Protecting the environment is God’s will says Protestant leader

Published August 25, 2009

The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu is to follow God’s will by taking a prominent role in efforts to reverse the effects of climate change, says the leader of a global alliance of Protestant churches.”I don’t think global warming, which is leading to shifting ecological landscapes for nations such as Vanuatu, is in the will of God,” the Rev. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, said in an Aug. 24 address to delegates at the Vanuatu church’s general assembly in Port Vila, the nation’s capital.A United Nations-backed study released in August showed that Vanuatu, a group of Pacific islands, is one of the developing countries most likely to suffer severely from natural disasters that could be aggravated by climate change. “In the case of tropical cyclones, Vanuatu has the highest mortality risk per million inhabitants in the world,” the report stated.”All in the Church need to make a new commitment to changes in lifestyle that reflect the will of God,” Nyomi said in his statement to the Aug. 23 to 30 national gathering of Vanuatu’s largest denomination that was released from WARC’s headquarters in Geneva.In Vanuatu, Nyomi addressed a group of church leaders at a seminar on the legacy of the 16th century church reformer, Jean Calvin. Emphasizing the French lawyer and theologian’s concern for the environment, Nyomi quoted a sermon Calvin preached in December 1555.In speaking of cutting down trees, Nyomi noted that Calvin proclaimed: “Today, such cruelty is even greater among those who call themselves Christians. For today they go about scorching and burning the land which is worse than cutting throats.” Nyomi commented, “This is Jean Calvin speaking 453 years ago – not a 21st century ecological activist.”WARC groups 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches, with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by Calvin and others.


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