Mt.Carmel Contest-Rebirth of Luther? Archbishop accused of promoting climate change denier’s views on anniversary of Pope’s landmark letter

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In seeking to cast contempt upon the divine statutes, Satan has perverted the doctrines of the Bible, and errors have thus become incorporated into the faith of thousands who profess to believe the Scriptures. The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering—a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition. GC 582.2

By Loretta Lohberger

Tasmanian Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous

The Catholic Standard is produced under the authority of Archbishop Julian Porteous.(ABC News: Rhiannon Shine)

Prof Ian Plimer

Tasmania’s Archbishop has been accused of promoting the views of a climate change denier at the same time the global church is marking the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: On care for our common home.

Key points:

  • The official publication of the Catholic Church in Tasmania has published an article quoting a climate change denier
  • The article appeared at the same time the church globally was marking the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: on care for our common home
  • Concerned Catholics Tasmania said the article had caused widespread concern among the faithful

The agencies which will unite against truth and righteousness in this contest are now actively at work. God’s holy word, which has been handed down to us at such a cost of suffering and blood, is but little valued. The Bible is within the reach of all, but there are few who really accept it as the guide of life. Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world merely, but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world. Thousands who pride themselves upon their wisdom and independence regard it as an evidence of weakness to place implicit confidence in the Bible; they think it a proof of superior talent and learning to cavil at the Scriptures and to spiritualize and explain away their most important truths. Many ministers are teaching their people, and many professors and teachers are instructing their students, that the law of God has been changed or abrogated; and those who regard its requirements as still valid, to be literally obeyed, are thought to be deserving only of ridicule or contempt. GC 582.3

The May edition of the Catholic Standard included an article titled Exposing the ‘modern green religion’, a report of a speech given by geologist Professor Ian Plimer in Hobart at the invitation of the Christopher Dawson Centre, a think tank established by Archbishop Julian Porteous.

In the article, Catherine Sheehan, the Archdiocese of Hobart’s communications coordinator, wrote: “Professor Ian Plimer has written his most recent book on what he believes is a worrying trend in the debate of the science of climate change.

By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The God of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists—the God of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions—is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia. GC 583.1

“He argues that the movement claiming human activity is responsible for global warming has been transformed into a ‘modern green religion’ filling the void left by the decline of traditional Christianity in first-world Western countries.

As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power. GC 588.2

The iniquity and spiritual darkness that prevailed under the supremacy of Rome were the inevitable result of her suppression of the Scriptures; but where is to be found the cause of the widespread infidelity, the rejection of the law of God, and the consequent corruption, under the full blaze of gospel light in an age of religious freedom? Now that Satan can no longer keep the world under his control by withholding the Scriptures, he resorts to other means to accomplish the same object. To destroy faith in the Bible serves his purpose as well as to destroy the Bible itself. By introducing the belief that God’s law is not binding, he as effectually leads men to transgress as if they were wholly ignorant of its precepts. And now, as in former ages, he has worked through the church to further his designs. The religious organizations of the day have refused to listen to unpopular truths plainly brought to view in the Scriptures, and in combating them they have adopted interpretations and taken positions which have sown broadcast the seeds of skepticism. GC 586.2

“For 25 years Professor Plimer has been asking fellow scientists to provide even one study that clearly shows human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing global warming. To date, he maintains no such proof has been offered.”

The article lays out concerns Dr Plimer, a former director of mining companies, has about climate science, his criticisms of renewable energy, and concerns about the approach taken in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.

Yet this very class put forth the claim that the fast-spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called “Christian sabbath,” and that the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society. This claim is especially urged in America, where the doctrine of the true Sabbath has been most widely preached. Here the temperance work, one of the most prominent and important of moral reforms, is often combined with the Sunday movement, and the advocates of the latter represent themselves as laboring to promote the highest interest of society; and those who refuse to unite with them are denounced as the enemies of temperance and reform. But the fact that a movement to establish error is connected with a work which is in itself good, is not an argument in favor of the error. We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares. It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility. The leaders of the Sunday movement may advocate reforms which the people need, principles which are in harmony with the Bible; yet while there is with these a requirement which is contrary to God’s law, His servants cannot unite with them. Nothing can justify them in setting aside the commandments of God for the precepts of men. GC 587.1

Dr Plimer is quoted as saying: “These people [advising the Holy Father] are well known in the climate industry as being socialists who are pushing a certain agenda … these green activists have got into his ear rather than the pope getting a balanced view on it.”Ian Plimer spoke in Hobart at the invitation of a Catholic think tank.(Keva Gocher: ABC RURAL)

Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. GC 588.1

The Catholic Standard is the official publication of the Catholic Church in Tasmania and is produced under the authority of Archbishop Porteous.

Concerned Catholics Tasmania, a group advocating for renewal and reform in the church, said “the article, the event it reported, and the fact that it was given such prominence in the official publication of our Archdiocese have caused widespread concern for Tasmanian Catholics”.

The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium. GC 588.3

The group has written to the Standard’s editors asking that a letter of objection be published in the June edition of the Standard.

“While he is entitled to his opinion, I do not see why what he says and writes should be given free rein in a Catholic Church publication, especially without qualification,” chairman Kim Chen wrote.

“At the very least, there should be a statement apologising for any offence caused by this article and stating clearly that the views expressed are not those of the Archdiocese of Hobart.”

Concerned Catholics has not yet received a response. No mention of the article has been made in the June edition of the Standard, which has just been published.

‘We are presently witnessing a disturbing warming’

In a response to the ABC, a spokesman said: “The Archdiocese of Hobart politely declines the opportunity to participate in your story.”

Concerned Catholics wrote to the Archdiocese in March expressing concern about material “not deemed suitable for publication through the Standard simply because they were organised by Concerned Catholics”.

In response, the Archdiocese’s chancery services director Michael McKenna wrote: “The Standard has long been the principal (sic) historical Catholic record and source of information regarding official church teaching.”

Mr Chen said the publication of the article featuring Dr Plimer showed hypocrisy.

“The official position the Pope’s put out is Laudato Si and they’re (the Standard) giving air to people who are putting a contrary view,” he said.

Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them. GC 589.2

“It seems to be skewed and the articles in it seem to be skewed towards what I call a more right-wing position.

“I’m aware of people who want to contest what’s been written, people who are good practising Catholics, but their voice doesn’t get heard.”

Laudato Si was published in May 2015. In it, Pope Francis said the climate is “a common good, belonging to all and meant for all”.

“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” he wrote.

“Humanity is called to recognise the need for changes in lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.

While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away,” “the haughty people … do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah 24:4, 5.
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. Thus the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated and upon grounds equally well established: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” 1 Kings 18:17, 18. As the wrath of the people shall be excited by false charges, they will pursue a course toward God’s ambassadors very similar to that which apostate Israel pursued toward Elijah.
The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony.
Satan’s policy in this final conflict with God’s people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow. And the very work which he was thus endeavoring to accomplish he charged upon the loyal angels. The same policy of deception has marked the history of the Roman Church. It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven, while seeking to exalt itself above God and to change His law. Under the rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now. While Satan seeks to destroy those who honor God’s law, he will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonoring God and bringing judgments upon the world.
God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. GC 589.3 – GC 592.3

“It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.”

An opinion piece written by Dr Plimer and published in The Australian in 2019, titled Let’s not pollute minds with carbon fears, was criticised by climate scientists for being false.

Ten climate scientists reviewed the article for Climate Feedback, a global network of scientists who fact-check and analyse claims made in the media and said: “As was the case with three other op-eds written by Plimer that we evaluated previously, reviewers unanimously rated the scientific credibility of this article ‘very low’ … the scientists identify a large number of inaccurate or incorrect statements about the way Earth’s climate system works, how climate has changed during Earth’s history, and what we know about the impacts of continued climate change.”

The article was also found to have breached standards by the Australian Press Council.

Author: Adventist Angels Watchman Radio

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