Monday, September 17, 2007

Follow Up On Beliefs about Environmentalism

I came across this pithy, yet insightful article written by Anglican Bishop Nicholas T. Wright about the role of environmentalism within the Church and the illogical beliefs that too often lead to its dismissal

God's Power Does Not Excuse Human Despoiling
By Nicholas T. Wright

It all depends what your ‘faith’ is. If you believe that the present world of space, time and matter is basically trash, from which we are supposed to be rescued, then who cares?
But if, with Jews and Christians, your ‘faith’ is in a good creator God who has promised to set the world right at last, dealing with its corruption and decay and setting it free from all that to become even more gloriously what it already really is, then of course you will cherish and celebrate the natural world and care for it in all kinds of ways.

Put it like this (what follows is based on Romans 8.18-26, one of the central passages in one of the central Christian texts of all time). If I said, well, I find it difficult to struggle against sin – but one day God will save me and make me totally his, so why bother in the present? – if I said something like that, every pastor worth their salt would tell me that what God intends to do with me in the future must be anticipated, as best I can in the power of the Spirit, by me in the present.

Now, Paul declares that God will set the whole creation free from its slavery to corruption, and will do so under the glorious rule of his redeemed people. If we say ‘Well, that’ll be fine when it comes, but for the moment there’s no point bothering to do anything about it ourselves’, we stand rebuked in just the same way. You wouldn’t say of the person you love best in all the world, ‘Well, one day we’ll be married and I can be kind to him/her then, I needn’t bother for the moment.’ In the same way, to say ‘Well, God will do whatever he wants with this world eventually, but for the moment I can continue to pump carbon emissions and other harmful gases into its atmosphere,’ is simply illogical.

By the way, it is deeply shocking to us in the UK to discover that some American Christian leaders are being forbidden by their denominations to speak on this topic at all. The day when business interests dictate to the church what preachers may and may not discover in God’s word is the day when idolatry has taken over.


Cox Family said...

thanks for the comment it feels so good to be remembered
love ya

*Ma* said...

When it comes to ecology ,economy, etc I always go back to Genesis where God made us stewards, the keepers over this earth, the habitation and the animals. In no way can i believe that ever stopped, and if Gods creation came all from the very same elements, my thought is that the symbiosis of us to our environs is very real and that we hurt oursleves when we disregard the office of steward.( Good steward not just consume it all up steward.)
I think it's just one of the many titles the Lord gave us that we should wear soberly and responsibly.

Cassidy M. said...

Oh yes, let's "care" for the "environment," while the whole world is going to hell. brilliant.

Tia Lynn said...

umm, unless you are implying that there is no such thing as an evironment (hopefully this is not the case), there is no need for the use quotation marks.

You're entitled to your opinion, but you should take into consideration that people who really care for the environment are also caring for their fellow man. There's a balance. A Christian can both reach people with the gospel and care for the environment. Don't create a false dilemna.

andy said...

i think our friend "Cassidy M." missed the point NT Wright was getting at...

If environmental degradation is the result of Sin then the romans passage should still apply... De we KEEP sinning? or do we allow God to change us and stop abusing Gods creation...

Tia Lynn said...

I think Cassidy might have fallen victim to some of the rhetoric out there that pins environmentalism and Christianity against each other, creating a deceiving "either or" mentality. But the wind seems to be changing as of late....