Guest / Limited Access /
Ron Sider's Unsettling Crusade

Ron Sider doesn't seem the type to upset people. A short, balding seminary professor with a quick smile and thick glasses, he talks in a relaxed, low-voltage way. Professionally he is a hybrid, a historian who teaches theology and talks and writes about politics and economics. His academic credentials are exemplary: a Ph.D. in Reformation history Yale; articles published in prestigious journals. Theologically he is a heartland evangelical, deeply committed to an inspired Bible, to a passionate communication of the gospel and to a transforming personal faith. Politically he is mainstream Democratic party except for conservative stances on homosexuality and abortion.

In short, Sider is no flaming radical. Yet it would be hard to think of another evangelical who has been more ardently criticized for being "radical."

In reality, Sider takes flak from both the Left and the Right, particularly when he upholds evangelical positions at ecumenical meetings. "I've been picketed twice," he says, "by theonomists [who believe in applying Old Testament law today] in Australia, and in Minnesota by gay-rights [advocates]." The bulk of the criticism, however, comes from the Right. David Chilton, a conservative thinker, has honored Sider's best-known book, Rich Christians an Age of Hunger, with a book-length response, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators. With each of updated editions of Rich Christians, Chilton has sued a new edition of his critique, going so far as to mimic the cover art of each edition so that the response looks like a precise replica of the original. Another example is Lloyd Billingsley's A Generation That Knew Not Josef, which compares Sider at length ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Painful Questions about Genetics and Race
Subscriber Access Only
The Painful Questions about Genetics and Race
Mistrust of medicine clouds possibility of treatment for sickle-cell
RecommendedWhat You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
A more biblically accurate understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 25.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Ron Sider's Unsettling Crusade
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2000

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.