Creation Stewardship

Earlier today I went to the lake with my girlfriend and some friends for her birthday. We ate dinner, had some cake and played around… it was a great time! Both for us having fun and just enjoying nature.

While we were there at least three families, with a lot of little kids, were also enjoying the lake. Fishing, swimming, Marco Polo (old school fun!), and otherwise just having a great day.

But then I looked at the shore. There were bottle caps, busted bottles, empty beer cans and other assorted trash and pollutants. And I began to wonder, If we treat nature like this how long will these beautiful environments be around for our enjoyment?

Environmentalism, justly, has some stigmatism about it. The stereotypical environmentalist is a hippy or some form of new-age neopagan earth “mother” worshippers who put nature above man, believing it to be divine. This is false and Christians, rightly, have separated themselves from this movement. But have we gone to far?

The bible says: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'” (Genesis 1:26 ESV).

Now, what does “dominion” mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “Controlling power or influence over others”. Man loves this. We have authority over the earth it is ours to do with as we please. Accept its not. We are given dominion over the earth to glorify God. Since the fall of man, we have forgotten our purpose in having dominion.

God is the true King of the world, and just as the stewards of Gondor kept the kingdom running and dealt with upkeep and governing while awaiting the true king (Lord of the Rings), So man must be for God. It is not our place to ruin God’s creation but to look after it awaiting the return of the king.

Thus, while we should reject environmentalism all christians should engage in “creation stewardship”. We must take care of the earth but acknowledge the reason, Not because it is divine but because we are God’s stewards.

Apologetics: What is it and why should we care?

“Apologetic” is a word we derive from the Greek word “apologia” which means “to give an answer or defense” and carries the connotation of a courtroom defense. When used within the context of Christianity it is the intellectual discipline of offering an intellectual (usually philosophic, scientific, or historic in nature) defense of Christianity and the process of explaining to Christians the nuances of Christian doctrines; more specifically explaining to Christians how to articulate and defend their own faith.

When dealing with “why should we care” the first question to answer is “what does the bible have to say?” Well in 1 Peter 3:15-16 scripture says, “but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.  However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame (HCSB). So there answer to that is: scripture clearly mandates the use. More than that, in Acts 17:22-34 Luke (the author of Acts) describes Paul providing a robust apologetic defense of Christianity centering around natural theology (God making heavens and earth) and reason (God made all therefore He cannot be images fashioned by human hands). These are the two most famous passages of scripture dealing with the issue of apologetic ministries but they are by far not the only ones (see: 2 Corinthians 10:5, Colossians 4:5-6, Acts 18:4, Titus 1:9, Acts 18:28, Acts 19:8-10, and Acts 2:14-41)

So scripture mandates it but, on a more pragmatic level, is it needed? Yes! A proper apologetic ministry is absolutely necessary in the modern church. We currently live in an “enlightened” age, where “science” and “reason” are put forth as more authoritative than “faith”, young Christians going off to college are leaving the church in vast numbers because they have no rational grounding for their faith to stand on and, once challenged, they cannot defend or explain what they believe or why. More than that, apologetics can be used in evangelistic methods; for example, in his testimony C.S. Lewis cites philosophic apologetics (namely objective morality) as an important tool in his eventual conversion from atheism to Christianity. 

Rational apologetics is clearly a ministry that is commanded by scripture and needed in our society, unfortunately our Church culture has failed in this aspect due to the trend of anti-intellectualism that stems from a rejection of the age of enlightenment. The Christian Church must cease to hide itself behind this wall of anti-intellectualism and reclaim the rational grounding for our great faith.


 

If anyone is interested in more on Apologetics I recommend:

  • C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity, Problem of Pain, and Miracles
  • Website Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig (Podcast, Scholarly articles, and Q&As)
  • Douglas Groothuis: Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith