#15 – A Faithful Witness: Getting to Know Our Retreat Speaker ft. Dr. Ron Sider

 In

Whether we vote or not, we’re shaping politics. If we don’t vote, then we’re responsible for what happens at one level, and if we do vote, then we have a chance to shape what we think is a better way to go.

 

One of the best protections against the kind of terrible Christian nationalism that we have in the U.S., would be a much, much deeper engagement with the global church and listening to how they see things, how they read the Bible. I mean, the resurrection has been important all my life. But when you’re 80, that becomes more real and vibrant. I think about that often and the assurance that when life here ends for me, whether tomorrow or in 10 or 20 years. That’s not the end. ~ Dr. Ron Sider

Being a pastor comes with a certain amount of exposure to the public, as we all know. Sometimes taking a stance on hot topics from the pulpit comes with its fair share of backlash. Many of us are all too familiar with the “Monday morning email” detailing exactly which parts of Sunday’s church service(s) were unacceptable. How many of us would jump at the chance to take those same “unpopular” stances and beliefs and give them a greater voice in the wider public eye? Newspapers, television, politics…

What does it mean to be a Faithful Witness? How can we be faithful to scripture in the context of our world today?

Our BCMB Pastor & Spouse Retreat speaker for 2020 is Dr. Ron Sider. He is involved in politics and champions his convictions in the public sphere. Well known for his passion for social justice, as a professor, a theologian, and a social activist, he strives to look at the world through a biblical lens and framework.

Join Rob Thiessen in his conversation with Dr. Sider to delve into the motivation, reasoning, and wealth of experiences that he brings to the table when talking about his years long pursuit of faithfulness and living out his beliefs.

Topics Include:

  • The global church or global experience of Christianity
  • Biblical Balance
  • Faithfulness to Scripture
  • Politics and Christianity
  • Late Life Wisdom

Show Notes:

#15 – A Faithful Witness: Getting to Know Our Retreat Speaker ft. Dr. Ron Sider
BCMB Pastor to Pastor Podcast

 
 
00:00 / 44:16
 
1X
 

 

Transcription:

BCMB 015 - Ron Sider.mp3 transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

BCMB 015 - Ron Sider.mp3 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Ron Sider:
Whether we vote or not, we're shaping politics. If we don't vote, then we're responsible for what happens at one level, and if we do vote, then we have a chance to shape what we think is a better way to go.

Ron Sider:
One of the best protections against the kind of terrible Christian nationalism that we have in the U.S., would be a much, much deeper engagement with the global church and listening to how they see things, how they read the Bible. I mean, the resurrection has been important all my life. But when you're 80, that becomes more real and vibrant. I think about that often and the assurance that when life here ends for me, whether tomorrow or in 10 or 20 years. That's not the end.

BCMB Intro:
Welcome to the BCMB podcast. Pastor to Pastor, this is a podcast by the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. We want to help equip and encourage pastors, churches and anyone else who wants to listen in and be more effective in their ministry. This is episode 16 with our BCMB Pastor and Spouse Retreat Speaker, Ron Sider.

Rob Thiessen:
So welcome, everybody. My name is Rob Thiessen. This is the BCMB Pastor to Pastor podcast and we are very excited today, to have with us a guest all the way from the East Coast of the United States, Dr. Ron Sider. And I'm assuming you are on the East Coast. Is that where you're located right now?

Ron Sider:
Yes, we live in a Mennonite retirement community just outside Philadelphia.

Rob Thiessen:
Ok. Excellent. And I married someone from that area, from Lancaster County. That's where my wife's from, so we were just back in the area for the American Thanksgiving. But it's great to have you with us! And I'm excited, especially, because you will be also coming to our area to speak to our pastors and spouses at our upcoming retreat in May and that's something we're really looking forward to. So I wonder, Dr. Sider, if you would introduce yourself to our listeners today just by way of sharing a little bit of the faith community that helped shape your life. So how was Christ introduced to you and modeled for you, through the communities that you've experienced?

Ron Sider:
Yes, I am of a farm boy from southern Ontario. I grew up in the Brethren In Christ Church. Dad was a farmer and then became a pastor. We always had revival meetings at ?Bervie? Brethren In Christ Church and when I was ten or eleven, I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and for the rest of my life, I've tried to live that out. Mom and dad lived it out in beautiful ways. They didn't understand structural injustice and racial injustice in structural senses, but they cared about poor people and hurting people. And that was simply a part of what I thought Christian faith was. I struggled in the first couple years of college, whether or not an honest intellectual in the modern world can still believe in historic Christian faith, are miracles really compatible with modern science? And I came to see that the historical evidence for Jesus' resurrection is really very, very strong and that's been the center of my faith. I think that N.T. Wright's 800 page book on the Resurrection of the Son of God is probably the best book, by a brilliant scholar, to make an historical case for Jesus Resurrection. So, that's where I started. I think my own faith today, obviously, has benefited from education my dad didn't or wasn't able to have, and a lot more experience. But it's still the same basic biblical faith that I got from mom and dad.

Rob Thiessen:
You also had tremendous opportunities to teach globally. You've had a long career as an author, over 30 books that you've written and you continue to write and then release books, and then you've taught globally as well. What what are some of the things that... how has exposure to the global community of faith, shaped your life? What are some of the things that you remember/recall from teaching globally that has impacted you?

Ron Sider:
Yeah, I think it deepened my sense that one of the best protections against the kind of narrow approach, where one simply understands Christian faith simply from a very narrow personal background, is to listen to the body of Christ through the centuries. And that's what tradition's about. But also in the world today. And it's a wonderful fact that something approaching 65 or 70 percent of the world's Christians are now in the global south. It's a tragedy that Europe, and increasingly North America, is becoming so un-Christian. But the faith is strong in the global south. And as I listened to those people and understand or tried to understand how they understood Christian faith from their context, certainly strengthened my own concern for the poor. Because they are really struggling with that. I think if the Western church is consistent as it thinks about sexuality, it would be careful and listening to the global church on that issue right now. Because I think that one of the best protections against a narrow nationalism, or more the kind of terrible Christian nationalism that we have in the U.S., would be a much, much deeper engagement with the global church and listening to how they see things, how they read the Bible.

Rob Thiessen:
Well, that's you know, that's super helpful. I haven't had that much exposure to the global church, but I've had, you know, a few trips to Asia and Africa, India. And I've often asked myself when we're wrestling with a sort of a North American or Canadian theological issue, asked myself, "well, I wonder what brothers and sisters in other parts of the world would think about this issue?" And honestly, there's a lot of them that I'm not sure they would care about, the way we seem to be so, so passionate. And yeah, there's a lot to be learned from listening to the wider community. When you think about the issues facing us, and challenges, in America and in Canada, and like you shared your background. You are connected to the Canadian community because you, like you said, you're a, you know, Saskatchewan farm boy by heritage.

Ron Sider:
Ontario.

Rob Thiessen:
Ontario? OK. Ontario, farm boy. What are some of the top challenges that you see facing the church in the U.S. and in Canada today?

Ron Sider:
Well, I think one of the things is a lack of biblical balance. And if we have a biblical balance, we'll have prayer and action, we'll have evangelism and social action. We'll have inward emphasis in the congregation on community and fellowship and nurture, and we'll have outward mission to the world. And so often, we get just a one-sided Christianity. It drives me crazy, almost, within our own Mennonite community, when I see some Mennonite leaders that seem to be only concerned with peace and justice - and if you have that concern, you're a good Anabaptist. And then I see other Mennonite leaders, that seem to think that all that matters is evangelism and inviting people to accept Christ, and they seem to forget that Jesus told us to love our enemies and care for the poor. So biblical balance is absolutely crucial for me.

Ron Sider:
A second area, I think is... I mean, we're really in terrible trouble in North America in terms of family and marriage and sexuality. And, you know, I wonder... we're so conformed to the culture. The culture is so powerful. And you know, over the last 40, 50 years, the American evangelical community has gotten divorced at about the same rate as the rest of society. I'm not up on the stats in Canada, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's rather similar. And that's a terrible conformity to culture. And you can do it on the other side and simply accept the current, quote, "sexual liberation doctrine". I think that the biblical teaching is that God intends marriage for a man and a woman. And it seems to me, there are ways to insist that we love everybody and we welcome gay people, but we don't accept gay practice as what the church says. So in the whole area of sexuality and marriage and family, we have fundamental crises in North America. I think that it's much worse in the U.S. in terms of Christian identification with nationalism. I think Canada's not nearly as problematic as that. But that's just run amuck in incredible ways at this point in time in the U.S..Those would be a couple things that come to mind.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, you did - I don't know, It was a number of years ago now, maybe five or six years ago - there was an article written by you that came out, a statement in 'Christianity Today', on sexuality. I think it came out maybe shortly after Tony Campolo, you know, identified as affirming of gay marriage. Why did you feel that was important? Has that cost you? How has it been for you to identify your position and convictions in support of traditional, biblical understanding of marriage?

Ron Sider:
Yeah. I mean, this has never been a major topic of my writing and speaking, but way back in the 80s, when the other side magazine was moving to embrace homosexual practice, I said, you know, I've tried to be biblical all my life. And on some things, like the hundreds and hundreds of verses in the Bible about God's concern for the poor, it's resulted in being unpopular. In terms of Western materialism, I'm still trying to be biblical and I can't read the Bible any other way than to think that God's intention is for a man and woman in marriage. So I've talked about it a little bit. It's obviously become increasingly a problem. And so in my book, The Future of Our Faith (I think that's the title), you know, I finally did my longest chapter on that topic. That's my longest statement. I've written about it in a few different places; 'Relevant' magazine and 'Mennonite Weekly Review' actually did a piece and so did 'The Mennonite' on that. I think it's one of the many areas where we have to ask ourselves, how do we express Jesus' love AND at the same time remain faithful to biblical teaching? I think that in the last 50 years, the evangelical world - I sometimes say, "if the devil had designed a strategy for undermining the evangelical teaching on sexuality, he couldn't have done better than what we evangelicals did."

Ron Sider:
We didn't reject gay bashing. We didn't have a good place in our congregations for young people struggling with their sexual identity. We let people go around with signs 'God hates fags', you know, on and on and on, just, just really wrong, unloving kinds of attitudes. What we should have said is, the church should be the BEST place for kids struggling with their sexual identity. That, yes, some people have a gay orientation, that in spite of their best efforts - and it can't change, apparently - but, we should invite them to follow biblical ethics. And then that means, you know, celibacy in those cases. So the church ought to be the loving community where that happens, but we haven't been that. And my hope and prayer is that at this point in time, the church can figure out how to be loving and welcoming, but not embracing a gay lifestyle.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. Thank you. And I really enjoyed that chapter in the book, The Future of Our Faith, where you did just do a, you know, a one chapter sort of a biblical overview. It was very, very helpful. A foundational piece. I want to just take a quote, also, from that 2016 book where you interact with Ben Lowe, a millennial, on different questions facing the church. And you made a statement in one of the chapters there, where it says, "The meaning of the gospel is the forgiveness of sins. But if the gospel is only the forgiveness of sins, then we can accept the gospel, receive God's forgiveness, be on our way to heaven, and then live like hell until we get there." So talk to us a little bit about... unpack that a little bit. What does a full orbed understanding of the cross look like and what are you calling the church to?

Ron Sider:
Yeah. Well, I think the first question is: what did Jesus say his gospel was? And virtually every New Testament scholar, liberal, conservative, agrees today that Jesus said, the gospel is the good news of the kingdom. And when you unpack that, it seems to me, it's clear that you got into Jesus' kingdom by the forgiveness of sins. Jesus told parable after parable: God being the father of the prodigal son, He died for our sins on the cross. So, yes, forgiveness of sins is one central part of the gospel, but it's only half of it. The other half is, you know, in Luke 4, Jesus says he came to announce good news to the poor, to release the captives, recovery of sight to the blind. And Jesus spent a lot of his time healing sick people, ministering to physical needs. And that simply continues what the prophet said again and again and again, that you can't have a right relationship with God and be unjust to your neighbor.

Ron Sider:
So, one part of the gospel is that this new messianic kingdom, the time expected by the Jews, was now breaking in and in Jesus' new circle of disciples, they were living that out in terms of healing people and caring for the poor, economic sharing and so on. So it's simply un-biblical to say that the gospel is just forgiveness of sins or that the gospel is just the Substitutionary Atonement. I believe in the Substitutionary Atonement. I think it's one important part of what the New Testament tells us. But it's also clear that Jesus came not just to die on the cross, but also as the incarnate one - God in the flesh - to live the kind of life that God wants us to live. You know, it's a tragedy of the creeds, whether the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed, that they jump from Jesus' birth to Jesus' death, as if nothing happened in between.

Ron Sider:
And this is contrary to what all the gospels tell us. You know, the Sermon on the Mount is a long, long sermon where Jesus is telling us what it means to accept his gospel of the kingdom and to live in his kingdom. And so faithful following of Jesus, is one central part of what it means to be Christian. And if you just reduce it to having your sins forgiven because of Jesus' death on the cross, then you've got a cheap gospel that is fundamentally un-biblical - I would go so far as to say, it's heretical in its one-sidedness. It's right in what it says, but it's wrong and heretical in what it leaves out. And heresy, usually, is not a totally false statement. It's usually simply a one-sided statement, a part of the truth in a way that obscures and undermines another part of biblical truth. So biblical balance is what we need.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. What you're describing, I think, another voice that has been an advocate for the transformational side of our walk with Christ, has been Dallas Willard in his book 'The Divine Conspiracy'. And I remember one illustration, he talked about it. He said, with evangelical Christians, it's like you're driving down the highway of life. And, you know, you pull over and Jesus, the mechanic, fixes your vehicle, but then you just spend the rest of your life on the side of the road with the hood up waiting for, you know, the divine pickup truck to take you to heaven. He said, you know, he was illustrating that, you know, he meant for the thing to drive! You know, he meant for you to go somewhere with the life that he gave you, the new work of the spirit - it's to a purpose and to an end. And I think that's what you're saying, too, to just say, "well, now I have my, you know, my fix. And I'm just going to sit here holding onto this sort of 'heaven certificate'." That doesn't capture the message of the kingdom at all.

Ron Sider:
It's just biblically unfaithful.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. What's the role of the Holy Spirit in that life and your experience, you've spoken widely and to all different, you know, Denominations and Christians, like I said, globally. What do you think we can learn from those Christian communities that emphasize more vocally - and Mennonites haven't done this, you know, they've been shy about the work of the Holy Spirit. What do you see as the critical role of the Holy Spirit in empowering us to live this life?

Ron Sider:
Well, it's a simple fact that that part of the church that's growing fastest around the world is that part of the church that especially emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit. You know, Pentecostalism is simply continuing to grow like crazy. No, I'm not a Pentecostal. I don't speak in tongues, although I wouldn't mind if the Lord gave me that gift. In fact, I kind of asked for it one time and it never happened. But the Holy Spirit is central in, well in Jesus and then in the Epistles. And it's clear, in Paul, that it's in the power of the Holy Spirit, that it's possible now to live the life that Jesus called us to. We simply can't do this on our own. So I think that the Holy Spirit is absolutely central and all of the historic Christian beliefs are Trinitarian: God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Rob Thiessen:
Ron, can you share with our listeners, just an example, like of a church, whether it be here, in North America, or even global. But when you think about churches and - to use very non-pacifist words - that are really 'killing it' in terms of, you know, demonstrating, you know, both a faithfulness to the message of the cross, of forgiveness of sins, calling people to conversion to Christ, and also then showing by their life, the life of Christ, living out the gospel. What sort of... what communities have you observed that are encouraging to you? Where do you see evidences of - cause, we can talk a lot about the, you know, the shortfalls in the church - but, where are some hopeful lights that you've seen?

Ron Sider:
Now, I actually did a book, in I think the middle or so of 'Cup of Water, Bread of Life', where I told the stories of 10 different churches around the world that were really combining word and deed really regularly, leading many people to Christ every year and also ministering to the socio-economic needs of people. I think one of the U.S. Christians that has been best in this is John Perkins, African-American, and he developed a whole national network of local organizations that are doing this. In Chicago, there are a couple - and I tell two stories - two chapters in that book about ministries in Chicago, where Wayne Gordon came to Christ as a teenager in high school, 'Athletes for Christ' weekend, he felt called to the city after playing football at Wheaton College. He went into one of the poorest sections of Chicago, started leading kids to Christ. He saw they needed tutoring, so he started a tutoring program. Saw they needed health care, so he started a medical program. Today, it's a, I don't know, a hundred million dollar a year program, dozens of full time doctors, etc, etc... It's renovated, transformed, a whole neighborhood, desperately poor neighborhood. But at the center of that is the church, because they know that people need Jesus as well as a job. And so they invite people to Christ. And so there are wonderful models, both here and abroad. My own congregation now, Oxford Circle Mennonite Church. It's a small congregation. It's an amazing place! Maybe 40-45 percent Anglo, 15-20 percent Latino, 20 percent African-American, Palestinian couples, Filipino couples. And we're really working at leading people to Christ - we have a large community center that's growing. And that's what I believe in. And I like to summarize it by saying, "people need Jesus and they need a job."

Rob Thiessen:
That's good. As you traveled into other countries, are there some places globally where, you know, you see the church being effective in its witness, in a surprising way?

Ron Sider:
Oh, yeah. I mean, wonderful, wonderful examples all over the world. In 2015, my wife and I traveled for three months around the world and we were in a BIG church in Calcutta - I think, Assemblies of God, it was certainly Pentecostal - and every Sunday, pretty much, people were coming to Christ (Hindus). But they also had major social programs, schools, and just lots of different kinds of social ministries. So, yeah. I mean it's...in the Lausanne Covenant in 1974, said, in section five, that evangelism and social responsibility are both part of our biblical duty. And that really just licensed younger evangelicals all around the world to embrace that in a new way and it's happening in wonderful ways, but there's still one-sidedness in lots of places, but just a lot of that.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, I was reading John Stott's biography and he played a big role in that. But even in that statement, I think as I read, he took a lot of heat for his affirmation of that clause or that emphasis.

Ron Sider:
Now, René Padilla and Samuel Escobar, both Latin American evangelicals, gave major speeches. It was in '74 and Samuel Escobar was on the drafting committee along with John Stott. And they played a key role in, you know, in that ending up in the document. But yes, for the next 10-15 years, it was very controversial. There were quite a lot of Americans who wanted to go back to saying evangelism was our primary, almost exclusive, maybe a little bit of the other, but not much, mostly evangelism. And they lost that debate. I was at Lausanne Three in Cape Town in 2010, and I don't think there was a single plenary speaker who didn't affirm that we're supposed to do evangelism and social action. That debate is largely over in the global, evangelical world.

Rob Thiessen:
They say they fit together. Now, one thing that people might be interested to... something unusual about your ministry, is that you've taken your faith also into the public arena in many ways, so you've engaged politically. And you know, you started organizations or part of, like, the Evangelicals For Social Action in the United States and you've been at policy tables, and... talk to us a little bit about that. Why has it been important for you to to speak out and engage in the political and public realm? And what are some of the, sort of, pitfalls and challenges that Christians need to think about?

Ron Sider:
Yeah. I mean, the first thing I want to say is politics is not all that important. I don't think it's as important as evangelism. I don't think it's as important as simply living like Jesus in the local congregation. But, I think there are two reasons why it's wrong to say, "politics is too messy" or "too complicated" or whatever, "so, we should just ignore it and stay away from it." The one is that, in fact, political decisions shape the lives, for better or worse, of literally billions of people. You know, it is through politics that the British evangelical member of parliament, Wilberforce, eventually got the British Empire to end the slave trade and then slavery itself. It's through politics that our Anabaptist concerned for religious freedom and separation of church and state (well, that's not the best way to put it) But you know, the freedom of the church to be free from state, it's through politics, that that became a reality in most of the world. It's through politics that we have policies that deal with global warming or deal with structural injustice. So, it's simply as a practical matter, the fact that politics shapes the lives for better or worse, for billions of people. The other, and I think more important reason, is that Jesus is Lord according to our basic Christian confession. And the early church said that means - Revelation 1:5, I think it is, and it still staggers me - but it says, "Jesus, the risen Jesus, is now ruler of the kings of this earth." It doesn't always look like it, to put it mildly, but that's what we believe. And if he is Lord of all of our lives and Lord of the world, then surely we Christians ought to be asking - if we live in a democratic society where we have a vote, in a society where, whether we vote or not, we're shaping politics. If we don't vote, then we're responsible for what happens at one level, and if we do vote, then we have a chance to shape what we think is a better way to go - And if we live in that kind of society, then if Jesus is our Lord, we ought to be asking, "how does Jesus want me to vote?" What is a biblically-shaped political agenda? I have a book called 'Just Politics', where I try to spell out in a whole book, how to answer that question.

Ron Sider:
I know that that's tricky and complex. We're all finite and limited, shaped by our own experience. So I don't claim any kind of infallibility for my concrete political conclusions, but just to be very concrete, I continue to think that the article I wrote for Christianity Today in 2016, saying that evangelical Christians should not vote for Donald Trump, was probably a fairly good combination of biblical principles and understanding of the situation. But many, many evangelicals thought otherwise. And so, you know, I don't claim any kind of infallibility for my political judgments. I think, in fact, I think it's important to say that in any political judgment, you need basic norms. What's justice? Who are people? I want to get those from the Bible. And then you have to study society, because there's nothing in the Bible that says we ought to build nuclear reactors or how to deal with global warming. You have to study economics and the world and then you need to put together those biblical norms and your study of the world into what I call a political philosophy, a kind of shorthand, a roadmap. Because every time you want to make a political decision, you can't spend five years and go back and read all the Bible again and study it and you can't spend another five years studying all the economics and history in politics. You have to have a handy road map. So my political philosophy - I won't try to summarize it here in a sentence, but I try to say it in that book - I hope comes from my normative biblical principles and my study of the world. But, what I want to say is: at every step in that process, it's complicated. I may have... I'm sure, part of my study the Bible is not fully accurate. And so where you can help me see I need to be correcting that, I'm glad to do that. And then when you try to study economics and history, you know, that's complicated, to put it mildly. And that makes it even more less-certain. You put that together in a political philosophy, that's another step removed from certainty. And then, when you try to apply that to a political election, even more uncertainty. So, at each stage in that process, I want to say, I'm less certain, but I'm still ready to say in my finite, limited judgment, in 2016: "Here's how I think of evangelical Christians should vote."

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, yeah. You're making a roadmap to think Christianly about issues. And we recently had a study conference as a Mennonite Brethren Community in Canada, on interpretation of scripture. So, we were working on a model of, sort of, trying to visualize our hermeneutical model. And I remember one of the questions from the floor came up, of what the role of outside sources of knowledge were in this process. And I'm not quite sure what the questioner was raising that question for, but you illustrate an important aspect where, you know, engagement with social issues, political issues - it requires you then to take a step from your biblically formed convictions and then to create a philosophy or a way of thinking about these other issues. And I really appreciate the humility that you demonstrate. I noticed that, you know, even in your book, you know, where you address various issues, you frame it with a sense of humility; "This is to my best understanding, as how I read the scripture." And that's helpful, right? You're not passing judgment on future generations or past generations. This is my faithful reading or my best effort at faithful reading today.

Ron Sider:
You look back in the past and you see where the best of Christians - San Agustin, made some terrible mistakes and Luther made some, some terrible things about the peasants and about the Jews, he said, and so on. So I'm sure I must be making big mistakes. I don't know where they are. If I were clear where I'm misunderstanding the Bible, I would be glad to change it.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, you'd be perfect then. Yeah. How about that? Very Good. So our theme at our Pastors and Spouse Retreat in May is going to be 'A Faithful Witness' and Ron, you have been a faithful witness to Christ over your years and now you have this, you know, amazing legacy of writing and teaching behind you. And I think, you know, sometimes, it would be nice to hear you as a person, you and Arbutus, now you're octogenarians and you're looking back on your life. What aspects of your hope in Christ and your Christian faith are especially dear to you now, at this stage in your life?

Ron Sider:
Somebody asked me a little while ago, what I would want on my tombstone. It'll be one for both Arbutus and me, and rather immediately, I said, "They tried to live like Jesus." No claim that we succeeded. But that's what we were trying to do. You know, when you're 80 - I mean, the resurrection has been important all my life and its implications for our view of death, I've written about that for decades - But when you're 80, that becomes more real and vibrant. I think about that often and the assurance that when life here ends for me, whether tomorrow or in 10 or 20 years, I don't know - That's not the end. I did a sermon at another Mennonite Retirement Community, called 'Living and Dying in the Resurrection', which tries to spell this out. And it's simply a wonderful, breathtaking truth, that what Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "Tomorrow you will be with me in paradise," is true for those who believe in Christ. I'm grateful.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. Eternity is a big thing to think about. And the closer we get to it, you know, we have something tremendous, truly a glorious hope.

Rob Thiessen:
What about authors that you're reading? You're an author of a lot of books, and that's great. We want to tell the community about some of your books. And they might know, you know, from years ago, back in 77, you published 'Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger', and that book caused quite a stir. And we want to commend those to our listeners. But what other authors are you reading these days, that you find inspiration and encouragement from?

Ron Sider:
That book, by the way, the 'Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger' is in its sixth edition, so anybody wants to read it today should read the 2015 edition, not the 1977 edition. You know, the stats have changed, the theological sections are pretty much the same. I find N.T. Wright simply, I would say, the best New Testament scholar today. I reference his book on the resurrection, it's absolutely wonderful. His big three volumes on Jesus, and the last one is the one on the resurrection, but he writes more popular stuff. I think he gets the basic theology of the New Testament as clear and right as anybody I know. He's wonderful. I guess that's... I mean, Craig Keener, another good friend and colleague for a while, is a great New Testament scholar at Asbury Seminary.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, we had him... Craig was our speaker for our conference on biblical interpretation. And I noticed he had a few slides up of his friends, and you were in one of the pictures there. Yeah.

Ron Sider:
He's a dear friend.

Rob Thiessen:
We really enjoyed his love for Christ, his love for the scriptures. It was an inspiration to listen to him.

Ron Sider:
Gordon Fee has a fabulous book on the New Testament Christology, that is wonderful.

Rob Thiessen:
You're referring to a lot of theological work and New Testament scholars. That's good! I've been listening to N.T. Wright's podcast. It's called 'Ask N.T. Wright Anything'. And I quite enjoy it because it brings out his pastoral side and he's not just a scholar. He is, you know, he's a man involved in the lives of believers with a real heart and compassion to shepherd people. And that comes through so strongly, it's wonderful. Yeah. Well Dr Sider, this has been really a blessing just to spend a few minutes with you and I want to, you know, pray the Lord's blessing on you and Arbutus, that you will continue to find joy and fruitfulness in serving the Lord, which is your passion. Again, you demonstrate a faithful witness to us and we look forward to you being with us here in B.C. in in the spring. But thanks for being with us today.

Ron Sider:
Thank you. May I just say that I do have a blog and pretty much once a week,.

Rob Thiessen:
OK,.

Ron Sider:
I write on it. Anything from theology to politics. It's just Ron Sider Blog dot substack S U B S T A C K dot com ronsiderblog.substack.com.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, I think a number of months ago, I was looking there and I saw you had an article on universal health care. And once again, I just read it and I thought, that's fantastic! You know, here you're thinking through issues and blogging on it, and very good. I mean, I'm not advocating for your position or anything, but it's just the fact that you think Christianly about so many issues and that's so helpful.

Ron Sider:
Thank you. Good to be with you Rob.

Rob Thiessen:
All right. OK. Bye bye to our listening audience and look forward to being with you again on the BCMB podcast. Thanks.

Quickly and accurately convert audio to text with Sonix.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Thousands of researchers and podcasters use Sonix to automatically transcribe their audio files (*.mp3). Easily convert your mp3 file to text or docx to make your media content more accessible to listeners.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2020—it's fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your mp3 to text, try Sonix today.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

You can send us a message here and we'll get back to you, easy as that!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
0

Start typing and press Enter to search