Is Creation Care Really a Gospel Issue?

EMQ » April–June 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 2

Kot Addu, Pakistan: Two men transport belongings secured in a large container through flood waters. Between June and October 2022, nearly 2000 people died during severe flooding across the country. Photo courtesy of IMB.

Summary:  Natural disasters, agricultural problems, and environmentally linked health crises impact many of the world’s least reached peoples. These provide pragmatic reasons for missionary engagement in creation care. However, if we look closely at the recent history of evangelicalism, we can find an even stronger reason for involvement. The concept of integral mission, introduced in the ’60s and ’70s, positions creation care as a core gospel issue that is a necessary part of integrated work with the world’s unreached.

By Ed Brown

In every direction we look, today, mission goals are affected and often blocked by concerns related to the environment (broadly labeled as creation care). Those who work with the world’s poor have to prepare for the effects of degraded agricultural land and ongoing weather disasters. Healthcare missionaries must reckon daily with environmental diseases. Even traditional mission agencies focused on evangelism and church planting can grind to a halt when major disasters, like the floods in Pakistan, occur. The pragmatic case for creation care in missions is clear.

But there is another reason why we ought to include it in our mission strategies: the command to care for God’s creation is rooted in our identity as human beings, and even more so as the people of God. When we view creation care this way, it cannot just be a pragmatic issue. It is a gospel issue which we can closely connect to the movement in the late twentieth century known as integral mission.

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