MORE WEBINARS--AFTER VACATION!

I will fall silent for about three weeks!  My wife and I will be spending more than two weeks with four wonderful grandchildren (plus their mom and dad) at  an isolated cabin in northern Maine. Even telephone calls only work sporadically – – and never a connection for zoom webinars!

But when I return, I do look forward to continuing the dialogue on the book I edited,  The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth and Moral Integrity.  Amazon has listed the book as No. 1 best seller in Christian ethics. If you buy a copy via Amazon, write a short review and post it there.

I know how complicated it is for a pastor in an election year when anything you say may offend some part of your congregation.

I am   doing a series of webinars: one set for pastors and one set for anyone interested in the topic:  “How Can I Talk to my Family and Friends Who Dislike My Politics?”  The webinars are free.  Please sign up for one or both and invite your friends and/or parishioners to sign up.

Here are the dates and place to sign up:

July 23, 7-8pm. General

Topic: Ron Sider: "How Can I Talk To Family & Friends Who Dislike My Politics?" 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_62OmiFQnQT6fgugK4mMhrA

July 27,  1-2pm, Pastors

Topic: Ron Sider: "The Pastor's Dilemma in an Election Year" 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NUTlQDuCSQyj-tKfSoEopQ

July 28, 7-8pm  General

Topic: Ron Sider: “How Can I Talk To Family & Friends Who Dislike My Politics?” 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_moWqug9iSOy6au-0OnWEGA

July  30, 7-8pm  Pastors

Topic: Ron Sider: "The Pastor's Dilemma in an Election Year" 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ebRTuSccTcGGt7VV1h1YrQ

Aug 3, 4-5pm, General

Topic: Ron Sider: “How Can I Talk To Family & Friends Who Dislike My Politics?” 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1PF4YaMwRUin37L8gWdyng

Aug 5, 7pm, pastors

Topic: Ron Sider: "The Pastor's Dilemma in an Election Year" 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Rd4OzdeERrmO0MgStoqt9Q

Aug 11, Noon-1pm, General

Topic: Ron Sider: “How Can I Talk To Family & Friends Who Dislike My Politics?” 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xYyDZ2rwTsmB9LLycrGMrA

Aug 13, Noon-1pm, Pastors.

Topic: Ron Sider: "The Pastor's Dilemma in an Election Year" 

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3cgUfha2Qx2xStzIkv5KTw

On the webinars, I will tell you how to purchase copies at a 70% discount of the book, The  Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump.

Pass on this information and encourage your family, friends, pastor—anyone!—to sign up for a webinar. And invite them to join my free blog: ronsiderblog.substack.com

WELCOME, NEW FRIENDS

Welcome!  For the first time readers of my blog, I want to welcome you by sharing what I try to do in these weekly blogs.

I am an evangelical Christian and my desire is to bring a biblically grounded, fact-based perspective to everything I write. I don’t pretend to be unbiased, but my deepest  desire is to have my Lord Jesus be the Lord of every area of my life and thought.

My blogs range over a wide area. I write about theology, politics, the church (here and around the world), family, economics – – almost anything from the past or present that I consider important for faithful discipleship today.

 Probably the best way to give you a quick picture of the range of my blogs is to list a few of  the most widely read. (Just click on the title of this blog and you can scroll down and read any of these that interest you.)

“Afraid to Die? Living and Dying in the Resurrection“ (March 19, 2019)

 “Is Church Division Always Sinful?” (April 12, 2019)

“Naming Sin and Communicating Compassion”  (May 25, 2019)

“Dangerous Inequality” (June 25, 2019)

“Pondering the World Through Two Radically Different Lenses: Naturalism versus Theism”(Oct 29, 2019)

“Abortion and the Democrats“ (November 19, 2019)

“Christians and Politics” (January 4, 2020)

 ”Still Evangelical in Spite of President Trump’s Evangelical Supporters?” ( January 16, 2020)

“Not Bloomberg!” (February 17, 2020)

“Finding Strength in a Time of Pandemic” (March 20, 2020)

”Jesus’ Cross: Divine Child Abuse or Glorious Salvation?” ( April 10, 2020)

“Defending Franklin Graham“ (May 11, 2020)

“The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump” (May 14, 2020)  

“White Evangelicals, Racism and George Floyd’s Murder: Our Hour of Decision” (May 31, 2020)

“Will the Evangelical Center Remain Silent Again in 2020?” (June 9, 2020)

“Wonderful Nigerian Christians Face Terrorism, and Starvation: They Need Our Help” (June 17, 2020)

“Faithful Evangelicals: Stories of Evangelicals Overcoming Racism” (June 24, 2020)

Welcome! I invite you to tell me when you disagree-- or even occasionally, when you like what I say.

And invite your friends to join my free blog: https://ronsiderblog.substack.com/

FAITHFUL EVANGELICALS: STORIES OF EVANGELICALS OVERCOMING RACISM

In my May 31 blog, I recalled and lamented the many examples of white evangelical failure on the issue of racism. We dare not forget that long history of sinful disobedience.

But there are also some wonderful examples of courageous evangelical efforts to combat racial injustice. In this blog, I want to highlight those positive stories – – in the hope that they  can inspire us to daring, faithful activity today.

In 1688, three Mennonite immigrants who had joined the Quakers, worked with a Lutheran Pietist in Germantown, Pennsylvania, to write the “Germantown Protest,” the first Christian protest against slavery in what later became the USA.

John Wesley, the leader of the great 18th century evangelical revival that swept across Great Britain, opposed slavery. One convert in that evangelical revival was the young, wealthy William Wilberforce, who worked for decades as a member of the British Parliament  to end the slave trade (1807) and slavery itself (1833). Among  Wilberforce’s dedicated partners in the struggle was the pastor, John Newton, who wrote the wonderful hymn, Amazing Grace. Newton had been the captain of a slave ship!  When Newton described himself as a “wretch” and acknowledged that he “once was blind but now I see,“ he  was confessing  his former role in the terrible Atlantic slave trade.

In the mid-1800s, Oberlin College (in Oberlin Ohio) was a thoroughly  evangelical college  – and also a center of vigorous opposition to slavery. By 1834, Charles Finney was already famous as an evangelist – – the “Billy Graham” of the mid 19th century.  In his revival campaigns, Finney preached against the “social sin” of slavery.

In 1834, the leaders of a tiny, new Oberlin Institute asked Finney to come as part-time professor of theology. Finney agreed – – but only on the condition that Oberlin accept black Americans as students. It was agreed, and Oberlin immediately exploded in size and became the center of both evangelism and anti-slavery work.  Oberlin also accepted women students, becoming the first co-educational college in the world.

Oberlin students conducted evangelistic missions to Native Americans and then stood with them, demanding that the American government stop breaking its treaties with Native Americans.

Oberlin was most famous for its vigorous campaign against slavery. Finney and Oberlin urged civil disobedience against the 1850 federal Fugitive Slave Law which required that escaping slaves be returned to their masters in the south. In 1858, four slave catchers captured John Price, an escaped slave in Oberlin. (Oberlin was a major stop on the underground railroad for escaping slaves). As the slave catchers  held John Price and waited for a train to take the captured slave back south, hundreds of Oberlin folk ( led by the Sunday school superintendent and the professor of Christian ethics)  swept through the railroad station, freed John Price, and put him back on his way to Canada.

The federal government, however,  was not amused. The government  arrested the ethics professor and Sunday school superintendent for breaking the law, and took them to Cleveland for trial. But in Oberlin, all the officials were abolitionists. So the Oberlin officials arrested the slave catchers on kidnapping charges and launched a court case against them in Oberlin. For months, the two court cases were front page stories in newspapers across the country. Eventually, after the abolitionist movement had won massive attention, both cases were dropped!

Wheaton College is one of the most famous evangelical colleges today. Wheaton’s founder and first president, Jonathan Blanchard, was an enthusiastic supporter of Finney and Oberlin College. Blanchard was elected as the American vice president of the World  Anti-slavery Convention in  London in 1843. Blanchard argued that slaveholding was a “social sin” and insisted that  church discipline must be  exercised against slaveholders. Blanchard said he went to Wheaton seeking “a perfect state of society”  and a college “for Christ and his kingdom. “

Evangelist Charles Finney, Oberlin College, and their broad network of evangelical reformers played a central role in the long 19th century struggle to end slavery in America.  They  were also very influential in the emergence of a vigorous biblical feminism. (See the excellent book by Donald W Dayton, Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, for the above history of Oberlin, Finney and Blanchard).

A black preacher, William J, Seymour, was the leader of the famous, interracial, Azusa Street Revival (1906 to 1908)  in Los Angeles that led to the explosion of Pentecostalism around the world. (Today, Pentecostalism is the fastest growing part of global Christianity with about 500 million Pentecostals and Charismatics all around the world).  It was the black preacher William Seymour, who led this amazing revival. For three years, it was thoroughly interracial. Sadly, racism soon reared its ugly head again and the movement split. White Christians left and formed what became the white Assemblies of God. But the earliest years of Pentecostalism represent a wonderful – – albeit a tragically brief – – moment when Christians truly transcended white racism.

I hope these exciting examples of faithful evangelicals working for racial justice can inspire us to write another, much better, more permanent, chapter in the history of the church. Of course, these stories dare not blind us to the massive examples of white racism that I outlined in my May 31 blog. (See the chapters on racism in the book I edited,  The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth and Moral Integrity available at Amazon --buy it and write a short review on Amazon—that encourages others to consider it!)

We must never forget our racist past but today’s stories do remind us that in the power of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ our Lord, we can successfully conquer racism. 

Invite your friends to join my blog at ronsiderblog.substack.com.

MORE WEBINARS ON THINKING BIBLICALLY THIS ELECTION YEAR

An update on my upcoming webinars for  pastors and everyone wrestling with our political situation,

I have just edited a book THE SPIRITUAL DANGER OF DONALD TRUMP: 30 EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS ON JUSTICE, TRUTH, AND MORAL INTEGRITY. Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Seminary, says of the book: “Whether you agree or disagree with these voices, I believe their perspectives and arguments are urgently in need of being heard.“  And Roberta Hestenes, former President of Eastern University and International Minister-at-large, World Vision, says of the issues discussed in the book that “Christian witness and faithfulness to the gospel are all at stake.“   

The contributors are Republicans, Independents and Democrats.

I invite you to a free webinar on “The Pastor’s Dilemma in an Election Year.” This webinar is for you if you are struggling with how to help your congregation think biblically this election year.   Your congregation is probably sharply divided over politics. You may fear that anything you say will offend someone – – or even drive them away! You understandably want all of your people to let Christ be Lord of their politics, but you struggle to find a way to do that wisely. I invite you to join my webinar for suggestions and help. 

On  the webinars, I will tell you how to order multiple copies at a 70% discount.

There are two free webinars scheduled especially for pastors.  To register, go to the following:

June 23,3-4pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_U7Pa8BqxTaqXqTj6MXkc-w

June 25,10-11am: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-UxZSnvYQUelOgCRgF4NhQ

I will also do three free webinars on the topic: “How Can I talk With Family and Friends Who Disagree With Me This Election Year?” Are there ways to begin a conversation that lead to real listening and dialogue rather than anger and silence? I will share suggestions and invite participants to add their own wisdom. 

To register, or encourage others to register, for one of these, go to:

June 22,7-8pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PusMJ4oRQrWeX9aN3YR8tA

June 29, 7-8pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OiCNhhTGQlq3FxnF8zccqA

June 30,noon-1pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K7rX457ZQwi7efVQvK1AGw

  You can purchase multiple copies of my book at a 50% discount. To do so, go to www.wipfandstock.com and use the code/coupon DANGER50. 

A pilgrim with you, seeking to be faithful to Christ our Lord in this wrenching time.

 Ron Sider

Encourage your friends to join my free blog at: ronsiderblog.substack.com

WONDERFUL NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS FACE TERRORISM AND STARVATION: THEY NEED OUR HELP

In earlier blogs, (see March 5 and April 18), I told you about the desperate need of my friend and former student, Dr. Sunday Agang, who is now Provost of a big seminary in Nigeria. The seminary, ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) is in Jos, a city in north central Nigeria where radical Muslims have killed thousands of Christians in the last decade.

COVID-19 is also devastating Nigeria. It has shut down the country including Dr. Agang’s seminary. The normal student fees needed to pay faculty salaries are not coming in. Vast numbers of people cannot work because of  COVID-19 and are literally starting to starve.

Yesterday I received an urgent email from my dear friend Dr. Agang .  He told me that “during this time of lockdown, our students cannot afford to raise funds to pay their fees. Our people face a major challenge. People who normally get money to buy food  by going out on a daily basis to work are locked down so there is no way they can get food to eat again. They came to our house to get food.  The Nigerian government only gave palliative help once at the beginning of the lockdown and since then we have not seen anything. Consequently, more people are dying of hunger than from COVID-19.”

Yesterday in his email, Dr. Agang thanked the generous people who responded to earlier blogs urging help for his seminary and his family.   He said: “God used some of you to enormously  contribute the funds that enabled me to pay both April and May salaries for faculty and staff.” Yesterday he also told me that due to this generous support, “My house became a food basket for the poor and needy members of our community.”

My brother ended his email yesterday with words from Saint Paul in Second Corinthians 9:11-15 (NLT): “Yes you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving – – the needs of the believers in Jerusalem  [Nigeria] will be met and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.  As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God.“

Arbutus and I plan to  share some more with Dr. Agang, his family, and seminary and I invite you to do the same. 

Write your check (it is tax-deductible)to Grace Fellowship Community Church and mail it to  3265 16th St., San Francisco, CA, 94103.  (Include a note  saying “attention Matthew Denson” and say the gift is for Dr. Sunday Agang’s seminary and family in Nigeria.)

Thanks so much, my friends, for supporting this wonderful brother, his family, neighbors and seminary in Nigeria.

And encourage your friends to join my free blog: ronsiderblog.substack.com.

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