Christian Agrarianism
All "isms" begin with faith in something. Agrarianism begins with faith in a way of living that is tied to the cultivation of the land. Biblical agrarianism begins with faith in the God of the Bible as the Creator of both the agents and the venue of agrarianism. Christian agrarianism begins with faith in God as Creator, as the author of the whole Bible, and, through the work of His Son Jesus Christ
Principles & Notions
Thursday, January 1, 2009
as redeemer of mankind. But Christian agrarianism goes further than this. It also believes that mankind was redeemed both from something and for something, that we can participate with God in that redemptive work, and that part of that redemptive work must include our stewardship of the land.
Christian agrarianism recognizes that stewardship of the land embraces the redemption of its original purpose as a venue for mankind to glorify and fellowship with God in his daily labor. Part of that redemptive process must make room for mankind to reclaim personal responsibility and to regain his esteemed role as steward over this planet. In Christ Jesus, we can proclaim with glorious and victorious confidence that neither the planet garden of this world nor man's role in it are lost.
When God created man, He made him to be the steward of His creation and placed him in a garden to cultivate and care for it. When man rejected God's Word, God allowed the creation, over which man was set as steward, to suffer futility (Romans 8:18-23). He did not subject creation to futility willingly, but unwillingly, knowing that creation itself had an unfortunate role to play in man's redemption. The venue of mankind's failure must necessarily become the venue of his eventual redemption and success. So creation was subject to futility until a redeemed mankind reacquainted itself with his role and responsibility of stewardship over the earth.
Therefore, all of creation waits in eager and earnest expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. It groans and labors with the pangs of birth for our redemption, knowing that it will remain under the bondage of corruption until mankind begins to walk once again in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Christian agrarianism recognizes this redemptive relationship between mankind and his responsibility for the stewardship of creation. Christian agrarianism sees stewardship of the land as an opportunity to let the glory of God shine in and through us. It admits to and embraces the exquisite beauty of creation and delights in the redemption of mankind's original role in it.
Christ is at the center of Christian agrarianism. Without Christ, the means of our redemption remains unavailable to mankind either for creation or for his role in it. In my view, Christians should be among the best and most progressive farmers in the world and farmers should make some of the best Christians on this planet. For we have not only accepted the role and work of Christ in our personal lives but also in the broader theater in which that redemption is played out before the whole world.
When men begin to hear of wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24), when nation begins to rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and when famines and pestilence and earthquakes begin to appear in various places, who will be best equipped to represent God's compassionate heart in these times? Who but those who have heard the call and had the foresight to embrace the redemptive purposes of agrarian living? How will Christians respond if they can't respond? But if, by the redemption of our role as stewards of the land, we are prepared to extend to the world a more benevolent alternative to war, pestilence, and famine, then we will, one day, stand in the gates of our cities as respected elders in our land.
This is the heritage toward which we must move, a heritage of benevolent influence in the Lord's name. We restore and responsibly cultivate the land not for ourselves alone, but for the good of all mankind, that they may know and seek the God that gave them life and for whom His son Jesus lived and died. We declare in our faith, and in our actions, that His death was not in vain, but that there is a hope of redemption both for mankind and for his world.
Yet, to ignore the persecution and hardship we may eventually have to endure would be irresponsible. Jesus does not return to a restored world, but to one in desperate need of restoration. War, famine, earthquake, and pestilence are only the beginning of sorrows. He does not promise freedom from tribulation. Rather that, in Him, we shall overcome every trial we face to His glory.
Before the Lord returns, many will suffer tribulation, anti-Christian hatred, offense, and betrayal. False prophets will arise and lawlessness will abound, as the love of many grows cold. But he who endures to the end, he who remains as the fragrance of Christ to a lost, hurt, and perishing world, he who would see the gospel preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, he will also see the end coming and shall be saved.
There will be a role in the last days for those that remain in the field and it must be to demonstrate the compassion and love of God to a world that would see it in no other way than through the hands and hearts of His love-laboring church. In this endeavor, Christian agrarians have a distinct role to play. It is not the only or necessarily the most important role, but, nonetheless, it is a vital role both to the last-days church and to the world in which they minister.
Regardless of what eventually happens in this world, and we know that creation will eventually suffer the death of a fourth of mankind (Revelation 6:8), the destruction of a third of the trees and all grass (Revelation 8:7), and the death of a third of the earth's sea creatures (Revelation 8:9), we still must honor God's original purpose for creation, which was to provide for the needs of man (Genesis 1:29-30) and to display His glory (Psalm 19:1-4). As long as the earth remains, "seedtime, and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22) nor shall mankind's responsibility, appropriate to each time, climate, or season cease.
So long as the earth remains, no circumstance shall ever absolve man of his agrarian responsibility.
Michael Hennen