Southern Baptist Declaration On The Environment And Climate Change
It’s not often that I agree with the Southern Baptists, but their recently released statement on the environment and climate change really deserves some praise and attention (Roy at Thin Places brought the final statement to my attention and makes some good comments here).. It’s a carefully worded statement that seeks to avoid getting bogged […]
It’s not often that I agree with the Southern Baptists, but their recently released statement on the environment and climate change really deserves some praise and attention (Roy at Thin Places brought the final statement to my attention and makes some good comments here).. It’s a carefully worded statement that seeks to avoid getting bogged down in the political debate surrounding climate change. Wisely, the statement keeps the focus on the theological mandate for environmental stewardship. The heart of the argument is four statements (followed by my short summaries of the arguments they head);
Humans Must Care for Creation and Take Responsibility for Our Contributions to Environmental Degradation – Affirming the role of creation as a revelation of God, the mixed and often negative impact of human activity and the question of how we witness to the world through our care for the environment.
It Is Prudent to Address Global Climate Change – Although there is not unanimous support for climate change policies amongst Christians, it is “prudent” to take the warnings seriously, study the evidence and take responsibility for the human drivers of climate change, even if they are only a small part of the process.
Christian Moral Convictions and Our Southern Baptist Doctrines Demand Our Environmental Stewardship – Christians are compelled to act because of love of God the creator, regard for the Biblical mandate to be good stewards and love of the (poor) neighbours on earth who will inevitably bear the harshest consequences of environmental disaster.
It Is Time for Individuals, Churches, Communities and Governments to Act – It is not enough to just affirm a theological position, it must be supported by concrete action. As the statement says,
“We realise that simply affirming our God-given responsibility to care for the earth will likely produce no tangible or effective results. Therefore, we pledge to find ways to curb ecological degradation through promoting biblical stewardship habits and increasing awareness in our homes, businesses where we find influence, relationships with others and in our local churches. Many of our churches do not actively preach, promote or practice biblical creation care. We urge churches to begin doing so.”
Overall, it is very encouraging to see a large, hugely conservative denomination in the US demonstrating the moral and theological courage to issue such a statement. I would urge you to take a look at it, especially if you are in a position to draft such a statement for your church/denomination.
[tags] SBC, Climate Change, Theological Method [/tags]