Skip to main content

Book: Should Christians be Environmentalists?

Kregel Publishers provided this book free in exchange for the review.

Dan Story released this book earlier in 2012, back in February, in an attempt to address what he sees as a gap between Christian behavior and good stewardship of the world God has created. In it, he addresses the need for environmental action, a Biblical basis for environmental action, and some suggested steps of action for churches and Christians to be involved in environmental action.

His suggested steps of action are excellent. The idea of a local church being involved, perhaps as the community centerpoint, in developing programs that protect creation is a good thing. This is a popular and passionate subject and provides an excellent way to both address the need to be good stewards of what God has given us and reach the lost. In former times, churches often connected with communities through school activities and such, but that door is often closing from both sides. Creation care is a good stepping stone in its place.

Further, demonstrating concern for environmental issues and their global impact factors in as part of our consideration for the global church. It is not just the impact of relief for ourselves that should be considered, but whether or not we continue in reckless behaviors that endanger our fellow man around the world.

A word of caution, though, has to be added to the idea of “world-wide concern” when looking at environmental factors. I live in the heart Arkansas rice country, and we produce a large amount of rice through modern, industrialized farming methods. Those methods include diesel-powered machines, fertilizers, and pesticides. Some environmental groups would have farming reduce or eliminate many of those modernizations. The problem with that is the guaranteed concomitant rise in food prices. So, we might save our great-grandchildren the effects of over-farming by raising food prices to the point that their grandparents suffer malnutrition. This is part of the complexity of the issue.

His Biblical bases for action are valuable. There is no greater authority in the life of a Christian than the Word of God itself. Not emotion, not alarming statistics, not even apparent immediate need, but the Word of God. Story does an excellent job showing examples from Scripture and theological history that support the idea that Christians should demonstrate concern and active involvement in environmental efforts.

This is coupled with an examination of whether or not Christian belief is more likely to be responsible for environmental damage than other religious beliefs. He explains well that damage is done throughout all systems, and also shows that Christianity, as he sees it, should be the leading religious belief concerned with protecting the environment.

The overall case for environmental action is the place where I find fault with this work. One of his opening examples recounts how many predator animals were killed in the 1960s by a government program to reduce predator animals. Having seen the damage that coyotes do to something as simple as drip-line irrigation, I am unsympathetic to coyotes. The further story regarding the overpopulation of deer in national lands sounds more like the need to allow wider hunting than a problem with predator removal; alas many of the groups spoken of fondly in these chapters want no expansion of hunting, either.

My difficulty with this section is one more of method than of content: by opening with the standard environmentalist lines of thought, the work teeters toward proof-texting existing environmental ideas rather than beginning with Scripture to demonstrate the Christian life. It would be better to start with the Scriptural basis and use even the same examples to illustrate rather to start with the “mankind is terrible for the planet” routine. Christian theology does not co-exist well with an advocacy that puts man as a destructive parasite—rather it works well with realizing man as responsible to God for stewardship over creation.

I won’t be leading a group study in this text, but it would do well as a general discussion starter. Most likely, those Christians whose view of the earth is “it’s all going to be burned anyway” will not have an interest here, but those looking for a few insights will find some help here.

Get more info on Dan Story here:


Again: free book for review from Kregel Publishers.


  1. Doug,I appreciate your review, but feel I need to respond to a couple comments. My illustration on coyotes was not to defend coyotes, but to show the indiscriminate, govt. sanctioned slaughter of our wildlife in early part of the last century--and the power of vested interest groups (i.e. hunters). The reason I put my theology of nature in part two was because I felt it necessary to refute common secular and religious challenges to Christian environmentalism (this is primarily an apologetics) and to established the state of our declining natural environments. With that established, I hoped Christians would be more willing to consider the Christian perspective on the issue. But having said this, thanks for your kind comments. You might be interested in reading some of my other reviews on



Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…

Sermon Recap for July 29 (and 22)

Good Morning!Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: are stockpiled here:!July 29 AM: (Audio)
July 29 PM: (Audio)
July 22 AM: (Audio)July 22 PM: (Audio)