Christian Agrarianism: It’s All About Repentance & Redemption

At its root, Christian agrarianism is about repentance and redemption. Repentance is about turning away or changing from something that is wrong. Redemption is about taking back something that was lost or taken away.

God is clearly moving in the hearts of many of His people in this day. He is leading them away from the bondage of a centralized, industrialized, materialistic, soul-deadening, God-hating, earth-destroying world system. He is leading them back to the land, back to simplicity of life and faith in Him, back to something that was almost lost in the shuffle of the industrial era.

Impassive observers looking from outside this moving of hearts might conclude that Christian agrarianism is just another back-to-the-land movement. That is a serious misconception.

Christian-agrarianism is less of a back-to-the-land movement and more of a back-to-the-Lord movement. But returning to the land, in so many different ways, is integral to this movement. Christian agrarians all over the world are taking back their God-ordained responsibility as stewards and husbandmen of the land. In other words, they are redeeming the Land.

Barry Morgan, at the Christian agrarian ministry, Acres of Hope America wrote in response to a recent blog that he believes devoted Christian agrarians are ministers on the land, field missionaries, and ambassadors, impacting cultural transformation in their communities through relational, agrarian lifestyle evangelism.

That, my friends, is a God-honoring vision for spiritual renewal and restoration in this nation. That is a vision that those of us who are yoking ourselves to the work of Christian agrarianism need to always keep in mind.

Christian agrarianism is not some slick new evangelistic ploy or passing fad. It is families living simply, close to the land, close to the Lord, dependent on the land, and dependent on the Lord. It is families blessing, and supporting each other and the people in their community. It is the good news of Jesus Christ manifested through the example we live and God’s admonition to love our neighbors.

I have tremendous admiration for Christians who husband the land using sustainable farming practices; methods that do not rely on poisons, synthetic chemical inputs, and genetically-modified technology (those tools of the international agricultural oligopoly). I have even more admiration for families who are actively working to transition from a non-farming, industrial lifestyle to a way of life centered around faith, family, and agricultural production. To do this sort of thing is incredibly difficult.

Yet it is being done. Christianity Today magazine recently published an article about Christian agrarianism. There are numerous Christian agrarian blogs and articles on the internet. I get e-mail letters from Christians who are making the transition to simple, separate, deliberate, and more down-to-earth ways of life way. There is now even a documentary movie about Christian agrarianism.

This is a movement that no man or organization controls. The Lord is slowly and surely leading his people out of Egypt, into the land He has for them. It is a sight to behold.

8 comments:

Shauna said...

Mr. Kimball,
I thought you might be interested in this article in Reuter's news about this topic. It is about a family in Texas who practices biblical agrarianism. It also talks about the "movement."

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0521607720070917

Shauna

Shauna said...

Thoughtful post, by the way.

Shauna

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Shauna,

The mainstream (and even Christian) media is just starting to take note of the Christian agrarian movement. The article is, of course, shallow and somewhat misguided but it is not bad. This movement, as expressed in the article is, I'm sure, something of a curiosity to many. And most will discount it as marginal, or even off the wall. But such news articles will also spark an interest in the hearts some who read them. And that interest may translate to a deeper understanding of what is actually happening; it will translate to the repentance and redemption this blog speaks of.

Once again, however, I feel compelled to point out that Christian agrarianism is not striclty a farming movement. Being a farmer is not some prerequisite to being a Christian agrarian.

In any event, thanks for letting me and others who read this know of the Reuters article

Missouri Rev said...

Herrick, thanks for another great post. Biblical agrarianism . . . and I say biblical, because everyone is an agrarian of some sort as all our actions in one way or another affect the land around us, especially those that defile it (Lev. 18:20-30) . . . is not a passing “back-to-the-land” fad, but the working out of the Gospel of the Kingdom on earth through faithful covenant keeping, which applies to the whole of culture, not just the land it would cultivate. It is the lawful stewardship of the earth and its resources, the rightful and sole possession of King Jesus, the Heir. Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion [Heb. 12:22-24]. I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession (Psa. 2:6-8). For the believer trapped in the pagan agrarian nightmare, the answer is reformation, which begins on the land in fellowship with likeminded believers. May God encourage His people to turn to Him is this difficult, though absolutely vital mission.

JFC said...

Herrick,

Last Saturday we used our very own Whizbang Plucker for the first time. Tomorrow we plan to finish what we couldn't finish last week.

Thanks for writing the book.

And, thanks for writing so many other things here on the blog. I agree with Pastor McConnell, this is another great post.

BTW, here is a synopsis of last Saturday's adventures.

JFC

Patti said...

I still have a few questions no one seems to be able or willing to answer. If everyone "tills the land" WHO is going to work at the places that make the things we ALL use every day? Like gas,trucks,paper,keyboards,shoes,plates,ovens etc. Do they till the land then go to the job? What about all the christians who live and work in the cities,work in our state ,local and national governments? Are they all missing the mark because they don't farm? One website even called that our "God ordained" duty.If everyone is supposed to be a farmer, why was Jesus a carpenter and not a farmer or shepard? As far as I know none of the disciples were farmers.Just fisherman, tax collectors etc.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hey Jon--
Great essay. It takes initiative and work to raise your own meat birds and process them yourself. And it is something of a struggle to learn, then perfect the process of home poultry processing . But when family and friends work together to get the job done, and the chickens are all bagged up in the freezer, it is a beautiful thing. It is the family economy in action. It is community in action. It is self sufficiency in action. It is part of what Christian agrarianism is all about.

Pastor McConnell--
Thanks for your comment here. I always appreciate what you have to say. But more than that, I appreciate the real-life example you provide.

Hi Patti—
It’s not about farming. I try to make that clear whenever I’m talking about Christian agrarianism. But farming is surely a part of it all.

As I wrote above:

Christian-agrarianism is less of a back-to-the-land movement and more of a back-to-the-Lord movement. But returning to the land, in so many different ways, is integral to this movement.

You can be a factory worker and a Christian agrarian by focusing on your faith, your family, living simply, separating yourself from the ungodly culture around you, separating from ungodly materialism and consumerism, cultivating a home garden, supporting farmers who are responsibly husbanding the land, and other things along those lines. Fact is, I’m not a farmer and that is what I do.

I like the way this question is answered at The Agrarian Foundation web site...

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1. Doesn't Agrarianism attempt to 'turn-back-the-clock', and make everyone dirt-farmers?

NO! Agrarians do not believe everyone should be a farmer. Yet Agrarians do note the many social and cultural benefits which derive from strong rural farming communities. Modernism and Modernists, however, incessantly denigrate the value of farming and small independent rural communities -- forever portraying them as backward, unprogressive hicks who really should become Modern urbanites.

Agrarians also view teeming populations concentrated in sprawling urban metroplexes as inherently dangerous. Modern cities most assuredly beget a different sort of citizen, and Thomas Jefferson held big cities good only for breeding revolution. The city-dweller is all but completely dependent upon various governments and corporation to meet his most basic needs, while he is also estranged from nature and natural things. This condition easily distorts his perspective or World-View. Life becomes fragmented. Trapped in artificial urban centers, Modernists forget their connections to Creation and that their very lives ultimately depend upon Stewardship of Creation. After all, giant grocery chains and discount distributors do not produce food -- they only move it great distances for profit.

Modernists are thus forgetful of their limitations within Creation and their vision and projects become ambitiously grand in scale. This calls for bigness and power of money interests and government power. Having lost everything but money -- they producing nothing but money. Value is reduced to price and everything is for sale.

Modernism has lost its connectedness and wholeness.
The Agrarian vision champions a humility, or as Richard Weaver called it, 'piety' naturally engendered close to Creation in agricultural settings. Thus, Agrarianism offers a superior context for life in all its fullness. True Covenant. Agricultural settings commonly foster real community Localism, Independence from distant suppliers, and a Decentralisation of wealth and power. Rather than 'turning back the clock', Agrarians consider their rejection and repudiation of Modernism more a repentance from the excesses of a dehumanizing Modernism. Returning to wholeness is not 'backwards.' Indeed, repentance from error and humility before Creation is always Progress!

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As for Christians who live cities, I would never say they should all move out and away. But, personally, I think there are a lot of Biblical reasons to do so. I support the idea of Christians going into the cities as missionaries, sort of like going into an ungodly foreign land.

Patti said...

Thank You! Your answer actually makes sense and I agree with it. The last thing the Body of Christ needs is another "us against them" philosophy.