...  Sorry...  "animal welfare"...  What is wrong with us?  Have we lost our minds?