Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Green Challenge

Evangelicals have been slow to respond to the challenge of the environment. Francis Shaeffer and others endeavoured to point the movement in the right direction in the 1970's (see here). But we still have long way to go. Evangelicals tend to campaign on issues like homosexuality and abortion. This is understandable in the current moral climate. But we need to broaden our concerns. The Bible has something to say about all areas of life, including the environment. If we did more to address issues such as poverty and ecology, it would be more difficult for our critics to paint us as "right wing" Christians.
I was encouraged to see Frederick Leahy address the green challenge in his final book, The Hand of God, Banner of Truth Trust, 2006 (see here).
How sensitive is the average Christian to the reckless mishandling of the earth? Why should it be left to 'green' parties, 'Friends of the Earth' and 'New Agers' to protest at man's plundering of the earth with insatiable greed, and to endeavour to conserve what they see as 'mother earth'?
This is God's earth, and man is not free to pillage and contaminate it to his heart's content. It is true that this earth is under a curse because of sin (Gen 3:17) and that now we see 'thorns and thistles', a 'groaning', convulsed earth (Rom 8:22), a hostile environment, bacteria, viruses and such like. However, all this does not mean that God no longer cares for the earth, or that man has been relieved of his stewardship.
Clearly man is accountable to God for the manner in which he treats this earth and its multiform life. God's wrath must be great as he views the current pollution of his earth. Yet it needs to be remembered that although man's stewardship is still binding, the Bible's focus is not on conservation but transformation - a glorious transformation that will take place at Christ's return. Even the 'groaning' of the earth is represented as being 'in the pains of childbirth' (Rom 8:22). There is hope in such pangs. (p. 8 & 9)

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