Skip to main content

Should Christian Be Environmentalists?

Should Christian Be Environmentalists? By Dan Story


Dan Story, apologist for the Christian faith has written a timely and provocative book on the relationship between Christians and the environment. Growing up with a passionate fervor for the environment and being heavily involved with environmental efforts since the 1970’s, Story knows what it’s like first hand to have a profound respect for God’s creation. In this book, Dan tries to bring together a biblical theology of nature, respond to secular environmentalists and develop an apologetic platform for the faith through Christian environmentalism.

One of the eye-opening chapters in the book was the chapter entitled Are Non-Christian Religions More Environmentally Responsible Than Christianity? Mr. Story goes to great lengths to brush aside the common held belief that all pre-literate and tribal societies respected and did not alter the environment in which they lived. The reader gets a partial glimpse of a story told by anthropologist George Catlin about the Sioux killing 1400 buffalo just for their tongues, which was used in trading for whiskey (44). Beyond the killing of animals, tribal groups would burn up the land in order to plant new crops or to kee their livestock encircled. What caught my attention after reading this chapter was how easily I had succumbed to the idea that pre-literate tribes (including Indians) were environmentally pure. I think that part of this thinking was how I was taught growing up in school (social studies), but also my little reading into the practices of these societies.

One of my favorite parts of the book was Mr. Story’s insistence on weaving the biblical narrative in connection with environmentalism. As a Christian apologist, Story helpfully speaks of God’s role over creation while maintaining the idea that God is in no way a part of the creation (78-79). In writing about the image of God in man, Story carefully delineates the practical reality of this doctrine by stating, “Why is this important in terms of developing an environmental doctrine? To be created in God’s image is to be endowed with responsibilities…we are to have the same loving concern for nature that God has for nature..maintain it, nurture it, even in a sense “save” it (from destructive exploitation and abuse)” (83). There is a moral, spiritual, and physical responsibility given to man in his stewardship over creation. Furthermore, if part of the goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Christ and Christ cares greatly for his creation, this is all the more reason why should follow after his example in caring for God’s creation.

The next few chapters of the book help the reader understand the fall, redemption and stewardship within a biblical context. The last few chapters deal with the role of the church in dealing with environmental concerns, biblical environmental ethics, and evangelism and ecology. Of particular note is the Environmental Doctrinal Statement on page 127 which gives a biblical and theological snapshot of what it means to see the creation in light of God’s word and how what stewardship entails (the responsibility and the sin involved with the environment).

What really sparked my mind as I was reading through this book was how immensely practical yet biblically faithful this book is. I came away from this book with a profound sense of wonder at the creative order but also with a sense of my own responsibility to it. Secondly, Mr. Story brings to the forefront the person of Christ in the discussion of these issues, which I have failed to take into account myself.

I highly commend this book to anyone interested in the environment, the abuse of the earth at the hands of humans, and those wanting to develop a biblical theology of the environment. This book written by someone who loves God’s world and God’s word should go a long way in furthering the discussion between faith and the creation in which we live in.

Much thanks to Kregel Publications for the review copy of this book.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…