The Gospel According to the Earth | Matthew Sleeth

The cover of Sleeth's Gospel According to the EarthA cursory glance around this blog should make it clear that I place a high value on God’s creation. I would struggle to enjoy life without the lakes, rivers, granite outcroppings, and all the rest of the flora and fauna of Ontario.

As a pastor, I’ve struggled to preach on these issues. When I think about Christianity and ecology, I feel challenged on two fronts:

  1. Any talk of environmentalism raises the specter of liberal theology.
  2. I’ve only heard three main Biblical texts used to speak of “natural theology”, and they all come with conservative rejoinders: Genesis 1-3 (“but the world be destroyed anyway”), Psalm 19 (“but the climax of this Psalm is on the written word”) and Romans 1 (“Paul only speaks of the natural world to leave pagans without excuse”).

The Gospel According to the Earth is the book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. Sleeth speaks about the relationship between the body of Christ and Christ’s greater creation without getting caught up in such limited perspectives. He explores topics you wouldn’t expect—like music, hospitality, and rest—along with the traditional categories.

I do have to note that some of his biblical quotes felt forced. He stretched the interpretation of a few verses to fit his framework. Overall, though, I was amazed at the sheer amount of scripture that speaks to our responsibility toward God’s good creation.

This book is very easy to read and filled with practical ideas at the end of each chapter to put the message into practice. I’d recommend it highly to any Christian seeking to understand their role on our planet.

—Matthew Sleeth, The Gospel According to the Earth (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2010).

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