Call to Action: Creation Care
With the Call to Action on Creation Care and the Gospel being issued this month, inviting us all to sign up to this and act on the actions, this Overview on Creation Care seeks to walk together through what we have achieved together so far, and then calls us stand with this Call to Action.
The Good News
The Good News of the Gospel is one of restoring relationships:
• Between God and us
• Between one another
• Between us and creation
As we reflect on restoring our relationship with creation we are immediately confronted with our worldview, which is so important to get right as it underpins our way of thinking and thus our actions.
For example: understanding that God is the Creator of all things and that we have been placed in his creation as caretakers is an important driver for engaging in creation care. We are not simply just dealing with resource management, rather we are drawing on God’s resources and are accountable to him for how we use them. These resources have been supplied by God to benefit all of us, not just a few. As we think this through we realise that submission to God as Lord of All will impact every aspect of our daily life.
Micah Network has been discussing Creation Care right from the start of our establishment back in 2001.
Micah Declaration on Integral Mission
Read the whole Declaration here.
Within the Declaration the following extracts focus in on our responsibility to creation care:
Integral Mission and Lifestyle
There is a need for integral discipleship involving the responsible and sustainable use of the resources of God's creation and the transformation of the moral, intellectual, economic, cultural and political dimensions of our lives. For many of us this includes recovering a biblical sense of stewardship. The concept of Sabbath reminds us that there should be limits to our consumption. Wealthy Christians - both in the West and in the Two-Thirds World - must use their wealth in the service of others. We are committed to the liberation of the rich from slavery to money and power. The hope of treasure in heaven releases us from the tyranny of mammon. (Extract from Micah Network Declaration on Integral Mission, September 2001)
CB Samuel gave a talk in September 2001 at the Micah network Global Consultation in Oxford entitled: Integral Mission, Humility and Lifestyle. (for the session see here). An extract about lifestyle is:
The problem with lifestyle is not its theory, but its practice. The story is told of an Indian guru who taught his disciples to live on just the basic necessities of life. One day he sent his best disciple out to make his own way in the world. This disciple owned only two loin clothes – one to wear while the other was washed. And so this disciple lived, each day wearing one cloth while he washed the other. One day a rat ate his spare cloth as it hung out to dry. His neighbours gave him another, but he realized he also needed a cat to keep the rat away. And because the cat needed milk he got a cow. To feed the cow he obtained a small piece of land for fodder. Soon he was hiring people to cultivate the land so he did not have to interrupt his meditations. In time he acquired a large estate and a fine house. One day his guru came by. Seeing the large house, he asked his disciple how
this had happened. The disciple said: 'I need all this to protect my loin cloth’.
When many of us were young Christians we committed ourselves to radical lifestyles. But now we have many justifications for the possessions that over time we have acquired. We need to recover a biblical perspective on wealth and money. Jesus sees money as a spiritual force. He says we need consciously to short-circuit its power in our lives. Jacques Ellul said Jesus was the only one who was prepared to describe money as mammon. We need to define limits for consumption. We evangelicals have a theology for the creation and distribution of wealth, but we need to have a theology of consumption. We need to define what is enough? We need to learn that we do not need own everything. We need to explore the possibilities of sharing with others and owning things communally.
(Summarised by Tim Chester: CB Samuel’s presentation on Integral Mission, Humility and Lifestyle, Sept 2001)
Declaration on Creation Stewardship and Climate Change
In July 2009, Micah Network held their 4th Global Consultation in Limuru, Kenya on Creation Stewardship and Climate Change. Those gathered (152 participants) there were drawn from 38 countries and together drafted a
Declaration on Creation Stewardship and Climate Change coupled to sending out a Statement to World Leaders outlining expectation for the Copenhagen meeting on Climate Change. The Declaration outlined the ecological concerns we had and called us to be fully committed to engaging in care of God’s creation.
See the full Declaration on Creation Stewardship and Climate Change (Micah Network, July 2009)
Note here from this Declaration
2 – Our care of creation is an act of worship and obedience towards the Creator
8 – A call to all Christians to bear witness to God’s redemptive purpose for all creation. We committed to seek appropriate ways to restore and build just relationships among human beings and with the rest of creation; to strive to live sustainably, rejecting consumerism and the resulting exploitation; to model and teach care of creation and integral mission.
Lausanne Cape Town Commitment
In October 2010 The Lausanne Movement held their 3rd Congress in Cape Town entitled: The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World. The resulting confession and call to action was published entitled:
The Cape Town Commitment.
Within this Commitment there is a section entitled “We love God’s World” (Section 1:7), which is followed by a call to action in part II entitled “Christ’s Peace for his Suffering Creation” (Section 2:5), which outlines the following action to be encouraged:
A: Adopt lifestyles that renounce habits of consumption that are destructive or polluting
B: Exert legitimate means to persuade governments to put moral imperatives above political expediency on issues of environmental destruction and potential climate change
C: Recognise and encourage the missional calling both:
i) Christians who engage in the proper use of the earth’s resources for human need and welfare through agriculture, industry and medicine, and
ii) Christians who engage in protection and restoration of the earth’s habitats and species through conservation and advocacy.
Both share the same goal for both serve the same Creator, Provider and Redeemer
Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel
From 29th October to 2nd November 2012, the Lausanne Movement and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) co-hosted a Consultation in Jamaica on Creation Care and the Gospel. The hoped for outcomes of this gathering included:
• Building on the Lausanne Cape Town Commitment and unpacking and exploring the section on Care of Creation further. In particular to come to an understanding of how creation care is included in the gospel
• To lay the foundation for a global creation care movement of scientists, theologians and practitioners that will foster similar national movements
• To communicate the outcomes of the consultation in such away as to encourage all Christians to embrace this understanding and practice of mission.
Call to Action
The publication of a
Call to Action on Creation Care and the Gospel has been released on the 9th November 2012. Do read through this call to action and if your organisation and you personally are able to affirm the 10 points outlined in this call, then we encourage you to add your signature to the Call.
See here on how to do this.
World Evangelical Alliance – Creation Care
Dr. Chris Elisara, Executive Director of WEA's Creation Care Task Force, and Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Chair of WEA's Theological Commission participated and co-hosted the Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel. Chris Elisara heads the WEA Creation Care Task Force
and will be exploring ways with their Global Partners and Alliance members to strengthen the response and actioning of the Call to Action.
Micah Network and Creation Care
Micah Network hosts a Forum on creation care and environmental issues and we invite members to log in and engage in the discussions about how we can effectively respond to the various calls to action, declarations and teaching we have had over the last 12 years.
In a devotional given by CB Samuel at the Micah Network 5th Global Consultation
held in Thun, Switzerland in September 2012, CB pointed out to us all that much teaching has been shared over the years, now what is required is obedience. The paper published from this Consultation reflected this – it is an affirmation of what we believe and have learnt, a confession acknowledging what we have not done in response, a reflection asking how can we respond and an encouragement to do so together. The paper is called Beyond Thun 2012.
An extract from this states:
We affirm that Integral Mission is an approach to the mission of God in which all local churches are called to cooperate with God in the transformation of the world through the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. The gospel is good news centred in Jesus Christ as the Lord of the universe whose sovereignty embraces the whole of life and of God’s creation.
• What steps can your church take so as to be more involved in Integral Mission?
• What can you do to cooperate with other churches and those involved in integral mission?
(Micah Network, Beyond Thun 2012 – September 2012)
Millennium Development Goal: 7
MDG 7: Ensure Environment Sustainability
1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources
2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving a significant reduction of the rate of loss
3. Halve by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
4. Achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
Micah Challenge is working through all their national and international campaigns to raise awareness of MDG7 and together to hold governments to account for their commitment to forward the 4 targets.
What part can you, your organisation and your local church play in helping in this campaign and towards meeting these targets?
Practical Response to Creation Care
The following are some suggestions on how you and your organisation and church can engage in Creation Care:
Review together the Beyond Thun 2012 paper, carefully going through the questions and reflections
Read through the Micah Network Declaration on Creation Stewardship and Climate Change, noting down which areas you need to work further on.
Read through the Call to Action on Creation Care and the Gospel and if you believe that this is an important responsibility to follow through on, then sign up
Consider your own lifestyle and answer the question CB Samuel poses in his paper “what is enough” and "what is a simple lifestyle"? Take up the challenge to radical change your lifestyle to this.
Review your organisations and local churches consumption approaches:
o Ethical procurement
o Environmental impact
o Recycling status
o Cooperation and sharing
o Is it really necessary
Engage in the discussions on creation care and living a simple lifestyle
Join in the Micah Challenge Campaign nationally and internationally.
See Micah Network Resources:
Cedra: Climate Change Environmental Degradation Risk and Adaptation Assessment tool. This is an excellent tool that helps organisations to assess and understand the science of climate change and environmental degradation, prioritise the risks to their existing projects and programmes and evaluate the adaptive options to improve their response and ensure creation care. Micah Network members can down load the material for this, request a workshop in it through Tearfund UK.
Caring for Creation - Dick Tripp
God Doesn’t Do Waste - Dave Bookless
Christianity, Climate Change, and Sustainable Living – Nick Spence, Bob White and Ginny Vroblesky
Caring for Creation – Sarah Tillett
Serve God, Save the Planet – J. Matthew Sleeth
It’s (not) easy being green – Emma Sleeth
Real Scientists, Real Faith – ed R J Berry
Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People – Scott C Sabin
Planetwise – Dave Bookless
Biblical Prophets and Contemporary Ethics – Hilary Marlow
Let’s keep our eye on God’s world and care for it together.