Five years ago, a few activists in the “green” Christian movement secretly sought signatures among their allies in the liberal “social gospel” ranks to support a statement, while also picking up a few respected names such as that of “Purpose Driven Life” pastor Rick Warren and former National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson for support, and published “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.”
Now they are at it again with a new, theologically challenged document titled “Caretakers of Creation.”
The previous effort was somewhat effective in that it ambushed what you might call conservative evangelicals - as opposed to social-gospel proponents - who actually believe salvation and redemption are found only through belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of one’s life. When the climate “Evangelical Call” was published, without foreknowledge of the conservatives, the media transmitted it widely as though the statement of global-warming alarmism were representative of the mainstream Christian worldview. The climate declaration highlighted claims that are disputed not only among evangelicals, but the overall public - that “human-caused climate change is real,” that “Christian moral convictions demand our response” and that “the need to act now is urgent.” Many conservative evangelicals fumed.
Like the “Call to Action,” “Caretakers of Creation” will remain a big secret until its creators can announce it to the press, undoubtedly with hope it will have a similar effect. You can still read it online (unless they’ve taken it down) at flourishonline. org/caretakers/, but based upon their stipulation at the page - “Please do not publicize this link except to potential signatories” - you may not be welcome.
As for the document itself, it defies earthly and scriptural logic. Published by the environmentalist ministry Flourish, the statement begins by equating last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil gusher with natural disasters such as droughts, floods, dust storms, landslides, earthquakes and heat waves and then notes that they all were caused by the effects of “the close relationship between healthy natural ecosystems and human well-being.”
Who’s responsible? Well, capitalist Christians appear to be a big part of the problem, based upon Flourish’s statements that humans must “repent of the abuse and misuse of God’s creation,” that “through ignorance or selfishness, we have often failed to faithfully discharge our stewardship responsibilities” and that “the ‘common good’ is neglected in a world of fragmentation and consumerism.”
Flourish goes way off the rails when trying to cite biblical support for “Creation care.” The group states, “One part of the reconciling work of Jesus is to lead humanity back to its role as caretakers of the garden.” I see quite a different conclusion in the book of Revelation, and not the pied-piper imagery of Christ leading his followers back to a fruitful and flowery plot.
Elsewhere, Flourish calls on Christians “to cultivate a renewed appreciation for the contributions of science and scientists, acknowledging that ‘all truth is God’s truth’ and that higher levels of expertise are necessary to solve many of today’s environmental problems.” Red alert to the church: If evangelicals are supposed to recognize the “higher levels of expertise” held by the majority of scientists, that would require that they deny Creation in the first place. Isn’t that what that whole evolution debate is about?
Finally, Flourish talks about an “expansive stewardship mandate in the book of Genesis.” Sorry, but no such thing exists. Instead, Genesis talks about man’s “dominion” over the earth and animals and how he is to “subdue” the earth. Then God Himself curses it, saying, “in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:17). Thus, we have an imperfect planet that was nevertheless created for man’s purposes, not man for it.
The Flourish people, if their motives were sincere in determination of the truth, would have made “Caretakers of Creation” available for all Christian theologians and leaders to view before its release. Instead, they’ve shown their true intentions: to advance their anti-human “green” agenda via twisting of Scripture and behind-the-scenes political maneuvers.
Paul Chesser is executive director of American Tradition Institute (atinstitute.org).