David Chilton, Productive Christians In An Age Of Guilt Manipulators - 
A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider



God’s genuine concern for the poor is manifested throughout the Bible. Cry Justice, Ronald Sider’s anthology of the Bible quotations on the subject, certainly bears out this point well (although I can’t say much for Sider’s annotations). Indeed, God’s word has quite a lot to say about specific remedies for poverty, and much of the Old Testament law deals with the problem. As we shall see, however, Sider glosses over these clear biblical commands in favor of his own solutions —solutions which are usually opposed to biblical law. In this chapter, we will first take a look at who the poor are, and then we will examine the specific biblical laws which seek to alleviate poverty. It should be kept in mind, however, that none of the biblical Poor Laws is intended to be of long-term benefit to the poor: all are stop-gap measures, designed to allow some breathing-space in order to provide time for the real, long-term solutions to poverty. The Poor Laws alone will not suffice; what is needed is a total reconstruction of our lives and society in terms of biblical law. As we shall see in a later chapter, it is my firm contention that poverty can—and will—be almost entirely eliminated in this earth. But that will come about only as men are converted and nations discipled to the obedience of the Christian faith. The Poor Laws are crucial, and if we ignore them we will incur national judgment. But we cannot regard them as the ultimate solution. They are intended to serve only as emergency measures. The final solution will come about through strict cultural adherence to the whole of God’s law.

One further fact must be noted. In general, the laws which specifically provide for the poor are not enforced by the state. This is not to suggest that these laws are unimportant. They are very important. Too often we assume that a crime is inconsequential if the state cannot punish its offenders. This is a form of state-worship. The Bible prohibits us from turning every sin into a civil crime under state jurisdiction. The civil government cannot punish criminals unless given the right to do so by Scripture. But that is not the end of the story, of course: God is Judge, in history and at the Last Day, and He brings punishment against those who violate His law. In particular, He has declared Himself to be the Defender of the poor, and He judges men and nations in terms of their obedience to the Poor Laws (see e.g., Exodus 22:21-27; Psalm 12:5; Proverbs 22:22-23).

The Bible distinguishes two groups of people in particular who may be defenseless against oppression, and who are to be especially regarded as objects of our concern.

1. Strangers. Biblical law assumes that a nation which is materially blessed will attract immigrants. There is no biblical justification—and hence no economic justification—for prohibiting immigration. According to popular mythology, immigrants take jobs away from American citizens. It is ironic that this belief is held by many who are often in violent opposition to one another. In Southern California, Ku Klux Klansmen often patrol the Mexican border to aid Immigration and Naturalization Service agents in rounding up illegal aliens (occasionally, immigrants caught by our loyal defenders have been raped, beaten, and shot in the back); on the other hand, consider this report on the United Farm Workers from the New York Times:

During the union’s 1974-75 strike near Yuma, Arizona, which was led by Manuel Chavez [Cesar’s cousin and long time top aide], hundreds of Mexican aliens were brutally beaten by UFW representatives to keep them from crossing the border and taking the jobs of striking melon workers.[1]

So much for solidarity.

God is firmly opposed to this activity. Not that our borders shouldn’t be protected against military invaders and criminals— but mere immigration is not a crime. Virtually all the activity of the Immigration and Naturalization Service is thus in flagrant violation of the law of God. God tells us that He loves the stranger, and commands us to love him also:

He . . . shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien . . . (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).

Note: in the Bible, love is always action. It is defined here as providing strangers with what they need in order to live. Obviously, then, it angers God if we abuse them, trouble them, or make life hard for them. They are to receive the same justice in court as native citizens: “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the strangers as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 24:22); “You shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land” (Numbers 9:14). Specifically, any oppression of strangers is strictly forbidden, and brings on divine judgment (Exodus 22:21-24).

This does not mean the abolition of all distinctions, however. It does not constitute a legal mandate for integration. Indeed, Israelites were permitted to sell diseased meat to strangers, since pagan cultures generally have no objection to eating it (Deuteronomy 14:21). In addition, full citizenship in Israel was denied to certain ethnic groups for three and sometimes ten generations (Deuteronomy 23:3, 7-8). But while the Bible maintains a realistic appraisal of the often heathen backgrounds of immigrants, it nevertheless commands justice, fair treatment, and positive concern for their welfare. (For the advantages of population growth, including immigration, see below.)

What then should we do about illegal aliens? Gary North makes the following suggestions: “First, require proof of immunization, or require those without proof to be immunized. Second, abolish the minimum wage law. Third, abolish all public welfare programs. Fourth, abolish the requirement that the children of illegal aliens be required to attend public schools at taxpayers’ expense. Just let them work, at whatever wage they can get. In short, let them enjoy the freedom that we all want. But our homegrown socialist programs have made a threat out of those who are willing to work. Our great-grandparents were welcomed, or at least tolerated, because there was no American welfare State in the nineteenth century.”[2]

God blesses nations for obedience. If we practice kindness and justice towards strangers, we are promised national blessing (Jeremiah 7:3-7); on the other hand, if we disregard this law, we are warned that we will become immigrants ourselves (Jeremiah 22:3-5). The land of Judah refused to heed Jeremiah’s warnings about this, and the curses of the law were fulfilled in their national captivity. After their return, Zechariah reminded them of this fact, and exhorted them again: “Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress ... the stranger . . .” (Zechariah 7:9-14).

The prophet Ezekiel, as he looked forward to the flowering of Christian culture through universal obedience to biblical law, spoke of the complete assimilation of strangers into the covenant — an assimilation which would come about, not through positive legal enforcement of external integration, but through a common adherence to the true faith. The evangelical witness to strangers by observing God’s justice toward them will result in their conversion and discipleship. While it is couched in the symbolism of prophetic language, it is no less clear that the inclusion of strangers in the covenant will result from obedience to God’s word:

So you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. And it will come about that you shall divide it by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens who stay in your midst, who bring forth sons in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. (Ezekiel 47:21-22)

Skip to Population and Immigration.

2. Widows and Orphans. These are often mentioned in connection with strangers, as those who must be especially protected against oppression.

You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall become widows, and your children fatherless. (Exodus 22:22-24)

Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow. And all the people shall say, “Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:19)

More than this, we are commanded to be positively involved in the lives of these people: “Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). This is, in fact, the essence of Christian living: “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). The church has a special responsibility in this regard. Paul exhorted Timothy to “honor widows” (I Timothy 5:3). The Greek word translated “honor” is often used in Scripture to indicate payment, and it obviously has that meaning here in I Timothy 5 (in fact, Jesus clearly used the term in this way when he commanded that children should provide their aged parents with financial support: Matthew 15:4-6). There is, however, a limitation on the church’s responsibility to aid widows: regular support must be given only to those widows “who are widows indeed,” who are without a family, too old to remarry, and thus unable to receive support from relatives (I Timothy 5:3-16). The family bears the major responsibility for financial (and other) aid, and no other institution or group must usurp this responsibility. “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Timothy 5:8). These are strong words, and we must take them with utmost seriousness. When we are too quick to call for aid to the unfortunate from some non-family agency, we undercut the responsibility of families to care for their own. We all have a tendency to abandon our responsibilities if some agency is there to assume them for us. The basic social institution is the family. Family members are best equipped to deal with needy relatives, in terms of personal care and attention. They are more aware of the real wants of the person, and, because they are close to the situation, are most able to detect abuses of charity. God wants to build responsible relationships within families, and the church’s responsibility in caring for needy members grows out of the fact that it is our larger family, “the household of God.” But any appeal to the larger family must be only as a last resort.

Even then, charity is restricted. A widow is to be placed on the list for aid only if she herself is engaged in charitable service, “having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work” (I Timothy 5:10). Biblical charity, as we shall see again and again, never subsidizes irresponsibility. A crucial principle of biblical law is that “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10). The further away we get from familial charity, the more likely it is that this principle will be abused. State welfare fraud is so universal as to be practically axiomatic; but it is virtually impossible to engage in long-term deception of one’s family.

Biblical law is geared toward responsible action on the part of individuals and families. National greatness does not come about through legislation or governmental coercion. Ronald Sider’s call for a “guaranteed national income”[3] is geared only toward national irresponsibility. It is based on the ethic that I have a right to as much money as I can vote out of my neighbor’s pocket. In short, “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.” Moreover, it will only enslave us to the state, as Auberon Herbert pointed out a century ago:

“So long as great government departments . . . supply our wants, so long shall we remain in our present condition, the difficulties of life unconquered, and ourselves unfitted to conquer them. No amount of state education will make a really intelligent nation; no amount of Poor Laws will place a nation above want; no amount of Factory Acts will make us better parents. These great wants which we are now vainly trying to deal with by acts of Parliament, by prohibitions and penalties, are in truth the great occasions of progress, if only we surmount them by developing in ourselves more active desires, by putting forth greater efforts, by calling new moral forces into existence, and by perfecting our natural ability for acting together in voluntary associations. To have our wants supplied from without by a huge state machinery, to be regulated and inspected by great armies of officials, who are themselves slaves of the system which they administer, will in the long run teach us nothing, will profit us nothing.”[4]

“It is a mistake to suppose that government effort and individual effort can live side by side. The habits of mind which belong to each one are so different that one must destroy the other. . . . Men will not do things for themselves or for others if they once believe that such things can come without exertion on their own part. There is not sufficient motive. As long as the hope endures that the shoulders of some second person are available, who will offer his own shoulders for the burden? It must also be remembered that unless men are left to their own resources they do not know what is or is not possible for them. If government half a century ago had provided us all with dinners and breakfasts, it would be the practice of our orators today to assume the impossibility of our providing for ourselves.”[5]

Thus, as we examine the biblical Poor Laws, we must constantly remind ourselves of this central fact: The Bible commands responsibility. Apart from individual and familial responsibility, these laws indeed will not work. Basic to social change and reconstruction must be regeneration by the Holy Spirit through the propagation of the gospel, in order that men and women newly created in God’s image will begin to assume their responsibilities under God.


[1] Cited in The Alan Stang Report, July 23, 1979.

[2] Gary North, The Last Train Out (Fort Worth, TX: American Bureau of Economic Research, 1983), p. 132f. Thomas Sowell has authored two excellent works dealing with immigration: Ethnic America: A History (New York: Basic Books, 1981), and The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspective (New York; William Morrow and Company, 1983).

[3]  Sider, Rich Christians, p. 212 [cf. p. 202].

[4] Auberon Herbert, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), pp. 179f.

[5]  Ibid., p. 77.


Perhaps the greatest contrived scare in the United States today is that of the alleged horrors of population growth. The Zero Population Growth advocates inform us that we are faced with a run away population explosion that threatens to overwhelm the world with mass poverty and starvation. Ronald Sider wholeheartedly subscribes to this fraud—or at least he wants his readers to do so —and tells us that it is a “fundamental problem” of modern life.[1] We have already noted his prediction of a possible “war of redistribution” initiated by the overpopulated countries, and his warning is repeated again and again:

Vast mushrooming famines in the poorer nations may tempt their leaders to unleash wars of unprecedented size and ferocity in a desperate attempt to demand a fairer share of the earth’s resources. ... As millions die and imminent starvation stares tens of millions in the face, a country like India will have to seek some way out.[2]

Naturally, something must be done about this, and Sider has the ever-present answer of state worship: “Foreign aid ... is probably the only way to check the population explosion in time to avoid global disaster.”[3] But he makes a fatal blunder. In his eagerness to increase our guilt over world hunger (too much emphasis on population might imply guilt on the part of the Third World), he makes a startling admission:

It is simply incorrect to think that the population explosion in the poor countries is the sole or perhaps even the primary cause of widespread hunger in the world. Our ever increasing affluence is also at the heart of the problem.[4]

Postponing for the present an examination of that last remark, notice the slight change of tune. First, the population explosion will lead to “global disaster.” Second, the population increase isn’t really the problem at all. This does not mean, however, that Sider is unconcerned about overpopulation. Even though he admits again that overpopulation is not “the main reason for continuing poverty,” he makes this demand two paragraphs later:

The right kind of aid—focused especially on promoting labor-intensive, agricultural development using intermediate technology—will help check population growth . . . the right kind of action could probably avoid disaster.[5]

This is known in the language of Propaganda Chic as getting ‘em coming and going: Population growth is not the problem— but if we don’t stop it with foreign aid, we will have a global disaster on our hands, and it will be all our fault. If you’re looking for logic here, don’t bother. But there is a method to this madness. Remember, Sider’s fundamental ethic is plundering the rich. At all costs, no matter how convoluted the argument, he wants to be Robin Hood. The fact that foreign aid is wrong, or that it doesn’t work, or that reducing the size of population will not decrease hunger, will have no effect on his premise. His a priori principle is that of statism and egalitarianism (another example of his serious confusion, since you can’t really have both). P. T. Bauer explains how the thinking runs: “If the basis of the advocacy of aid is simply the need to reduce the allegedly wide and widening gap in incomes then such advocacy would not be affected even if it were recognized that aid need not promote the material progress of the recipients as long as it impoverished the donors[6]

This is the real point. This is why arguments in favor of aid do not have to be logical or factual. They are based on a religious presupposition that the riches of some are the cause of the poverty of others. The rich must be impoverished, regardless of the effect of such policy on the conditions of the poor. If legal plunder can be facilitated by using an irrelevant overpopulation argument, well and good. If the overpopulation argument gets in the way of producing guilt feelings among the rich, discard it. If the rich can be made to feel responsible for the overpopulation of others, better yet. But, whatever you do, get their money.

However, since Sider brought it up, it would be worthwhile to consider the population issue, in order to dispose of any remaining doubts in the reader’s mind. It is clear that Sider himself is not being straightforward about the problem, in view of his obvious self-contradictions; but this need not deter us from dealing with it honestly and biblically ourselves.

Advantages of Population Growth

It should be conceded at once by anyone claiming to be a “biblical Christian” that the Bible is not opposed to population growth as such. At the beginning, God commanded man to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28); and twice He repeated this command to Noah and his sons: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. ... Be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (Genesis 9:1, 7). God promises in the law that He will cause population growth among His obedient people, and they are clearly to regard this growth as a blessing (Leviticus 26:9; Deuteronomy 28:4, 11; cf. Psalm 127:3-5; 128:3-4). On the other hand, population growth is a definite disadvantage for the ungodly, since population is people, and a higher disobedient population means greater judgment (Deuteronomy 28:18-19; Isaiah 49:19-20; Ezekiel 5:7-8). The answer to the population problems of the ungodly, however, is not population control but population regeneration. The issue is always spiritual and ethical, not biological. The ungodly culture suffers because it is under the Curse; and while we may engage in a certain amount of ad hoc treatment of symptoms, if we are serious about curing the disease we will attack the root problems, which have to do with man’s depravity and rebellion against his Lord. And if our programs to relieve the needy ultimately reinforce rebellious cultural values—by applying the coercion of an omnipotent state and encouraging reliance on government to solve problems—we are merely aggravating the situation.

In an obedient culture, population growth is a marked advantage. It creates pressure for economic growth, and aids in that growth tremendously. A higher population means a greater demand for goods and services. “Isn’t that just the point?” queries the ZPG advocate. “How can that increased demand be satisfied?” Don’t forget that more people are around to do the work! Not only is there a greater demand, but there is also a greater supply of labor, a greater opportunity for division of labor, and hence more productivity. Increased population can provide a greater abundance of goods and services. And productivity—if people are willing to work, and not looking for handouts — increases at a faster rate than does population itself. This is because when there is manufacturing on a large scale, the overhead is reduced. Less capital is required for each unit produced, leading to a greater amount of real wealth per person. For example, suppose there is, in all the world, a “demand” for only one pencil. How much would it cost in labor and technology to produce one pencil? The price would be astronomical. But with our present population “problem,” the cost of a pencil is minute. Why? Because of higher demand as a result of that higher population, and because more people are available to produce the pencils. That’s important also, as we can see if we turn the illustration around. Let’s say everyone in the world wants pencils, but there’s only one man who knows how to make them (actually, as the late Leonard Read of the Foundation for Economic Education loved to point out, nobody really knows how to make a pencil—but let’s pretend). From chopping trees to packing the product, only one man produces pencils. Again, how much would one pencil cost? But with the increasing division of labor provided by a growing population, prices fall, and real wealth increases. And that is not the end of the story. Citing a study by MIT’s Everett Hagen, Robert L. Sassone reports: “Rapid population increase ‘absolves’ a country from many of the consequences of errors in investment decisions, both public and private, which are bound to occur. An erroneously judged investment, in a rapidly growing economy, stands a good chance of being able to be put to some alternative use; in a more nearly stationary economy it is much more likely to become a dead loss.”[7]

In addition, population growth increases technological knowledge. James Weber cites the fact that, “while world population has grown at rates of up to 2 percent a year, the international growth of new scientific knowledge has been booming at an annual, exponential rate of 7 percent.”[8] New and more efficient resource development can also take place as the population swells, contributing further to the real wealth of the society. There is no conceivable economic reason for population control. The advantages to growth are so vast as to be virtually innumerable—as in numerable as the product potential of a creative population. Under the providence of God, a denser population puts pressure on individuals to fulfill their callings in subduing the earth, as agricultural economist Colin Clark observes: “It is population growth which causes increased agricultural productivity, not productivity causing population growth. Besides the historical and geographical evidence, there is good reason why this should be so. The new methods of agriculture, at any rate at first, call for more effort, both physical and mental, than the old. We must recognize the fact that man, taken as a whole, is inherently lazy and conservative, and generally does not adopt productive improvements until he has to.”[9]

As I noted above, there is no biblical economic reason for compulsory population control. There are, however, political reasons for it—since “population control is people control,” and statist rebels, abandoning their rightful dominion over the earth, seek in stead domination over men, Weber convincingly argues that— provided the spiritual conditions for liberty exist in the first place —high population density acts to retard the centralization of political power, and promotes freedom from state control.[10] Would-be totalitarian thus have a very definite incentive to control population growth, and it is to this fact that we must now turn.

Overpopulation and Statism

The foregoing discussion is not meant to imply that there is no such thing as overpopulation (although much of the rhetoric on the subject is long on discourse and short on evidence). A definition would help. Overpopulation in any meaningful sense must refer to a situation in which sufficient food is not available for the total number of people. Thus, “overpopulation” cannot refer to any absolute number of people, but only to the number of people relative to the food supply. In a word, what we’re talking about is famine. If you have ten people stranded on an island with only enough food to sustain one life, you’ve got overpopulation. Before the arrival of the Europeans, North America was “overpopulated,” since the Indians were not able to produce sufficient food for themselves—and, at most, there were only a few hundred thousand of them.[11] Yet the same continent, with the same natural resources, now supports hundreds of millions. What made the difference? Christianity. Pagan cultures, with a slave mentality, routinely see themselves as at the mercy of their environment, and are thus unable to cope with their surroundings. The Europeans, with a millennium’s worth of Christian heritage behind them, saw it as their duty to develop the earth, to subdue their environment, making it serve man for the glory of God.[12] The problem lies not with population size, growth rate or natural resources. The issue is the religious faith of the people, and its outgrowth in cultural values, labor practices, and productivity.

India is another example. India’s “sacred” cows eat enough food to feed 1,200,000 people.[13] That’s not a misprint, and it doesn’t count the sacred cows in India’s bureaucracy, either. The rats at the docks consume up to 50% of India’s food imports each year. If India were converted, the people would not be religiously restrained from getting rid of those cows—and a few bureaucrats as well—and there would be so much food they could export enough to feed everyone in Africa. India was a net exporter of food under British rule. One Indian leader estimates that if everyone in India worked diligently and intelligently—even if they kept the cows—”two-thirds of India’s food produce could be exported.”[14] The main problem is faith.

What causes famine (overpopulation)? Natural disasters play a very small part in famine, and even that would be extensively mitigated, were it not for the other causes. The most significant causes of famine are:

1. War;[15]

2 The prevention of cultivation or the willful destruction of crops;
3. Defective agriculture caused by communistic control of land;
4. Governmental interference by regulation or taxation;
5. Currency restrictions, including debasing the coin.[16]

Am I wrong in seeing a pattern here? All five causes of “over population” are entirely man-made. All five stem from man’s sinful attempt to lord it over other men. All five, in other words, are reducible to one: statism. Runaway population explosions are caused by runaway state controls over the population.

Now let us return to Ronald Sider’s “cure” for overpopulation: foreign aid. As P. T. Bauer states, “foreign aid promotes centralized and closely controlled economies.”[17] And “closely controlled economies” produce overpopulation! There is a saying that some cures are as bad as the disease, but this is not the case here. Ronald Sider’s cure is the disease.

E. C. Passour, Jr., remarks that much of the cause of world hunger “can be attributed to the destruction or reduction of private property rights of food producers in countries where the hunger problem is most acute.” He continues: “Numerous examples can be cited where governments have weakened or destroyed economic incentives by confiscating private land, forcing farmers to work on collectivized farms, instituting price controls on food, and other such measures. India provides a good example . . . much of the food crisis in India can be attributed to actions taken by the Indian government affecting incentives of food producers. After her big electoral victory in 1972, Mrs. Gandhi’s party reduced the amount of land that could be held by an adult male from 30 irrigated acres to 18 acres. ... In addition to the direct effect of land confiscation on incentives, the policy also affected the profitability of tractors and implements. The reduced acreage was not enough to support the machinery.

“The government also nationalized the wholesale grain trade, forcing farmers to sell their crops at fixed prices below the market level, whereas previously farmers were permitted to sell half of their grain to wholesalers at the higher market price. The impact of such actions on the quantity of food produced and marketed is predictable.”[18]

Overpopulation is virtually a necessary result of socialism. The only way to prevent wastes and shortages is to allow the free market to work. God’s law is the sole foundation for success in every area of life. If our world increasingly turns away from obedience to biblical principles and toward state worship, we are indeed inviting “global disaster.” We cannot remove the effect of the curse by violating God’s laws even further. Overpopulation is famine, and famine is an aspect of divine judgment on deified states. If we would really work to abolish world hunger, we must work to establish universal obedience to the biblical faith. The biblical worldview, embedded in personal, family, community and state levels of society, will produce stunning economic growth, and increased population will be an important factor in this. By the multifaceted division of labor, as men work at their individual callings, the ground will yield God’s blessings abundantly. The prophets wrote constantly of the very real economic results of obedience. God promises that the obedient nation will not suffer from overpopulation:

And I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit, and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the LORD when I have broken the bars of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. And I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land. . . . (Ezekiel 34:25-29)

Population density can be a tremendous blessing; overpopulation is a direct consequence of socialistic intervention. With typical blindness (or deceit, whichever you prefer), socialists wail and mourn over their own creations, placing the blame on others, and pleading for ever-increasing collectivism. Make no mistake: we are facing a global crisis, a blazing conflagration that threatens to destroy our civilization and our people. But Ronald Sider is asking us to fight fire with fuel.


[1] Sider, Rich Christians, p. 18 [p. 24].

[2] Ibid., p. 21; cf. p. 130 [cf. pp. 28,116].

[3] Ibid., p. 218 [p. 214].

[4] Ibid., p. 153.

[5] Ibid., p. 54 [p. 47].

[6] P. T. Bauer, Dissent on Development (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971, 1976), p. 119. Italics added.

[7] Robert L. Sassone, Handbook on Population (Santa Ana, CA, 1973), p. 174.

[8] James A. Weber, Grow or Die! (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1977), p. 23.

[9] Colin Clark, Population Growth: The Advantages (Santa Ana, CA, 1972), pp. 72f.

[10] Weber, pp. 135ff.; cf. P. T. Bauer, Equality, the Third World, and Economic Development (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981), pp. 42-65. The most informative work to date on the advantages of population growth is Julian L. Simon, The Ultimate Resource (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981). See also Gary North’s essay “Population Growth: Tool of Dominion” in his recent book Moses and Pharaoh: Dominion Religion Versus Power Religion (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), pp. 11-27; cf. the presentations by Bauer, Simon, and others in “Are World Population Trends a Problem?” (published by the American Enterprise Institute, 1984).

[11] R. J. Rushdoony, The Myth of Overpopulation (Fairfax, Virginia: Thoburn Press, [1969] 1973), pp. 1ff.

[12] For a recent discussion of Christianity and its effect on the development of the environment, see René Dubos, The Wooing of Earth (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1980).

[13] Sassone, p. 53.

[14] Cited in ibid.

[15] Ibid., p. 36.

[16] Rushdoony, The Myth of Overpopulation, p. 5. Citation from E. Parmalee Prentice, Hunger and History (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1951), p. 6.

[17] Bauer, p. 128.

[18] Cited in Weber, p. 213.


David Chilton, Productive Christians In An Age Of Guilt Manipulators -  A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider

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See Sider Squirm. If Pope John Paul II is really interested in dealing with heretical "liberation theologians" in his church, then he ought to issue this third edition of Productive Christians as a Papal encyclical.
Protestants have trouble with their own liberation theologians. Some of them are Marxists in the Lamb's clothing, while others are merely Fabian socialists in the Lamb's clothing. Some of them just aren't willing to say...yet. (Tactics, you understand.) Ron Sider belongs to the third group.
Sider's first edition of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger created a minor sensation in conservative Protestant circles. It was the cutting edge of a radical shift of political and economic opinion in the neo-evangelical world, especially on college and seminary campuses-a shift to the far left. The book received no response until 1981, when the first edition of Productive Christians blew away Sider's claims that he was simply applying the Bible to economics. Sider has never recovered intellectually, as Chilton's third edition demonstrates.
Sider's desperate attempts to "cover his flanks" in the second edition of Rich Christians are exposed by this book as a last ditch effort. Sider waffles, Sider squirms, Sider drops whole sections of the original book, Sider changes a few words and quietly shifts controversial sections (exposed in Chilton's earlier editions) to other chapters, but still nothing works. There is no place left for Sider to hide. Chilton makes it clear: Sider understand neither the Bible nor economics when it comes to his conclusions about profits, taxes, foreign aid, and Western guilt for the Third World poverty.
To put it bluntly, this book definitely destroys what little was left of Sider's position. The Sider phenomenon, intellectually speaking, is finished. This book is its gravestone.

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Here is a supremely biblical refutation of Ronald Sider's call for 1977 socialism in his book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Chilton demonstrates that "Christian Socialism" is simply a baptized humanism, the goal of which is not charity but raw police state power. Combining incisive humor with hard hitting arguments and extensive biblical references, this book provides more than just a fascinating debate. It is also a major introduction to the system of Christian Economics with chapters on law, welfare, poverty, the third world, overpopulation, foreign aid, advertising, profits, and economic growth.



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Productive Christians In An Age Of Guilt Manipulators




A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider

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Ronald J. Sider

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