Pat Robertson

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has jumped into the growing chasm between evangelicals divided over the issue of global warming.

On his “700 Club” broadcast yesterday, Robertson told viewers that while he had not been a believer in global warming in the past, the record-breaking heatwave blanketing the U.S. was “making a convert out of me.”

“We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels,” he said. “It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air.”

Robertson joins the chorus of evangelical leaders who have raised the issues of global warming and the environment to a place once reserved for abortion and school prayer by Christian activists.

As WorldNetDaily reported, 85 Christian leaders signed an Evangelical Climate Initiative, unveiled Feb. 8, that called for government action to deal with global warming.

Signers of the Evangelical Climate Initiative included, among others, Rick Warren, pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” Rich Stearns, president of World Vision, Commissioner Todd Bassett, national commander of The Salvation Army, and David Neff, executive editor of Christianity Today.

“The purpose of ECI is a very practical one,” said Jim Jewell, the group’s spokesman. “It is an attempt to rally evangelicals around the very real need to solve global warming and a call on Congress to pass legislation accomplishing this.”

But rather than rally evangelicals to the cause of global warming, ECI galvanized Christian critics who formed their own group – the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance – and released a statement last week endorsed by 100 evangelical theologians, pastors, climatologists and economists criticizing ECI’s claims.

The “idea of scientific consensus on [human-induced] global warming is an illusion,” the ISA statement reads.

“The consensus is usually mischaracterized,” said Calvin Beisner, a professor at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a coauthor of the ISA statement. “[The] consensus is not that catastrophic, human-induced global warming is going on. I don’t find it in the scientific literature.”

An earlier letter, signed by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship and other leading conservative evangelicals, successfully encouraged the National Association of Evangelicals to not take an official position on global warming.

“Evangelicals are to be first and foremost messengers of the good news of the gospel to a lost and dying world,” the letter read in part. “We are to promote those things that please God and oppose those things in the world that clearly violate His righteous standard of conduct. We respectfully ask that the NAE carefully consider all policy issues in which it might engage in the light of promoting unity among the Christian community and glory to God.”

Robertson, who warned in October that the NAE was teaming up with “far left environmentalists” to promote the idea that global warming was caused by humans and needed to be mitigated, has now indicated he’s sympathetic to the claims of the green evangelicals.

“If we are contributing to the destruction of this planet, we need to do something about it,” he told viewers.

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