Last Things First: The Impact of Eschatology on Ecology
Professor of Philosophy of Religion, and Christian Ethics
Nazarene Theological Seminary
Kansas City, Missouri 64131
From PSCF 46 (June 1994): 116-122.
As is commonly recognized, evangelical Christians have not traditionally given environmentalism a prominent place on their moral agenda. Numerous reasons for this can be identified. One is that many evangelicals are Americans and Americans in general are only reluctantly recognizing the importance of the environmental crisis.1 A second reason is that environmentalism has often been associated with the liberal political agenda and with mainline Christians who do not generally identify with the religious and moral interests that chiefly occupy evangelicals.2 Since evangelicals predominantly are political and moral conservatives, they have looked with considerable suspicion on environmental activists. As explanatory as the first two reasons may be, I would like to highlight a third and far more pivotal obstacle. This is the fact that evangelicals are predominantly committed to an eschatology3 that makes it religiously unnecessary and logically impossible to engage in the long-range commitments to the environment required by a truly serious attitude of ecological stewardship.
An Eschatology of Despair
Evangelicals, and even more so fundamentalists, (who will not be singled out for special consideration), have generally embraced an eschatology that is fundamentally pessimistic regarding the creation and human history. For them, the creation as we know it figures discontinuously rather than continuously in God's plans for consummating history and the Kingdom of God. Uniformly within classical and revised dispensationalism, and the popular apocalypticism4 such as that which Hal Linsey represents, there is the belief that at the end of the Millennium, after evil's final revolt against God, the creation as we know it will be destroyed by God, and will be replaced by a new heaven and a new Earth absolutely free of sin and evil influences.
The eschatology that currently dominates evangelicalism is known as premillennialism. It is often flavored by the dispensationalism5of John Nelson Darby and his successors (e.g., C.I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Charles Ryrie, etc.). (See note 5 for definitions of premillennialism and dispensationalism.) Major changes in dispensationalism have occurred in the past forty years. Most recently a group of scholars identified as progressive dispensationalists has emerged. By and large, they do not believe that destruction of the creation by God is a part of the divine drama. They hold instead that the whole of God's redemptive plan will be completed in a manner that is continuous with this present creation. David L. Turner, for example, says that "the new creation will be none other than the old Adamic universe gloriously liberated from its cacophonous groan to a harmonious song of praise to the One who sits on the throne."6 The time may come when this form of dispensationalism will replace the current discontinuous and pessimistic eschatology. However, the progressive dispensationalists are making it more and more difficult to retain "dispensationalism" as a meaningful term.7
But it is the older forms of dispensationalism (classical and revised), not progressive dispensationalism, that underwrite the eschatology of most of present-day evangelicalism. In many instances, a fairly consistent dispensationalist schema is embraced. In many other instances the eschatology of evangelicals is a popular apocalypticism that borrows from dispensationalism without attempting to be consistent with it. Whatever the form, according to the prevailing premillennialist eschatology, this present world is but the temporary stage on which the divine drama is unfolding. No lasting covenant between God and the creation exists. Although the creation is not viewed as inherently evil, the final destruction of evil entails destruction of the world. In the end, despair, not hope, elimination, not redemption, is this world's truth. You can search the primary and secondary literature in vain for any reason or encouragement to take this world as seriously as a sustained and systematic environmental ethic requires.8
So long as evangelicals hold to an eschatology that
understands the world to exist under a divinely imposed death sentence, we
should expect no major change in their disposition toward the environment or the
environmental movement. They will continue to interpret environmental problems
as among the first fruits of an imminent expression of divine wrath against
"the late, great planet Earth."9 Invitations to participate in sustained efforts at solving environmental
problems will be thought of as futile at best, and as defying God's will at
Evangelicals Have Spoken
There are, of course, many commendable instances of evangelical participation and leadership in efforts to address the environmental crisis. Many consider the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 to be the beginning of the environmental movement in the western world. Joseph K. Sheldon notes that, although the Christian response to the environmental crisis built slowly, in the same year that Carson published her book, E. Sauer published The King of the Earth10 in which he called Christians to ecological responsibility. In 1970, three years after Lynn White's famous essay,11 Francis Schaeffer published Pollution and the Death of Man, probably the most important early response to the environmental crisis by a evangelical.12 It provided solid theological support for a Christian ecological ethic, and for many evangelicals it gave legitimacy to the growing environmental movement.13 In 1971, J. W. Klotz published a book that contrasted God's creation and man's pollution.14 In 1972 H. H. Barnette published The Church and the Ecological Crisis, an important book, written for the general reader.15 Numerous publications followed. After Lynn White's essay, a growing stream of articles by Christians addressed the crisis (80 or so during 1970).16
In 1983 the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship produced a Christian environmentalist manifesto called Earthkeeping: Christian Stewardship of Natural Resources.17 The AuSable Institute for Environmental Studies provides an important support base for evangelicals who want to position themselves at the forefront of environmental ethics. The Institute offers courses, publications and training in environmental ethics for students in Christian colleges. In the summer of 1993 the AuSable Institute, the Oxford Center for Mission Studies, and the World Evangelical Fellowship sponsored a conference in which Christian scholars from the five continents examined the same issues addressed by the 1992 Earth Summit. A World Evangelical Network was formed to encourage evangelicals worldwide to think about their care for creation in light of biblical and theological reflection.18 Additional significant illustrations of a growing evangelical presence in the environmental movement can be cited.19
A Tenacious Obstacle
As noteworthy as recent signs in evangelicalism might be, they do not represent most evangelicals. "The environmental movement," says Loren Wilkinson, "divides and confuses Christians, keeping us at arms length from a crucial arena of social engagement."20 Lying beneath the failure by evangelicals on a broad scale to apply their moral, economic and political energy to the environmental crisis, there is a deep-seated despair about the future of the creation as we know it, a despair which many evangelicals have come to perceive as essential to the Christian faith. This despair arises from theological convictions that are incompatible with a sustained concern for the environment. They also militate against the Bible's call to stewardship. Canadian theologian Douglas John Hall observes that Christians have contributed to the "manifold crisis of our planetary environment" just as surely through what they believe as through what they have done.21
It is surprising to many that the current domination of evangelicalism by premillennialist eschatology and popular apocalypticism has not always been the case. In the United States prior to the Civil War, evangelicals led in efforts at social reform, including the abolition of slavery and the temperance movement.22
But by the end of the Civil War evangelicals had begun to give up the idea that they should seek to change the world. Evangelicalism began to adopt a discontinuous eschatology characterized by historical pessimism and a "corrosive fatalism."23 And so began the "Babylonian captivity" of American evangelicalism, a captivity which has not yet ended.
According to church historian Richard Lovelace, the premillennialism of John Nelson Darby probably came to dominance through the influence of D. L. Moody, who abandoned the post-millennial optimism of the latter 19th century American evangelical stream, and embraced dispensationalism, and with it, pessimism regarding this world.24 Lovelace and others who recognize the impact of dispensationalist premillennialism on evangelicalism also recognize that its influence is not monolithic; not all American evangelicals adopted the dispensationalist valuation of the Earth.25 Nevertheless, it is hard to deny, Lovelace maintains, that the domination of evangelicalism by dispensationalist premillennialism "often dampens zeal for reform and revival, especially in the area of social renewal."26 As a corollary, evangelicals have at a primordial level come to view redemption as salvation out of a doomed creation. Belief that the redemptive work of the Second Adam finally excludes this present world seems not to raise any major doctrinal problems for most evangelicals. Usually in dispensationalism, God's sentence of death on the creation is followed by hope for a new creation, but (with the exception of progressive dispensationalism) only after God has destroyed the present creation as we know it.
Despair regarding this creation ranges from the more serious works of dispensationalists such as C.I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, John F. Walvoord and J. Dwight Pentecost, the almost celebrative pessimism of Hal Lindsey,27 David Wilkerson28 and Jerry Falwell, to the strange mixture of environmentalism and apocalyptic eschatology found in William B. Radke.29 Radke on the one hand urges Christians to look forward with expectancy "to the day when we will leave this planet and be transported to a far more glorious heavenly existence."30 On the other hand he believes that the Bible mandates systematic care for the creation. God intends that Christians be committed to "solving the plight of the Earth,"31 in spite of the fact that one day God will "uncreate all that he has made."32
These two extremes show how wide-ranging the premillennial and dispensational postures toward the world can be. Nevertheless, both positions finally immobilize Christians with regard to the plight of the Earth and its environment. Radke's protest to the contrary not withstanding, it is logically impossible and morally contradictory both to embrace this creation as inviolable and at the same time reject it as hopelessly doomed and excluded from God's future. Even the temporary environmentalism called for by Radke makes impossible the long-range plans and commitments which adequate care for the creation demands. Until evangelicals purge from their vision of the Christian faith the wine of pessimistic dispensationalist premillennialism, the Judeo-Christian doctrine of creation and the biblical image of stewardship will be orphans in their midst. These doctrines will be unable to yield their rich potential for environmental ethics.
What I have referred to as the "Babylonian captivity" of evangelicalism cannot end until a compelling alternative is identified and embraced. Such an alternative will have to embody evangelical convictions regarding the sovereign lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of the scriptures and the Christian hope for the consummation of the Kingdom of God which was inaugurated in the first advent of Christ. Evangelicals will have to be shown from the scriptures that it is essential to the Christian hope that there are compelling Christian reasons for "the Earth to rejoice."33
Reconciling Eschatology and Ecology
Currently in evangelicalism a movement is underway to provide just such an alternative. Evangelical theologians are recovering themes that celebrate the gospel as good news for all creation rather than as a salvaged escape from a creation under capital sentence.34 An increasing number of theologians who proceed from identifiable evangelical convictions are offering a vision of redemption that transcends the premillennialist and dispensationalist paradigm. Let us look at some of the new departures now being taken.
The ax has been most directly laid at the root of discontinuous eschatology by Robert Jewett.35 Jewett uses seven key sayings of Jesus to show convincingly that the strongest New Testament opponent of apocalypticism was Jesus himself. Jesus steadfastly opposed the end-of-time apocalyptists of his day by repeatedly showing the folly of apocalyptic solutions. Those who embraced apocalypticism failed both to comprehend and apprehend the kingdom of God. He observed the monotonous collapse of apocalyptic schemes after they had brought disaster to those who supported them. Jewett warns that "...sincere believers continue to be led to reject the essential message of the Lord they profess to serve by chasing apocalyptic schemes Jesus himself rejected."36 Jewett calls attention to the contradiction between the violence and vengeance associated with apocalypticism, and the peaceable kingdom Jesus inaugurated. Jesus separated "the nationalistic idea of revenge from the hope of redemption."37 The Son of God broke the cycle of violence. He disappointed those who loved vengeance and who hoped that the kingdom of God would "pass the blow on."38
William Dyrness has, like Jewett, gone to the scriptures, especially the New Testament, to find a way out of the dispensationalist wasteland. With eyes and ears tuned to learn the role of this creation in God's future, Dyrness concludes that the Earth ó this creation ó has good reason to rejoice. He rejects apocalyptic eschatology because, according to the scriptures, the creation "always remains open to [God]."39
A disruption of the present creation in order to establish God's righteous rule on Earth is utterly unnecessary. Whatever the consummation of the kingdom proves to be, it will grow out of the current creation God has called good. Such an affirmation, Dyrness believes, is consistent with the New Testament's promise that a complete and final judgement of sin and human history will occur. But the destruction associated with the kingdom's consummation is a destruction of sin and Satanóthose things that threaten creationónot a destruction of the creation itself.40 The consummation of God's kingdom, Dyrness maintains, will be a "sublime showcase" of the creation's goodness which has never been renounced by God.41 He agrees with G. R. Beasley-Murray, who maintains that not a line of Revelation's description of the city of God is incapable of realization within history, even though its perfect expression requires the transcendent order, as John makes plain.42
One of the most compelling attempts to join the meaning of Christian mission and stewardship with care for the creation is being made by theologian Douglas John Hall. For those who will listen, he traces a dependable path out of the dispensationalist wilderness. Hall urges us to realize that "unless the fate of the world does matter to Christians, and in a fundamental way, it is futile to expect [them] to occupy themselves over much with the understanding, nurture, and preservation of non-human species and of the Earth itself."43 God's love and the gospel to which it gives birth
"is applicable in a very concrete sense, and with all of its intensity and mystery to Earth. Even ... the Apocalypse of St. John makes the renewing of [the] Earth the object of ... divine ... love .... Judgement is for ... cleansing ... the world, not its demolition."44
Hall argues forcefully that Christians cannot turn away from this world without turning away from something essential to the gospel. He says that one of the most urgent tasks confronting the church is to learn how to present the gospel and Christian life in this-worldly terms while still remaining faithful to the core of the Christian tradition.45 True, with regard to the future of the creation there is an ambiguity in the New Testament. The apostle Paul can be read in a manner that leaves us with either an "ecological" interpretation of the gospel (esp. Rom. 8: 22-23), or as providing warrant for an other-world spirituality. The latter reading seems to rule out Paul's vision of Christians as standing in solidarity with the whole creation. Hall thinks that the ambiguity serves to warn us that Christian faith is more than worldliness, and it warns us to "maintain a dialectical attitude to the world."46
The warning having been registered, Christians should also realize that the church is at a decisive crossroads in the Christian pilgrimage through history. Either we shall choose to embrace the life of this world, or we shall have chosen, "or been chosen by," death.47 The discontinuous eschatology that dominates evangelicalism teaches otherwise; it says that we can renounce the world and still choose life. But Hall believes that the gospel of Christ properly understood compels us to disagree, to recognize that a rudimentary indicative concerning this world is included in the gospel, viz., that the world "is greatly loved and that its mending is an immediate and vital dimension of the whole work of God."48
The final representative voice now calling for a rescue of evangelicalism from pessimistic eschatology is more influential among evangelical scholars than the others we have examined. In Tracking the Maze, Clark Pinnock, another Canadian, outlines the changes in thought that have emerged from his reexamination of essential evangelical commitments, and condemns the fruitless conflicts that have gone on between mainline and evangelical Christians. He identifies nine major changes now occurring in evangelical theology, changes he apparently embraces. One such change is "a definite shift away from pessimistic premillennialism to a positive outlook, to the belief that Christ can transform culture .... " Says he, "We are seeing the rise of an evangelical social gospel, a liberation theology."49
Theologians and scientists who are evangelicals should join hands to help lead evangelical Christianity out of its bondage to an errant eschatology.50 Dispensationalist premillennialism defrauds the creation of the gospel's promise that it too "will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the glory of the Children of God" (Rom. 8:21, NRSV). It also cripples the witness of evangelical faith in the world.
Both scientists and theologians have access to resources unique to our respective realms of expertise that can, in the words of David Lowes Watson, announce the good news that "God does not foreclose on the creation."51 By employing the voices of the natural order52 and theology, we should join forces to show that the gospel is good news for this creation even as it is good news for all people.
1This reason is given by David Mahan as quoted in Christianity Today, vol. 34, no. 7, April 23, 1990, 38. Douglas John Hall defines the current environmental crisis as "the rapid deterioration of our natural environment under the impact of a rampant technological society. . .," Douglas John Hall, Imaging God: Dominion as Stewardship (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986), vii.
2Dean Ohlman, President of the Fullerton, California based Christian Nature Federation (CNF), as quoted in "Christianity and Ecology: A Better Mix Than Before," Christianity Today, Vol. 34, No. 7, April 23, 1990, 38.
3Eschatology is "the doctrine of last things," or the doctrine of the consummation of the kingdom of God inaugurated in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The word is derived from two Greek words, eschatos ("last" or "last things") and logos (in this instance, "knowledge").
4This phrase is borrowed from Craig Blaising, coeditor of Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: The Search for Definition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992).
5According to Ernest Sandeen, premillennialism is "the hope of the imminent return of Christ, robed now in power and majesty, whose coming will signal the final and complete defeat of the enemy and inaugurate a peaceful kingdom that will last a thousand years" after which will come the final consummation (the "millennium" is mentioned only in Rev. 20:1-10), Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millennarianism: 1800-1930 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970), 4. As the Beacon Dictionary of Theology puts it:
Dispensationalist premillennialism arose in the early 19th century largely through the influence of J.N. Darby and the Plymouth Brethren. It forms the substance and structure of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909), whose subtle but powerful influence is largely responsible for its popularization in evangelical circles. Distinctive of the view is: (1) the division of history into dispensations or eras (usually seven); (2) the division of the Second Coming into two events, the secret Rapture and the public revelation, normally separated by seven years, during which time the Earth experiences the Great Tribulation and raptured saints celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven; (3) the division of the elect into two bodies: the (Gentile) Church, saved by faith, and Jews, saved during the millennium by divine fiat; and (4) a literalistic interpretation of prophecy.
George Lyons, "Premillennialism," Beacon Dictionary of Theology (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1983), 414.
Premillennialism is marked by the idea that society cannot be reformed in any real sense before the return of Christ. But pre-millennialists are not in agreement over what Christians should do in and for society as they await the second advent. Some premillennialists condemn all reform efforts while others believe that until Christ returns Christians should engage in certain kinds of reforms and should do whatever is possible to slow down the decline.
What has been said so far about dispensationalism applies to classical dispensationalism and with qualification to revised dispensationalism. Progressive dispensationalism introduces major revisions of dispensationalist doctrine, so much so that one must read progressive dispensationalism over against the two earlier forms. Craig A. Blaising, one of the major representatives of progressive dispensationalism, answers the question, "What is dispensationalism?" in the following terms:
I have come to see dispensationalism as a tradition of biblical interpretation which has undergone various modifications through its less than 200 year history. Certain themes and emphases give continuity to this tradition, such as an emphasis on the authority of Scripture and the practicality of its exposition for personal and corporate edification. Other emphases include a belief in the relevance of biblical prophecy and apocalyptic for theological work today and an appreciation of diversity in biblical theology as it relates to the history of revelation. These emphases have led dispensationalists to explore the significance of the church as a new manifestation of grace in redemption history and to affirm a future for national, political Israel.
paper presented to the 1993 meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society, Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Oklahoma, November 5-6, 1993). See also Craig A. Blaising, Progressive Dispensationalism (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1993).
6David L. Turner, "The New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-22:5: Consummation of a Biblical Continuum," Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, 265.
7See Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensationalism and Non-dispensational Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), 8.
8In Addresses on Prophecy (Swengal, Pa.: Bible Truth Depot, 1910), C.I. Scofield, a principal representative of classical dispensationalism and editor of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909 and 1917), says that when God destroys this world "its long, strange and tragic drama" will have ended (p. 119).
Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary (1924), and editor of Bibliotheca Sacra (1940-1952), was the major systematic theologian of dispensationalism. He is identified with classical dispensationalism. In his Systematic Theology, Vol. V, Ch. XIV, "The Eternal Kingdom of Christ Incarnate," Chafer discusses the future of the Earth. His position is characteristic of classical dispensationalism (1900-1950), revised dispensationalism (1950-1970), and contemporary popular apocalypticism. According to Chafer, for a period of time after the millennium, a final demonstration of evil will occur on Earth. Satan will be released. An astounding revolt against God will occur. After the program of evil has been fully expressed, "the present heaven and the present Earth [will] pass away and disappear forever. . . . This is God's universe. It is planned and executed, and will be consummated to answer reasons which are within His infinite Being (Mt. 24:35; Heb. 1:10-12; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12; Rev. 20:11)," Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology: Christology, Vol V, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1948), 362.
Afterwards, Chafer says, God will repeat his mighty creative act by creating a new heaven and a new Earth. The new creation will be so unlike the old, and so exalted above it, that "the former creation will not be brought to mind" (Ibid., 365).
In all of Chafer's soteriology, nothing is said about this creation being included in salvation. Given the Earth's future, the situation could not be otherwise (Chafer, Vol III, Soteriology).
In Will Man Survive?, J. Dwight Pentecost, a major representative of revised dispensationalism, discussed what he believed to be the major problems confronting humankind. Problems such as war, lawlessness, injustice, ignorance, sickness, disease, and so forth are identified. But concern for the creation is not mentioned. Admittedly, this would have been early in the emergence of environmental awareness. J. Dwight Pentecost, Will Man Survive?: Prophecy You Can Understand (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), 178-189.
John F. Walvoord, another significant representative of revised dispensationalism, said that the Scriptures clearly state the destruction of the old heaven and the old Earth (2 Pet. 3:10,12). "In view of the tremendous energy locked into every material atom, the same God who locked in this energy can unlock it and destroy it, reducing it to nothing." "Since the power of God that locked in atomic power can also unlock it, it is possible that the destruction of the physical Earth and heaven will be a gigantic explosion in which all goes back to nothing. Out of this God could create a new heaven and a new Earth as a base for eternity. In any case, the new Earth will be totally different from the old Earth... " John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies: 37 Crucial Prophecies that Affect You Today (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), 414.
The same dismal prospects for the Earth are found in C. Leslie Miller: Satan and man will have destroyed God's Earth "until it is no longer fit for habitation." So, God will destroy it and create a new Earth (Goodbye World, Glendale, Ca.: G/L Publications, 1972), 131.
In a Handbook of Biblical Prophecy, edited by Carl Armerding and W. Ward Gasque, James Robert Ross gives instructions to premillennialists regarding how to live "between two ages." He urges Christians to become politically and socially engaged. Vital Christianity, he says, does not motivate one to withdraw from the world as though it were a sinking ship. But when we look for a reason to make commitments to the world, Ross provides nothing. Instead, we are warned not to forget "the judgment that stands over the world" (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), 239.
In Hal Lindsey, the best known contemporary representative of popular apocalypticism, the pattern we have seen so far does not change, except that he treats the eventual destruction of the world as an event to celebrate. Christians, he says, look forward to "the ultimate trip" when they will be "snatched away" to be with Jesus in heaven (p. 137). After the millennium, Satan will be released momentarily. Then God will crush the last rebellion, "there will be no more human history." Lindsey thinks that 2 Peter 3:10-13 predicts cosmic nuclear destruction: Christ will loose "the atoms of the galaxy in which we live. No wonder there will be a great roar and intense fire." Then comes the new creation: "Christ will put the atoms back together to form a new heaven and a new Earth, in which only glorified persons without their sinful natures will live" (p. 179). The "new Earth," not this one which is sentenced to death, is the one Lindsey loves and wants to inhabit: "There will be no more rebellion of man's will against God; only righteousness, peace, security, harmony and joy. That's where we want to be." Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), 179.
9Loren Wilkinson, "How Christian is the Green Agenda?" Christianity Today, Vol. 37, No. 1, January 11, 1993, 20.
10E. Sauer, The King of the Earth (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co), 1962, 9.
11"The Historic Roots of our Ecological Crisis." Lynn White called Christianity "The most anthropocentric religion the world has ever seen." Because of its belief in human dominion, the desacralizing of nature and its belief that ultimate human destiny lies with God rather than with the Earth, Christianity has encouraged a destructive exploitation of the world. White's article was published in Science, Vol. 155, No. 3767, March 10, 1967, 1203-1207. See the rebuttal by Ernest S. Feenstra, "Christian Impact on Ecology," Science, Vol. 156, No. 3776, May 12, 1967, 737.
12Francis Schaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1970).
13Joseph K. Sheldon, Rediscovery of Creation: A Bibliographical Study of the Church's Response to the Environmental Crisis (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992), 29. This is the most comprehensive bibliographical study of the church's response to the environmental crisis.
14J.W. Klotz, Ecological Crisis: God's Creation and Man's Pollution (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971).
15H.H. Barnett, The Church and the Ecological Crisis (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing House, 1972).
17Loren Wilkinson, ed., Earthkeeping: Christian Stewardship of Natural Resources (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980), revised as Earthkeeping in the 90's: Stewardship and the Renewal of Creation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991).
18Loren Wilkinson, "How Christian is the Green Agenda?," 19. In 1988 the AuSable Institute sponsored a conference with the theme, "Peace, Justice, and the Integrity of the Creation." Calvin DeWitt, head of the AuSable Institute, says that Christians have become increasingly aware that the environmental crisis is of direct importance to them (quoted in Christianity Today, Vol. 33, No. 13, September 22, 1989, 38).
19Ibid, 18-19. One additional sign is the Land-Stewardship Project headed by Ronald Kroese. Kroese's organization works with churches and other groups to promote farming methods that preserve the environment (Christianity Today, Vol. 33, No. 13, September 22, 1989). See Anthony Campolo, How to Rescue the Earth Without Worshipping Nature, Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1992.
21Douglas John Hall, Imaging God, 24.
22Timothy L. Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War (Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1957).
23Tom Sine, "Bringing Down the Final Curtain," Sojourners, Vol. 13, No. 6, June-July 1984, 11.
24Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downer's Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1979), 410.
25Charles and Archibald Hodge, William G. Shedd, A.H. Strong, and B.B. Warfield.
26Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 411.
27Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1970); Satan is Alive and Well on the Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1972); The Terminal Generation (Old Tappan, N. J.: Revell, 1976). See Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992).
28David Wilkerson, The Vision (Old Tappas, N.J.: Fleming Revell Press, 1973); Racing Toward Judgment (Lindale, TX.: David Wilkerson Youth Crusades, 1976).
29William B. Radke, Project Earth: Preserving the World God Created (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1991). Radke is associate professor of Bible and Theology at Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary, Langley, B.C.
33William A. Dyrness, Let The Earth Rejoice: A Biblical Theology of Wholistic Mission (Westchester, IL: Crossways Books, 1983).
34Wilkinson, "How Christian is The Green Agenda?," 20. (Cf. note #18.)
35Robert Jewett, Jesus Against The Rapture (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1979). See also Tom Sine, "Bringing Down the Final Curtain," Sojourners, Vol. 13, No. 6, June/July, 1984, 14.
37Ibid., 55, Jewett is quoting Joachim Jeremias.
39Dyrness, Let the Earth Rejoice, 25.
42Ibid., 132; Beasley-Murray's statement is taken from "How Christian is the Book of Revelation?," Reconciliation and Hope: New Testament Essays on Atonement and Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1975, R. Banks, ed.), 281. According to Dyrness, "Continuity is confirmed by the fact that twice John mentions that all the glory of the nations will be brought into the New Jerusalem" (Revelation 21:24,26).
43Douglas John Hall, Imaging God, 1986, 26.
44Douglas John Hall, The Stewardship of Life and the Kingdom of Death (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1988), 54-55.
46John Macquarrie, Principles of Christian Theology, as quoted by Hall, Imaging God, 36.
47Hall, Imaging God, 40.
49Clark H. Pinnock, Tracking The Maze: Finding Our Way Through Modern Theology From An Evangelical Perspective (New York: Harper and Row, 1990), 68.
50James Huchingson, Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement (Harcourt and Brace, 1993).
51David Lowes Watson, God Does Not Foreclose: The Universal Promise of Salvation (Nashville, TN:Abington Press, 1990), 65.
52The recent news from NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite regarding the critical density of the universe is one example.