Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lausanne Evangelical Movement Calls on Christians to Care for the Earth

The global Christian Lausanne Movement this week issued a Call to Action, declaring care for the creation as a core gospel issue, and calling on all Christians to adopt simpler lifestyles, to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to mitigate the effects of environmental degradation on the poor. The Call to Action was developed and signed by 57 church leaders, scientists, theologians and creation care practitioners from 26 countries, working in collaboration with the World Evangelical Alliance, whose members represent more than 600 million Christians worldwide.

Individual Christians may now add their endorsement of the Call to Action by clicking here:

Lausanne Call to Action arose from two fundamental convictions:
  1. Care for the creation is a core element of the gospel, seen in creation, in the resurrection of Christ, and in his mission to reconcile all things to God. As such, it is a necessary element of the Christian response to God’s grace, and would be a core component of Christian life and mission even if the earth were not presently in crisis.
  2. In fact, however, the world is in crisis, brought on by global climate change, deforestation, pollution, loss of species to extinction and water stress. These threats place a heavy burden on the poor, on vital ecosystems and on vulnerable species of animals and plants.

The Lausanne Movement was founded in 1974 by Christian leaders including Billy Graham, John Stott, Francis Schaeffer and Samuel Escobar to reframe Christian mission in a changing world. Represented by leaders from more than 190 countries, Lausanne has worked to apply the gospel to a world gripped by social, political, economic and religious upheaval.

In 2010, the Lausanne Movement convened in Cape Town South Africa, and outlined the Christian responsibility for creation care in the starkest terms: 

We cannot claim to love God while abusing what belongs to Christ by right of creation, redemption and inheritance. We care for the earth and responsibly use its abundant resources, not according to the rationale of the secular world, but for the Lord’s sake. If Jesus is Lord of all the earth, we cannot separate our relationship to Christ from how we act in relation to the earth. For to proclaim the gospel that says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to proclaim the gospel that includes the earth, since Christ’s Lordship is over all creation. Creation care is a thus a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ.
The new Call to Action, developed by a Lausanne working group assembled in Jamaica this month, filled in the general terms of the Cape Town Commitment with a list of specific measures, including the following:

  • Christians must develop simpler lifestyles, work to restore the creation, and equitably share its bounty with others.
  • The church should develop an integrated theology of creation care to equip pastors in teaching Christians to challenge prevailing economic ideologies which result in harm to the creation.
  • The entire church – including women, children, youth and indigenous people – must mobilize to engage all of society – including governments, businesses and civil society – for creation stewardship.
  • Environmental missions among unreached people should be encouraged as a fully-recognized category of missional outreach, akin to medical missions.
  • The church should engage in radical action to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gases, the harm from which falls most heavily on the poor.
  • The global church should actively promote sustainable food production methods such as conservation agriculture.
  • Churches should encourage small steps to promote local expressions of creation care and preserve local ecosystems.
  • The church must encourage Christian prophetic advocacy to those in power, to mitigate harm to the creation and to support communities devastated by environmental degradation.
  • The church must come to God in prayer, lamentation, repentance, and an appeal to Him to heal the land and all who dwell in it.

Advocating local creation care projects, like nature camps by A Rocha USA
Christians and their leaders from all over the world will be adding their names to the list of signatories. We can do the same, simply by following this link. 

Won’t you take sixty seconds to stand with your brothers and sisters from around the world in calling for a new commitment to care for our Father’s world, and its most vulnerable children?

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood

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