The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) has formed a task force to study a range of environmental issues and make recommendations on how the denomination can better care for God’s creation.
Synod 2010 instructed the board to form the task force, which reflects an ongoing concern within the church for creation care.
A report to Synod 2010 said that the Christian Reformed Church has “a long history of making significant intellectual, theological, and spiritual contributions to environmentally responsible living.” But it also noted that the denominational leadership has said little about the topic.
Rev. Jerry Dykstra, executive director of the CRCNA, says one of the original mandates God gave to all of us was to take care of his creation. “Creation doesn’t belong to us, but we are to care for all of God’s creatures and his people. We are also to care for the ground itself as well as the resources we’ve been given.”
As Reformed Christians who believe that every square inch of the world comes under God’s dominion, “we need to engage with this topic fully,” says Dykstra. “One of the issues we must look at is climate change and those who are abusing creation.”
It is time for the CRC to take a careful look at the deeper issues, Dykstra says. “Not only must we study what is happening and why, but we must also ask how we as Christians can respond.”
Last February the CRC’s Board of Trustees signed a declaration on creation stewardship that had been endorsed by church leaders around the world. The declaration, naming stewardship of creation as a priority, echoes the commitment expressed in section 51 of the 2008 revision of the CRC’s Contemporary Testimony Our World Belongs to God:
We lament that our abuse of creation has brought lasting damage to the world we have been given: polluting streams and soil, poisoning the air, altering the climate, and damaging the earth. We commit ourselves to honor all God’s creatures and to protect them from abuse and extinction, for our world belongs to God.
The CRC’s Office of Social Justice has a variety of resources to help congregations take action on creation care. These include an environmental audit that churches can use to evaluate their environmental impact and better incorporate creation care into the life of their congregation, as well as Green Grants to help churches carry out earth-keeping projects.