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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 15 reviews
on August 20, 2012
Often Christians lag behind the wider cultural when it comes to social change. This is felt most acutely in the realm of the environment. Suspicions about secularism and New Age spirituality have caused many conservative Christians to dismiss the environmental movement. Advancing a controversial claim among some environmentalists, Dan Story argues that Christianity and the Bible provide the best framework for environmental stewardship.

Dan Story wrote Should Christians Be Environmentalists? with three purposes in mind. First, he wanted to encourage environmental stewardship among Christians by providing a bible-based theological framework for creation care (11). Second, he wanted to provide an apologetic for Christian environmentalism against claims that Christianity is the `root cause' of environmental problems (a thesis famously argued by Lynn White in 1967 but also several others) (11). Lastly he wanted to encourage Christians to use their concern for creation as a point of contact for evangelism(12). Story succeeds in each of these objectives. Along the way he manages to reference a good deal of academic literature regarding theology and the environment yet remain accessible.

The book divides into three parts. In part one, Story assesses where we are as a culture in our approach to environmental concerns. He argues that the materialist underpinnings of secular culture provides no real basis for long term environmental stewardship, he challenges the notion that Christians are responsible for environmental crisis and the notion that other religions are `more in tune' with the environment. But he also makes clear that humans have made a significant impact on the earth and that we are all responsible for mismanaging natural resources and causing damage to our world. In part 2 he provides a Bible-based theology of nature (through the framework of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Stewardship. Story describes the trajectory of the Biblical story (from Eden to (re)New(ed) Earth), the way human `dominion' has been misunderstood to mean exploitation rather than stewardship and how the `fall' has caused us to use and abuse the earth selfishly and greedily. In part three he focuses he advocates Christian concern for the environment (from the biblical framework he just sketched).

My only major critique of this book is the title. Certainly Story is cognizant of the fact that many Christians have been wary of the environmental movement, but this is not really a book which explores if Christians should be environmentalists. Instead it is a book which advocates strongly for creation care and stewardship of the environment from a Christian perspective, provides an apologetic for Christian involvement because of anti-Christian environmentalism and discusses the evangelistic opportunities we Christians will have if we care for the earth. Exploring whether or not a Christian should be involved in environmentalism is not an open question in this book. Story is emphatic, you should. Part of me wonders if Should Environmentalists Be Christian? would have be a more apt and provocative title.

Titles aside this is a good introduction to environmental stewardship Christian style and I happily recommend it. Because Story does write out of conservative Christian conviction, he is able to make a compelling case for Creation care to a segment of Evangelicalism which still regards environmentalism with suspicion. This might be a good book for a book group or a church small group.

Thank you to Kregel Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this review.
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on January 14, 2013
Dan Story does a great job of dissecting the popular notions about environmentalism. The book is smartly divided into three sections that basically explain the history of the environmental movement, the present realities and the potential for our future--providing enough people read this book and act on the wisdom presented. As a Christian I was initially a bit offended learning of the secular trend to place blame for the global environmental problems on us as a group. But Story's examination of the impact that major religions have had on mother-earth quieted my soul, if only for a moment. The Biblical mandate upon humanity makes it clear that Christians should be leading the way in the proper stewardship of God's earth. Gratefully, Story doesn't simply present the problem--he recommends specific solutions. I highly recommend this book first to every Youth Leader of every church to be used to instruct and engage their students in proper stewardship. Next, I recommend this book to all Christians who are "past their youth" to dispel the apathy that's been generated through misinformation and politicization of our environmental reality. Lastly, I recommend this book to every tree-hugging non-Christian so we can realize our common ground and link arms to nurture and restore our planet. This is a great book for small group studies, lecture circuits, and more. In fact, the publisher would do well to book Story for media and special lecture events to accelerate the impact we can have through what Story calls, Ecological Evangelism.
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on August 20, 2012
The primary purpose of Story's book is threefold. First, to encourage godly environmental by systematically developing a Bible-based theology of nature, including guidelines for environmental ethics. Second, to present an apologetic to anti-Christian environmentalists who claim Christianity is the root cause of environmental exploitation. Third, to identify points of contact - areas of concern to both Christians and non-Christians - that can be starting points of conversation, often leading to opportunities for sharing the gospel. (11-12)
He reports on the demise of outdoor activity (especially among children) and the positive effects of nature on human mental health. He explains why conservative Christians are reluctant to embrace environmentalism.
He investigates the claim that Christians are responsible for the environmental crisis. While he does admit that "throughout church history the majority of Christians have exercised a destructive exploitive attitude toward nature," (34) he notes that this has been the case for all cultures and societies, regardless of religious belief.
In developing his theology of nature, he reminds us that God proclaimed all creation as very good. Story argues that nature has value to God in and of itself, independent of the human race. "The Bible does not teach that God created the earth solely for human consumption and comfort." (84) God expresses concern for nonhuman life and derives joy from the animals he created. (89)
Story investigates whether exploiting nature is a sin. He looks at the effects of the Fall and God's plan for restoration. He develops an ethical basis for environmental stewardship from the moral principles taught by Jesus.
Story argues that Christianity is unique among religions. "Only biblical Christianity recognizes that mankind possesses distinct stewardship responsibilities over creation according to a divine plan. Only biblical Christianity provides the objective moral principles needed to establish environmental ethics and to provide guidance for environmental stewardship." (58)
His summation, "the biblical view of environmental ethics balances human material needs with moral obligations to ensure the welfare of God's creation." (153)

Story has provided a thought provoking and balanced argument toward creation care. Reading this book will help us become the stewards God intended us to be.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review.
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on September 4, 2016
Appreciated this book, but the young earth view doesn't square with an enormous body of science. And if I got his position right, he seems to think entropy used to be different. We've got a lot of evidence from light reaching us from billions of years ago to show that is not so. However the chapter on pre-Christian cultures that destroyed their environment was enlightening and his call for Christian stewardship is well presented.
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on April 28, 2015
A very excellent book on the current environmental issues facing us and what the Christian response could be. Dan gives a very balanced review of the issues and has a very good understanding of Christian theology. Even if you don't agree with everything he says, I recommend you read this book for the insights he brings..
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