Why the Church should Care for Creation and teach its congregations accordingly – so why do so few do so?
For a fuller treatment of this issue, including its relationship with the gospel of personal redemption by faith in Christ, go to: “A Call for Commitment to Creation Care” – video at
wbbc.org.uk/resources/sermons-3; text at ne-calltoaction.org.uk/?p=798 A copy of this article in Word is available HERE.
The Christian Church has a responsibility to “Declare the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20.27). So its leaders, in their teaching, will need to include, at the very least:
1) The ‘creation ordinance’ to “Care for the earth” (Genesis 2.15)
In contrast, “Humanity is waging war on nature and this is suicidal. Nature always strikes back, and is doing so with gathering force and fury.” (Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations);
2) The apostles’ command to “Care for the poor” (Galatians 2.10)
In contrast, “The climate crisis is leaving two million people each week needing emergency aid.” (Report by the International Red Cross to the UN, Sept 2019) “This is intolerable!” (Francesco Rocca, President of the IRC)
3) The prophetic call to “Care for our children and upcoming generations” (Micah 4.6)
This call needs to be heeded! On ‘Sunday Worship’ on Radio 4 on Sunday 7th March, 19-year old ‘Ruth’ spoke of how “confused and upset” – her words, how “confused and upset” – she was by the failure of the church to respond to climate change and she noted that, according to a recent survey, 90% of Christian young people regard this as a serious issue, but only 10% think the church is paying enough attention to it.
“The failure of our generation on climate change mitigation would lead to consequences that would haunt humanity until the end of time.” (Professor Ross Garnault, the Australian government’s former advisor on climate change)
So how can we account for the widespread indifference of church leaders, at the congregational level, in the face of the environmental emergency, which is, certainly:
• the greatest moral and humanitarian challenge of our generation – moral, given the monstrous injustice of the fact that those suffering the most have done the least to create the problem; and humanitarian, given the scale of that suffering;
• and the greatest, current, spiritual challenge to Christian believers on account of its implications for the sincerity of our profession of faith, given the inevitable, if modest, self-denial involved in a serious response to it?
But if we do ‘care’, what’s the single, most important thing we can all do to care for creation? Two things, actually! We can all pray about it and should all do so. But we should also to add our voices to the clamour for urgent and effective action by our leaders! “To relax the pressure on governments is absolutely the wrong thing to do… Any amount of action by individuals is not going to solve the problem without government doing the things that only it can do”. (The late Professor Sir John Houghton FRS, a Christian believer and the greatest climate scientist of his generation)