(A Faith Embracing All Creatures is the second book in The Peaceable Kingdom Series being published by Cascade/Wipf and Stock. I reviewed the first book in this series, A Faith Not Worth Fighting For, here.)
“The Peaceable Kingdom Series is a multi-volume series that seeks to challenge the pervasive violence assumed necessary in relation to humans, nonhumans, and the larger environment.” Each individual volume is set up in such a way so that each chapter is a response to a commonly asked question skeptical about the topic at hand. Each chapter is written by a theological scholar or engaged Christian practitioner versed in the topic. In this way, the series is one of the best examples of “public scholarship” that I am aware of. It brings some of the best thinking on pressing issues into the hands of “everyday” readers. For this, I applaud the editors and publishers.
The second volume in the series sets out to answer questions about and argue for the Christian call to “embrace all creatures.” The primary focus of most of the essays is advocating for Christians to eat a vegan, or at least vegetarian, diet. However, other instances of human-animal interactions (such as laboratory testing) are mentioned as well. The primary thrust of the book’s argument is that God’s eschatological kingdom is one which will know no violence – including violence against animals. The Church and Christians, called to embody this kingdom in the here and now as much as possible, are thus called in their discipleship to reject violence against their fellow breathing creatures. Faithful kingdom discipleship is discipleship that rejects violence of any kind.
The book begins in Genesis 1 and the question of human dominion, proceeds through questions about the covenant with Noah, animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, and Jesus eating fish and lamb. If God called on humans to sacrifice animals or if Jesus ate animals, for example, why are Christians supposed to abstain from eating animals? These are the kinds of questions that Christian vegetarians and vegans often face and that the authors attempt to answer. The advocates of Christian vegetarianism are meeting meat-eating Christians on their own terms.
Read the rest here