Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Church and the Environment

Politically, regardless of the side of the party isle you are on, being "green" is now a prerequisite to any campaign. The church has also not wanted to be left behind either, and more and more we see various denominations placing topics such as global warming at the center of their mission.

Religious News Service recently posted this account of Evangelicals going green:

Some Evangelicals Going Green as Skepticism Lingers
By Adelle M. Banks

(UNDATED) When Bishop Harry Jackson saw melting glaciers and devastated forests on a recent trip to Alaska, he decided that global warming should be a higher priority on his list of key issues for evangelicals. Now he's ready to work to bring evangelicals from the left and right together to address reducing carbon emissions and oil use. Some evangelical leaders, often one by one, have similar stories of environmental conversion. Supporters of the Evangelical Climate Initiative say the numbers of signatories has inched up from about 86 last year to 106 now. But the support that's slowly growing in some circles is nuanced at best and there are many prominent -- and often older -- evangelicals who remain unconvinced.

Stewardship naturally encompasses more than just our money. It includes a responsible use of all the gifts God has given to his people, of which the environment is included. As a hunter I support the fact that my fees contribute to a regular maintenance of the environment where I live. And as a citizen of the nation I have a real interest in helping to manage the responsible use of the woods and animals that surround me.

But beyond a call to responsible stewardship, does the church have a call to put topics of scientific debate at the center of its mission? Not even the scientists are united on the issue of Global Warming and the danger it may pose. We have long known that weather is cyclic. Over the centuries and millenia there have been periods of warming and cooling. Personally I would like to see a unified front in the scientific realm before I would even think of jumping on this popular bandwagon as a church leader. And even then I would still have to ask myself: To what degree is this the church's ultimate concern over against the much greater issues of eternity?


Presbytera said...

This reeks to me of nature worship and harking back to the gods of Greece and Rome only now it is the Environmental god with Earth Day as the High Holy Day. Dare we even say anymore that we humans are to subdue creation?

Rev. Don Engebretson said...

It seems that in more liberal corners especially, the environment has become virtually THE mission of the church. That may be due to the fact that evangelizing the lost is considered politically inappropriate, and thus no longer a real choice for these churches. So if they can't work to save the lost for eternity, then they work to save the environment for a limited time. Seems they have missed the Gospel mandate of Christ by a long country mile......