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Creation and the Environment

, 304 pages

5 line drawings

September 2000



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Creation and the Environment

An Anabaptist Perspective on a Sustainable World

Recent years have seen a shift in the belief that a religious world-view, specifically a Christian one, precludes a commitment to environmentalism. Whether as "stewards of God's creation" or champions of "environmental justice," church members have increasingly found that a strong pro-ecology stand on environmental issues is an integral component of their faith. But not all Christian denominations are latecomers to the issue of environmentalism. In Creation and the EnvironmentCalvin W. Redekop and his co-authors explain the unique environmental position of the Anabaptists, in particular the Mennonites.

After a brief survey of the major forces contributing to the word's present ecological crisis, Creation and the Environment explores the uniquely Anabaptist view of our relationship to what they see as the created order. In rural Amish and Mennonite communities, they explain, the environment—especially the "land"—is considered part of the Kingdom God plans to establish on earth. In this view, the creation is part of the divine order, with the redemption of humankind inextricably linked to the redemption and restoration of the material world. The well-being a purpose of creation and human history are thus seen as completely interdependent.

Contributors: Heather Ackley Bean, Claremont Graduate School • Kenton Brubaker, Eastern Mennonite University • Thomas Finger, Claremont Graduate School • Karen Klassen Harder, Bethel College, Kansas • James Harder, Bethel College, Kansas • Lawrence Hart, Cheyenne Cultural Center, Clinton, Oklahoma • Theodore Hiebert, McCormick Theological Seminary • Karl Keener, Pennsylvania State University • Walter Klaassen, Conrad Grebel College • David Kline, Holmes County, Ohio • Calvin W. Redekop, Conrad Grebel College • Mel Schmidt • Dorothy Jean Weaver, Eastern Mennonite University • Michael Yoder, Northwestern College, Iowa.

Calvin W. Redekop is a professor of sociology emeritus at Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo, Ontario. His many books include The Old Colony Mennonites, Mennonite Society, Anabaptist-Mennonite Faith and Economics, and Mennonite Entrepreneurs, the last available from Johns Hopkins.

" Creation and the Environment is a helpful, valuable contribution to the growing corpus of writing on Christianity and the environment."

"In any discussion of the environment of environmental responsibility, few elements are quite as complex and contentious as the relationship of religious belief to activities affecting the environment. Thus, it is difficult to have a useful discussion of the nature of appropriate human action towards the natural world without taking into account the extent to which several widespread views on the environment are undisputedly motivated by religious belief. Here Creation and the Environment fills a useful niche."

"A revealing and multi-disciplinary examination of one particular Christian perspective on the topic... one is left understanding the way in which a faith commitment can have specific consequences for the practical working out of a creation-caring lifestyle."

"A rich collection of essays on a sustainable world based on Anabaptist insights. Each of the essays is important and contributes to a basic theology of nature, stewardship, population, personal behavior, and public action. I can't recommend this book too highly."

"A rich and distinctive contribution to the growing literature on Christian eco-theology and environmental ethics."

"This collection of essays by 14 contributors grew out of the 1995 'Creation Summit' organized by the Environmental Taskforce of the Mennonite Church. Although the title implies the book offers a uniform viewpoint aimed at a specific group within the Christian tradition, happily neither is the case. This work will be of interest to anyone concerned about the human impact on creation and whether this ought to be a theological and ethical issue for the Christian... It makes a significant contribution to the area of Christian environmentalism (or creation care)."

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