E. Calvin Beisner

E. Calvin Beisner is a Christian theologian, apologist, and ethicist specializing in the application of Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics to economics, environment, government, and public policy. He is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a network of over 60 Christian theologians, natural scientists, economists, and other scholars educating for Biblical earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the good news of salvation by God’s grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

Dr. Beisner was associate professor of historical theology and social ethics at Knox Theological Seminary from 2000 to 2008 and of interdisciplinary studies (focusing on the application of Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics to economics, government, and public policy) at Covenant College from 1992 to 2000. He earned his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion and Philosophy at the University of Southern California, his M.A. in Economic Ethics from International College, and his Ph.D. in Scottish History/History of Political Thought at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He has been an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, planting a new congregation for the latter and serving on its pastoral staff for three years. He and his wife Debby, an accomplished portrait painter, have seven children and nine grandchildren.

His early childhood in Calcutta, India, where he observed both the beauties of God’s creation and the tragedies of poverty, informed his later concerns for caring for both the natural world and the poor. His theological and philosophical studies in the 1970s led eventually to his studying political and economic philosophy in the 1980s, resulting first in his book Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity, published in 1988, an introduction to economics informed by Biblical theology and ethics, and then his book Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future, published in 1990, which applied the lessons of the prior book to questions about alleged overpopulation, resource depletion, and environmental degradation and conservation. In 1997 he published Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate, a history and constructive critique of the evangelical environmental movement.

In 1999, after a colloquium with about 35 other scholars with shared interest in these subjects, Cal composed The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship, which was quickly endorsed by over 1,500 religious leaders from around the world and became the basis on which he founded The Cornwall Alliance in 2005.

In addition to the three books mentioned, he has written nine other books, edited over 30, contributed to over 35, and published thousands of articles, popular and scholarly; has lectured at universities, seminaries, conferences, and churches in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia; and has testified as an expert witness on the ethics and economics of climate change and climate and energy policy before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, briefed the White House Council on Environmental Policy, and presented a paper to a scholarly colloquium on climate change of the Pontifical Institute for Justice and Peace at the Vatican in Rome. In 2014 the Heritage Foundation honored Dr. Beisner with the Outstanding Spokesman for Faith, Science, and Stewardship Award at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change.


B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Religion and Philosophy and double minors in Classical Languages and Classical History, University of Southern California (1978)

M.A. in Society with Specialization in Economic Ethics, International College (1983)

Ph.D. in Scottish History (History of Political Thought), University of St. Andrews, Scotland (2003)

Selected books authored:

  1. Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel (2d ed., 2018)
  2. What Is the Most Important Environmental Task Facing American Christians Today? (2d ed., 2014)
  3. The Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros & Cons: Debating the Federal Vision (2004)
  4. “Jesus Only” Churches (1998)
  5. Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate (1997)
  6. Evangelical Heathenism: Examining Contemporary Revivalism (1996)
  7. Man, Economy, and Environment in Biblical Perspective (1994)
  8. Psalms of Promise: Celebrating the Majesty and Faithfulness of God (2d ed., 1994)
  9. Answers for Atheists, Agnostics, and Other Thoughtful Skeptics: Dialogs About Christian Faith and Life, (2d ed., 1993; original edition published in Russian, Lithuanian, and Estonian; 2d ed. in English and Korean)
  10. Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future (1990)
  11. Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity (1988)
  12. God in Three Persons (1984)
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