Just before arriving at an environmental stewardship conference at the Boise Vineyard church, I read a column by Bryan Fischer, executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, on the Renew America Website that purports to contrast the worldviews of the Judeo-Christian tradition and environmentalism. His goal is to show that evangelicals could not work on environmental issues without, eventually, being co-opted by the often-secular environmentalists.
In the process, Fischer demonstrates that he knows very little about many environmentalists and even less about evangelicals who see creation care as a part of their Christian stewardship.
Fischer is correct when he writes that there are profound differences between the worldviews of radical environmentalists and biblically faithful Christians. Where he is wrong is in his assumption that Christians who are concerned about the environment have a different worldview than other evangelicals. We agree with the fundamentals of Judeo-Christian tradition that Fischer lists; in fact, they form the heart of our contention for creation care.
• We must worship the Creator God, not the creation.
• We must protect the environment in obedience to God and for the good of His people, now and for generations to come.
• We are pro-family and we believe that God wants us to raise up thriving families, and to nurture children to become followers of Jesus. We don’t believe in any of the population control rhetoric of some on the left.
• We believe that God told man to tend His garden, to be good stewards, and to reconcile all creation to Himself.
Those of us who are evangelical in our convictions and worldview feel no pressure whatsoever to adjust our beliefs to match those of secular environmentalists. In fact, we’re challenging those who have strayed from God and sought solace in nature to recognize the Creator God, and to understand that environmental degradation is an offense to God and a great danger to His children.
We have a wonderful soapbox to call on the world to worship God, to protect the vulnerable people who will be most threatened by pollution and climate change, and to care for the whole of God’s magnificent Creation. When was the last time we had a chance to made that declaration in the New York Times and other national mainstream media?
Evangelical environmentalists stand astride a great divide between the secular environmentalists who have ignored the Creator and evangelical critics who have ignored His creation. We call for the church to “be still and know that [God] is God” and that “[He] will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:10,12). He calls for us to put that truth into practice.
That is the message of the Tending the Garden conference this week in Boise, and it is a bold proclamation of the evangelical creation care movement, a movement that is growing in numbers and influence and is not at all in danger of being absorbed by secular environmentalists, whose worldview provides no hope and no future.