To give credit where credit is due I need to say that I would not have read this article if it had not been for Jordan Cooper. with that said Ron Sider kicks rear (usually my rear but still he kicks rear). His article in the January/February 2005 issue of Books & Culture and is called “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience” is amazing.
The article details the fact that evangelicalism started as a response to a large segment of CHRISTianity that had begun to reject the miraculous nature of the gospel. In response to that anti-miraclous belief evangelicals stated that not only were the miracles of scripture true but the transformation of a believer’s life was miraculous in its nature. Yet today there seems to be little difference between evangelical believers and the world and this calls into question whether there is a miraculous transformation or not to quote Sider:
To say there is a crisis of disobedience in the evangelical world today is to dangerously understate the problem. Born-again Christians divorce at about the same rate as everyone else. Self-centered materialism is seducing evangelicals and rapidly destroying our earlier, slightly more generous giving. Only 6 percent of born-again Christians tithe. Born-again Christians justify and engage in sexual promiscuity (both premarital sex and adultery) at astonishing rates. Racism and perhaps physical abuse of wives seems to be worse in evangelical circles than elsewhere. This is scandalous behavior for people who claim to be born-again by the Holy Spirit and to enjoy the very presence of the Risen Lord in their lives.
Evangelicals rightly rejected theological liberalism because it denied the miraculous. In response, we insisted that miracle was central to biblical faith at numerous points including the supernatural moral transformation of broken sinners. Now our very lifestyle as evangelicals is a ringing practical denial of the miraculous in our lives. Satan must laugh in sneerful derision. God’s people can only weep.
With our actions we have betrayed our LORD and HIS kingdom. We are traitors because we do not live as loyal citizens of this miraculous kingdom. We must repent! As ministers we have to model lifestyles of living in the kingdom. This begins with us repenting. we need true fall on your face and wail repentance. Truthfully i need true fall on your face, weep til the point of sobbing repentance.
I will begin. I have betrayed CHRIST. I have chosen to consume for no other reason than I can and I trust in my ability to consume rather than in the power of my LORD. I have trusted in the power of influence rather than believing that my LORD takes care of those who will make themselves weak. I have perverted the pure sexual lives that he has called us to. I have done this by viewing creature made in HIS image as though they were objects. I have risked nothing when HE has called me to risk it all and depend upon HIM. I am a hypocrite.
I don’t want to hypocrite, a liar, a traitor. Please forgive me LORD.
2 Replies to “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience”
I’m seeing everyone writing about this article (seen over two dozen so far), but no one has yet attributed the article to the correct magazine, Books & Culture magazine — published by Christianity Today International.
You could be the first.
anonymous poster! 🙂
thanks, you’re correct. the excerpt from sider’s book “the scandal of the evangelical conscience” was found in book & culture. if you click on the title it is actually a direct link to the web based version of the excerpt. i read the article off the web and saw the title of CHRISTianitytoday.com, the host & publisher of books & culture. thanks for correcting me.