A Florida megachurch with a history of environmental concern will host what is expected to be the largest-ever creation care event Wednesday night.
More than 60,000 people from over 30 countries have indicated that they will participate in the Hope for Creation simulcast that will be broadcast online from Northland, a Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla. Among the participants are some 1,000 churches and a zoo.
"This is an effort to recast the environmental movement into its proper perspective – as a biblical issue that Christians should care about," said Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Northland's senior pastor. "I believe the Church should be leading the conversation, and this event will give us all the chance to do just that."
Hope for Creation is taking place on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Dr. Matthew Sleeth, founder of the ministry Blessed Earth and the visionary behind the event, will lead an interactive townhall conversation with the global audience as part of the activities for the night.
Sleeth, in an interview with The Christian Post this week, explained why he believes that environmentalism is the only activity where people can worship God all the time.
"You get up in the morning and you turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Nobody knows about it but you are trying to be a good steward. When you're buying something you try to buy a product that sustainable and doesn't take advantage of child labor, etc.," said Sleeth.
"It simple means that you are applying your theology all the time."
Sleeth, who left his job as an emergency room director to be a full-time creation care minister, said he saw how a dying earth was having harmful effects on human health while practicing medicine.
More than ever, he saw an increase in the number of people with cancer, autoimmune diseases and asthma. Society's responses have been to simply build bigger and more hospitals and prescribe more medicine, but Sleeth wonders if the environment is what is making people sick.
"I love practicing medicine and in the emergency department, which was where I specialize, there is immediate feedback. A kid got a broken bone and you cast that," Sleeth said. "But I really believe that prevention, which is more of what I'm involved in now, is ultimately a very important thing."
He added jokingly, "It's not as glamorous or sexy though. They don't make television shows called prevention."
To the Christians who are still skeptical of their biblical responsibility to care for the environment, Sleeth simply advises, "Go to your Bible."
"I think that the reason why there are fewer and fewer skeptics is because people have gone to their Bible," said Sleeth, who returned to the Christian faith later in his adult life. "They see not only the proof text but they see broad themes: Christ is the first born of all creatures and this life and earth are gifts."
"[W]e cannot exist without the other things that God planted to live on with us."
The simulcast can be viewed on www.blessedearth.org at 7:30 p.m. EDT.