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Ecology and Theology in the Church

Ecology and Theology in the Church

Kerby Anderson



            Have churches exchanged ecology for theology? Some commentators and theologians believe that they have.


            Frank Furedi (at the University of Kent in the UK) suggested this in a recent article that has brought concurring response in this country. He believes that churches have replaced theology with ecology and are using ecological virtues as a platform to assert their moral authority in society.


            He said: "In recent years, some in the church have sought to gain the public's ear through the greening of traditional doctrines, and Christ the Savior is fast becoming Christ the environmental activist." One example he used was the Church of England that launched an "eco-crusade" entitled Shrinking the Footprint last year.


            Albert Mohler (president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) agrees with that assessment. He believes that ecological concerns appear to be a replacement for "abandoned doctrines" and "outdated concerns" of biblical Christianity.


            Dr. Mohler has noticed that many churches and Christian organizations have been talking about creation care and climate change. While focusing on these important issues is good, the problem arises when they replace orthodox doctrines of the church. And they have often been divisive issues. When a U.S. Senate committee convened hearings on global warming this summer, Christian leaders from various denominations debated the issue from different perspectives while each cited the Bible for support.


Katharine Jefferts Schori (head of the Episcopal Church) said she believed global warming is real and mainly caused by humans. Jim Ball of the Evangelical Climate Initiative and Calvin Beisner of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance are both evangelicals and share similar theology, but they disagree about some of the basic facts concerning climate change.


A healthy debate about social and political issues is good. But we should be concerned when ecology replaces theology in the church. I'm Kerby Anderson, and that's my point of view.