Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A great new website has launched that is unlike anything I have seen. Creation Care for Pastors is a web resource specifically designed for church Pastors who are interested in creation care. It takes a distinctively biblical approach by applying scriptural principles to environmental issues. This site features books, resources, scientific data and everything a pastor needs to educate himself or herself about the state of creation and our God-given role to care for it.

If you are pastor, check it out and let me know what you think.

**Update: Check out the sample sermons from Bill Hybels, Rob Bell, Matthew Sleeth, Tri Robinson and others.**

4 comments:

Iam4Jesus said...

Wondering what you might think of this related article?

Going Green: The Story Behind the Story

Jonathan Merritt said...

Iam4Jesus,

That article is just a new printing of an old thought that we should really not work to change the environment because we can't do anything to stop the "downward spiral." Believe it or not, you hear this on both sides. Many staunch environmentalists believe we are beyond the point of no return, and many Christians who place great emphasis on a particular eschatological view say it is all going to end anyway.

I don't ascribe to either viewpoint. I don't posses a crystal ball that tells me anything about the ecological future of this planet (outside of tricky climate models) or the eschatological future of this planet (outside of tricky passages in Revelation). But I do possess a Bible that tells me I should work to preserve the earth as best I can and always work to protect "the least of these."

Acting on what I know for certain rather than Biblical or scientific speculation seems like a better approach to me.

Iam4Jesus said...

I agree Jonathan. Thanks for the response.

Benjamin said...

Concerning Sean Yarbrough’s entitled, “Going Green: The Story Behind the Story” I will offer a few responses.

Commenting on the ELF (Ecoterroist group and their actions), Gary Perlstein, professor emeritus at Portland State University states, "This is more than an environmental issue to them, this is an issue of faith." I agree with this statement; however, let’s make sure we understand that all actions relate to our beliefs (faith, per se). Our actions tell a story about who we are and what we believe. This is a resounding theme throughout all the scriptures. We are instructed to live in a manner worthy of the gospel and consistent with the totality of the biblical witness. Therefore, any actions and thought at some level relates to our beliefs (faith). Thus, we ought to make sure that all our actions, decisions, and thoughts are right, whether they relate to purity, creational care, or evangelism. And, I would argue that Christians are a living witness, therefore, evangelism is a part of everything we do.

Also, I think this article has a limited view of what “creation” entails. Mankind is not distinct from creation, but rather an integral part of it. Mankind is distinct within creation as made in the image of God. However, mankind is not separate from creation. In fact, the Genesis narrative addresses the very idea of “creation” in context as all that God created. Man is not transcendent over creation. When one assumes mankind is transcendent over creation it usually results in an exclusive dominion-attitude whereby man finds justification in pillaging the earth on the basis of selfish interests. Essentially, this is what I would call “dominion without care.” But God instructs mankind to have dominion over the earth not as an end unto itself, but for His greater glory. God, the command-Giver, as well as the greater end-God’s glory, qualifies the act of “having dominion”. Essentially, the act of “dominion” is to be pursed in a “dominion as stewardship” manner unto the glory of God.

When one focuses on dominion only they neglect the stewardship principle, lose sight of the greater end dominion as stewardship is directed toward, and ultimately forgets the One who has provided the opportunity to have dominion as stewardship. Likewise, when one only directs their attention on stewardship without understanding the dominion principle, then this often leads to what is known as “deep ecology,” where the rest of creation is elevated to equality with mankind. This is often what drives groups like the ELF, etc. But notice that both views, “dominion without stewardship” and “stewardship without dominion” are two extremes that result in wrong attitudes, beliefs, and actions in relation to God’s creation.

The Solution: The Genesis narrative states that “dominion as stewardship” ought to be done for God’s glory. Now granted, Genesis does not say, “care for creation for my glory.” But, Genesis 2:15 “to cultivate and keep” can be translated from the original language as “worship and obey.” This is no coincidence. There is a distinct character of the work Adam possessed in Genesis 2:15 “cultivate & keep” than that of Genesis 3:27 “work & toil.” If the “cultivate & keep/worship & obey” argument holds, then the very act of creational care is an act of direct worship. This is my point in beginning my response with emphasizing that everything we do (actions) is related to our beliefs. 2 Corinthians 10:31 states, “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all these tings unto the glory of God.”

Care for creation!

Grace & Peace- Benjamin