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The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World? [Paperback]

By Ronald J. Sider (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   275
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.67"
Weight:   0.86 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2008
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801068371  
EAN  9780801068379  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
The Scandal of Evangelical Politics provides evangelical Christians with a systematic political philosophy that is balanced and nonpartisan to guide and sustain political activism.

Publishers Description
Evangelicals today probably have more political influence in the U.S. than at any time in the last century--but they may not be certain what to do with it. It has been difficult to develop a unified voice on pressing issues such as social justice and moral renewal. The Scandal of Evangelical Politics provides evangelical Christians with a systematic political philosophy to guide and sustain political activism. Soundly based in biblical principles and guided by a careful study of society, this book will guide readers into more thoughtful and effective political activity.Practical, balanced, and nonpartisan, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics will be a welcome resource during the race for the 2008 presidential election.

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More About Ronald J. Sider

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ronald J. Sider (PhD, Yale University) is the founder and president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.

Ronald J. Sider currently resides in Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General   [22730  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Is there any such thing as Christian politics?  Apr 7, 2008
A friend recently mentioned that she still has her dog-eared copy of Ron Sider's book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (1977) from her college days thirty years ago. Christians in general, and evangelicals in particular, owe a debt of gratitude for that book, and many of the other thirty books Sider has written across the last several decades. I deeply appreciated his book Completely Pro-Life, in which he argued that Christians ought to protest anything and everything that threatens human life (like hand guns and tobacco companies), and not just a few litmus test issues (like abortion).

This book needs a different title. It's not a treatment of all the ways evangelicals have scandalized the gospel by their political engagements, even though he believes they have "floundered and failed" their way to "tragic failure" the last forty years. Rather than such a negative critique, as the title seems to imply, Sider attempts to craft a positive evangelical philosophy of politics. But this strikes me as an elusive quest. He notes that there is a rich tradition of political thinking by other Christians like Catholics, mainline Protestants, and certainly Anabaptists. It's not at all clear to me what would qualify as a uniquely "evangelical" contribution to the debate. Plus, I tend to agree with Garry Wills in What Jesus Meant that there's no such thing as a "Christian politics." In fact, this is a point that Sider seems to concede, as when he admits that the Bible doesn't give us any clear direction about many things, like democracy, free markets, or even killing and war (cf. 139-141, 192). And when the Bible does mention such issues, interpreting and applying its message is no easy task.

After a few introductory chapters, Sider's book is issue-oriented, and herein lies another problem. Given the complexity of the issues, a point he repeatedly makes, he's tried to cover far too much material -- everything from the nature and purpose of the state, the sanctity of human life, marriage and family, creation care, nation-states, to whether we should expand the United Nations. Euthanasia gets one page, as does genetic engineering, while starvation and smoking receive but a half-page of consideration. Given how much Sider has tried to cover, this was unavoidable.

Plausible arguments can often be made for diverse views on complex political matters, which point Sider also admits. Almost every issue he discusses provokes significant ambiguity. He believes that the Bible would condemn abortion as murder, for example, but quickly admits that this conclusion "does not settle the question of what public laws on abortion Christians should promote" (148). I repeatedly felt like genuinely Christian points of view that Sider marshaled were compelling, but problematic when one tried to imagine how they might be mainstreamed into public policies. At the end of the day, though, he's surely right that because politics is so practically important, and because Jesus is Lord over all aspects of creation, it would be foolhardy for Christians to retreat to the evangelical position of forty years ago that favored spiritual "soul-winning" at the expense of engaging secular politics.
 

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