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Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant    Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Crea...
Many of these degradations are signs that we are                    following principles of biblical faith, and to seekpre...
wasteland in which the waste is increasing. "There is               We urge individual Christians and churches to beno fai...
The Sandy Cove Covenant and InvitationHistory:June 28-30, 2004, evangelical leaders gathered at Sandy Cove Christian Confe...
Our continuing goal is to motivate the evangelical                      ______________________________________community to...
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Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant


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Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant

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Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant

  1. 1. Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation ..... 1 Resources .........................................................4 The Sandy Cove Covenant and Invitation................. 3 “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20, NIV)An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of CreationHistory:In June 1994, the Evangelical Environmental Network, publisher of Creation Care Magazine, held a conference forprominent Evangelical leaders. These leaders met on the Chesapeake Bay to examine the responsibility of Christians tocare for the world that God created. As a result of the conference, almost 500 leaders signed On the Care of Creation:An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation.The Declaration: On the Care of Creation: An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation (1994) “The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof...” (Psalm 24:1) the reconciliation of all people in Christ, and toAs followers of Jesus Christ, committed to the full extend Christs healing to suffering creation.authority of the Scriptures, and aware of the ways wehave degraded creation, we believe that biblical faith Because we await the time when even the groaningis essential to the solution of our ecological problems. creation will be restored to wholeness, we commit ourselves to work vigorously to protect and heal thatBecause we worship and honor the Creator, we creation for the honor and glory of the Creator---seek to cherish and care for the creation. whom we know dimly through creation, but meetBecause we have sinned, we have failed in our fully through Scripture and in Christ. We and ourstewardship of creation. Therefore we repent of the children face a growing crisis in the health of theway we have polluted, distorted, or destroyed so creation in which we are embedded, and throughmuch of the Creators work. which, by Gods grace, we are sustained. Yet we continue to degrade that creation.Because in Christ God has healed our alienationfrom God and extended to us the first fruits of the These degradations of creation can be summed upreconciliation of all things, we commit ourselves to as 1) land degradation; 2) deforestation; 3) speciesworking in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the extinction; 4) water degradation; 5) globalGood News of Christ in word and deed, to work for toxification; 6) the alteration of atmosphere; 7) human and cultural degradation. An EarthCare Resource Guide – January 2008 EarthCare, Inc., Chattanooga, TN
  2. 2. Many of these degradations are signs that we are following principles of biblical faith, and to seekpressing against the finite limits God has set for ways of living out these principles in our personalcreation. With continued population growth, these lives, our churches, and society.degradations will become more severe. Ourresponsibility is not only to bear and nurture children, The cosmos, in all its beauty, wildness, and life-but to nurture their home on earth. We respect the giving bounty, is the work of our personal and lovinginstitution of marriage as the way God has given to thoughtful procreation of children and their Our creating God is prior to and other than creation,nurture to the glory of God. yet intimately involved with it, upholding each thingWe recognize that human poverty is both a cause in its freedom, and all things in relationships ofand a consequence of environmental degradation. intricate complexity. God is transcendent, while lovingly sustaining each creature; and immanent,Many concerned people, convinced that while wholly other than creation and not to beenvironmental problems are more spiritual than confused with it.technological, are exploring the worlds ideologiesand religions in search of non-Christian spiritual God the Creator is relational in very nature,resources for the healing of the earth. As followers of revealed as three persons in One. Likewise, theJesus Christ, we believe that the Bible calls us to creation which God intended is a symphony ofrespond in four ways: individual creatures in harmonious relationship.First, God calls us to confess and repent of attitudes The Creators concern is for all creatures. Godwhich devalue creation, and which twist or ignore declares all creation "good" (Gen. 1:31); promisesbiblical revelation to support our misuse of it. care in a covenant with all creatures (Gen. 9:9-17);Forgetting that "the earth is the Lords," we have often delights in creatures which have no human apparentsimply used creation and forgotten our responsibility usefulness (Job 39-41); and wills, in Christ, "toto care for it. reconcile all things to himself" (Col.1:20).Second, our actions and attitudes toward the earth Men, women, and children, have a uniqueneed to proceed from the center of our faith, and be responsibility to the Creator; at the same time we arerooted in the fullness of Gods revelation in Christ and creatures, shaped by the same processes andthe Scriptures. We resist both ideologies which would embedded in the same systems of physical, chemical,presume the Gospel has nothing to do with the care of and biological interconnections which sustain othernon-human creation and also ideologies which would creatures.reduce the Gospel to nothing more than the care of Men, women, and children, created in Gods image,that creation. also have a unique responsibility for creation. OurThird, we seek carefully to learn all that the Bible actions should both sustain creations fruitfulness andtells us about the Creator, creation, and the human preserve creations powerful testimony to its Creator.task. In our life and words we declare that full good Our God-given, stewardly talents have often beennews for all creation which is still waiting "with eager warped from their intended purpose: that we know,longing for the revealing of the children of God," name, keep and delight in Gods creatures; that we(Rom. 8:19). nourish civilization in love, creativity and obedienceFourth, we seek to understand what creation reveals to God; and that we offer creation and civilizationabout Gods divinity, sustaining presence, and back in praise to the Creator. We have ignored oureverlasting power, and what creation teaches us of its creaturely limits and have used the earth with greed,God-given order and the principles by which it works. rather than care.Thus we call on all those who are committed to the The earthly result of human sin has been a perverted stewardship, a patchwork of garden andtruth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to affirm the Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant 2
  3. 3. wasteland in which the waste is increasing. "There is We urge individual Christians and churches to beno faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God centers of creations care and renewal, both delightingin the land...Because of this the land mourns, and all in creation as Gods gift, and enjoying it as Godswho live in it waste away" (Hosea 4:1,3). Thus, one provision, in ways which sustain and heal theconsequence of our misuse of the earth is an unjust damaged fabric of the creation which God hasdenial of Gods created bounty to other human beings, entrusted to us.both now and in the future. We recall Jesus words that our lives do not consistGods purpose in Christ is to heal and bring to in the abundance of our possessions, and therefore wewholeness not only persons but the entire created urge followers of Jesus to resist the allure oforder. "For God was pleased to have all his fullness wastefulness and overconsumption by makingdwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself personal lifestyle choices that express humility,all things, whether things on earth or things in forbearance, self restraint and frugality.heaven, by making peace through his blood shed onthe cross" (Col. 1:19-20). We call on all Christians to work for godly, just, and sustainable economies which reflect GodsIn Jesus Christ, believers are forgiven, transformed sovereign economy and enable men, women andand brought into Gods kingdom. "If anyone is in children to flourish along with all the diversity ofChrist, there is a new creation" (II Cor. 5:17). The creation. We recognize that poverty forces people topresence of the kingdom of God is marked not only degrade creation in order to survive; therefore weby renewed fellowship with God, but also by renewed support the development of just, free economiesharmony and justice between people, and by renewed which empower the poor and create abundanceharmony and justice between people and the rest of without diminishing creations bounty.the created world. "You will go out in joy and be ledforth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst We commit ourselves to work for responsible publicinto song before you, and all the trees of the field will policies which embody the principles of biblicalclap their hands" (Isa. 55:12). stewardship of creation.We believe that in Christ there is hope, not only for We invite Christians--individuals, congregations andmen, women and children, but also for the rest of organizations--to join with us in this evangelicalcreation which is suffering from the consequences of declaration on the environment, becoming a covenanthuman sin. people in an ever-widening circle of biblical care for creation.Therefore we call upon all Christians to reaffirmthat all creation is Gods; that God created it good; We call upon Christians to listen to and work withand that God is renewing it in Christ. all those who are concerned about the healing of creation, with an eagerness both to learn from themWe encourage deeper reflection on the substantial and also to share with them our conviction that thebiblical and theological teaching which speaks of God whom all people sense in creation (Acts 17:27) isGods work of redemption in terms of the renewal and known fully only in the Word made flesh in Christ thecompletion of Gods purpose in creation. living God who made and sustains all things.We seek a deeper reflection on the wonders of Gods We make this declaration knowing that until Christcreation and the principles by which creation works. returns to reconcile all things, we are called to beWe also urge a careful consideration of how our faithful stewards of Gods good garden, our earthlycorporate and individual actions respect and comply home.with Gods ordinances for creation. ________________________________We encourage Christians to incorporate the For a list of the original signers of the Declaration inextravagant creativity of God into their lives by 1994, see the nurturing role of beauty and the arts intheir personal, ecclesiastical, and social patterns. Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant 3
  4. 4. The Sandy Cove Covenant and InvitationHistory:June 28-30, 2004, evangelical leaders gathered at Sandy Cove Christian Conference Center located in North East, Marylandat the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay for a conference sponsored by members of Christianity Today, NationalAssociation of Evangelicals, and the Evangelical Environmental Network. The purpose of this gathering was to examine howto care for all of God’s creation. The result of this historic conference was the writing of The Sandy Cove Covenant.For more information about the conference, visit the Evangelical Environmental Network’s Their site contains the text of the Covenant and a list of signers, text ofpresentations, speakers’ brief biographies, Scriptures, photos, and the fall 2004 issue of Creation Care Magazine, whichwas devoted to the Sandy Cove conference.The Covenant: The Sandy Cove Covenant and Invitation (June 28-30, 2004)We are a gathering of evangelical Christians who Therefore:provide institutional, pastoral, and intellectual We covenant together to make creation-care aleadership in a wide variety of life settings. We have permanent dimension of our Christian discipleshipcome together at Sandy Cove, Maryland in order to and to deepen our theological and biblicalpray, reflect, and learn together about our role as understanding of the issues involved.stewards of Gods creation. We are convinced that Godhas moved among us in our time together over these We covenant together to draw upon the very bestthree days. and most trustworthy resources that can help usWe represent a variety of perspectives and varying understand the particular environmental challengeslevels of expertise about environmental issues. Some of we face today, as well as promising solutions, as fullyus have given our entire lives to caring for all of Gods and accurately as possible.creation, while for others the issue is a new one. For all We covenant together to share our growingof us, this meeting has resulted in a deepening of our knowledge and concern about these issues with otherconcern about Gods creation, a joyful sense of members of our, and a desire to work together on theseissues in days ahead. We invite our brothers and sisters in Christ to engage with us the most pressing environmental questions ofIn reflecting on Scripture and on the pressing our day, such as health threats to families and theenvironmental problems that beset our world, we are unborn, the negative effects of environmentalpersuaded that we must not evade our responsibility to degradation on the poor, Gods endangered creatures,care for Gods creation. We recognize that there is and the important current debate about human-much more we need to learn, and much more praying induced climate change. We covenant together towe need to do, but that we know enough to know that engage the evangelical community in a discussionthere is no turning back from engaging the threats to about the question of climate change with the goal ofGods creation. reaching a consensus statement on the subject inWe feel called of God to covenant together to move twelve months.the work of creation-care ahead in a variety of ways. Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant 4
  5. 5. Our continuing goal is to motivate the evangelical ______________________________________community to fully engage environmental issues in a For a list of the original signers of the The Sandy Covebiblically faithful and humble manner, collaborating Covenant and Invitation, visitwith those who share these concerns, that we might our appropriate place in the healing of Godscreation, and thus the advance of Gods reign.ResourcesThe Care of Creation: Focusing Concern and Evangelical Climate InitiativeAction. Edited by R. J. Berry. Foreward by John Stott. christiansandclimate.orgInterVarsity Press, 2000. [website][book] Through the Evangelical Climate Initiative, participantsAn examination of the concepts expressed in the respond to responsibilities expressed in the DeclarationEvangelical Declaration for the Care of Creation, this and Sandy Cove Covenant. Their statement entitledbook is a compilation of comments written by prominent Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action callstheologians and scientists. The contributors examine Christians to address the current crisis of globalour responsibility to care for God’s creation and include warming. ECI’s website offers a wide variety of climatea call for an ethical and religious response to the change resources, including: text of the Climatecurrent global environmental crisis. Change statement, principles for federal policies, prayer guide, and information on the science of globalCreation Care Websites warming.[online resource guide]Available online at Evangelical Environmental NetworkThis EarthCare resource guide lists links to creation creationcare.orgcare websites, position statements, and environmental [website]science programs at colleges and universities. Included On their site, EEN provides full text of Creation Careare general evangelical creation care sites, as well as Magazine, resources for Creation Sunday, fact sheets,denominational sites. Creation Sunday resources, print resources for sale, and text and information about the Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant (2004). EarthCare Resource Guide – January 2008 Printed on recycled paper This guide is a publication of EarthCare, Inc. / email: Chattanooga, TN (423) 697-2560. Dalton, GA (706) 278-3979. PO Box 23291, Chattanooga, TN 37422. “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” EarthCare (Psalm 24:1, KJV) Caring for God’s Creation Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation and The Sandy Cove Covenant 5