My first question is; where is the biblical teaching on the Agrarian Mandate in the American church today? Perhaps many (or most) people would respond by saying "I never heard of an agrarian mandate, what is it"? The Agrarian Mandate (perhaps better known, but as the Dominion Mandate) is found in the earliest pages of scripture and at the dawn of civilization itself. As far as I can tell the first recorded words of God, spoken directly to Adam and Eve were as follows; Gen. 1:28, "And God blessed them; and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth". Most people know we are suppose to "subdue and rule" over God's creation but most do not realize (or choose to ignore) the fact that this "subduing and ruling" was to be done within the context of careful and conscientious stewardship of this physical world that God has entrusted to us (Gen 2:15). Unfortunately, in the last 100 or so years, the average Christian has taken their cue for how to live in this world more from the dominate industrialized culture than from the pages of scripture. The scriptures are clear; we were put here to be care-takers of our Fathers world. But the dominate culture has no problem abusing the natural world and its resources in order to "make a buck" and/or "to make life easier for ourselves". Most Christians don't think twice about the environmental impact of things like strip mining for coal to feed electrical power plants (you better believe you'd think about it if it happened anywhere close to where you live), deep well fracking, off-shore drilling and a myriad of other practices that degrade the natural world. The average Christian has very little problem with the ruination of clean air, clean water and open land (as long as that ruination doesn't happen in their own back yard) because that ruination is probably, in some way, "providing jobs" and "making life easier for all of us". I find it interesting that we as a culture will embrace practically any money-making venture that comes down the pike but have eschewed the primary and fundamental job given to mankind by the Creator. And to top it off, when someone does voice a concern about the degradation of the natural world they are branded a "liberal environmentalist" or written off as an old fuddy-duddy that really wants to live in the dark ages.
So here's the question (and the challenge): Will the American church begin to speak up and speak out about the true nature of the agrarian mandate given clearly by our Creator or will the silence continue, thus making the church complicit with the dominant pagan culture in the ruination of this created world?
So, where does all this leave us? Does this mean I think every person in the world must be a full time, occupational farmer? No, of course not. But what I think it does mean is that every person should have a purposeful, meaningful, working relationship with the natural world. If that is really true it's obvious how far this country has come from the way things should be (and dare I say the way God intended things to be?). At the founding of our nation 98% of our people worked in the agrarian way of life. Today, less than 2% of the population are full time farmers. Most people see this as "progess", I see it as a deviation from God's original master plan. As a nation we have turned our back on God and in so doing on His call to "cultivate and keep" the world He made for us. Could it be that this lack of heeding God's original agrarian mandate is at the heart of our ills as a society? I'm sure it is not the only reason for our culture's gradual demise but I believe it is an important and significant factor.
Well...what do you think? Am I on target here or am I out of bounds? I would be interested in hearing from any of you about this subject, but especially from those of you who have more training and experience in the scriptures than I do.
Thanks again for reading of my agrarian musings. Blessings to you! !
Stay warm my friends,