Dispensationalist alert: Only several billion trees to go
[From Douglas LeBlanc at GetReligion.org ]
Blaine Harden of The Washington Post writes with sympathy for evangelicals who care about the environment — or “creation care,” as one pastor says he calls it because of evangelicals’ purported hang-ups about the word environmentalism.
But there’s one big cowpie in those pastoral fields:
Even for green activists within the evangelical
movement, there are landmines. One faction in the movement, called
dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the
world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental
James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first interior secretary,
famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: “God gave
us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come
Something about that example rang false, and it wasn’t just the idea
that even a dispensationalist envisions a day “after the last tree is
felled.” Blogger David Kopel began taking apart this urban legend last week. The remark comes from three primary sources:
• Bill Moyers, in one of his recent screeds against the religious right.
• Glenn Scherer of Grist magazine, whom Moyers cited as his source. (Scherer has appended a correction to the end of his article, “The Godly Must Be Crazy.”)
• Ex-evangelist Austin Miles, whose book Setting the Captives Free (1990) was Scherer’s source.
John “Hindrocket” Hinderaker of Powerline interviewed Watt by phone and performed more fisking, including this excerpt from Watt’s actual testimony in 1981: