Guest column: Evangelical clergy say addressing climate change is pro-life

Guest column: Evangelical clergy say addressing climate change is pro-life
Posted: October 13, 2014 – 11:18am
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For us, being pro-life includes not only defending our unborn children but also the biblical mandate to care for all life.
While the threats may be different, the injunction to protect life is the same.
We are called to protect this seamless garment of life.
Toxins and other pollutants foul our water, air and soil, impacting the purity of life God intends.
FLORIDA IS GROUND ZERO
Children are especially vulnerable to many of these pollutants because their small bodies are still developing.
A few years ago, pro-life evangelicals spoke out on the impact of mercury on the unborn.
One in six children in the U.S. was born with too high levels of mercury in their blood.
Because of the efforts of pro-life evangelicals, the United States is taking a leadership role in reducing the impact of mercury on the unborn.
Another important issue is water.
As a recent USA Today op-ed put it, if you care about life, pay attention to what’s happening with water.
We believe climate change to be a profound pro-life issue.
And Florida is ground zero when it comes to climate change.
Cities across the state are already spending millions in taxpayer dollars to install new sea level pumps, bolster sea walls and protect from salt water intrusion.
While it is good to respond to current challenges, it is even more cost effective to spend funds ahead of time to prepare for present changes in the climate, including extreme weather events.
Let’s upgrade Florida’s water pumps and building codes today before we have to clean up a bigger mess tomorrow.
WE MUST BE GOOD STEWARDS
Given the dollars already being spent and the scale of the cost, if you care about taxpayer money and limited government, you should care about climate change.
We are also concerned about worsening air pollution under climate change.
Duval County alone has almost 18,000 cases of pediatric asthma.
That number would be dramatically lower if we were better stewards of God’s world.
When we see the present impacts, our pro-life ethic kicks in.
Let’s empower individuals to take the lead when it comes to entrepreneurial business solutions that create a cleaner environment.
We need to see climate not as an issue about politics or partisanship but as a moral concern.
God has given us all the tools to be good stewards of God’s creation.
TIME FOR A REAL PLAN
It’s time for Florida to come together to come up with a plan to address climate change.
The church in Florida is already starting to take the lead.
As the church starts to take on climate change more directly, it’s also time for clean businesses to take the lead.
The cost of solar has plummeted, yet Florida is still well behind where it could be when it comes to clean energy.
We need to do what we can to transition away from expensive fossil fuels and toward cheaper and healthier technologies.
These actions should include putting together a plan to play Florida’s part in achieving the Clean Power Plan.
And finding conservative solutions to addressing carbon pollution.
Our poor stewardship of God’s world is a reflection of how seriously we take God’s teaching.
That’s why creation-care remains integral to being pro-life.
■ The Rev. Joel Hunter is senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, Longwood, FL.
■ The Rev. Mitch Hescox is CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
■ Alexei Laushkin is vice president of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

Christians and Climate Change

Dr. Joel C. Hunter talks about the visible impacts of climate change with Dr. Scott C. Hagen, director of CHAMPS Lab and professor at the University of Central Florida, and Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of The Evangelical Environmental Network.

Evangelicals in Florida turn to climate change and call on Gov. Scott to act

Read more…

Joel Hunter launches multi-faith effort on climate change

Read more…

Northland Film Builds Bridge Between Evangelicals and Environmentalists

SOURCE: Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel

It’s not easy turning an evangelical into an environmentalist.

But a new documentary from Northland, A Church Distributed aims to do just that by focusing on Scripture instead of science, faith instead of logic.

In “Our Father’s World,” Northland pastor Joel Hunter makes the argument to conservative Christians that saving energy, recycling waste and reducing your carbon footprint are all based on Scripture.

“The Bible provides a direct mandate to be caretakers of the garden,” Hunter says in the documentary. “While creation still belongs to God, he has graciously entrusted it to our care and stewardship.” Read more…

Fox News Radio Interview With Alan Colmes



Check this out on Chirbit

Pastor Joel talks with Alan Colmes about the new creation care documentary, Our Father’s World (www.ourfathersworldfilm.com).

Joel Hunter’s ‘Our Father’s World’ Documentary: Christians Must Stop Neglecting Environment

Our Father’s World from Northland Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of the 15,000-member Northland church in Florida, has released a new documentary titled “Our Father’s World,” where he reminds Christians that God made people stewards, not owners of the planet, and that environmental issues are Christian issues.

“Scientific evidence now is very much backing up the Scriptural mandate that we need to take care of this Earth. All of the credible scientific organizations of the world are showing the degree to which the environment is being harmed by our pollution, by the disobedience to the first commandment that He (God) gave us,” Hunter says.

The 26-minute long documentary is available for viewing and download free online, and includes interviews with leading evangelical scholars, including Bill and Lynne Hybels, Tony Campolo, James Merritt and Mark Liederbach.

Read more…

Joel Hunter’s environmental documentary seeks to inspire Christians, avoid controversy

Evangelical mega-church pastor Joel Hunter has never been afraid of controversy. He’s taken bold positions on a range of topics throughout the years and has been attacked by some for serving as a spiritual advisor to President Obama. But as he and his media team release a new documentary urging Christians to care for creation, they seek to sidestep the scandal and opt instead for inspiration.

The film is titled “Our Father’s World” and features a wide range of evangelical influencers including, Tony Campolo, Bill and Lynne Hybels, Matthew Sleeth, and Mark Liederbach, a Southern Baptist seminary professor. The video was carefully developed over several years, and you’ll notice Read more…

The new evangelicals: A return to the original agenda of Christ

I am one of those evangelicals who, in Professor Marcia Pally’s words, have “left the right.” As a former President-elect of the Christian Coalition of America, I resigned that position and all other positions that would box me into ideologies that were becoming insidiously narrow and negative. As a 64-year-old pastor, I may not yet be representative of my generation or profession in my political openness, but I am one of a growing number of white evangelicals who are making biblically-based decisions on an issue-by-issue basis, in a wider circle of conversations than ever. We are put off by the “hardening of the categories” that is stifling not only intellectually, but also spiritually. Read more…

Evangelicals and Climate Change: What Does the Future Hold? (Pt. 1)

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When it comes to the issue of global warming, the label conservative and liberal won’t necessarily help you determine if an evangelical Christian is a proponent or skeptic. Why? Because even within the inner core of conservative evangelical circles people are divided over the issue, with both sides asserting that science is clearly on their side. Take The Christian Post, for example: Dr. Richard Land, CP’s executive editor, is among those who are skeptical that humans tip the scales toward global warming, while Dr. Joel C. Hunter, CP’s senior editorial adviser, believes controlling human behavior may be in order. Read more…

Caring for the Environment Is a Mandate From God

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There are plenty of practical reasons to be concerned about the environment and unchecked growth. Sprawl leads to higher taxes. A drained aquifer could lead to water rationing and higher costs. Pollution affects all manner of living things, from plants to humans.

Still, those reasons aren’t enough for everyone.

So the Rev. Joel Hunter offers people of Christian faith another reason to care for our natural resources — because God commands it. ”It was our first commandment when we were placed down here: Take care of the garden.” Hunter said. “Really, it’s a matter of obedience.” READ MORE

Whatever Happened to the Evangelical-Environmental Alliance?

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In the fall of 2005, Joel Hunter, the senior pastor of a 12,000-member megachurch in central Florida, signed on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative—a landmark public statement acknowledging that human actions were causing the Earth to warm. The central message—“creation care,” as it became known—was that the biblical commandment to protect God’s creation was relevant to modern-day environmental issues. Soon, Hunter had distributed 20,000 creation care pamphlets to pastors around the country, and his parishioners were sifting through garbage to see how much trash his church produced. At the time, a slew of news articles took Hunter’s commitment as a sign that environmentalism could become an ethical rather than a political issue. “Hunter and others like him,” wrote The Washington Post, “have begun to reshape the politics around climate change.” Today, with climate change skepticism hitting a new high, the same sentiment seems laughable. Whatever happened to the evangelical-environmental alliance? Read more…

Saving the Earth Is New Mission at More Churches

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At Christ Church Unity south of Orlando, they’ve replaced paper napkins with handmade cloth napkins, plastic forks and knives with metal utensils, disposable plates with china plates. Leftover food scraped from the plates is fed to a church member’s pig, Mr. Greengenes.

Northland, A Church Distributed is competing to become one of the most energy-efficient facilities in the United States in a contest sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the past year, the Longwood megachurch has reduced its monthly electric bill by more than $500 a month. Read more…

Why Creation Care Matters to Our Faith

Why Creation Care Matters to Our Faith from Northland Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Joel C. Hunter speaks to Central Florida’s faith community on May 4 at Leu Gardens. Sponsored by Central Florida Energy Efficiency Alliance (CFEEA).

FAITH IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE: CREATION CARE

Part 6 in a series of teachings from Dr. Joel C. Hunter about how to approach today’s issues biblically, respectfully and effectively.

US Evangelical churches pray for Gulf Coast communities


By Michelle A Vu, Christian Post

Evangelical churches across the US, including several megachurches, joined in a national day of prayer for the Gulf Coast community on Sunday.

The National Day of Prayer for the Gulf, sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Environmental Network, brought Christians together in praying for the residents of the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill.

Organisers had planned to pray for the oil to stop gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, but now that the new containment cap seems to be stopping the oil leak, the prayers focused instead on the long-term recovery process.

“I do think the shift in emphasis will be how do we ask God for His help and the help of the church in the long-term recovery process both in nature and in terms of people’s livelihood,” the Rev Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed near Orlando, Florida, told The Christian Post on Friday.

Hunter, who is an NAE board member, said he plans to talk to his congregation on Sunday during “family time” about the oil spill and ask them to pray for the affected Gulf Coast communities.

Somewhere between 94 and 184 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the April 20 drilling rig explosion, according to government estimates. BP was able to stop the oil from gushing into the Gulf for the first time on Thursday after nearly three months.

Experts are still analysing the pressure in the well to determine if there is a leak elsewhere. The pressure as of Friday was 6,700 pounds per square inch, which means there could be a leak or that so much oil has spilled that it will take time to build up pressure, according to CNN. A pressure higher than 7,500 psi would indicate a low chance of a leak.

The Rev Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, was in several Gulf Coast states this weekend to pray with local Christians for their communities.

He recalled memories from his trip to the Gulf Coast in June.

“I think the most poignant was putting my hands in the oil and just seeing how it stains all of creation – the grass, the water, and even the animal – and hearing the people tell their stories how they can no longer shrimp or get oysters out of those waters, and that their whole life was destroyed,” Hescox said.

The evangelical environmentalist said the feeling among the people he met in the Gulf Coast is that it will take decades to clean up the devastation from the oil spill. Yet despite the great obstacles they see ahead, Christians in the area remain hopeful that God will “correct the problem”, he said.

“God is the source of their strength,” said Hescox, who will be in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana this weekend to pray with the Gulf Coast communities. “When someone would start talking negatively, others would jump in and say God will deliver us we have to keep hope and have to trust in God.”

Churches in the Gulf Shores, Alabama-area held an inter-denominational sunrise service Sunday on the beach at Gulf State Park.

The Rev Leith Anderson, president of the NAE and senior pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, said the leaders of the seven Sunday services at his church would lead congregants in prayer for the Gulf Coast communities.

“America has a long tradition of calling for prayer when we face national challenges,” Anderson told The Christian Post. “The Gulf oil spill is a major national challenge. We are just doing what Americans and evangelicals have been doing throughout our history.”

FIND THIS ARTICLE AT: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/us.evangelical.churches.pray.for.gulf.coast.communities/26307.htm


Oprah.com: Interview With Pastor Joel Hunter

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Environmental journalist Simran Sethi interviews Pastor Joel Hunter about the ways the green movement and religion intersect—and why it should be such a natural fit.

Dems put faith in religious right to help boost party agenda

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By Alexander Bolton – 05/17/10 07:13 PM ET

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) have turned to evangelical Christians in a last-ditch effort to move immigration reform and climate change legislation.

Democrats are making a direct appeal to the GOP base by turning to evangelical Christian and other religious leaders, and there’s some evidence that the talks could be fruitful.

“We’re encouraging Southern Baptists to reach out to senators and congressmen to encourage Democrats and Republicans to quit playing politics and deal with immigration reform in a fair way,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Read more…

Let There Be Light

IPL National Conference Keynote — Rev. Joel Hunter from Interfaith Power & Light on Vimeo.

Pastor Hunter gives the keynote speech at the Interfaith Power and Light National Conference in Washington, DC, May 3, 2010.

American Power Act Announcement

Dr. Joel C. Hunter stands with government officials and power company executives in support of The American Power Act, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions at the country’s biggest polluters including power plants, heavy industry and transportation.

DR. HUNTER’S COMMENTS AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT (37 minutes in):
“Added to the obvious practical benefits of this package is its moral aspect. It is never too early or too late to do the right thing. All religions and non-believers alike have a sense that being a good steward of the earth and atmosphere is the right thing to do. The Bible, the Koran, the Vedas of the Eastern traditions all say that to protect the earth is to honor God. In Genesis 2:15, God orders us to cultivate the earth and keep it. That means we have to balance protection with production. We are not just interested in fighting pollution but poverty as well, ‘green’ should mean a growing economy as well as healthy environment.

“And the time for action is now. It is the business of those with a political perspective to calculate success, but legislative success is not the standard for moral action. I don’t want to be standing before God on Judgement Day saying, ‘I would have worked to protect the earth and the poor but I didn’t think we had the votes.’ It’s never too early or too late to do the right thing.”

Pastor: God Communicates through Word and Nature

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God communicates with people through the written word and through nature, said a Florida megachurch pastor on the eve of Earth Day.

Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland, a Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., cited Romans 1:20 Wednesday evening at the Hope for Creation event. He said like the Bible verse, which says God’s invisible qualities can be seen through creation, God allows people to understand Him through nature.

“The word of God is really both nature and Scripture but in Scripture it commands us to do exactly what we are doing tonight, and that is to guard God’s creation,” said Hunter, who co-hosted the Hope for Creation event with Dr. Matthew Sleeth, the founder of Blessed Earth and the visionary behind the event. Read more…

Irreversible, Irreplaceable—Wildlife in a Warming World

This educational mini-documentary reveals how faith, science, art, and conservation voices are joining together to discuss the threat of climate change to wildlife and talk about hope for the future. It features several Christian leaders including Northland’s senior pastor, Dr. Joel C. Hunter.

The Greening of Jesus

Dialogue, by Mark I. Pinsky, Harvard Divinity Bulletin

Riding the train down to London last summer, after a two-week fellowship on science and religion at the University of Cambridge, I noticed an article in the Independent newspaper about a new book which reinforced that notion of an increasingly irreligious Europe. It is true that outward signs of faith-apart from biblical passages emblazoned on London’s famed red double-decker buses by jesussaid.org-are difficult to come by.

But I found deeply felt Christianity alive and well in an unlikely setting: the academy’s scientific community. To many, this may seem counterintuitive. The evangelical theologian Alister McGrath told us he once believed that “science was the ally of atheism.” Yet among our other lecturers at the Templeton-Cambridge program were major figures in science, from cosmologists to biologists to particle physicists, who pronounced themselves believers. Of course, given the interests of the late Sir John Templeton, who endowed the fellowships, in the relationship between science and religion, this should not have been surprising. Read more…