Vol. 36, No. 1
Confessions of an over-consuming church
Below is an excerpt from the Accra Confession adopted by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) in 2004. It challenges people of faith to recognize the ways in which consumerism keeps people from caring for creation while keeping them from fully loving themselves, others and God.
… 18. We believe that God is sovereign over all creation. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (Psalms 24.1)
19. Therefore, we reject the current world economic order imposed by global neo-liberal capitalism and any other economic system, including absolute planned economies, which defy God’s covenant by excluding the poor, the vulnerable and the whole of creation from the fullness of life. We reject any claim of economic, political and military empire which subverts God’s sovereignty over life and acts contrary to God’s just rule.
20. We believe that God has made a covenant with all of creation (Genesis 9.8-12). God has brought into being an earth community based on the vision of justice and peace. The covenant is a gift of grace that is not for sale in the market place (Isaiah 55.1). It is an economy of grace for the household of all of creation. Jesus shows that this is an inclusive covenant in which the poor and marginalized are preferential partners and calls us to put justice for the “least of these” (Matthew 25.40) at the center of the community of life. All creation is blessed and included in this covenant (Hosea 2.18ff).
21. Therefore we reject the culture of rampant consumerism and the competitive greed and selfishness of the neo-liberal global market system or any other system which claims there is no alternative.
22. We believe that any economy of the household of life given to us by God’s covenant to sustain life is accountable to God. We believe the economy exists to serve the dignity and wellbeing of people in community, within the bounds of the sustainability of creation. We believe that human beings are called to choose God over Mammon and that confessing our faith is an act of obedience.
23. Therefore we reject the unregulated accumulation of wealth and limitless growth that has already cost the lives of millions and destroyed much of God’s creation.
24. We believe that God is a God of justice. In a world of corruption, exploitation and greed, God is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor, the exploited, the wronged and the abused (Psalms 146.7-9). God calls for just relationships with all creation.
25. Therefore we reject any ideology or economic regime that puts profits before people, does not care for all creation and privatizes those gifts of God meant for all…
26. We believe that God calls us to stand with those who are victims of injustice. We know what the Lord requires of us: to do justice, love kindness, and walk in God’s way (Micah 6.8). We are called to stand against any form of injustice in the economy and the destruction of the environment, “so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5.24)….
…28. We believe that God calls us to hear the cries of the poor and the groaning of creation and to follow the public mission of Jesus Christ who came so that all may have life and have it in fullness (John 10.10). ...
33. We commit ourselves to seek a global covenant for justice in the economy and the earth in the household of God.
34. We humbly confess this hope, knowing that we, too, stand under the judgment of God’s justice.
We acknowledge the complicity and guilt of those who consciously or unconsciously benefit from the current neo-liberal economic global system; we recognize that this includes both churches and members of our own Reformed family and therefore we call for confession of sin.
We acknowledge that we have become captivated by the culture of consumerism and the competitive greed and selfishness of the current economic system. This has all too often permeated our very spirituality.
We confess our sin in misusing creation and failing to play our role as stewards and companions of nature...
Faith in action: