Flourish in Florida Times-Union

April 20, 2009


Jeff Brumley of the Florida Times-Union highlighted Flourish and the Church’s growing awareness of creation care responsibilities in an article on Friday.

The article quotes Flourish co-founder and CEO Jim Jewell: “I think we are going to see thousands and thousands of evangelical churches add creation care to the offerings and the ministries of their church.”

It goes on to emphasize churches’ increasing awareness of creation care apart from the sway of alarmism and politically divisive issues:

Promoting ‘creation care’

The key to getting religious conservatives to embrace their biblical obligations to the environment is to disassociate green behavior from the environmental buzzwords of the day, Jewell said.

“The environmental movement has become quite politicized, and the tip of the spear is ‘global climate change,’ ” he said.

A 2008 poll by the Barna Research Group found that 90 percent of evangelicals believe Christians should be more actively involved in caring for creation. But most also said they are skeptical of global climate change and believe it is an issue hyped by the media.

Rather than asking Christians to take a position on global climate change, Jewell said, the idea is to show how [environmentally responsible choices and actions] are in keeping with the “biblical imperative to tend and keep the Earth.”

‘Because the Bible says to’

Conservatives are connecting those dots, said the Rev. James Merritt,  an Atlanta pastor and former president of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention.

Merritt said he had gone to extremes in his attitudes against the popular and political environmental movements, seeing them as counter to his Christian values.

But the creation care movement and the work of his son, Baptist environmental activist Jonathan Merritt, have opened his eyes.

“I would say I am duty bound by my faith as a follower of Jesus Christ,” he said, “to take the best care I can of the world.”

And it’s not because environmentalists say so. In fact, Merritt says scientific evidence doesn’t support the extreme side of arguments for or against human-induced global climate change.

“You just do it because the Bible says to,” Merritt said.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: