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

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"Christian political activity today is a disaster."

So begins Ron Sider's analysis of contemporary evangelical political engagement. Christians have failed along all points of the political spectrum to subject their inherited political perspectives to the lordship of Christ via thoughtful, biblical critique. The result is infighting, lack of effective political influence, and worst of all, harm to our gospel witness.

Evangelicals have the opportunity to promote the well-being of all through a uniquely Christian political vision. Combining biblical principles with societal analysis, Sider helps develop an irenic approach for doing politics in a wise, biblically grounded way that honors Christ and acknowledges his lordship over all areas of life.

"Sider is one of our most important public theologians."--Jim Wallis, president, Sojourners; author, God's Politics

"Sider serves up his most compelling statement ever on how Christians can and should influence American government."--John J. DiIulio Jr., first director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; author, Godly Republic

"This book should be a guidebook for Christians who want to be a voice for Jesus in shaping social policy."--Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor, Northland, A Church Distributed; executive committee member, National Association of Evangelicals

"A mature, balanced, well-informed, richly biblical Christian political ethic for a broad audience."--David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University; president, Evangelicals for Human Rights; author, The Future of Faith in American Politics

"Sider's work has undoubtedly helped usher in an era in which fewer believers rush to embrace the secular ideologies of either Left or Right--and even less the rancorous behavior associated with them--and instead embrace a deeper biblical ethic as a guide to political positions as well as public conduct."--Don Eberly, author; White House aide to presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush

"American evangelicals should read and discuss this book and think hard about the kind of organizing that will be needed to fulfill genuine political responsibility."--James W. Skillen, president, Center for Public Justice

"Sider provides a road map, a guide to help Christians of all political persuasions to develop a relevant and just political philosophy."--Tony Hall, United States ambassador, United Nations, Rome

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Sider, author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, offers the most balanced and thoughtful example of the recent spate of books on evangelicals in politics. Rather than telling evangelicals how to vote, he teaches them how to think, using biblical and historical examples as well as contemporary findings to persuade his readers. When evangelicals entered political life in great numbers in the 1970s and '80s, he says, they did so without careful judgment; their approach was "Ready. Fire. Aim." This book can be seen as a kind of remedial course, exploring when and why political action is important for Christians. It offers a methodology of ethical discernment rather than a laundry list of hot-button issues, though Sider does tackle tough questions such as abortion, same-sex marriage, environmentalism and what constitutes a "just" war. While he supports democracy and a free market economy as the two best devices for promoting fundamental human rights for the greatest numbers of people, he argues that Christians need to concern themselves more with "the least of these"-the poor and disabled who often get trampled when materialism is unchecked. Powerful, well-researched and timely, Sider's book has the potential to shape a new generation of evangelical activists. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

The "scandal" of Evangelical politics is that there is no comprehensive, consistent Evangelical political philosophy despite extensive Evangelical engagement within politics. Sider (theology, holistic ministry, and public policy, Palmer Theological Seminary) sets out to offer a basic political philosophy that is faithful to Evangelical ideals throughout the political spectrum. This book offers a refreshing willingness to admit the political mistakes of Evangelicals in order to learn from them. The basic question Sider asks is, "What should Evangelicals try to legislate?" He addresses this in two ways. First, he offers a normative framework and methodology based on Evangelical interpretation of biblical principles. Second, he applies this framework to such issues in the Evangelical mindset as the state, justice, human rights, sanctity of life, family, war, environment, and international affairs. Overall, this work represents a worthwhile attempt in seeking a unified Evangelical political voice that is objective and holistic. It is essential reading for American Evangelicals, and it is useful for those trying to understand Evangelical political actions. Recommended for all libraries.-Dann Wigner, Wayland Baptist Univ. Lib., Plainview, TX

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801068379
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2008
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald J. Sider is the president of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the well-received The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Just Generosity, and the bestselling Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     9
Preface     11
The Scandal of Evangelical Political Engagement
Tragic Failure, New Opportunity     15
A Better Approach
Developing a Faithful Methodology     27
The Biblical Story and Politics     49
Building a Solid Framework: From Biblical Paradigms and Societal Analysis to an Evangelical Political Philosophy
The State: Its Nature, Purpose, and Limits     79
Justice     101
Human Rights, Democracy, and Capitalism     127
The Sanctity of Human Life     145
Marriage and Family     157
Religious Freedom, Church, and State     171
Peacemaking, Just War, and Nonviolence     191
Creation Care     209
Nation-States and International Affairs     219
Loving One's Neighbor through Faithful Political Engagement
Biblical Balance, Historic Opportunity     233
Bibliography     243
Notes     253
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Thought Provoking

    This was the first book I've had the priveledge to read from Mr. Sider and I enjoyed very much. This book covers a wide range of political topics and how faith should impact some of these controverisial issues. I found the arguements to be very well thought out and make a good starting point for discussion with friends. It's nice to have some clear thoughts on how one can merge faith with a political vision without having to take a radical and polarizing position.

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