Seminaries Make Earth Day Pledge for 'Creation Care'

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WASHINGTON -- Earth Day is sometimes thought of as a liberal holiday meant only for left-leaning environmentalists.

But several conservative Christians are gathering in Washington, D.C., to change that perception.

They call it "Creation Care," and the plan is to get more Christians involved this Earth Day, April 22.

The National Cathedral is working with Matthew Sleeth, author of The Gospel According to the Earth and one of the main advocates for Christians paying more attention to the environment.

"I'm hoping that this sets a fire in the church that renews our faith, renews our vigor, and gets us into this conversation, talking about what does the Lord want for creation," Sleeth said.

Sleeth said he believes Creation Care is unfortunately a controversy for many evangelical Christians. But he said that's partly because radical environmentalists and secularists have blamed Christianity for environmental problems and have assaulted the faith.

"And the church kind of recoiled," Sleeth said. "And I think the other thing, [environmentalists] were saying is 'Your God is dead and your scriptures aren't valid.'"

Sleeth wants Christians to look past these beliefs and see what the Bible tells them.

"We were here first. Our first commandment in Genesis 2:15 was to protect and tend this garden," he explained.

Sleeth's wife Nancy, who wrote the book Almost Amish, said living green is part of a more responsible Christian life.

"If we thought of the earth as a car that we borrowed from God, we wouldn't want to return it with the gas tank empty, cigarette butts in the ashtray, dents all over the place," she said.

"So this earth, we're supposed to be stewarding it for future generations," she continued. "And that means that we need to pass it along in as good or better condition than we received it."

For Earth Day, a number of large, conservative seminaries will sign a far-reaching covenant to do more for the earth.

"They're going to live, preach, teach, model, and hold each other accountable for good stewardship," he said.

"Those seminaries train the people who go out and run the 300,000 churches in America. And most people have never had a sermon on what is the biblical call for Creation Care," Sleeth continued.

Sleeth added that Americans ignore many things that don't just hurt the environment, but their own health.

"Maybe some of us would be gardening. Some of us would stop riding to work and start pedaling to work. And I tell you, a lot of Americans could stand to pedal to work," Sleeth said.

What to do about hot topics like global warming and the future of energy will be decided in future years. But, Sleeth said believers need to be in on the conversation.

"We're going to make some of the biggest decisions that will ever affect humanity," Sleeth explained.

"I'm not saying how the specifics of those decisions should be made," he said. "But they need to be made with us as Christians representing what's in the Bible."

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.