The issue of religion and the environment has been getting much attention recently, as a variety of voices have been speaking out about the need for people of faith to have an increased role in these matters.
This is indeed appropriate as the Bible is replete with injunctions to care for God’s creation – from the original responsibility given to Adam in the Garden to tend and keep it to the subordinate ownership over the earth given to mankind in Psalm 115:16: The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.
The Biblical responsibility for sound stewardship becomes even more compelling when one considers the overwhelming importance the Scriptures give to concern for the poor – from the instruction to kings in Proverbs 31:9 to defend the rights of the afflicted and needy, to the Apostle Paul’s report in Galatians 2:10 that his fellow apostles only asked us to remember the poor – the very thing I also was eager to do.
That is why there is so much enthusiasm about the informal Cornwall Network that was launched in April, 2006, during a week in which Easter, Passover, and Earth Day all converged.
A Sound Biblical View of Stewardship
The “Cornwall Network” is designed to promote the principles of the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship, a powerful statement of ethical belief, released in the spring of 2000, that articulates a sound Biblical view of stewardship. In a day when there is much confusion over what defines Judeo-Christian stewardship, and separates it from the secular forms of environmentalism that abound, Cornwall seeks to affirm the importance of caring for creation, but in a way that is based on sound theology, sound science, sound economics, and takes into account the needs of the poor. This is especially important for developing nations where basic issues like inadequate sanitation and clean drinking water, widespread use of primitive fuels like wood and dung, and primitive agricultural practices go largely unaddressed while more distant and theoretical issues receive the lion’s share of funding and attention.
The Cornwall Declaration has so far been signed by over 1,500 leading clergy, theologians, and other people of faith – including Dr. James Dobson, Charles Colson, Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy, Rev. Dr. R.C. Sproul, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Rabbi David Novack, Dr. Ronald Nash, Dr. Richard Land, Rev. Robert Sirico, Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, and the late Dr. Bill Bright. It’s little wonder the declaration has come to be viewed as one of the most significant expressions of Judeo-Christian belief about religion and environment in modern times.
How You Can Help
Through the “Cornwall Network,” the Alliance seeks to take the principles of Cornwall, encourage clergy, teachers, and other religious leaders to embrace them and teach them to their own congregants, and then begin to help people of faith increasingly fulfill their Biblical mandate to steward the environment, and care for the poor.
Through your participation in the “Cornwall Network,” you will have access to:
- Regular information and updates about important stewardship issues
- Bulletin inserts that can be distributed to members of your congregation
- Scripture notes on stewardship issues that can be used to develop sermons and Sunday School or other educational lessons
- An electronic newsletter that will keep you up to date about these issues, and inform you when new “Cornwall Network” materials are available. Some forthcoming materials will likely include Sunday School curricula for various age groups; videos, workbooks and other educational materials; and guidance and suggestions for hands-on stewardship projects.
Join the Cornwall Network today!