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Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace: Overcoming the Divorce between Earth and Heaven Paperback – July 13, 2011
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"This book clearly reveals that Snyder's conjunctive theology is congruent with East Asian ways of thinking. The scope of soteriology in his numerous books has been from creation to new creation. This book, however, is exceptionally thorough. It really does reconceive the whole meaning of salvation in a more soundly biblical way."
"In Salvation Means Creation Healed, Howard and Joel speak prophetic truth for Christ's Church, which continues to be deceived by the sirens of Platonic idealism that separate matter and spirit into two different worlds. God is redeeming Creation. A must read!"
"Salvation Means Creation Healed crafts a stunning vision of the breadth of God's Reign in Jesus Christ over all things in both heaven and earth and then invites the church to participate fully. It is compelling. It is challenging. It demands a response."
author of The End of Evangelicalism?
"In an era of dramatic and irreversible destruction of the earth's resources, Salvation Means Creation Healed is a timely call for Christians to recover a biblical vision of the missio dei as the restoration of all creation. We all need to heed this call toward a fullness of the gospel, pledging ourselves to reconcile the unfortunate divorce between heaven and earth. Our grandchildren's future is at stake."
--Cheryl Bridges Johns
Church of God Seminary
Snyder continues to burst old wineskins with Salvation Means Creation Healed. This is an important biblical, theological and historical examination of how modern evangelicalism has lost its way with regard to creation care and the gospel. Among all the recent publications on creation care, Snyder is the first to show how far back the roots of the "divorce between heaven and earth" really go. Every pastor and serious church leader who needs to get up to speed on what the issues in creation care are all about needs this book.
Edward R. Brown, Director
Care of Creation Inc.
Author, Our Father's World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation --Wipf and Stock Publishers
About the Author
Howard A. Snyder holds the Chair of Wesley Studies at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto. His numerous books include The Problem of Wineskins (1975), The Community of the King (1977, 2004), and EarthCurrents: The Struggle for the World's Soul (1995). Joel Scandrett is a visiting professor of theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and former academic editor at InterVarsity Press. He holds a Ph.D. from Drew University, where he worked closely with Thomas Oden in the development of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (I.V.P.).
Top customer reviews
Sometimes a bit repetitive, but definitely a must read!!
In Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace: Overcoming the Divorce Between Earth and Heaven (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011; Kindle edition), Snyder – a theologian of mission and John Wesley scholar – boldly challenges the Church to broaden its narrow conception of salvation to encompass the full panorama of God’s loving concern, as presented in Scripture. If the ideas championed in his book were to take hold, the mission of the Church in the world would look radically different than it has for much of the past 100 years.
John Wesley often structured his sermons in terms of “sickness/cure,” and Howard Snyder adopts a similar methodology. Following Chapter 1, a treatment of the “divorce of heaven and earth” due to a dominant neo-Platonism that prioritizes the value of spirit over matter, Snyder details a “fourfold alienation” under the heading of the “ecology of sin” (see pp. 68-78):
1) alienation with God;
2) alienation from one another;
3) alienation from ourselves (internal division), and
4) alienation from the land.
Following a time-honored Wesleyan paradigm, Snyder treats sin as a moral disease. Because sin is fourfold in nature , the Gospel as cure must address each aspect of the condition or be incomplete. Snyder argues that evangelical soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) has indeed been grossly inadequate. While we have effectively addressed the first point (alienation from God) – preaching tirelessly about justification and sanctification – we’ve had less to say about points 2 and 3 and until recently were wholly silent on point 4. (Note: Snyder correctly points out that John Wesley himself later in life had much more to say about God’s concern for all creation, not just human beings).
For Snyder, the one biblical concept that covers all four alienations is that of healing. This healing is not a far-off, wholly spiritual prospect reserved for an ethereal “heaven.” Rather, healing is for the here-and-now, an expansive, cosmic restoration of all creation in which the Church – empowered and gifted by the Holy Spirit – actively participates. Snyder argues (p. 38):
But an agenda remains. The church spread throughout the earth but often doesn’t see the earth. The church is still far from realizing its potential to renew and heal the land. Millions of people have been reconciled to God. Yet the full promise of salvation as creation healed is yet to become real and visible worldwide.
Turning from sickness to cure, the book capably unpacks the meaning of the covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:8-15). This first covenant is both everlasting and for the “preservation of creation” (Snyder, p. 55). Importantly, it is a three-way covenant, i.e. between God, humans, and creatures. Snyder observes that it “has never been revoked, and largely defines stewardship on earth” (p. 90). In Chapter 6, “The Groans of Creation,” the reader uncovers what such stewardship means in relation to climate change, the overstressed oceans, and deforestation. At its core, taking care of the earth is a human question since it is poor people who are first and most affected by human practices that throw the earth’s systems out of kilter. Synder rightly observes: “Creation care is pro-life” (p. 83). Later, he concludes: “If we are passionate about people, we will be passionate about their world” (p. 152).
Salvation Means Creation Healed is an ambitious book, perhaps too ambitious. Chapter 11 delves into the nature of the Church, introducing material on worship styles that – while interesting – is tangential to the main thrust of the book. That central concern is relating soteriology to ecology. Thankfully, Snyder finds his footing once again at the end of Chapter 12, speaking of how the “stigmata” ( the marks of the Church) should be practiced through four principles as related to Creation (pp. 198-200):
1) the earthkeeping principle;
2) the Sabbath principle;
3) the fruitfulness principle;
4) the fulfillment and limits principle.
These four principles provide a positive agenda for how the Church can rectify the fourth alienation, our distance from and poor stewardship of God’s good earth.
Howard Snyder adds his voice to a rising chorus of those who have concluded that the Church’s mission – particularly the modus operandi of its Evangelical branch – has been too other-worldly. His is a clarion call to rediscover the biblical Gospel, the full scope of God’s concern for all creation and our duty under God to care for the land. Since Evangelicals – including the descendants of John Wesley – have placed soteriology at the center, Snyder’s re-casting of ecology in soteriological terms is very welcome. May both his tribe and readership increase.