Christ Loves Creatures,
A thesis by: Norma Carol
- Edited Internet Edition
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Purpose and History of Ministry Project
The purpose of this paper is to lay a foundation for the ministry, Christ Loves Creatures, too! ("CLCt"). This will be achieved through expounding its Mission Statement and biblical references. Discussed will be "Who, What, Why, and How" aspects of this conservative Christian ministry. Details of these avenues are intended to result in a new awareness to all Christians of biblical responsibilities and attitudes toward our "brother and sister" animals. Hopefully, through the Holy Spirit, Christian self-centeredness will be transformed to humbleness. I like a quote by Hoffman relating to this hope of transformation:
When we make a decision to accept Jesusí atonement for us, we must also do some dying in conjunction with His. We must give up that pride of self. We must accept the fact that we cannot save ourselves. We must accept the fact that we do sin, and that no matter how hard we try, we always fall short of the glory of God. Now then, why are we reluctant to accept the fact that animals do have souls? Because we are still trying to hold on to some of our pride, and perhaps our greed. If we do not accept the fact that animals have souls, then we may have a self-acceptable excuse for the way we treat the rest of Godís creatures, which is not in accordance with Godís desire, but ours.1
A second purpose of this paper is to educate Christians about Godís use of the secular to accomplish His initial desire for humans to "tend the Garden." We need to work alongside secular groups in order to achieve goals of biblical animal rights, while shedding the light of Christ, in the hope of bringing the lost to the Body.
God made an announcement of His desire for me to pursue this ministry during counseling following my acceptance of Christ. Pastor Dominick Apollo wisely pointed out that perhaps my love (not worship) for animals was a burden placed on my heart. During prayer, I received a message that to do this right I needed a Masters in Divinity. God wanted me to have authority to present the plight of His "very good" creation. The first step was to earn a bachelors degree (completed on December 14, 2001).
In order to focus on ministry purpose, a mission statement needed to be developed, and that statement is:
Ü To promote biblically based Christian compassion and stewardship toward Godís animal creation through Bible studies, lectures, articles, and animal rights advocacy.
Ü To promote and support activities of organizations with a heart for animals, so those involved may come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Significance of the Ministry Project
Again, this project is important because it lays the foundation for CLCt. In turn, CLCt is important in the never-ending battle against evil, and this is just one front line. The battle is to be fought against greed (resulting in tortuous activities against animals in laboratories, circuses, and rodeos; farm atrocities; hunting and trapping; domestic animal neglect) and, most importantly, the fact that Christians allow all this (and more) to go on! The battle has to be fought against misguided information coming from the pulpit and in private counseling by clergy, particularly to grieving people whose pets have died. Addressed, too, must be silence on the subject of biblically based animal rights and the inclusion of these wonderful creatures in Heaven and the New Earth.
This project will reveal the truth from a conservative and researched point of view. Please keep in mind that Scripture was initially searched, not to prove my deep-rooted beliefs, but to see if these beliefs are truly of God. If not, this long and sometimes difficult journey would not have been undertaken. While I have been blessed with more encouragement than negativity, I have had to deal with skepticism as well as being mocked and laughed at.
The good news is that I am not the trailblazer for the creature cause. There are conservatives and liberals far ahead of me. The liberal viewpoint is only taken when I can back the findings conservatively. Occasionally the two sides overlap. This is where care and discernment are required.
The battle is also one of love for the lost. As documented below, God is using secular organizations to do the animal protection Christians should be doing as Christís Ambassadorsóserving the needs of the weak. As strong as some animals are, they are weak compared to humans who are in Godís image. However, that image must be a humbled one, as Christ demonstrated. Joy and thankfulness being sealed by God can easily turn into "holier than thou" self-centeredness, which is not Christian witness.
If all Christians would demonstrate love, compassion, and action toward saving creatures, the love of Jesus would be witnessed to the secular who blame Christianity for the problems to begin with, and they are not totally wrong. This blame stems from Christian attitude of "running with the ball" about this earth not being our home so environmental and animal issues are of little concern. Christians must reverse this trend if: 1) animals are to be acknowledged in their rightful place in sharing this earth, and 2) the secular are to be saved.
Setting and Background of Problem
The setting in which the problem of disinterest in animals and their rights is global. We know this by the existence of animal rights organizations worldwide, such as RSPCA, the first animal welfare organization in the world (Christian!) founded in England in 1824, International Fund for Animal Welfare originating in Canada, and National Anti-Vivisection Society in the United States.
As Christians, it can be assumed that the same Gospel message is shared within the worldwide conservative Christian community; that is, "Öthe joyous proclamation of Godís redemptive activity in Christ Jesus on behalf of man enslaved by sin".2 Or, the "one common apostolic gospelÖ:"3
(1) A historical proclamation of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus, set forth as the fulfillment of prophecy and involving manís responsibility; (2) A theological evaluation of the person of Jesus as both Lord and Christ; (3) a summons to repent and receive the forgiveness of sinsÖwhich sweeps the hearer along with compelling logic towards the climactic confession that Jesus is Lord.
Unfortunately, the message heard is incomplete. It is one sided, focused solely on people. While I concede focusing on people is of initial importance, since people frequently find Jesus at the lowest point of their lives, the true richness of Christís sacrifice is ignored. That richness includes the fact that, biblically, God has covenants with, cares about, and saves animals. I also concede many people do not have to hear about the salvation of animals while they are going through their trials. However, there is no excuse for not teaching the whole story as the new believers develop their faith. Older Christians need to learn the scope as well.
Yet pastors declare that animals have no soul. I have heard this from several people from many Christian backgrounds, and it went "prime time" on an episode of the short-lived television series, Soul Man. Thus, no soul = no Heaven. The basis for this misconception will be uncovered and clarification will be discovered as this thesis unfolds. Statements will be justified and documented intermittently throughout. This problem has existed for thousands of years. Francis Assisi knew the necessity of caring for animals in The Middle Ages. He ministered to, preached to, wrote about, and rescued animals.4
Over time, the plight of animals has gotten worse due to manís greed for entertainment, pride, and necessity of safe cosmetic, household, and medicinal products. Erroneously, over breeding to feed the world has resulted in factory farms. The facts are:
One acre of land will meet the food energy need of 1 person if it is used for beef or egg production.
The same acre would feed 15 people if it was used for wheat production and 22-23 people if it was used to grow potatoes or cabbage.
The amount of grain to produce a pound of beefÖaverages around 12 pounds.5
Keeping all this in mind, the balance of this piece will focus on opposing viewpoints concerning the value and use of animals stemming from Scripture with comments from various Christian theologians.
Four specific areas of animal plight will also be covered. Additionally, there will be ideas for Christian paradigm changes and the churchís responsibility to effect those changes. The purpose is to establish that animals belong to God (Colossians 1:16e) and Christians, as well as secular, are to take care of them (Proverbs 12:10a).
1. Hoffman, Frank L. "All Creatures Here Below" in Compassion Internet Christian Church Ministry (1998-2001), Ch. 3, p. 7.www.all-creatures.org (Hereinafter, "All Creatures".) Return to Test 2. Mounce, Robert H. "Gospel" in Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology. (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), 255. Return to Test
3. Ibid., 257. Return to Test
4. Brown, Raphael (Trans.). The Little Flowers of St. Francis. New York: Doubleday, 1958. (Hereinafter, "Little Flowers".) Return to Test
5. Hoffman, Frank L.[email protected] referencing John Robins in The Food Revolution, (2001), 293, 294. Return to Test
Go on to Chapter 2
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