The Four Most Important Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism -- By: Michael A. Bullmore

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 19:2 (Fall 1998)
Article: The Four Most Important Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism
Author: Michael A. Bullmore


The Four Most Important Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism

Michael A. Bullmore*

* Michael A. Bullmore is Associate Professor of Homiletics and Practical Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

RIBBLESDALE

EARTH, sweet Earth, sweet landscape, with leaves throng
And louched low grass, heaven that dost appeal
To, with no tongue to plead, no heart to feel;
That canst but only be, but dost that long -

Thou canst but be, but that thou well dost; strong
Thy plea with him who dealt, nay does now deal,
Thy lovely dale down thus and thus bids reel
Thy river, and o’er gives all to rack or wrong
.

And what is Earth’s eye, tongue, or heart else, where
Else, but in dear and dogged man? - Ah, the heir
To his own selfbent so bound, so tied to his turn,
To thriftless reave both our rich round world bare
And none reck of world after, this bids wear
Earth brows of such care, care and dear concern
.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

I. Introduction

In the upper reaches of Michigan’s lower peninsula near the small town of Mancelona stands the Au Sable Institute, an evangelically based education center for promoting a Christian environmental stewardship. The philosophy of the Au Sable Institute reads in part as follows:

The Board, faculty, and staff of the Au Sable Institute confess that God is owner of all. Humankind is not the owner of that over which it has authority. Human authority is more that of trustee than owner. The scope of this trust is global. Since all creatures depend on the earth for life, health and fulfillment, stewardship is

the responsible use and care of creation. This is a clear and repeated testimony of Scripture.1

It is the purpose of this article to focus exclusively on this clear and repeated biblical testimony. While previous articles in this series have attended to scientific, political, and historical dimensions of the environmentalism issue there has been as yet no closely focused examination of biblical material on the issue in this venue.2

It is not as though no biblical attention has been paid elsewhere. There is an encouraging recent growth in both the amount and the quality of writing addressing environmentalism from a more purely scriptural perspective.3 Much of this material, however, has arrived in the form of book-length treatments or collections of essays each dedicated to various parts of the biblical wi...

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