This week I stumbled upon a little book which prompts a Sighting of one way some evangelicals are dealing with the environmental crisis and the future. It's Lindy Scott, ed., Christians, the Care of Creation, and Global Climate Change (Pickwick), based on a conference at Illinois' Wheaton College, often called the flagship evangelical liberal arts college-one of several flagships. The only "known" contributors are Wheaton President A. Duane Litfin and super-scientist and up-front evangelical, ex-Oxonian Sir John Houghton, who spoke and wrote on "Big Science, Big God." The rest of the essays, reports, and proposals are from students and graduates of Wheaton and its kin and kind.
One of the essayists therein is student Ben Lowe, who copes with the issue of evangelicals shying away from environmental concerns. Marty relates some evangelical environmental hangups and hints at the answers:
- The environment isn't really in crisis." Lowe lists seven patent "degradations" of the climate, and agrees with Calvin De Witt that "the common agent...is human action."
- "Everything's going to burn up anyway." This is the word of the "Eschatology determines ethics" apocalypticists, whom he counters effectively.
- "Fear of paganism, nature worship and panentheism." This case is a bit blurry, and demands more careful examination than he gives it, but his report is accurate.
- "Higher priorities: save souls, not whales." This is the oldest standard evangelical put-down; Lowe and others in the book really take that one on, and down.