(Editorial, by David Gould)
This edition of the Mission Round Table is offered as a contribution to the exploration of the place of creation care in mission. It interleaves missiological reflections with accounts of creation care ministry from different contexts in Asia and Africa. It includes OMF’s statement on the theological basis for creation care, which was developed by the Fellowship in 2013. I provide an overview of creation care in the mission of CIM/OMF and brief descriptions of some helpful recently-published English-language books on this theme.
(The theological basis for creation care in Chinese can be found here: 关爱受造世界的神学基础 – 海外基督使团)
Chris Wright reflects on the connections between creation, gospel, and mission, and some of its eschatological implications. He also comments on the statement in the Lausanne Cape Town Commitment that “creation care is … a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ.” He shows that “ecological action now is both a creational responsibility from the Bible’s beginning, and also an eschatological sign of the Bible’s ending—and new beginning.”
Walter McConnell, the new International Coordinator for Mission Research at OMF, examines what the Bible says on the themes of creation, dominion, and new creation, and their application for missions. He calls the Christian reader to develop a good biblical theology of creation that explains how we are to relate to environmental and ecological issues .
Lowell Bliss, who has written a book entitled Environmental Missions: Planting Churches and Trees, recounts how his commitment to creation care grew out of his church- planting ministry in South Asia. He explores the connections between creation care and worship of the Creator, and the interrelationships between five marks of mission, including creation care.
Jocelyn Dino, a former journalist and current OMF missionary working in community development in the Philippines, tells the story of OMF’s engagement with integral mission among the Mangyan tribes of Mindoro in the Philippines. The fruit of this work has included liberation from spiritual bondage, the birth of a missional church movement, and transformation of the relationship of the Mangyan to their land.
Mike Griffiths uses biblical precedents to explore issues of place and land-use in the context of mission in communities elsewhere in Southeast Asia. He demonstrates that creation care goes beyond issues of personal practice, and extends to seeking God’s just rule to community life, changing the way people relate to God, each other, and to the land.
Bruce Taylor describes his experience of tea-growing alongside church-planting and disciple-making among the Hmong people in Northern Thailand.
Joel Chaney and Gareth Selby give examples of how creation care ministry can extend beyond sustainable food production to include alternative technology, and how this has provided opportunities for evangelism.