Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics and so many more Christian denominations are joining a global effort to tread ‘more lightly' on God's creation. The Biblical mandate is clear, for Christians to act as ‘custodians of creation,' just as Adam was told to do in the Book of Genesis. But, what does this actually mean?
While various faith groups may have differing views on theological interpretations of what creation means to them, by and large, they agree that caring for His beautiful creation is more than just an edict, it is a way of life. Some faith leaders maintain that this simple change in behavior and thinking isn't just a fleeting trend, they understand it as a path to the renewal of the church by placing Christian ecology at the forefront of discipleship.
By Dave Scoullar for Wanganui Chronicle
The Christian church is a huge social movement, so imagine the potential if every local church was to more effectively pursue its biblical mandate for environmental stewardship and take a lead.
In fact, activism by the church corporate is on the rise despite leaders of all traditions, in common with their counterparts in the educational, political and financial establishments, being slow to understand the magnitude of destruction and urgency with which we must heal the Earth.
For instance, in 2006 the New Zealand Presbyterian Church set up an ecologically focused task group to investigate and develop a biblical response to deepening ecological problems. The group sought to provide congregations with practical guidelines, examine ways by which the church may help reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and develop a Declaration of the Care of Creation. Church leaders later presented to the Government a paper titled Protecting New Zealand's envir onment and economy for current and future generations.
Methodists, working to promote a "Green church", briefed ministers of environment and sustainability last year.
Catholic activists have found support in teachings by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Pope Francis has also taken a stance on Christian stewardship towards the environment, calling on Christians to become "custodians of creation". He endorses climate action, has made cases on Christian environmentalism and is preparing a major statement on the environment and human ecology.