Acton Institute Powerblog

CRC Leadership on Climate Change

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Would the denominational leadership of the Christian Reformed Church (CRCNA) rather talk about climate change than abortion or marriage?

The CRCNA has a website for that.
The CRCNA has a website for that.

Based on the launch of a denominational “Climate Change Witness Project,” which I explore at Acton Commentary today, I think this is a legitimate question. The Office of Social Justice, which is leading the project, has previously been criticized by synod for its lack of attention to life issues. A quick scan of the quarterly ministry reports since 2010 reveals no mention of abortion in the OSJ’s updates. (The CRC has yet to launch a “Life Issues Witness Project.”)

Likewise, the current executive director of the CRC, Dr. Steven Timmermans, issued a rather milquetoast statement regarding the recent SCOTUS marriage decision, while he could hardly wait to “celebrate” the papal enyclical Laudato si’ on behalf of the entire CRC.

Of course, the CRC has a website for the issues of abortion and marriage, so perhaps the CRC doesn’t need leadership on them like it apparently does for climate change. Which prompts a follow up question: if the CRC has a website, is there a need for a denominational headquarters?

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Comments

  • While I see the real danger of having a diverse congregation like the CRC make specific political pronouncements, it seems like there is a difficult balancing act here. When the church makes a decision on a moral issue, there will often be a minority that thinks that the church has misread scripture, or overstepped their mandate, or something similar. Because the church has very large disagreements about what is morally obligatory, a more restrained approach could easily keep the church from saying anything about which there can be reasonable disagreement.

    While I don’t want my church to become a political action committee, I also am not sure where to draw the line. Even vague statements about abortion, will be sources of serious contention, as will anything dealing with the environment, anything dealing with economics, etc. Either we say nothing of substance as a church about these issues, or we say things that start to look too political.

    • Marc Vander Maas

      I don’t want to be trite, but this:

      While I don’t want my church to become a political action committee, I also am not sure where to draw the line. Even vague statements about abortion, will be sources of serious contention, as will anything dealing with the environment, anything dealing with economics, etc.

      brings this to mind.

      • Marc, I agree that one of these is not like the others, and we would probably both pick the same one. That said, there are Christians in my church that I respect who would disagree with me. Judging by the letters to the editor that get published in the Banner, there are people in the denomination for whom each of these is a high stakes issue.

        • Aleteia

          Relativism and Christianity, oil and water. Jesus: “I am the truth.”

  • K J George Karrikkoottathil

    It is the duty of mankind for the future generations. If we fail to take suitable measures to save the Climate and the planet the future generations will blame us and we will be left with no justifiable arguments to defend us. So let us unite and work in this matter of global interest.