ron Sider (RS) spoke with Faith Today associate ditor Stephen Bedard (FT) in Wolfville, N.S. about he difference between Canadian and American
evangelicalism, why it’s a good thing to create wealth,
and what the Church needs to do next.
FT: It now seems a given that evangelical churches
know they need to be engaged with their communities.
The missional movement has woken us up. How have
you experienced that?
RS: In my 40 years of being actively engaged in the
Church, especially in the evangelical world, I have seen
some astonishing changes. Forty years ago, the typical
evangelical leader would say the primary mission of the
church was evangelism. Today, most evangelical leaders
would say we are supposed to do evangelism and we are
supposed to do social action. A couple of years ago I had
the privilege of attending [the] Lausanne [Congress on
World Evangelization], and it was just universally agreed
that we do both.
And it’s not just in theory. All around the world there
FT: How have things changed since you first wrote Rich
are more and more evangelical ministries leading people
to Christ and doing social ministry of various sorts. Es-
pecially in the evangelical world, there has been massive
Christians in an Age of Hunger (Thomas Nelson, 1977)?
Have they changed enough?
RS: Certainly they have not changed enough. I sometimes say that two contradictory things have happened.
Evangelicals are more materialistic than when I wrote the
book. [And] there has been massive growth of evangelical
engagement with questions of poverty.
World Vision was a choir of orphaned Koreans 50
years ago. The choir was going around raising money
for orphanages in Korea. Now World Vision alone is a
$2-billion-a-year program raising money and doing significant relief and development around the world, and
increasingly even looking at structural injustices. There
are dozens and dozens of other U.S. and Canadian evangelical relief and development organizations.
I don’t know that anyone has accurate figures, but
I suspect that the total is about $3 or 4 billion per year
The Faith Today
ron Sider is a voice of influence
among Evangelicals worldwide.
Christianity Today magazine
named his book Rich Christians
in an Age of Hunger one of the
top 50 books that have shaped
Evangelicals. he is the founder
of Evangelicals for Social Action
org) and professor of theology,
holistic ministry and public policy
at palmer Theological Seminary
in philadelphia. he is also a self-described “Ontario farm boy”
with roots in the Brethren in
By Stephen Bedard S U