Ron Sider asserts that "by their daily activity, most 'Christians' regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is their Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate their allegiance to money, sex, and personal self-fulfillment."
In this candid and challenging book, Sider addresses an embarrassing reality: most Christians' lives are no different from the lives of their secular neighbors. Hedonism, materialism, racism, egotism, and many other undesirable traits are commonplace among Christians.
Rather than simply a book bemoaning the state of American Christianity today, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience offers readers solutions to repair the disconnect between belief and practice. While it's not easy medicine to take, this book is a much-needed prophetic call to transformed living.
Ronald J. Sider is president of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The author of more than twenty books, he resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This stinging jeremiad by Sider (Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger) demands
that American Christians start practicing what they preach. Evangelical
Christians, says Sider, are very much like their non-Christian neighbors in
rates of divorce, premarital sex, domestic violence and use of pornography,
and are actually more likely to hold racist views than other people. Why the
discrepancy between American Christians' practices and what the Bible teaches?
Sider decries the materialism of most churches, marshaling evidence to
demonstrate that American Christians' charitable giving has decreased even
while their income has risen. Although they are collectively the wealthiest
Christians in the history of the world, they don't take care of the poor, he
says. Sider reviews the New Testament to argue that Christians can't accept
Jesus as their Savior without also honoring him as their Lord and obeying his
teachings. In the final chapters, he insists that Christians must strengthen
their accountability to the church and "dethrone mammon" (money) as the real
object of worship. Sider's issues are of course selective; despite careful
attention to the subject of racial inequality, there is no mention of gender
inequality, and Sider quotes no women alongside such heavyweights as Wesley
and Bonhoeffer. Still, his criticisms are incisive and prophetic. (Feb.)
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