Recommendation #1: Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katherine Hayhoe (New York, NY: One Signal Publishers, Simon & Schuster; 2021) 245 pages + notes + index.
Katherine Hayhoe is chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy and a professor at Texas Tech University. She is also an evangelical.
What do you believe? I’m a Christian and I believe that if you are someone who takes the Bible seriously, then you already care about climate change.
I know this might sound surprising. In the U.S., white evangelicals are less worried about climate change than any other group. But even when their objections are cloaked in religious-sounding language, it’s not their theology that drives them. No, it’s political polarization and tribalism… That’s what’s responsible for the partisan frames of many U.S. Christians, and it’s those frames, not the Bible, that cause them to reject what science says about a changing climate. [p. 18]
Dr. Hayhoe is exactly correct. The lack of concern about caring for God’s creation comes from Christians being captive to the values of a Conservative political agenda over the teaching of Scripture, an unbiblical view of science, and a failure to comprehend the doctrine of common grace.
In Saving Us, Hayhoe writes as a scientist to help us understand what science tells us and outlines practical ways we might approach conversations to help others understand the issues involved. It is a worthy goal. The earth is the Lord’s, and how we steward it makes a difference, because according to Genesis that task remains central to our primary calling as creatures made in God’s image. I recommend Dr. Hayhoe’s book and pray it is read and discussed widely in evangelical circles.
Recommendation #2: Calvinism for a Secular Age: A Twenty-First-Century Reading of Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures edited by Jessica R. Joustra and Robert J. Joustra (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press; 2022) 203 pages + bibliography + index.
Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures, given in 1898, helped shape my theology and my understanding of what it means to be faithful to Christ’s Lordship across all of life, culture, and reality. I had already been introduced to Reformed theology by Francis Schaeffer, who showed me it was true to Scripture and to historic orthodox thinking and practice stretching back to St. Augustine and the apostles. In his lectures, Kuyper fleshed out how Calvinism serves as a worldview to clarify how to live faithfully as a follower of Jesus. Kuyper also included some troubling ideas I could not accept.
Calvinism for a Secular Age engages Kuyper’s thinking with a critical eye, correcting his errors—some of which were egregious—and showing how a biblical worldview is fruitful in making sense of things. As the editors explain:
The point, at the end, is to paint a portrait not of a saint but of a man, a sometimes crank, who nonetheless worked with “fear and trembling” to bring the whole of life, including his own, under the lordship of Jesus Christ. In that effort, he was far from perfect, but then, so are we. And so, in that project, and in that work, we are all colaborers in “the fields of the Lord,” and it is in that spirit that we invite you to explore the life and legacy of Abraham Kuyper. [p. 11]
Calvinism for a Secular Age is theology that is bracing, life-giving, above all, practical. It is the sort of theology that we need if we are to live out our faith in the ordinary and routine of the 21st century.
Photo credit: the author with his trusty iPhone.