Faith Distinctives

A Rocha’s distinctive Christian contribution to creation care:

1. The conviction that Christ is Lord

A Rocha’s work is a response to God’s love for the whole creation, revealed in the Bible and personally in Jesus Christ.  A Rocha, therefore, is not simply an association of people with a common Christian cultural heritage and shared interests in nature conservation, but an organization in which caring for God’s handiwork is done out of the conviction that Christ is Lord. This establishes the character of our work as both grateful and hopeful. It defines our methods which reflect the conviction that we are undertaking work to which we are called by Christ. Therefore, an expected part of the work of employees and trustees is praying for each other and encouraging each other according to the Christian Bible, and the main objective of all our work is to give glory to God.

2. Practical action

Our niche as one among many Christian environmental organizations is that we put God’s call to care for creation into practice in multiple local contexts worldwide. Our projects reflect a great diversity of cultures, communities, ecosystems and approaches. Our aim in all of them is to be characterized by good science and good biblical theology, by healthy involvement in local communities and local churches, and by being prepared to work alongside others who may not always share our beliefs.  We seek to communicate the significance of our work to many audiences − particularly to those involved in the conservation world and to the global Christian community − and these explanations are born out of work with nature and out of convictions lived.

3. Credible advocacy

Our practical conservation activities give us credibility in the conservation world. While A Rocha is distinctively Christian, we choose not to speak exclusively to Christian audiences. We are working to show God’s love for ALL creation, including all people. Some of our communications and environmental education activities are targeted helping churches care for creation. The professional credibility of the work that we do in practical conservation also enables us to speak to those who do not share our Christian convictions.

4. Diversity of cultures

In the context of the emerging realities of globalization and exclusion, A Rocha celebrates mutual relationships within a large number of A Rocha National Organizations. We work with a diversity of local habitats, a diversity of species, and also with a diversity of cultures. Our trustees and professional employees have a diversity of languages, and national and ethnic backgrounds. This is so important to the effectiveness of our work. Our emphasis on community leads us to value our exchange of worldwide perspectives and our learning from one another.

Why Christians in conservation?

There are at least four good reasons for Christians to be involved in conservation.

Love

Christians believe that God made the world. Just as we care about what we create, we believe God cares deeply about all his creation. The Bible makes this clear, like in Psalm 50 where God says ‘every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine’. Caring for creation shows our love for God.

Hope

Those who care about the environment can easily become discouraged. The news is so often profoundly disturbing. The Bible provides much-needed grounds for hope. This is not a simplistic optimism: the Bible is realistic that things will often get much worse, but that is never the last word. We are given motivation and hope. The Almighty God who created and sustains his world wants all people to be actively involved in this great plan to redeem the whole of creation.

Obedience

Christians are called to obey God in every part of their lives. In the Bible God asks that men and women take responsibility for creatures. Tragically, this has often been characterized by cruelty, greed and short-sightedness, but this was clearly not God’s intention. Obeying God means being good and responsible stewards of the natural world.

Justice

The environment is an issue of justice. Often it is the poor who suffer first when the environment is damaged through deforestation, pollution, desertification,  climate change, or the unsustainable extraction of raw materials. The Bible shows God to be passionate about justice, and God’s people are encouraged to challenge oppression. Biodiversity conservation and justice for the poor go hand-in-hand. We seek to find ways of ensuring that all creation can thrive together.

This is just a brief introduction to the biblical basis of A Rocha’s work.

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