Showing posts with label environmental movement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environmental movement. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2013

Some Food For Thought For Christians On Earth Day 2013

Posted by Christine Pack and Marcia Montenegro

Today, in case it had somehow slipped by you, is Earth Day. I began receiving notifications that it would soon be Earth Day about two weeks ago. In my email inbox this morning, I received "Happy Earth Day" messages from a t-shirt company, Aveda, a homeschooling organization, Williams Sonoma, Lindt Chocolates, and many others. But how should Christians think about Earth Day? And what, if anything, should be our response?

Let me first note that, when I was a New Ager, we were ALL about Creation worship, sometimes called Gaia worship. And please note the capitalized "C" of "Creation worship;" we sincerely thought creation was imbued with divinity. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but I was a direct fulfillment of Romans 1:25, which states that "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.....".  But I can honestly say that never in my wildest dreams, as a practicing New Ager, could I have imagined that one day the earth worship we had in our little fringe group would spread to the rest of the world and even into Christianity. And yet, I've seen Green Bibles, Green Bible Studies, Green Christian websites, etc.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." Rev 21:1
Now, it's not wrong, of course, to take care of the creation, but we must not give it more value than God has ascribed to it. God has told us in his Word that one day He will create a new heavens and a new earth. This means that this earth is of finite, limited use, and will one day be gone. And again, I'm not saying we should trash the earth: we are told in the Bible to be good stewards of it. But we must not revere it, and "Green" anything that I see inside Christianity literally makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up because there is a very fine line indeed between being a good steward of the earth in a biblical, balanced way, as opposed to letting your everyday decisions be framed by the environmental agenda. But to my dismay, I now recognize that this movement is so completely mainstreamed, that it often does frame our thinking in many of our decisions, from what car we will drive (electric vs. gas-powered), what paper products we will buy (recycled paper products vs. regular paper products) what items we will purchase (those produced by sustainable organizations vs. those not), etc., etc., with some kind of inherent moral virtue often implied in the purchasing of the "green" products.

Sadly, there are many Christians who are innocent to the agenda of the environmental movement. So as a former proponent of the Environmental Movement, I just want to sound a note of caution for Christians to perhaps be careful about what messages they might be unconsciously taking in, and to even be aware of the idea that there might be an agenda of some kind attached to a group that on the surface might look wholesome and beneficial. I also think Christians should be careful about which organizations they donate to, and to do their due diligence. Take for instance the organization Evangelical Environmental Network, which was founded by three pastors. That doesn't sound sinister, does it? But please look at this quote from their website, found by my friend and fellow researcher, Marcia Montenegro:
We urge individual Christians and churches to be centers of creation's care and renewal, both delighting in creation as God's gift, and enjoying it as God's provision, in ways which sustain and heal the damaged fabric of the creation which God has entrusted to us. 
We recall Jesus' words that our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions, and therefore we urge followers of Jesus to resist the allure of wastefulness and overconsumption by making personal lifestyle choices that express humility, forbearance, self restraint and frugality. 
We call on all Christians to work for godly, just, and sustainable economies which reflect God's sovereign economy and enable men, women and children to flourish along with all the diversity of creation. We recognize that poverty forces people to degrade creation in order to survive; therefore we support the development of just, free economies which empower the poor and create abundance without diminishing creation's bounty. (online source)
All right, that right there is where the rubber meets the road. It sounds so good on so many theories and ideas do, but try living that out. Many parts of this country have been hit hard by the recession we're in, and let's say a Christian man, wanting to make Godly choices and walk righteously before his Lord read the above call-to-action to only work at corporations that are sustainable, green, etc., and so he made the decision to do that because he felt it would be sinning otherwise. Should he starve to death, and let his family starve to death, if he couldn't find a suitably green company to work for?

As noted by Christian researcher Marcia Montenegro, this kind of thinking is "a type of legalism and judgment according to man's standards, and not God's. God tells the head of the family to provide for his family or he is acting worse than an unbeliever ('But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.' 1 Tim 5:8 - this goes for single mothers, too). That is God's mandate and that overrides working only for 'green' companies."

So as far as how Christians should think about and respond to, Earth Day, I think it's pretty straightforward: we should be guided by Scripture, not worldly wisdom about what products to buy or what company to work in. And as far as "evangelical environmentalists," how should we respond to them or think about them? For myself, I have certain criteria that I often hold in my mind when visiting the website of any kind of organization pertaining to be Christian. It goes something like this: What should I see when I visit a website that claims the name of Christ (such as the environmental site linked above)? Should I see Jesus Christ, the God-man, who came and fulfilled God's laws perfectly, and who died for sins, and was raised triumphantly from the grave to reign and rule over all the earth? Should I see Him exalted, magnified and glorified? Or should I see a rather worldly message, designed at piggybacking onto whatever trend is currently captivating people? Well, it's kind of a no-brainer, isn't it?
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."1 Cor 2:2

 Additional Resources 

Tim Keller's Environmental Gospel

Christians and the Environment

Earth Day: The High Holy Day of Paganism

Paganism: The Natural Default of the Human Mind

The Bible is Our Firewall Against Paganism