Recently, a poll conducted by the authors of Environmental Values in American Culture (MIT Press), revealed some surprising news: Most Americans agree with the statement "Because God created the world, it's wrong to abuse it."

It is safe to say that the environment has not been prominent on the evangelical agenda. We may privately acknowledge the need to be better stewards of our natural resources, but we generally stay away from groups and organizations working on environmental issues because we suspect they are either too "liberal," "New Age," or both. Indeed, some groups clearly have New Age ties, and political liberals seem to have cornered the environmental market. But if this poll accurately reflects the philosophical underpinnings of most Americans regarding care of the planet, our fears may have been unwarranted. Rank-and-file Americans want to take better care of the earth for the same reason we do: God made it.

Happily, more evangelicals are being motivated more by obedience to God's Word than by fears spread by environmental extremists. The recent formation of the Christian Society of the Green Cross is a case in point. The society's quarterly, Green Cross, "seeks to help Christians become good stewards of creation" and promotes biblical thinking about ecological issues.

For years, World Vision International has built environmental stewardship into its development ministry. Working in Ethiopia's Ansokia Valley, ravaged by famine, World Vision helped local residents plant millions of trees for food and fuel and to stabilize the soil, and pioneered the use of drought-resistant crops. Now the valley is green and exports food to other regions.

Michigan's AuSable Institute, begun by a small group of Christian biologists, ...

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