fearless author makes a straightforward critic against Christian
religion and its Reformation icon, Martin Luther, a pivotal figure of
Christianity and Western civilization. This book corrects the
destructiveness of Christianity's human-centered relationship with
nature, bringing us into contact with the aboriginal peoples of the
world, who espouse the radical belief of "Kinship with Nature." This
intriguing book caters usefulness to politicians, capitalists,
religious, scientists, anthropologists, ecologists, theologians,
professors, students and ordinary people who love the planet.
F. R. GUZMAN is a Reformation and Social Ethics professor at Bishop Han
Theological Seminary in Malaybalay City, Philippines. He is an
ecologist, agricultural engineer, vegetable gardener, youth worker, and
a non-sectarian evangelist. Dr. Guzman, a Luther scholar and product of
Boston University, is a co-founder of Grupong Sagip, Inc., an
international ecological movement.
What's inside the book?
Chapter One: FOUNDATION OF
LUTHER'S SOCIAL ETHICS
The author presents the foundation of
Luther's social ethics in order for the reader not to misinterpret and
treat his moral principles in the proper context. For instance, the
ethics of creation should not be separated from his idea of natural law,
idea of salvation, love of neighbor, theology of the cross, idea about
law and gospel, two-kingdom doctrine, sacredness of all vocations, and
eschatology, and orders of creation.
Chapter Two: DISTORTION OF
LUTHER'S NATURAL WORLD
The situation of the world of Luther's
is presented as the dawn of global capitalist economy,
deterioration of agricultural economy, period of European conquest of
the Americas and the Philippines, influx of natural resources from
colonized foreign lands into Europe, widespread use of printing press,
and the rise of nationalism. As Walter Tillmanns wrote, "In those
sixty-four years of Luther's life, the face of the world has changed."
Chapter Three: ORDERS OF
The author argues that Luther's
understanding about "nature" or "creation" is more comprehensive that
what we have today. Creation means it's not only the physical creatures
but it also includes the three important institutions or orders: the
household, the government, and the church. Why do we have an
environmental crisis? It is due to the distortion, misuse, and abuse of
these three orders, particularly the abuse of sex, brokenness of
marriage and family, corruption and abuse of politics and power, and the
indifference and corruption of ministerial/priestly office.
Chapter Four: ANTHROPOCENTRIC
The human-centered thoughts of
Luther are criticized in view of their harm toward
nature. Special attention is given to non-Western critiques: the
Aboriginals or the world's indigenous peoples, who espouse the radical
belief, "Kinship with Nature." Christian religion, which undeniably
contributed to the ecological crisis, particularly its missionary work,
is constructively criticized and redirected to a better relationship
Chapter Five: THEOCENTRIC
The author presents the other
side of Martin Luther, his moral teachings about an intimate
relationship between God and human and between nature and human. This chapter examines evidence
for the ecologically sensitive Luther, who argues that humans are "not
co-creators" but "co-workers" of God.
Chapter Six: CONCLUSION
The moral virtues of
frugality, humility, love, and cross-bearing are to be reclaimed by the
Christian in order to be authentic in one's relationship with creation.
These virtues potentially challenge the vices of greed, arrogance, and
idolatry, which distort the preservation of creation.