For the Health of the Nation: Environmental Stewardship (Part 9 of 9)
In 2004 the National Association of Evangelicals released the groundbreaking document For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility. This historic document outlines seven different areas of concern for Evangelicals engaged in politics. In an effort to make Christians more aware of this work we are taking nine weeks to highlight the importance of this document. You can read it in its entirety by clicking here.
In recent years, the aspect of For the Health of the Nation that has garnered the most attention is its focus on protecting the environment. The past decade has seen a flood of interest in environmental issues, mostly related to global climate change. The NAE’s document, however, makes no direct reference to man-made global warming. Most likely the result of the varied interests represented by the NAE, leaving the issue of global warming out should actually serve to strengthen support for the document by making it less divisive.
The authors begin by noting four key theological principles regarding environmental stewardship. First, Christians must always affirm that we worship the Creator and not the creation. Second, when God gave humanity dominion over the earth in Genesis it established a sacred responsibility to steward and care for the created order, not to abuse it. Third, God is not only redeeming His people, but all of creation (Romans 8:18-23). And finally, one way we can show love for God is by caring for the wonderful world that He created.
The document concludes by encouraging individual Believers to behave in environmentally friendly ways, such as recycling, conserving resources, and spending time in creation. And finally by urging the government to fulfill their role in this issue by encouraging better fuel efficiency, reducing pollution, encouraging sustainable use of natural resources, and tending to wildlife.
Christians can reasonably disagree on whether or not human activity is leading to global climate change. It is not wise, however, to argue about whether or not we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. Ultimately, when God fully inaugurates the new heavens and new earth, we will be able to see the world as He intended it, but until then we must do our part to tend for that which we have been entrusted.
This concludes our nine-week series on the NAE’s important document, For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility. We pray that through this time your mind would have been opened to the diverse set of issues for which followers of Christ are called to show concern. If you would like to order hard copies for your church you can do so by clicking here, also, you can download it to your computer here.