Co-sponsored by Christianity Today, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Evangelical Environmental Network, the conference was held at the Sandy Cove Christian Conference Center in Maryland. On the evening of June 29, standing at an outdoor podium against the backdrop of the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, Rev. Dwight McKissic, Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, spoke powerfully of creation’s witness to its Maker. Quoting from Scripture and hymns and alluding to the history of great Christian preaching, McKissic constructed a counterpoint of nature’s and humankind’s praise and testimony to the Creator.
“God has been faithful to send great preachers to proclaim his name throughout history, the history of the Christian church.... However, David and Paul taught that before any of these preachers came along, God's creation proclaimed his greatness, goodness, glory, and yes, even the gospel. Long before any of these men took the stage, Paul said that God's invisible attributes are clearly seen in creation and his eternal power and Godhead, leaving man without excuse when it comes to expressing faith in God.
"David and Paul taught that God revealed Himself through nature. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God,’ David said. ‘And the firmament shows forth his handiwork.’
“In my tradition, all preachers, when talking about the creation would say, ‘God stepped out on nothing, and stood on nowhere, and hung something where there was nothing, and said stay there.’"
McKissick noted how great hymns have used imagery from creation to convey the grace of God:
“You heard the story about a Chicago lawyer, en route to a funeral, and on the boat ride heard about another death in his family. But, God calmed his heart and wrote the words, 'When peace like a river, shall attendeth my way.' I am reminded of another hymn that Martin Luther King, Jr. was so fond of calling: 'I've seen the lightening flashing, I've heard the thunders rolling and I've felt the breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I've heard the voice of Jesus, telling me to still fight on. For he's promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.'"
And what must be our response to this witness of scripture and creation to the “greatness, goodness, glory” and grace of God?
“David says, 'Praise the Lord, praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in his firmament, praise his mighty acts. Praise Him according to his excellent greatness. Let everything that hath breath praise ye the Lord.' This is my Father's world. Amen.”