Monthly Archives: February 2010

Was Jesus an Environmentalist?

With all the conversation about creation-care amongst Christians, one has to ask, “Was Jesus an Environmentalist?” It isn’t a silly question, one would hope that if Christians are going to engage in an activity as part of their Christian obligation, it would make sense to ask if Jesus would support the behavior?

In one sense, the question of environmentalism is anachronistic. People in Christ’s day had enough trouble just staying alive, let alone worry about whether a specific species was going extinct. But on another level, we can inquire and gain some insight on how his behavior should be a model for ours? For example, many people worry about whether they are recycling enough or feel guilt about the bottled water they bought because they were thirsty.
Consider Christ, he killed a fig tree simply because it didn’t bear fruit when he wanted it (Mk 11). Does this exemplify behavior of someone who is supposedly calling us to environmentalism?Christ killed a tree simply to make a point. Is that right? Couldn’t he have just made his point in a more environmentally responsible way?

I think a couple of points should be considered. First, Christ is Lord of Creation. He can do with his property as he wished/s. Second, since Christ was fully human, it means we too can destroy elements of God’s creation in God’s service. That may shock some people, but it is true. When you eat an animal, you destroy God’s creation but no moral stain obtains. The key is to judge oneself accurately and truly, by asking, “is this destruction to God’s glory or yours?”  While that is a humbling question, we should also consider that Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Stephen Vantassel is a tutor at King’s Evangelical Divinity School and author of Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations (Wipf and Stock, 2009)

KEDS Tutor’s Family Enjoy BAFTA Success

KEDS tutor of theology Chris Lazenby, who also regularly contributes to this blog under the pen name Provocateur, and his wife Pam were overjoyed when their daughter Emma Lazenby won the Short Animation category during last weekend’s BAFTA awards (British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the British equivalent of the Oscars) held at Covent Garden, London, on 21 February. Emma’s short film, entitled Mother of Many, is based on her mother’s midwifery career spanning 27 years, during which time she delivered many, many babies in Silsden, Yorkshire. Chris and Pam are naturally very proud of Emma’s achievement and we congratulate them all.

Protecting the Environment

One of the fundamental debates of the environmental movement is over what is the best way to protect the environment. This question concerns the macro-level. Should we put land into the public trust by making it the property of the government along the lines of Yellowstone Park? Or should we encourage private ownership?

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What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel? Or, to translate the word ‘gospel’, what is the Good News? You may think it a rather unexpected, or even silly question, to be asking on the website of a college which exists to teach the bible and Christian theology. And yet, I would suggest it is not. I believe there is a great deal of confusion over this word and guess that if you were to put this question to a number of churchgoers, you would get various answers. In the majority of the larger denominations for example, you’d most likely be told something along the lines that the Gospel is simply the love of God. Or that Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life. Some people asked may also talk about Jesus dying for us, but not be clear as to how this works. Read more »

Are Children an Environmental Curse?

Doomsday environmentalists and various futurists regularly link environmental problems to population numbers. The argument goes, such and such country is having trouble because its birth rate is too high. If the West hopes to help these countries we must fund various forms of the euphemism “family planning.” The question for Christians is simply this? How do we harmonize Scripture’s positive view of children (i.e. be fruitful and multiply, Gen 1) with the apparently common sense notion that more people means more environmental and economic problems?

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Book review. Romans: The Righteous Shall Live by Faith by RC Sproul

For those interested in a devotional commentary on Romans, an excellent option is the newly published expositional work by RC Sproul titled Romans: The Righteous Shall Live by Faith. It comes as part of the St Andrew’s Expositional Commentary series. You can read my review published in the January 2010 edition of Evangelicals Now here.

— Andy Cheung teaches Biblical Languages And New Testament Studies at King’s Evangelical Divinity School, a distance learning college.