If you have loved your red-letter editions of your Bibles in which you can easily pick out the highlighted words of Jesus, then you’re gonna love this! TIME reports this week that The Green Bible has hit the shelves of your local book store. This time instead of Jesus’ words being highlighted, more than 1,000 verses related to nature stand off the page in a pleasant shade of forest green.
This no joke. It is the next big thing in the Evangelical world. On that note, doesn’t it always seem like Christians are a couple steps behind the rest of the world? Anyhow, according to Evangelical eco-activist J. Matthew Sleeth
“creation care is at the very core of our Christian walk.”
The Green Bible
, while a fine attempt to provide insight into what the Christian Scriptures have to say about the environment, seems like yet another distraction from what is actually the “core of our Christian faith.” It symbolizes what so many other well-intended Christian movements have done in the past. Instead of focusing on the Gospel
we pick something that is objectively good but penultimate (the environment, community, moral behavior, etc.) and promote it as the ultimate goal or point of the Christian message. These other causes are inevitably easier for people to rally around because they are things that are less offensive than the message of grace
for sinners. They continue to promote us as the primary actors rather than God. Frankly, we do not like to hear that we are passive recipients of God’s active grace.
The truth is that the taking care of the environment (“creation care”), building community, being moral people, and so on are all very good things, and it is not wrong to desire them for the world. However, they are not and can never be the point of Christianity. Rather, they need to be seen in their proper place; they are the fruit of the truly ultimate message of the Bible, which is the cross of Jesus Christ where we sinners are forgiven, accepted and loved by God.
I think I will stick with my red-letter Bible.