Guest / Limited Access /

Ron Sider has been a burr in the ethical saddle of the evangelical world for decades. His 1977 book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, took fellow believers to task for materialism in the face of desperate global needs. Sider, who is professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has just released a new jeremiad: The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience (Baker Books, 2005). In it, Sider plays off Mark Noll's critique of American evangelicalism's anti-intellectualism in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Sider says the current crisis encompasses both mind and heart. Stan Guthrie, Christianity Today's senior associate news editor, interviewed Sider.

What troubles you the most about evangelicals today?

The heart of the matter is the scandalous failure to live what we preach. The tragedy is that poll after poll by Gallup and Barna show that evangelicals live just like the world. Contrast that with what the New Testament says about what happens when people come to living faith in Christ. There's supposed to be radical transformation in the power of the Holy Spirit. The disconnect between our biblical beliefs and our practice is just, I think, heart-rending.

I'm a deeply committed evangelical. I've been committed to evangelical beliefs and to renewing the evangelical church all of my life. And the stats just break my heart. They make me weep. And somehow we must face that reality and change it.

You have often spoken about evangelical failures in society, for example, in Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. This latest critique covers not only social justice issues but also issues of personal morality. Was that intentional?

I've always been concerned with a whole range of ...

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
RecommendedRachel Held Evans Returns to Church
Rachel Held Evans Returns to Church
The popular blogger joins the mainline tradition. Can evangelicals wish her well?
TrendingMore Martyrs: ISIS Executes Dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya
More Martyrs: ISIS Executes Dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya
Propaganda video released the same day Justin Welby arrives in Cairo to honor the previous 21 victims.
Editor's PickThe Civil War Is More Than a Historical Fascination
The Civil War Is More Than a Historical Fascination
Why the clash between North and South remains relevant, 150 years later.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Evangelical Scandal
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2005

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