Dr. Ronald Sider, co-founder of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) has been a consistent partner of the Ogilvie Institute of Preaching, but many may not realize that the connection with Fuller Theological Seminary and its initiatives started long ago. ESA was birthed at the Chicago meeting of 1973.
Ron retells the story: “In the Chicago meeting in 1973 where the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Action (ESA’s founding document) was written, Richard Mouw and Lewis Smedes were active participants. And at that historic meeting, evangelical leaders, both young and old, called for a renewal of evangelical social concern around issues of economic justice, racial justice, and peacemaking, as well as the full dignity of women”.
From then until the present time, ESA has been actively working to help the church to become more involved in social justice and action-oriented approaches to breaking down barriers that inhibit those who are affected by injustice. However, the journey has not been easy, as Ron notes. “Forty years ago, most evangelicals still saw social concern as a liberal theological agenda. Evangelicals were supposed to focus primarily on evangelism. ESA has worked hard to help Christians see that biblical faith requires both evangelism and social action”.
Having recently retired officially from the ESA, and working as the Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy at Palmer Seminary in Pennsylvania, Ron is still involved in social action and holistic ministry. His books include “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Wealth” (2015), “God News and Good Works: A Theology for the Whole Gospel”, and “Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget”. Ron’s passion is to help the church embrace a biblical balance of justice, by combining evangelism and social action.