Home » Posts tagged 'Ron Sider'
Tag Archives: Ron Sider
Three Awesome Books on Wealth, Miracles and Community of Goods
I got three amazing books in my hand that I can’t wait to read! Let me introduce them to you:
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity by Ron Sider
Being one of the most popular books during the Jesus Movement in the 70’s, and according to Christianity Today, it’s the seventh most influential book that have shaped evangelicals. Sider goes against the commonly held view that it’s absolutely fine for Christians to be rich while thousands of people are starving to death, using Bible study, statistics on economic inequality and examples of radical Christian groups that have taken the economic teachings of Jesus seriously. Sider’s ideas are very similar to those I express in my series God vs Wealth, but to this point I have actually never read him – I got my ideas directly from the Bible.
A reader called Kelly writes on GoodReads:
“I was really floored by this book. The author first presents some startling and informative statistics on world hunger and poverty, where we have been and what is projected. Then he talks about God’s intense love for the poor, and that if we want to “be imitators of God” we must as Christians learn to share in that love. I left this book really wanting to do more to make a difference… even with specific ideas how! The best thing about this book was also the worst thing – sooo much information. Never before have a seen a pastor… talk so intelligently about ALL facets of poverty. Politics, economics, environment, sociology, religion – these topics were all included in great detail and from a Christian perspective. I have not seen anything more complete out there. That said, it was also very overwhelming (as it probably should be).”
New Chaos in Iraq: Support Christian Peacemaker Teams!
Iraq is experiencing renewed conflicts since rebels have taken control over Mosul, the country’s second largest city, and are now heading for Baghdad. Civilians are dying and suffering and we are probably witnessing the start of a new humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. As we all know, Iraq has experienced the horrors of war in over a decade, and the Western invasion obviously hasn’t created stability and peace but on the contrary, it has increased conflict and instability. But the rulers of this world are simple-minded and violent, so don’t get surprised if political and military leaders will argue once again for more war in Iraq as a response to the problem with war in Iraq.
We Christians belong to another Kingdom though and it’s our responsibility to love our enemies and speak life and hope into violent and hateful hearts. This is the goal of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). CPT were created when Ron Sider spoke in the 1984 World Mennonite Conference about the need of active Christian pacifists that not just refuse to use violence but actually establishes peace through active non-violence. He said:
Those who have believed in peace through the sword have not hesitated to die. Proudly, courageously, they gave their lives. Again and again, they sacrificed bright futures to the tragic illusion that one more righteous crusade would bring peace in their time. For their loved ones, for justice, and for peace, they have laid down their lives by the millions.
Why do we pacifists think that our way — Jesus’ way — to peace will be less costly? Unless we Mennonites and Brethren in Christ are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic vigorous new exploits for peace and justice, we should sadly confess that we really never meant what we said. We did, of course, in earlier times. In previous centuries, we died for our convictions. But today we have grown soft and comfortable. We cling to our affluence and our respectability.
Unless comfortable North American and European Mennonites and Brethren in Christ are prepared to risk injury and death in nonviolent opposition to the injustice our societies foster and assist in Central America, the Philippines, and South Africa, we dare never whisper another word about pacifism to our sisters and brothers in those desperate lands. Unless we are ready to die developing new nonviolent attempts to reduce international conflict, we should confess that we never really meant the cross was an alternative to the sword. Unless the majority of our people in nuclear nations are ready as congregations to risk social disapproval and government harassment in a clear ringing call to live without nuclear weapons, we should sadly acknowledge that we have betrayed our peacemaking heritage. Making peace is as costly as waging war. Unless we are prepared to pay the cost of peacemaking, we have no right to claim the label or preach the message.
Ron Sider: The Early Church on Killing
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore. (Micah 4:3)
A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate must resign or be rejected. If a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God. — Hippolytus of Rome
Ron Sider is one of the most influential activist theologians in the Western church; his 1977 book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger has been read by over 400 000 people and has been ranked as one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals by Christianity Today. This same magazine has now made an interview with Sider because of the publication of his new book The Early Church on Killing: A Comprehensive Sourcebook on War, Abortion, and Capital Punishment.
As the title suggests, Sider looks at the writings from the church fathers and other early Christian documents to see what they thought about killing. And as we previously have written on this blog, he found that they were pacifists. They were against all forms of killing; war, abortion and capital punishment – which should confuse the traditional left-right political paradigm a lot.
Just war-proponents sometimes argue that the reason most church fathers argued that Christians shouldn’t join the military was that idolatry was so common in the Roman army. This, Sider says, is not true:
Their most frequent statement is that killing is wrong. Killing a human being is simply something that Christians don’t do, and they’ll cite the Micah passage or Jesus’ “love your enemies” to support that. But the clear statement that Christians don’t kill is the foundation.
The most frequently stated reason that Christians didn’t join the army and go to war is that they didn’t kill. But it’s also true that in Tertullian, for example, idolatry in the Roman army is a second reason for not joining the military. But it’s not true that idolatry is the primary or exclusive reason that the early Christians refused to join the military. More often they just say killing is wrong.