Can Christians Renew the Creation? A Paper for the Evangelical Theological Society

Tomorrow at 3pm I will give a paper at the Evangelical Theological Society in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I’ll be giving this paper in the Hilton-Wright A room as part of the “Caring for Creation” section of the program.  You can get tickets on StubHub for this event.  Just kidding!  Though I do think it might stir up some discussion.

Here’s the paper title and description:

Is the Christic Reconciliation of “All Things” in Colossians 1 a Mandate for Rehabilitative Evangelical Creation Care? An Engagement with Douglas Moo, Michael Horton, and Kathleen Nielson

Recent discussion of “creation care” among evangelicals has involved reference to a number of biblical texts, Colossians 1:19-20 prominent among them.  In 2006, Douglas Moo published a major article in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society that impinged on this subject; editorials in Christianity Today and other media outlets have pondered on the popular level a crucial question raised in the current conversation on a proper Christian environmental ethic: does the eschatological reconciliation of “all things” in Christ entail the present assumption of a physically restorative mission on the part of Christians?

This presentation will probe this matter, which is at once narrowly textual and cosmically stratospheric, by an exegetical and theological consideration of how the penultimate work of Christ the king interfaces with the contemporary mission of the church.  The paper will engage several leading evangelical theologians who have written on the topic, including Douglas Moo, Michael Horton, and Kathleen Nielson.  In sum, this paper is an exercise in how exegesis informed by biblical theology leads to a rigorously substantiated evangelical ethic.  It argues that Christians are called to steward the earth well, but that the work of cosmic renewal is ultimately the prerogative and performance of Christ alone.

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