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Climate Change: Evangelical Report Cites Scripture, Urges Christians to Join Fight

Michael Foust | Contributor | Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Climate Change: Evangelical Report Cites Scripture, Urges Christians to Join Fight

Climate Change: Evangelical Report Cites Scripture, Urges Christians to Join Fight

Saying climate change is not a “fictitious or far-off threat,” a new report from the National Association of Evangelicals presents the scientific research on the issue while asserting that a “rapidly changing environment” is making it more challenging to care for the world’s poor.

Titled Loving the Least of These, the 95-page report notes that evangelicals “are quick to give when disaster strikes,” such as in 2017, when Christian relief organizations provided more aid than FEMA after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slammed southern coasts in the U.S.

But the report says Christians should also help lead the effort in preventing such disasters, which are increasingly caused by climate change.

“People need to see not only our witness in relief efforts after a disaster but also that we understand what causes natural disasters to be so terrible,” the report says. “They need to see not only that we will clean up after the disaster but also that, whenever possible, we will help prevent situations that displace millions.”

Christopher Shore, the chief development officer for economic empowerment at World Vision (USA), says in the report that climate change “is making the fight against poverty much harder” due to an increase in heat and a decrease in precipitation. Droughts are prevalent.

“The last thing most people living in poverty need is climate change,” Shore says in the report, referencing African farmers. “... Finding water that is safe to drink or enough food to keep their children healthy may take several hours of the day. Much of their time is spent struggling to survive.”

The Scripture-heavy report, an updated publication from 2011, says its authors are driven by a “deep desire” to follow Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 to “care for ‘the least of these.” It acknowledges that Christians “have voiced skepticism about climate change.” It also urges believers to “dig deeper into the facts.”

“As followers of Jesus, we need to respond to the suffering of those most directly affected by the degradation of God’s creation. … While the Bible does not tell us specifically how to respond to a changing environment, it does give several helpful principles: Care for creation, love our neighbors and witness to the world,” the report says.

“The story that science and experience are telling us about the Earth’s climate is one that impacts vulnerable people around the world the most,” the report’s conclusion says. “The threats we face are real, and the needs can feel overwhelming. We know that God is at work in our world, accomplishing his purposes. We follow the One who calmed the stormy seas, the One who conquered sin and death. We approach the future not with fear but with confidence and hope.”

Publication date: September 13, 2022

Photo courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/angkhan

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.