In preparation for Lent, we began with Part One of Roslyne Smith‘s article, “The suffering Of The Innocents,” from her book, Animal Welfare: Through The Cross, A Collection of Animal Christian Concern Articles (you can order her book here).  Roslyne was saying that we are “all born into a world where the innocent, including animals, are just as likely to suffer as the guilty.”  The question was asked:  “Could it be then that suffering exists because humans chose this option in Eden? Perhaps the alternative is worse – a world without free will?”  And now the conclusion…

Shepherding All God’s Creatures Emblem

This highlights the importance of animal welfare: If we are the cause of and God’s reason for HAVING to allow suffering in this world, is it not mankind’s responsibility to strive to alleviate the suffering of the animals forced to share it?

Something else I learnt through working with May was that, when God came to earth in Jesus and took on that flesh, which is shared by humans and animals, His one purpose was to redeem all His creatures from the disastrous effects of the Fall. In the Old Testament, Isaiah had a vision that a Messiah would come who would one day restore harmony to ALL creation: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat … and a little child will lead them … and the lion will eat straw like the ox … they will neither harm nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11).  In the New Testament, Paul describes the sufferings of a fallen creation: “all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth”, a creation awaiting a redemption which is dependent upon the fulfilment of the sons of God (mankind).  Animals are AWAITING mankind’s transformation into the knowledge and love of God in Jesus (Romans 8).  ACC has always aimed to unite animal welfarists and Christians in their work towards a common goal of humans taking responsibility for reducing animal suffering.

Reading through 20 years of ‘ACC Newsletters’, it has not been easy to decide which articles to include in this book.  Those I eventually selected, I have placed in chronological order within each part, but they can be read in any order.

For me, one article stood out in particular:  ‘Through The Cross To The New Creation’, which I hope most will find time to read.  Here, May describes the Cross as “a symbol of the world’s cruelty, a symbol of the world’s separation from God (Genesis 3), which even Jesus Himself had to feel as He bore our sin at Calvary”.  Similarly, WE need to “bear the pain of our own crosses, our own separations from God, for if we have never encountered the suffering that is in the world, how then can we ever hope to understand the gulf which lies between the world’s sinfulness and the purity of God?” How too, can we recognise our need of a Saviour and so become His ‘New Creation’:  If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16).

Campaigning for Christian Animal Welfare is stressful work, as seen in the article entitled ‘Overkill’.  Not only do we have to bear the ‘cross’ of learning about the horror of legal and commercial abuse of animals, but we also have to endure opposition, indifference and ridicule from many different groups of people – yet another ‘cross’.

I suspect that most readers will be either animal welfarists who are looking into the Christian faith; or Christians who feel alone in a church which lacks the determination to say or do anything positive against animal cruelty.  I do hope that Christians from all different denominations; including ‘grass roots’, vegan, vegetarian, evangelical and ‘green’ Christians, will read ‘Animal Welfare: Through The Cross’. It is also my hope that this book will be read by all types of animal welfarists; including animal rights militant, vegan, vegetarian, new age and ‘green’ ecologists.  Yet it may well be that many readers will not consider themselves to be in any of these categories, but they are simply looking to gain a better understanding.

Quote from May Tripp: “Our battle for animal rights is a conflict which is running parallel to countless other battles for HUMAN justice, but I believe that OUR battle is taking place on the ‘last frontier’.  At last our concern has extended beyond those of HUMAN self-centredness.  We are at last praying and working for a restored harmony in the WHOLE creation.”

Thank you for reading and following our blog; we hope you are blessed by it and share it with others!  Blessings ~ Roslyne

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