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.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueMeet the Churches Engaging—and  Keeping—Young People
Subscriber Access Only
Meet the Churches Engaging—and Keeping—Young People
A study of 250 congregations suggests that engaging youth and young adults has little to do with style and everything to do with substance.
RecommendedExclusive Video Premiere: Churches Take on the Billion-Dollar Industry Making the Poor Poorer
Exclusive Video Premiere: Churches Take on the Billion-Dollar Industry Making the Poor Poorer
When the state government did nothing, Texas churches stepped up to fight for change in their local communities.
TrendingWhy Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
It's one the great mysteries of ministry. Why do pastors have such a bad reputation for answering or returning phone calls? Here are 9 reasons.
Editor's PickFearless Faith in a Time of Forgetting
Fearless Faith in a Time of Forgetting
Our culture can’t remember what makes Christianity good, but there's no reason to freak out.
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.