by Tom Goodman
April 16, 2008
We have no need to protect natural resources in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ -- did you know that evangelical Christians believe that?
Except that we don't.
Upon receiving the Global Environment Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School in 2004, Bill Moyers claimed that James Watt expressed this view to the U.S. Congress. Watt was President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior and a
Moyers later apologized for passing along this falsehood, but it's just a recent incarnation of a persistent myth that can be traced back to 1967 when Lynn White, Jr. wrote an article in Science magazine called "The Historical Roots of Our
Ecologic Crisis." In it, he argued that Christians have to shoulder the blame for environmental problems because our theology is hostile toward the natural order.
As Austin celebrates Earth Day 2008 this weekend, it's a good time for believers to emphasize "creation care," as we call it. Oh, evangelicals will differ with certain environmental groups that deify the environment or elevate other species
above human beings who are made in the image of God. We even differ with each other on the contentious issue of climate change. But, as Charles Colson urged the press, don't
miss the bigger story: "Evangelicals of all stripes agree that caring for the environment is our Christian duty. And articulating this care is an important part of a Christian worldview."
I love how the 2007 "Evangelical Call to Civic
Responsibility" puts it: "Just as we show our love for the Savior by reaching out to the lost, we believe that we show our love for the Creator by caring for his creation." The statement declared "God-given dominion" is a "sacred
responsibility" that rejects "depletion" and "destruction" of creation. Instead, "our uses of the Earth must be designed to conserve and renew the Earth."
True, this hasn't been an issue on the front burner, but that's changing. As evangelical environmentalist Calvin DeWitt said, "There's been about three decades of a
creation theology and a creation-care theology that is really coming into its fruition." He added, "The biblical theology comes from re-examining texts that are very well known but haven't been applied in recent years. These include things like
the expectation that people will serve the garden and keep it [Genesis 2:15]."
So, learn how to be good stewards of this earth God has entrusted to us. It's part of our life's calling!
Drop by my weblog, Get Anchored, on Earth Day next Tuesday for some links to articles and websites that can help you be a better steward of creation!
Drop By the Blog, Leave a Comment. At my weblog, "Get Anchored," every Sunday I post a new "Song of the Week" (This week, Eric Clapton's "Running on Faith"). Also, every Tuesday I post some entertaining and informative "Links to Your
World." This week, you can also discover the inspiring last lecture of Randy Pausch.
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