Every Christian is entrusted with the royal (cultural) mandate of taking charge of and guarding the God-given harmony between nature and humans (Gen 1:27, 28; 2:15). For too long our churches have been negligent by not equipping our members, through faithful and authoritative proclamation of the Word, with ethical norms also for their calling in this respect in the Kingdom of God.
At the General Synod 2012 of the RCSA a public testimony was given regarding the Christian’s calling with regard to the degradation of our environment. General Synod 2018 mandated a new group of Deputies to turn this testimony into practical action. These Deputies invite and encourage every member of the RCSA to join in a selfless ministry of respecting, protecting and enriching the environment. So doing living their God-given authority to govern over nature in a responsible way.
The Deputies mandate includes:
- Creating awareness of each Christian’s responsibility concerning the environment
- Facilitate, encourage and promote the awareness of our responsibility as Christians
- Crossing cultural, denominational and institutional boundaries to step up to this responsibility
- That all members of our churches will be mobilized to pursue the protection and wellbeing of our environment and to see themselves as ambassadors from God in this calling. This will be achieved by our members adopting a simple lifestyle to ensure a liveable environment to the glory of God.
- If everyone does his little bit this is possible. But what can we do:
- Make a lifestyle change and start thinking differently about our environment and resources.
- Insist on the church committing itself to promoting and facilitating the needed paradigm shift through meaningful and practical ministry of the word.
- Christians must become real about their lifestyle of consumerism
- Christians should be an example of what it is like when you are in the habit of keeping their environment clean; and
- Using resources responsibly.
- Christians should make an effort to teach young people about their responsibility towards nature, the environment and resources.
- Christians should set an example in supporting existing and functioning programmes of local, provincial and national governments, such as beach clean-ups, recycling etc.
As Christians we must become the new driving force in environmental conservation:
- We must proclaim that conservation is a matter that affects all of us
- We must guard against and fight against the sin of deifying “Nature”, “Mother Earth”, “Gaia” and the “gospel of greenness of the New Reformers.
- Despite this commitment we will not be kept from working with secular organisations.
Functioning of Deputies Environment:
- Dr Pieter van der Walt is coordinator of the group
- The Deputies will use technology to convene
- The primary goal is to establish a functioning network of members throughout the country, in every region and all congregations, in order to appoint officers who will see to it that all activities are coordinated between the congregations and the deputies.
- Ultimately the members must take ownership of our calling regarding the God-given environment.
- “I live in harmony with my God-given environment and with respect towards all of God-created nature which is a reflection of his greatness”