Richard Austin (one of the speakers at the EarthCare ’96 conference) declared: “Christ is fully God and fully Earth…. He came to save the world.” Austin added that saving the earth is our job, too: “I hear the Bible calling us to redeem from destruction the Creation.” Yet Christ said, “Ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world” (John:8:23). Furthermore, this world is “kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment…in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter:3:7,10).
Thomas Perry, a Catholic priest, says the ecocrisis calls for “a new sense of what it means to be human [and] a new story of how things came to be.” What the Bible says about man’s origin in Genesis must be revised, along with the very meaning of mankind. Emphasis must shift from a possible heaven to caring for Earth, and ethics and morals must involve the rights of the natural world. Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary professor, calls for a “biospiritual faith” in which man is a part of the natural order of things “with no special claim on its resources and no special claim on God’s love.”
Such pagan folly is gaining an increasing following among evangelicals, who now claim that Christ’s command to preach the gospel includes rescuing the environment. Such is the message of a course titled “Environmental Stewardship: A Biblical Perspective” taught at Youth with a Mission’s University of the Nations at their headquarters in Hawaii. Thus Christians enter compromising partnerships with the ungodly and expend their time and efforts on caring for the earth instead of preparing souls for eternity.
Yes, we ought to be prudent with natural resources. Many of the warnings about ecological problems, however, are alarmist exaggerations for promoting humanist solutions. Moreover, most of the problems are due to the selfishness of sinful man and the corruption of godless governments. Christ did not call us to reform society. Men need to be regenerated—born again through faith in Christ. While there are legitimate concerns involving this time on this earth, the great concern should be for eternity and heaven.
“Joint Appeal’s” executive director, Paul Gorman, has said that caring for the earth “is part of what it will mean to be religious in the future.” Indeed, the environmental movement is redefining what it means to be a Christian.