Evangelical Churches and Climate Change: A Call to Action

“The brokenness of earth is the brokenness of God’s home.”[1]

It has long been held that the environment is among the most pressing concerns of this generation. In this bygone age of technology and consumerism, ministry pertaining to the natural world of creation has taken a backseat in the teaching and preaching of Evangelical Christian churches in particular. While most Christians appreciate the beauty of nature, many don’t realize there is a strong Biblical basis for creation care, in fact many ethical values, fundamental to the development of a peaceful society, are particularly relevant to the ecological question.

In the Book of Genesis, where we find God’s first self-revelation to humanity (Gen.1-3), there is a recurring refrain: “And God saw that it was good.” [2] Mankind’s first home was Eden –paradise. The Earth was paradise, teaming with life, vegetation, and the wondrous landscape of skies, the land and the sea. Creation in God’s eyes was good, but at the same time entrusted it to the care of man and woman.

Adam and Eve’s call was to participate in the unfolding of God’s purpose for creation that is brought into play by the abilities and gifts which distinguishes human beings from all other creatures. The Lord called upon the first humans to tend this paradise and keep it, in other words to take care of it. This call also established a fixed relationship between mankind and the rest of creation. Made in God’s image and likeness, Adam and Eve were to have exercised their dominion over the earth with wisdom and love. Instead they destroyed the existing harmony by deliberately going against the Creator’s plan, that is by choosing to sin. The result is not only man’s alienation from himself, in death and God, but also in the earth’s “rebellion” against him (cf. Gen. 3:17-29.4:2). Through sin all creation now became subject to futility, anticipating liberation together with all God’s children (cf. Rom. 8:20-21).

As Christians we believe that Jesus’ Death and Resurrection has accomplished the work of reconciling humanity to the Father, who “was pleased..through (Christ) to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19-20). Creation once subjected to the bondage of sin and decay is now renewed in and through Christ. Thus, God the Father “has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery…which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, all things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10).

I believe that these Biblical considerations help us understand better the relationship between human activity and creation. Even now as everyone, seems to be talking about climate change. It’s no longer just the concern of a few eco-warriors –it’s in the media, is becoming a political issue and more and more individuals are becoming aware of their own carbon footprint.[3] Through climate change one becomes more aware that when people turn their back on the Creator and his plan, by living a self-centred life of individualism, accumulation and consumption man provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order, such as that which most of us encountered and are encountering in these extreme weather events that have occurred in these recent years.

This study has a threefold purpose. First, is to provide recent scientific findings and consensus on climate change alongside its environmental and social cost. The second purpose of this study is to establish the church’s response by correlating climate change with the Biblical mandate for creation care. Lastly this research aims to provide recommendations on how creation care can be integrated into the local church’s administrative and ministerial programs. Therefore the aim of this paper is to show why Evangelical Christian churches should be responding to the challenges posed by climate change to our faith and witness, with the intent of providing practical recommendations on how Evangelical Christian Churches can respond to climate change as a part of our Biblical mandate to care for creation.

In the face of such an impending ecological catastrophe we are reminded that: “creation is the theatre of God’s grace”[4] therefore as part of creation we must also be ‘actors’ in this theatre of grace for we are among the recipients of this grace and likewise we are also called to exhibit this grace in and towards creation. The problem of climate change is now becoming apparent to all in fact, people are now starting to ask if it is still possible to remedy this damage. Clearly, an adequate solution is not to be found merely in the better management of our natural resources and in pollution reduction policies, as important as these things may be. Certain elements of the present ecological crisis reveal a lapse in its moral and ethical character which is needs to be addressed in the life and practice of the Christian church, which is the only institution on earth that has the mandate to face the problem of climate change in its moral and spiritual dimension, as reflected on and animated by the love that God exhibited in Christ who became one of us.

With the topic having such a broad scope this research admits to its limitations in as far as this would only focusing much on Evangelical Churches as this is the theological tradition that the author belongs to; also the paper would be focusing mostly on climate change, that is not to say that other environmental problems are not as important, but rather because of the given constraints of time, resources and the overall scope of the topic it would be impossible to put into writing a very comprehensive treatise of the Evangelical Christian Church’s response environmental problems. Lastly, is that a bulk of this study is based on contemporary sources and findings that are bound to change and develop as more things are discovered on the things pertaining to the science of climate change.

It is my hope that this study would be a small contribution to the larger issue of the Church and the individual believer’s response to the challenges posed by climate change even as we eagerly wait for the final fulfilment of God’s promise of transformation and renewal for his creation.

[1] Bouma-Prediger, Steven et al. Beyond Homelessness (Grand Rapids: Eedermans, 2008), p. 33

[2] Montalbo Jr., Melchor The Church Speaks on Peace. (Manila: St. Paul 1990), p.55

[3] Kennedy, Emma. Justice and the Heart of God. (Oxford: Christian Aid: 2008), p.20

[4] Prediger et al. Beyond Homelessness., p. 152


2 thoughts on “Evangelical Churches and Climate Change: A Call to Action

  1. Pingback: Phuket Thailand – Travel Guide: A Paradise On Earth – Simon Cabaret

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Fide Quarens Intellectum

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