The world becomes less hospitable to humanity as we make bad choices regarding how we use God’s good creation. The Church gets climate change wrong when we don’t see the very clear Biblical link between our sinful, self-seeking, consuming lifestyle and the damage it causes to others, and God’s creation. We get climate change wrong when talk about God’s kingdom in spiritual terms, and don’t see his ongoing commitment to the physical restoration of the planet, and our relationship with the planet, as the place he will dwell with his people forever.

Jesus makes climate change right when he enters the world to redeem it, and defeat sin. He invites us to participate in his kingdom where we are called to love our neighbours, not consume them.

HEAD // GOD’S STORY

The Bible is the story of God redeeming the good world he created for people to enjoy, a world broken by our rebellion. God sets about restoring the world through Jesus, who becomes human and goes to his death on the Cross to show God’s commitment to his world and to begin the process of renewal which will culminate when he returns to dwell with his people again.

READ HOW GOD’S STORY HELPS US THINK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE (PDF)

 

HEART // PEOPLE’S STORIES

People outside the church do take note of the way Christians interact with and think about the environment. Here’s a story from popular science blog io9 titled “Here’s what happens when evangelical Christians debate science” about the way the Church has approached the science surrounding climate change. That article identifies two major approaches to the environment from Christians who take the Bible seriously – the Evangelical Environmental Network and the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

The Cornwall Alliance sums up its approach to the environment as:

Our network of theologians, scientists, economists, and other scholars and leaders work together to promote, primarily through education, three things simultaneously:

  1. Biblical earth stewardship, or “godly dominion”—men and women working together to enhance the fruitfulness, beauty, and safety of the earth to the glory of God and the benefit of our neighbors;
  2. economic development for the world’s poor; and
  3. the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ,

all in a world permeated by an environmental movement whose worldview, theology, and ethics are overwhelmingly anti-Christian, whose science and economics are often poorly done, whose policies therefore often do little good for natural ecosystems but much harm to the world’s poor, and whose religious teachings undermine the fundamental Christian doctrines of God, creation, humanity, sin, and salvation.

The Evangelical Environmental Network says it exists to:

“The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) is a ministry that educates, inspires, and mobilizes Christians in their effort to care for God’s creation, to be faithful stewards of God’s provision, and to advocate for actions and policies that honor God and protect the environment.

Founded in 1993, EEN’s work is grounded in the Bible’s teaching on the responsibility of God’s people to “tend the garden” and in a desire to be faithful to Jesus Christ and to follow Him. EEN publishes materials to equip and inspire individuals, families, and churches; and seeks to educate and mobilize Christians to make a difference in their churches and communities, and to speak out on national and international policies that affect our ability to preach the Gospel, protect life, and care for God’s Creation.”

The io9 article linked above looks at how these organisations, while sounding like they share similar goals take different approaches. While these differences are significant, taking an approach to climate change is better than taking no approach to climate change. Christians sometimes set looking after the environment as something that competes with sharing the Gospel. Here’s an example from a Christian in the US who regularly uses this argument in the media there.

JAN MARKELL: Here is the situation with the evangelical climate initiative or those that signed this evangelical environmental network. They are focusing– very, very closely, they are focusing on a single issue. And here’s where we have our problem. They are focusing on the issue that the– situation on the– on earth right now which is precarious weather wise is because of climate and climate variations. Which are due to global warming. Manmade global warming. That’s so important to understand. Because no one can disagree there’s global warming.

That’s one edge of even evangelicalism that believes that way. Now there’s another element of evangelicalism. And I would represent it and I would say this is not what evangelicals are called to do. Focus on global warming and figure out is it manmade or water or what. Or what– the other group of evangelicals believe is we were called and we are called to preach the gospel. To spread the good news. To win the lost.

Whereas this other camp is now focusing on sort of a social issue. And I think that’s interesting. If you keep in mind that back in the 1940’s, the organization was created called the National Association of Evangelicals. The reason they were formed was because they saw some denominations going off into the social gospel only. And this so called– NEAE or National Association of Evangelicals in approximately 1946, got together and said– as evangelicals, we are going to focus on the Bible.

We’re going to focus on winning the lost. We’re not going to focus on the social issues. Because so many of the main line protestants were. Well, now, comes a group of evangelicals saying we’re all for the social cause and the social issues. Particularly as it concerns manmade global warming. And so I’m just saying I don’t think that’s the call of an evangelical. I think the call of evangelicals is to preach the good news. Is to preach the gospel. It’s to win the lost. And not focus on these other issues.

QUESTION: What does it– what’s at stake when these prominent leaders speak out in this way? What is at stake here?

JAN MARKELL: Well, it’s taking time and it’s taking money and it’s taking other things away from the central issue that the National Association of Evangelicals decades ago now– their whole purpose was to create a movement called the evangelical movement that was created to focus on one thing only. And that’s preaching the gospel and saving souls.
And so if we’re going to get diverted and we’re going to spend millions of dollars and we’re going to spend– who knows how much time trying to rid the world, in this case, of a questionable theory called manmade global warming, this is a huge distraction from what we should be doing. The more conservative evangelical would say, hey, we need to preach the gospel and win the lost. And not go after a science that is not proven at all. You cannot prove scientifically that the weather aberrations that are going on are manmade. You just can’t prove it.

And in the meantime, souls are dying. Because we’re spending time and money trying to figure out if in fact there’s such a thing as manmade global warming. It’s a massive waste of time and of resources.