3 Views on Property and Stewardship
This post is to serve as brief introduction to the topic. Lord willing, in future posts we will look deeper into the covenantal agrarian view, it’s scriptural support and it’s practical application.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof. Psalm 24:1
The belief in, and understanding of, this biblical truth sets the covenantal agrarian doctrine of property and stewardship apart from both the industrialist and environmentalist view. Often outsiders see our doctrine as a hybrid of the other more popular views, but this is a gross misunderstanding. Both competing views are built on faulty premises and deny the plain teaching of scripture.
Industrialists tend to believe in what one could call “absolute property rights”. They do not view God as the primary owner, nor do they think that they bound by scriptural guidelines or limitations on how they use property. They may believe (or pay lip service to the idea) that the earth was created but they do not see themselves as mere stewards of God’s property. They distort the biblical understanding of dominion and the fruit of industrialism is often ruined ecosystems and the mistreatment of animals and people.
Environmentalists deny God’s ownership of earth by denying that he created it. They make creation itself a deity. Often they have the opposite extreme view on property rights and have been used by collectivists to advance their policies for many years. They often see mankind as a parasite on the planet and advocate for the murder of those created in the image of God through various population control measures. They see undeveloped creation as pure, advocating for the preservation of the wilderness as opposed to turning it into a fruitful garden.
Covenantal agrarianisms understanding that God dose own the earth and we are stewards of creation with a corporate calling to lovingly convert the wilderness into a garden, sets us apart from the other views. We are neither plunderers of or worshipers of creation. We firmly believe in private property, within the greater context of God’s primary ownership. We understand the bible places limits on our behavior and gives guidelines in how we are to care for and develop creation.
2 thoughts on “3 Views on Property and Stewardship”
This is right on point. The whole concept of dominion is easily misconstrued, probably because its nuance, relevance, and application has not received much doctrinal explanation. I’m pretty sure the Church, along with the Bible (as you note) would support and agree with your proclamation in the last paragraph above. I’ve not seen this website, but will eagerly scrutinize it for other gems such as this one.
Scott, perhaps you have already mentioned it, but there is an excellent book that does a good job in making the vital biblical connection between true freedom and land ownership. It’s called: The Legacy of Liberty & Property by Daniel J. Ford.
Quoting from the book: “Land ownership, as it was understood in English colonial America, thus faithfully modeled the dominion mandate given in Genesis 1:28, where God commanded families to multiply and subdue the earth. That became the model of familial dominion in English America. God’s mandate to subdue the earth still applies today to families — rather than to governments trying to subdue the property of families. Simply put, there is no biblical mandate for public representatives to do anything but safeguard the dominion that American citizens are to enjoy in what they own.”
That said, it also a biblical mandate and historical fact that when the Lord’s people refuse to repent of their generational covenantal rebellion, that they frequently find themselves under the hand of pagan dominion, sent of the Lord, until they break and turn to Him again.