At the 2010 convention of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, my husband was elected to the Board for International Mission, newly formed as a result of the synodical restructuring that was approved at the same convention. As part of his duties on the board, he has been giving the assignment of reading a book on missiology: Mission from the Cross: The Lutheran Theology of Mission (Klaus Detlev Schulz, Concordia Publishing House, 2009). This morning, he shared this passage from the book with me:
"Mission typically penetrates areas where the negative effects resulting from man's inability to be good stewards of God's creation are starkly apparent. Werner Elert once compared our failure to be good stewards to riders in a closed paddock where the horses are allowed to trample everything under the hoof. Therefore, not everything brought into this world through the progress of civilization should be seen in a positive light. The alarming increase of the world's population, the ongoing drain on the world's resources, the destruction of pristine rain forests, the pollution of land and water, and atomic radiation are all a result of human failure. The myriad of such failures prove that in order to be better stewards of God's world and creation, we must use our reason in a faithful and conscientious way. For God placed the obligation of taking care of His creation into the hands of humans . . . ."
I am speechless, utterly speechless to see this sentence-- "The alarming increase of the world's population . . . [is] a result of human failure"--coming out of our synodical publishing house. The increase of life is never alarming. It has nothing to do with human failure. It does not drain resources. God gives it and wherever he does so we are to receive it with joy as a blessing, not look upon it as a burden or lapse in stewardship. Whatever other good there is in this book, and I'm sure there is some for it to have been assigned for board study, this sentence for me would call it all into question. Did anyone even read it before it was assigned as a guidebook for one of our synod's governing boards? Both possible answers--the affirmative and the negative--are disturbing indeed.