Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Gospel as eco-justice?

Rachel Miller has posted an interesting article analyzing Redeemer PCA's Center for Faith and Work's (CFW) view regarding creation and redemption. It seems that Keller's view of "generous justice" is very much in line with the leftist view of "social justice" at least as interpreted by the CFW. An excerpt:

In an equally scandalous way, we are now commissioned as co-redeemers. Redemption is the re-orientation and re-direction of our culture-making capacities. It is we who have invented the twisted cultural systems that deface and despoil this good world; restoring creation to its lush plenitude and fecundity will not happen by divine fiat or magic—it will require the hard, patient, Spirit-inspired work of building well ordered systems, creation-caring institutions and life-giving habits. While not quite a matter of “save the cheerleader, save the world,” the scandalous economy of redemption does seem to suggest, “save humanity, save the world.”

I can think of no better picture of this than the sort of health-giving practices that Wendell Berry notices and celebrates in his recent collection, Bringing It To The Table: On Farming and Food. Consider, for example, his praise of Amish farmers in northeastern Indiana who are “working to restore farmed-out soils.” That is a compact rendition of our redemptive calling. Systems, institutions and practices have grown up that fail to care for the soil (and the animals who live from it); they leech it and steal from it without restoring it. The error—yea, sin—of such ill-gotten gain will show itself soon enough because such systems and practices run against the grain of the universe. Creation itself tells us what we’re doing wrong. Redemption, in this case, is tangible and concrete: it is rotating crops, spreading manure and being attuned to what the soil is telling us. Working to restore farmed-out soil is situated within a way of life—indeed, it is a way of life.

Thanks be to God, such redeeming, health-giving, cultural labour is not the special province of Christians. While the church is that people who have been regenerated and empowered by the Spirit to do the good work of culture-making, foretastes of the coming kingdom are not confined to the church. The Spirit is profligate in spreading seeds of hope. So we gobble up foretastes of the kingdom wherever we can find them. The creating, redeeming God of Scripture takes delight in Jewish literature that taps the deep recesses of language’s potential, in Muslim commerce that runs with the grain of the universe, and in the well-ordered marriages of agnostics and atheists. We, too, can follow God’s lead and celebrate the same. (Bold added)

Co-redeemers? Just where in the Bible do we see any human being or institution being called "co-redeemers"? I was of the opinion that Redeemer PCA is Presbyterian and as such believed only in one redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, and redemption limited to the elect of God for salvation from sin?

The distortion of the Gospel by the CFW and the embrace of environmentalism is amazing. TE Brian Carpenter in the comments section made a very insightful remark regarding the evolutionary basis behind this distortion of the Gospel.

You know, I’ve been puzzled by this “redeeming the creation” thing for awhile now, but I think I finally understand it.

If you are a theistic evolutionist, then the world is pretty much the same today as it was in the beginning. The only thing that’s changed is mankind’s “sin” of chopping down trees and paving over fields and not rotating crops and spreading manure. So “undoing” the effects of that “sin” is as close to the traditional understanding of Eden as the theistic evolutionists are going to be able to get. Any nitwit can pick up a shovel and spread manure, so that doesn’t have to be a Christian activity. Or it can be a place where Christians and non Christians meet and pat themselves on the back for being so avant garde.

We who believe that all of nature fell when Adam fell see this sort of activity as coming perilously close to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. In the most pristine rainforest (and perhaps there most of all) death and decay are rampant. To restore the rainforest might be a helpful thing, but it is not the same thing as redemption. Redemption of the creation will not happen until the sons of God are revealed, and the unbeliever will have nothing to do with it:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Rom 8:19-21)

And yes, Keller endorses Theistic Evolution. The fruits of the evolutionary paradigm is now manifested in the undermining of the Gospel. One wonder how long Keller will be accepted within the New Calvinist circles. My hunch? Indefinitely.

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