Five Theses for Earth Day (Rhoads & Santmire)

The Board of Directors of Lutherans Restoring Creation thanks Rev. Dr. David Rhoads and Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire for offering the following for all of us to reflect on and in hopes to rejuvenate the call they first put forth when authoring the 1993 Social Statement: “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice.”

Five Theses for Earth Day:
A Call for Discussion and Renewal Proposed on Behalf of the Mission of Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC)

1. As a grassroots movement for the continuing reform of the whole Church and its global mission, LRC is radical, because it has its roots in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that announces the free Grace of God in Jesus Christ, which is received by faith alone, apart from any human merit, and made known in the Holy Scriptures, which are the true measure for all teachers and teachings of the Holy Catholic Faith.

2. This Gospel presupposes that the God who freely justifies us is the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator of all things (Colossians 1:15), the One God, who loves the whole cosmos (John 1:14; Psalm 24:1) and who is continually in, with, and under all things, creating, redeeming, and bringing all things to consummation.

3. This Gospel also presupposes that God has called humans into existence in order to care for and to protect (Genesis 1:15) our garden planet, so that for Earth and all creatures justice might “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

4. This Gospel presupposes, most particularly, that God has inaugurated a “new creation” (Galatians 6:15; II Corinthians 5:17) leading to the fulfilment of the whole creation (Revelation 21:1) by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, whose benefits are communicated, in rich variety, to the whole world in the power of the Spirit, whose works the People of Christ are called to embody and to proclaim.

5. To this end, we members of LRC, who, as part of the human family, have by Grace been made partners with God and heralds of the Divine promise for the whole creation, welcome and affirm the rich variety of works that peoples of all ages and all cultures have launched and continue to affirm, by word and deed, in the global celebrations of Earth Day in April, and call on all our Christian siblings as individuals and as faith communities to join with us in the celebrations of that Day–in human acts of kindness and justice in caring for the Earth with joy and praise, acts that hopefully will continue to be inspired by global celebrations of that Day, in these our times of global ecological-justice emergency.

Theses proposed for discussion in the whole Church, and, more particularly, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, by the Rev. Dr. David Rhoads, founder of LRC, and by the Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire, member of the LRC Advisory Board.

Send your comments to: LRC, Five Theses (specify whether your comments may be cited publicly, using your name). Your questions, concerns, reactions and reflections are welcome via video, audio recording or written comments. Submit to:

For further theological explorations, which these theses presuppose, see the social teaching statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice (1993).