Howard King
On Biblical Agrarianism

Dateline: 16 November 2005
Updated: 3 September 2013

I have not had the time to write in this blog lately. But I stopped by Howard King’s Foundations web site awhile back and read some of his thought provoking comments about Biblical Agrarianism there. I'd like to share them with you.

Issue #63 has an article titled Some Common Misconceptions About Biblical Agrarianism. What follws are extensive quotes from that article. I recommend that you go there and read the full article and Mr. King’s other comments about agrarianism (each issue of his newsletter typically has a Biblical-Agrarian article).

I’d like to point out that it was a series of articles by Howard King that introduced me to the whole concept of Biblical Agrarianism and for that I am most grateful.


1. Doesn’t agrarianism mean that everyone has to become a farmer?

No, there are other legitimate callings besides full-time farming.  These include doctors, ministers, judges, craftsmen, builders, and many others.  However, it does mean that we have to stop looking down our noses at farmers and farming, as if they and their work were beneath our dignity......

....... And it does mean that those who do nothing to support the common task of subduing the earth by agriculture, but support themselves by doing what harms their fellowmen ought to be regarded as parasites and criminals, and treated accordingly.

2. Aren’t agrarians against technology?

No, technology – that is, the making, using and refining of tools is not evil.  But the making of tools that cannot be used without polluting the air or water or soil that we all depend on for life is an evil.  The use of tools for evil purposes, such as the military or economic conquest and enslavement of our fellow-man is an evil.  And the refinement or development of tools purely for personal enrichment, without regard for the ends they serve, or the effect they may have on the rest of society, is an evil.  These are the great evils that have shaped our modern era, and that now characterize us as a culture.

3. Isn't agrarianism a retreat from real life?

Not at all!  It is rather a return to real life......

4. Isn't agrarianism against evangelism and the great commission?

Not at all!  The goal of biblical agrarians is to fulfill the original plan of God for mankind.  This can only be done through evangelism; for the nations will never convert to a biblical agrarian way of life until they are first converted en masse to Christ.  All Christians believe that Christ is a Restorer of what was lost when man fell.  He restores God’s designed relationships in our families and churches.  Biblical agrarianssimply take that truth one step further; and say that He also will ultimately restore mankind to the original agrarian calling for which he was created.

Was the agrarian order prevalent in this country early in its history a hindrance to evangelism?  Not at all!  Those were times of missionary activity and great revivals that affected a large proportion of the population throughout the land.  Agrarianism provides a solid base for the evangelistic enterprise; and an important end of evangelism is to create agrarian societies where they do not already exist.......

5. Isn't agrarianism opposed to “taking dominion”?

Not really.  To begin with, in the language of Scripture, godly dominion is not so much “taken” as “given”.......

.... Biblical agrarians are not advocating a weak, retreatist program, but quite the opposite.  We yearn to see the church actually overcome the world, in history, as it certainly shall!

Agrarianism is opposed to the unscriptural idea that Christians are supposed to be “taking dominion” over the institutions of the worldly urban culture.  We are nowhere in Scripture told to do that.   This teaching breeds an ungodly ambition; and inevitably leads to compromise with the world in order to advance ourselves and to gain power within its institutions.  Rather, we are told to abide in our callings, to work hard at them, and to leave it to God to prosper us as He sees fit...

...Agriculture is the proper use of the dominion God has already given us: dominion over our own piece of land, and our own animals.  It is a real dominion, though the dominion of a steward -- not of the true owner.  God did not give Adam merely the abstract right to rule the earth, but he gave into his hand the whole world as his property, to distribute in time among his numerous progeny.  As we work our own land, we exercise the godly dominion our Lord intended.

6. Agrarianism won't work in our modern world.

If it is meant that the modern world will not tolerate a return to agrarianism, this may be true.  It will not willingly tolerate the rule of its rightful King in any respect; nevertheless, it will surely bow to Him in time.  But it is busy just now in futile rebellion: ........ 


Anonymous said...

What is the best way to store potatoes....I live in the potatoe state and should know this. Also, is there a certain type of onion that stores better than others?
Thank you for all the thought provoking posts.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Faith,

I store potatoes up off the floor in crates in my basement. It is a cool and humid (but not real damp) environment, which is perfect.

Onions do not store in such an environment so well. We keep onions in a cool, dry environment, which is an unheated upstairs room. Squash will also keep very well in a cool, dry place. My mother used to keep squash in an upstairs room that was like a pantry, and I remember a Blue Hubbard squash keeping up there in perfect condition from the fall of one year all the way to the fall of the next year!

Yes, some onions are better keepers. I forget the varieties that keep best. A seed catalog will tell this.

Last year I did not grow onions or potatoes, but this coming year I will. My neighbor has given me permission to expand my gardening onto the field that adjoins my land. I tilled it this fall and planted it to winter rye. In the spring I will till the rye in for a "green manure." I'm very excited about growing a bigger garden.

I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. Best wishes to you.

Tom Scepaniak said...


Thanks so much for the post.It's one we should all copy down and save.


Hexdek16 said...

Thanks for the link too Herrick, I hope to have a go at reading some of Howard King's past articles as well.

Walter Jeffries said...

And even those who do not farm full-time might grow some of their own food at least seasonally. This reconnects them with the land and with others who do farm. My parents are doctors yet my father gardens in a serious way. He taught me the joy of raising food. Diversity is good even, perhaps especially, at the individual level.

Herrick Kimball said...


I agree!

And I think Howard King did make this point too in part of his essay that I did not quote.

TnFullQuiver said...

I began reading several of King's articles on Agrarianism, and thoroughly enjoyed. But, as I browsed his other articles and his blog, I found that agrarianism is about all I could agree with him on. I hope that his additional writings would not turn folks away from his excellent writings on agrarianism.

Flory plantarea trandafirilor said...

Well I must admite that I didn't knew all these things about agrarianism.I am glad that I found your blog!