As more evangelical Christians become involved in ecological causes a leading training college in the UK is to hold a conference exploring the relationship between notions about 'end times' and working for the environment.
The annual John Ray Initiative/Redcliffe Environment workshop will take place on Saturday 19 January 2008.
In the US especially, and on the religious right, the idea of 'the imminent return of Christ' has been used as an excuse not to care for the planet, Redcliffe College points out.
But it says that growing awareness of the suffering caused by ecological mismanagement has shaken many people from their complacency, and provoked a fresh look at the Bible.
Speakers the Rev Dr Ernest Lucas (Bristol Baptist College), the Rev Dave Bookless (A Rocha) and the Rev Margot Hodson (Oxford) will argue that eschatology has relevance for how we behave today.
Redcliffe College students from around the world will also contribute an international perspective on the return of Christ during the ‘coffeehouse discussion’.
Redcliffe principal Rev Dr Simon Steer says that the kingdom Christ embodies and announces "extends not just to reclaiming shattered lives, but to broken, abused ecologies and the interlinked fabric of physical and spiritual life."
He said that the day aims to give participants a greater understanding of the human share in God's purposes. It will be held at Redcliffe College Centre for Mission Training in Gloucester, from 9.30 – 4.15pm on 19 January 2008.
For more information and to download a leaflet and booking form, visit www.redcliffe.org/environment08 or telephone 01452 308 097.
Redcliffe College is an evangelical centre for mission training in Gloucester, with an international community of over 90 students representing around 30 countries studying at undergraduate and graduate level.
Co-sponsor The John Ray Initiative (JRI) is an educational charity with a vision to bring together scientific and Christian understandings of the environment in a way that can be widely communicated and lead to effective action. It was formed in 1997 in recognition of the urgent need to respond to the global environmental crisis and the challenges of sustainable development and environmental stewardship. www.jri.org.uk