I owe Sider so much for rescuing me through this and his other books from my individualised christianity. I specially appreciated his attempt to integrate the most popular atonement models chapter 5. I loved to see how Sider, instead of rejecting this or that model, indicates the way how these different atonement models complements each other and as a result helps the church to accomplish more faithfully the mission. One issue I had with this book is it's to freq I found this book very helpful.
One issue I had with this book is it's to frequently repetitions of some points. But still, very recommended!! Jun 02, Spencer rated it liked it. By one-sided, he means that most churches either focus on evangelism or social action, but not both. As a result, one-sided churches are not obedient to the call of the gospel: that is to reach out to and love the lost as in the Great Commission and to love our neighbor and show mercy as in the Sec Book Review: Good News and Good Works: A Theology for the Whole Gospel Summary: Good News and Good Works by Ronald Sider is about overcoming the problem of one-sided thinking in the churches of America.
As a result, one-sided churches are not obedient to the call of the gospel: that is to reach out to and love the lost as in the Great Commission and to love our neighbor and show mercy as in the Second Greatest Commandment. This of course is a result of understanding and accepting how Jesus Himself thought about and responded to the physically, socially, and spiritually sick people, families, communities, and social structures as He walked the earth.
For a book that is only around two-hundred pages, Sider covers a great deal of information. I found myself underlining and making notes constantly which dramatically and negatively affected my reading speed; however, it affected me in many positive ways which I will discuss in a following section on ministerial strengths.
The information that Sider covers is full of Biblical references and stories, as well as many organizations that have performed wholistic ministry throughout the last several decades; many of which he gives no definition for or framework by which to understand the organization.
Throughout the pages of his writing, it seems evident that his primary theme and thrust is for the Christian not to be passive or one-sided. Sider works very hard at explaining that Christians must evangelize and care about making social change. I believe, a genuinely biblical perspective inseparably interrelates and intertwines evangelism and social responsibility without equating or confusing the one without the other. After dealing thoroughly with issues of how different religious organizations look at evangelism and social action, the Good News of the Kingdom in its most broad sense, and the topic of salvation, Sider deals in detail with the two main topics he has been discussing: Evangelism and Social Action.
This was perhaps my favorite chapter of the book. In it, he makes the case both biblically and from a sensible, easy to understand perspective the rationale for evangelism. I think any minister could easily transform this entire chapter into a wonderful sermon series. His arguments are very strong and convincing that the Christian should be involved with social action.
A Theology for the Whole Gospel
For instance, the section on types of social concern make great sense. His use of the Bible to show Jesus as the example for social concern is stellar; however, when he gets into Jesus and politics, he begins to lose me. Here I think he is stretching the boundaries of the case he is trying to make. Social action is important, even if it is just our idea. He fares better I think to just say this. Lastly from this section, although he made a great effort to make the case that Christians should be involved in politics, he failed to do so. As Sider moves into part five, I found myself really beginning to question some of his assertions.
For instance, he really goes out of his way to make the case for evangelizing conglomerates and social structures. This really just makes no sense. Conglomerates and social structures are composed of people, who do indeed need evangelization; however, it seems as though he is trying to coin new terms here or push too hard for evangelism at some root level. Considering these things, it surprised me when I read on page that he believes Christians can work with non-Christian or even anti-Christian groups and never speak about Jesus.
It seems as though this section was written by someone other than the guy who for the first one hundred pages was pounding on the reader about the need for evangelism and wholistic ministry. The book concludes with a clear picture of the need for wholistic missions, churches, discipleship, apologetics, political engagement, and Christians. This allows the reader to dream of the perfect world where all Christians actively engage the lost, and support the poor and oppressed in our churches and individual lives.
This book makes a strong and undeniable biblical case for Christians to be involved in both evangelism and social action. Biblical and Ministerial Strengths As I said in the summary, Ronald Sider effectively used a large amount of scripture to make his case that Christians should be focused on evangelism and social action.
The gospel - Wikipedia
The vast majority of the passages used in his writing I felt were within context and thought through with proper exegesis. I thought the case for evangelism in chapter seven was perhaps the most significant chapter from a Biblical strength perspective. The way he laid out the case for evangelism, all from scripture was phenomenal and perhaps one of the best cases I have ever read.
From a ministerial perspective, I thought the overall concept and support throughout the book for a wholistic approach evangelism coupled with social action and support to ministry was superb. Of course, this is what he apparently set out to do considering the title of the book.
I have read some things in the past on different ministry topics that made a case for a particular type of change, but the biblical connectedness was weak. I also think that a strength of the book is the honest approach he takes at some church structures or religious groups. I felt that his honesty may really make some people stand up and take notice of their own systems and practices that may be faulty as it relates to evangelism or social action or both. For instance, on page 85, he talks about how salvation happens in history and is social, corporate, and communal.
There is no doubt that salvation comes to large groups of people at the same time as on the day of Pentecost, but it does not seem accurate to think that by being a part of a certain community or group, one will be saved outside of the Jewish people perhaps in the exodus? Salvation is still an individual process, and Sider seems to go the wrong way here.
As Sider tries to make his case for where to allocate resources on page ff, I think he takes some liberties with the Bible that are perhaps just his opinion. For instance, he says on page that Jesus would have wanted us to spend equal resources on evangelism and social action. On the previous page, Sider tries to make this case for social action as equal to evangelism since Jesus healed others so often. To Jesus though, His presence and His healing although out of compassion pointed directly to Him as Messiah.
Ron J. Sider
I think this case for resources is dangerous from a ministry perspective. Social action is important on its own, but I am not convinced that it should be done without a direct link to evangelism. My goal was to get people focused on evangelizing the suburbs since in my mind the inner city was already taken care of. This class and this book have helped me see what a one-sided, and inaccurate view that was.
Suburban Missionaries has always been marketed as a resource to help people who already have everything. Yes, suburbanites have debt and lousy marriages in secret, but we also have our fair share of social injustices to contend with. Many get rich on the backs of the poor. This is not a message I have ever focused on for that ministry much less thought about.
For Suburban Missionaries, the goal is to implement a more wholistic approach. That is, to talk about social action and social injustice that at times keeps others from obtaining prosperity owning the ponds as well as specific things some people in business often do: lie, cheat, and steal to get where they are. The evangelism is important, but I agree that there needs to be a sense of social responsibility taken and communicated in our evangelism to the suburbs. The need is greater than I ever imagined, and our suburbanite church goers need to see it, and feel compassion for it, a desire to make changes happen, and an opportunity to actually do something about it.
I will be working at assembling a team of laity that has a heart for urban ministry and get resources such as Kozol and Sider in their hands. Oct 27, Becky rated it really liked it.
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Great book about how our call to share the gospel through words, is interdependent on our call to live the gospel message through action ie feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, showing compassion, working for social justice, etc. Without one, the other suffers. They go hand-in-hand in the life of a disciple of Christ. Encouraging and inspiring read.
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