Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
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Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,356 ratings  ·  94 reviews

In the 20th anniversary revision of his groundbreaking book Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger, Ronald Sider examines the complex causes of poverty and offers concrete, practical proposals for social and individual change. The most thorough, biblical case against poverty-20 years ago or today.

Paperback, 261 pages
Published June 1st 1990 by W Publishing Group (first published 1977)
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Robert
A passionate plea for social justice, this book, first published in 1967 but regularly revised and updated, still stirs the conscience. Is still powerful. Unfortunately it can longer be read with the degree of hope that originally greeted it, with the hope that all Christians could unite in changing society - that the hungry would be fed, the wounded healed, the oppressed freed. Reading it today is depressing because it describes a road not taken. The intervening years have destroyed any hope th...more
Kelly
I was really floored by this book. The author first presents some startling and informative statistics on world hunger and poverty, where we have been and what is projected. Then he talks about God's intense love for the poor, and that if we want to "be imitators of God" we must as Christians learn to share in that love. I left this book really wanting to do more to make a difference... even with specific ideas how! The best thing about this book was also the worst thing - sooo much information....more
Josette
Wow! I figured that if I actually read this book, I would have a responsibility to act on what I learned. I am still processing what that might look like, but it's definitely true. American Christians are woefully out of touch with the situation of many in the world. My eyes were opened not only to the plight of a "billion hungry neighbors", but also to the concern that God has for the poor of this world, as evidenced in His word. It seems that almost every time I open my Bible now, I am seeing...more
Frits Haverkamp
I think this book is right on. However, my adult discussion group I read it with struggled with it. They questioned the very backbone of the book biblical analysis, especially the concept of the Jubilee. The book starts with Biblical analysis from an evangelical conservative perspective. Moves to an economic review of the world which the author reminds us is much less trustworthy than his biblical analysis and then to prescriptions for Christians. Demanding without being overbearing the 5th edit...more
Jo
Christianity Today named this one of the "Top 100 Religious Books of the Century" a blurb on the front of this latest revised edition tells me. Anyone who gets through this book will come away knowing: 1) Hunger is a BIG problem; 2) Christians have the resources to stop it; 3) Caring for the poor is presented in the Bible as a paramount issue for Christian discipleship; and 4) We need to do more, and there are things we can do.

However, the best thing about this book was also the worst thing - w...more
Brett
Some say his controversial or communist. Perhaps in earlier editions he was more radical. This seemed to me to be balanced and sensible. I may contend with some of his interpretations, but the general tenor, I don't contend with. If anything, I would say the Scriptures are more radical. His call for Christians to move past their mass consumption to concern and sacrificial generosity for the poor is biblical. But he doesn't even ask us to sacrifice all that much. He is asking for the biblical min...more
Justin Tapp

"Can overfed, comfortably clothed, and luxuriously housed persons understand poverty?" is how the book opens. The first chapter closes with this summary of what the book talks about:

"Imagine what one quarter of the world's Christians could do if they became truly generous. A few of us could move...to desperately poor areas. The rest of us could defy surrounding materialism. We could refuse to let our affluent world squeeze us into its consumeristic mold. Instead, we could become generous non-co...more
Christopher
The books is divided into three parts, I'll explain each section from his point of view.

1)Poor Lazarus and Rich Christians, or I don't understand what causes poverty: There are currently 218 gizmos running around and America is currently using 130 of them. We're such jerks. If we distributed the gizmos evenly, everything would be peachy fine.

2)A Biblical Perspective on the Poor and Possessions, or I don't know what the Bible says about mammon: Look! Woe unto you rich folkies! Take that!... hmmm?...more
Mike E.
Sider calls for rich Christians to live modestly and give generously. In general, Sider is against charity/handouts. He is for wealth-generating micro-enterprsies.

I recommend this highly for all Christians--especially those of us who teach and disciple others about stewardship. This book should be read along with John R. Schneider's book, "The Good of Affluence." The combined reading of these two opposing books will help Christ's servant discern both biblical teaching on wealth as well as assist...more
Reid
This book was kind of what I expected. Long, confusing at times, but also full of lots of information.

We can all do a lot more to change our lifestyles to be less wasteful and more generous to help the world's poor.

Cultural and institutional change is a big project to manage and he offers some good ideas and suggestions; but I felt that his description of the massive, complex problems was underscored by what I considered simplistic answers and solutions - ("end corruption, decrease military spen...more
Estelle
A convicting and unapologetic call to "rich" Christians living in the affluent global superpower of the United States to take seriously the claims of the Bible in general and Jesus in particular relevant to money, the poor, and economic justice. Sider makes a strong biblical case spanning throughout Scripture from Levitical "Jubilee" law to Jesus' words to the rich young ruler, from Amos' scathing critique of Israel's unchecked material prosperity at the expense of the poor, to Paul's plea to th...more
Eric Sundquist
Rich Christians contains no surprises for Christians today, though when it was originally published in 1977 it may have caught quite a few people off guard. World poverty is a common theme in the news and in many Christian circles today, perhaps due in part because of the efforts of the author and those like him who promoted the cause of the poor. The book is easy to skim for those familiar with the general themes - the distribution of wealth between rich and poor is unhealthy, we need to invest...more
Liz
Rich Christians is a classic in the social justice Christian world. Heavy on statistics, Sider takes the reader through a wealth of evidence showing that 1) there are enough resources in the world to care for everyone 2) the west consumes much, much more than it should 3) American Christians should be much more concerned about their faithfulness in their financial life.
Robb
Much info, inspiring, Biblical, whet my appetite to learn more about what we can do in America to not ignore the billions of our neighbors around the world who are barely or not surviving, and how our actions affect them without our even realizing it. Great balance of evangelical and social justice, and advocacy of capitalism with some restraints. Primary theme seems to be the idea of the Jubilee from the Old Testament where some type of redistribution needs to happen, otherwise the rich will ge...more
Jon
Every western follower of Jesus should read this book, but beware: don't read it if you're not open to having your mind changed by Scripture. It's not a comfortable book, but has been a crucial part of my discipleship--it's shaped my worldview profoundly. The book has 3 parts: Sider does a fantastic job of exploring (1) the biblical teaching on wealth and poverty, (2) the realities of wealth and poverty in our world, and (3) creative ways of responding as believers. His biblical work was well-ba...more
Nancy Rodriguez
Stirs your conscience but after all the years countless people have read this, poverty continues.
The theological causes of poverty and the actual causes overlap, and Sider isn't consistent. I enjoyed chapters 1 to 8 but last three chapters is just call to action.
Aubrey
I am being totally rocked by this book. It's radical and I love it, but am simultaneously challenged by its Truth. The statistics in Section One are outdated due to this edition's publish date of 1984... Yet, the other sections relay timeless Biblical Truths and Sider highlights lots of Scripture. I've also found a great Appendix of Social Action Organizations (many of them Christian), which I am particularly excited about. I feel stirred to personalize and apply these principles in my life and...more
J.D.
This book is certainly well researched and includes a lot of valuable information. I believe there was too much trying to be accomplished by this one book, however, so I really look forward to reading his others where I can get a more comprehensive look at the different aspects he brought up in this book. This should be required reading for anyone, not just Christians. Ideally we would all be convicted in a sense that if we were to try and live more simply, we could aid others to simply live. A...more
Liz
this is an important book for everyone. makes a very good case for how helping the poor is central to a christian life. the book was very informative, with a lot of info/current statistics on poverty and will open your eyes to how people are living around the world. at times it was a bit overwhelming as sider gives so many different examples of things we could be doing as a government and as individuals to alleviate poverty, but it's definitely a source i'll be going back to from time to time to...more
Susan
This book really opened my eyes to the reality of hunger in the world, and the affluence with which we, here in the US, have become so comfortable with (at the expense of other people, other nations, and economies).
I read it many years ago, and it inspired my husband and myself to propose to our friends, the concept of living in a "communal neighborhood" (sharing resources in order to free more resources to help others). However, we had no idea how hard it would be to sell this idea.
I encourage...more
Jonathan
It's good for those who haven't engaged the topic before, and perhaps for those who aren't doing enough on their own to help the poor. However, it doesn't try to make an argument for why Christians should engage our government and encourage them to stand up for the poor. Perhaps this was obvious for many people, but I've ran into so many people recently who drag their heels on trying to make real change that I believe there needs to be more written to reach them. But perhaps that wasn't the focu...more
Andrew
Everybody should read this. It's really convicting about how we tend to spend money on ourselves while others are dying of starvation. Sider presents a case of how wealthy Americans are, explains God's heart for the poor, and gives practical suggestions. He talks a little about how developing nations face a system of oppression and steps to change that. This book encouraged me to live simply and give more. Get the new edition--in it he says he learned a lot more about economics than in the first...more
Susanna
I read this book while I was in Scotland taking a class that had to do with Christianity and social justice issues.

This book became very important to me that semester because it was the only book I could find about the subject that represented the evangelical perspective. Even though some of Sider's ideas might be naive, I still think that Rich Christians is worth the read, simply because it makes you think. It really helped shape my thoughts about Christianity as it relates to poverty and just...more
Todd Miles
I finally decided to work through this book to research a current project. I am glad that I read it. I will grant that Sider's exegesis leaves a bit to be desired at points, his appeals to science are political and unfounded at times, the arguments are dated, and his unrelenting use of guilt to drive his points is tiresome. But he does alert the reader to God's concern for the poor. The biblical data, particularly left uninterpreted, is convicting. I needed to read this book.
Amanda
Started this book with a book group at CCU we read it off and on and then just started discussing global issues instead! I like some of Sider's ideas, but agree with some that his ideas don't fit reality and don't take into account the human condition or the fact that you can live a well off life, love the poor and be an amazing follower of God. I can see him taking the extreme stance for the sake of proving a point. But he is preaching to the choir with me and I got turned off.
Heather Hampton
This book showed a Biblical perspective on money as well as highlighting the importance of giving to others and being responsible for the things that God has entrusted to us. This book encourages you to think about your actions and to look at how you spend your money and treat your possessions and see how things things affect the rest of God's creation, including the environment and other human beings that exisit throughout the whole world.
Leigh
This book led me to reevaluate how I spend my time, money and efforts. Am I really following what Christ commands, or am I telling people to be warm while leaving them out in the cold?

I did not agree completely with the author--for example, his emphasis on government aid and (too much in my opinion) focus on environmental efforts. However, I would recommend it to Christians. It does not allow you to remain lukewarm.
Henry Jin
Perhaps the most comprehensive treatment of the issue of poverty out there. It has everything - it is thoroughly Biblical, has lots of statistical data, and even ideas for application.

Perhaps the one thing that it is the perspective that Christians should have when approaching this issue. Presented as it is, it could lead to a guilt trip...but if read properly, it offers a wealth of information.
Mark
This book is a strong polemic against materialism which is so common in the modern, western world. It is call to not just resist the draw of an affluent lifestyle, but to actively fight for economic justice which requires more than personal choices, but to fight for structural changes. While I don't agree with all of Sider's points, I think this book is extremely valuable and challenge.
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Ronald J. Sider (PhD, Yale University) is president of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He is the author of the bestselling Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.
More about Ronald J. Sider...
The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America Good News and Good Works: A Theology for the Whole Gospel Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget

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“God's Word teaches a very hard, disturbing truth. Those who neglect the poor and the oppressed are really not God's people at all—no matter how frequently they practice their religious rituals nor how orthodox are their creeds and confessions.” 11 likes
“What an ironic tragedy that an affluent, “Christian” minority in the world continues to hoard its wealth while hundreds of millions of people hover on the edge of starvation!” 8 likes
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