Should Christians Care About Animal Welfare?

This week, we share with the Shepherding All God’s Creature’s audience an article by Timothy James Verret, Faith Outreach Volunteer for The Humane Society of the United States.  Timothy is a guest writer – we welcome him as a contributor on the SAGC blog, and are glad to have him share his wonderful penmanship!

Timothy loves the Lord Jesus and animals.  I love the cover photo he has on his Facebook page, which is the photo we will include here for his article!  We hope you enjoy his piece as much as all of us have, and will share it widely with others!


Timothy Verret Facebook Cover Photo

 “You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.”
 Psalm 36.6 (New Living Translation or NLT)

 I am a Christian and, in fact, very recently accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and every morning (sometimes, every second of every day), I turn over my life and will to Jesus’ Care and Control.  I also love God and I love humans.  And I love animals, sometimes referred to as nonhuman animals.  I have a great passion for animals, always have, and when I became a Christian, I had to ask myself the question:  “Should Christians care about animal welfare and do Christians, under the authority of Jesus whose mission is Love, Compassion, and Mercy to our neighbors, have a moral and humane responsibility to steward ‘creatures of the same God,’ i.e., animals?” (Creatures of the Same God is the title of Reverend Andrew Linzey’s book which details compassionate explorations in animal theology).  I thought to myself, “I just gotta’ know the answers to my question(s).  Continue reading

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Christian Animal Welfarists Challenged (Part Three)

The Lord is my Light and Salvation – 8tracks.com

We ended (Part Two) on the Predatory World with the thought that Jesus tells His followers that He Himself would become the instrument of healing for the world as He is lifted up as a symbol of evil – on the Cross: “As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life” (John 3 v 14).

On Animal Souls

A belief in ‘souls’ is a matter of faith, whether animal or human.  It can be likened to a faith in God.  Faith is faith and proof is not scientifically available.

I believe in the existence of animal souls because, to me, the scriptural evidence for them is conclusive.  In Genesis 1 v 21-24 the words ‘living creature’ are the Hebrew ‘chay nephesh’Continue reading

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Christian Animal Welfarists Challenged (Part Two)

The Lord is my Light and Salvation – 8tracks.com

We ended (Part One) on Creation with Greg Boyd’s suggestion that, whether you believe in the Young Earth Theory; or in Evolution; or in some other view; the important thing that we all can agree on is simply the fact THAT God created the world and all life – not HOW He did so.

On The Tree Of Knowledge

We acquire knowledge every day of our lives.  We are innocent of the quest of knowledge in the sense that we cannot live a normal life without learning more of the world around us, the people around us and of our own reactions to them – it is thrust upon us.  However, the setting of the Garden of Eden shows mankind with a choice; the choice of remaining within dependence upon God’s loving care, or a choice of disobeying Him and eating of the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, which was always within reach.  Having opted for independence from God, mankind is now left with the choices of what to do with his ever increasing store of knowledge.  It is usually the choices which go wrong, mankind being what it is.  We live on a planet where the rich, the technologically skilled and the politically powerful allow a large proportion of the world’s poor to starve, when a different choice of organising the world’s food resources would provide food for all.  Experimentation on animals and embryos show how ruthless mankind has become with his medical learning, in what sometimes seems to be a quest for eternal life.  I dread to think what ruthless exploitation would result if mankind ever did have the opportunity to eat of the ‘Tree of LIFE’.  But God knows of the disastrous potential of mankind’s use of knowledge, “He must not be allowed to take fruit from the tree that gives LIFE, eat it, and live forever” (Genesis 3 v 22).

Another danger to be found in knowledge is the danger which we see in Gnosticism. (See ‘Are All Faiths Of Equal Value, Part Four).  Both old and new Gnostic religions suggest a conflict between good and evil, the struggle which Jesus Himself spoke of as existing between light and darkness.  Jesus also proclaimed the Good News that He is the Light of God in this darkness.  But in contrast, Gnosticism claims that enlightenment is to be found in one’s SELF by means of self-effort, self-searching, self-awareness, self-realisation.  To help achieve this knowledge of the god of SELF, there are various methods and procedures, but the offer of Jesus for us to simply turn to God in penitence will not do.  Once again it is a case of knowledge versus God; SELF versus God – a repetition of the Fall.  And yet, perhaps God actually used the Fall to work for good, for if humankind had never eaten of the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, had never opted for independence, we would never have been able to CHOOSE to return to God, and God would never have known that He had been chosen freely, willingly, and in love.

On The Predatory World

Many animal welfarists are confused about the predatory aspect of nature and about how it relates to a loving God.  I never cease to be amazed at people, sometimes animal welfarists, who claim that it is healthy and natural for cats to torment birds or for lions to feed upon the gentle gazelle because it is their ‘nature’.  Of course it is their nature now that they are fallen, as we are, but the ‘tooth and claw’ aspect of the predatory world is dreadful and this is reflected in the so called ‘food chain’ of living creatures.  Broken relationships, wars, natural disasters, plagues, disease and death are equally attributable to the Fall.  I cannot believe that a loving God, as reflected in Jesus, intended such a world.  (For an excellent article on Vegetarianism, see Marcello Newall’s blog post, Is Vegetarianism Biblical?) Part One, Part Two.

The Adam and Eve narrative tells of the devil, in the form of a serpent, tempting mankind after which both the animal and human Creation ‘fall’.  I believe that animals, like humans, are now a mixture of light and darkness; and that they will ultimately share in the redemption of the WHOLE Creation.  Although this belief may not be reflected in the ‘philosophical’ areas of the Church, it is upheld by Christ-related doctrines.

The metaphor of ‘curse’ in the form of a serpent, which continues throughout the Old and New Testaments, is important to our understanding of the purpose of Christ.

Early in Jewish history, the Israelites were tormented by a plague of snakes, which they believed was a punishment by God for their faithlessness.  As many Israelites had died and the people were afraid, Moses, after penitential prayer to God, made a bronze snake and hoisted it on a pole as a symbol.  All those who looked at the bronze snake would be healed.  Thus, in the grip of evil, the Israelites were healed by God by a symbol of that same evil.  Jesus tells His followers that He Himself would become the instrument of healing for the world as He is lifted up as a symbol of evil – on the Cross, “As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life” (John 3 v 14).

The Book of Revelation, Chapter 20, tells of the ultimate defeat of the devil, again represented by the serpent, as Christ’s Kingdom is established.

In Christ Jesus is the redemption of fallen Creation!

Thank you for reading and following our blog! We hope you will ‘like’ and ‘share’ it! Your comments are always welcome! ~Ros

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Christian Animal Welfarists Challenged (Part One)

The Lord is my Light and Salvation – 8tracks.com

Many people, animal welfarists particularly, have turned away from Christian churches, because they believe them to be insensitive to the needs of Creation.  In Christ all things are created and in Him all things are to be redeemed, but humankind, in its fallenness, has abnegated its God-given responsibility for a loving care of Creation and has instead instituted a self-centred tyranny.  Thus animals suffer such legal abuses as factory farming, vivisection, bloodsports fur/skin trading, etc.  As these abuses have escalated in recent decades, the churches have remained largely silent.  They have indeed failed to address Creation issues, though this situation is now changing and individual Christians are at last recognising the responsibilities of stewardship which we must bear. Continue reading

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How Losing My Faith Helped Me Find (Real) Faith – Part Three and Conclusion

Matters of the Heart
by Chris Kennedy
Compliments of CreationSwap

The second extreme view of faith, which is focused on works alone, often leads to legalism and self-reliance, with resulting self-righteousness. It can distract from the importance of what Jesus did on the cross, and from Him as the way, the truth, and the life. (Of course, belief-based faith can ALSO do this, as people’s beliefs often become their idols – their sources of life.) Putting faith in works alone can lead to not caring about or seeking truth. A popular attitude in modern culture is, “As long as I’m a good person, I’ll go to heaven.” Or, “Do good to others, and all paths lead to the same place.” But this in itself is taking only one stance out of many possibilities.

Continue reading

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How Losing My Faith Helped Me Find (Real) Faith – Part Two

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How Losing My Faith Helped Me Find (Real) Faith – Part One

There are so many people who, as a result of this fallen world, don’t have loving family members.  Today in the U.S. it is Father’s Day, and some of you reading may be missing your dads, or depressed that you never had a dad, or triggered over bad memories of abusive parents.  I love scripture like John 14:18 about God comforting us through hard days, but it was not truly comforting to me when I could not perceive God as a loving Father.  We have so many negative views of God, some taught by dysfunctional families, some by society, some by mistaken theology in our churches.  I will be writing about one area in which our view of God has been twisted – faith and salvation.  My hope is that it will be freeing and healing to you.  I encourage you to start trying to see God as the extravagant love of Christ crucified; it can be very paradigm shifting, life altering, and heart healing. Continue reading

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Messianic Time and Animals – Part Four and Conclusion

Photo by Marcello Newall

For those who have not read:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

THE SABBATH: GODS TIME IN HISTORY

As a tangible lesson of Messianic time and what it entails, in the Hebrew Bible we find the example of the Sabbath:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six  days  the  Lord  made  the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.[19] Continue reading

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Messianic Time and Animals – Part Three

Photo by Marcello Newall

For those who have not read:
Part One
Part Two

LIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY

The Bible presents what is essentially a dynamic view of righteousness. We are shown an initial ideal in the first two chapters of Genesis and are later presented with the long journey back to that harmony and perfection which is reached in the last two chapters of Revelation. One consistent theme in the Scriptures is that as light and understanding increase so do God’s standards. God is willing to meet people where they are for a season, accommodating to their ignorance and weakness, but he is always leading them forward towards his ideal. Continue reading

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Remembering the Fallen at War – Human and Animal

Taking into captivity companion armored – an episode from the Swedish War, 1894
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

In the United States, today marks the day upon which Americans will honor the fallen at war.  Yet, how often during this day of remembrance will people think also of the animals that were part of our wars?  I would say “served”, yet I hardly think that animals served at war, it certainly was not their choice; mankind used them in war to suit his needs.   So, I was happy to come across this website that honors animals in war – a memorial page for them!  On the “Stories” page is the following haunting, yet beautiful poem: Continue reading

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Messianic Time and Animals – Part Two

Photo by Marcello Newall

For those who have not read Part One.

MESSIANIC  TIME

 The radical contrast between the Christian and the secular view of time is both profound and startling. Whereas secular time varies between a view that sees history as an unending chain of death and sin and one that has placed its hope in a tepid notion of progress, Messianic time views the world as the theatre and stage of God’s victory over evil, and every moment as the moving towards its eschatological fulfillment in the Kingdom of God. Messianic time is above all based on the death and resurrection of Christ which have radically redefined history: Continue reading

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Messianic Time and Animals – Part One

Photo by Marcello Newall

LIVING AT THE END OF HISTORY

In 1989 the political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a landmark paper entitled ‘The End of History’. In the view of Fukuyama the end of the Cold War represented the completion of history as we know it and, what he believed to be, the triumph of liberal democracy and free-market capitalism that would now become the default political and economic system of all of humanity. Even though Fukuyama’s hypothesis is highly debatable, his basic premise is strongly reminiscent of the Judaeo-Christian worldview. Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Six – Conclusion

Jesus Casts Out The Money Changers
By William Hole
Wikimedia Commons

For those who have not yet read:
Part One
Part Two

Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

To put it simply, the sacrificial cult does not work. It never has worked. All those animal sacrifices were completely unnecessary. Even if the original tabernacle were put in place by God to teach a sacrificial people about having peace with God, the atonement of sins and even the coming messiah, the people have not listened, ever. They go and make sacrifices, literally get blood on their hands and then, nothing. Continue reading

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Prayer Event “Loosing The Animals” Recap

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
–Matthew 16:19; 18:18
For more about our important role as prayer warriors see this post,
“Keys To The Kingdom”

Used with express permission from
livingoutsidethestacks.com

During the week of Monday 5/1 through Sunday 5/7, many of SAGC Prayer Group members joined in prayer to bind the enemy’s evil forces which oppress creation, and to loose the animals to the Lord for their liberation. We also prayed to bind the evil powers which deceive humans into committing, supporting, and covering up cruelty, and loose all people to Jesus, so they can know and reflect His truth and love. We focused our prayer on specific issues facing animals, detailed in our Prayer List. Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Five

NASB_Matthew 21-12 Money Changers in the Temple

For those who have not yet read:
Part One
Part Two

Part Three
Part Four

I suspect the reason why most preachers focus only on the money changers is due to the words that Jesus spoke. In the Gospel of John He says ‘Stop making My Father’s House a market place!’ (John 2:16). Indeed it was a market place, specifically the temples animal market! This marketplace was necessary for the running of the sacrificial system. However, in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus refers to the temple as a ‘den of robbers’. This has led people to believe that Jesus criticism was about the money changers who were being dishonest with their customers. However this is not what the text implies. Continue reading

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