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Social Gospel

What is salvation? How is it received? Scripture continually holds two images of salvation in tension with one another, with neither image neglecting the other. […] Read More

Trained as a Baptist minister, Walter Rauschenbusch, consumed with a passion for social justice, thought America had made great economic strides forward but was still far behind in its moral responsibility. What would he say today? […] Read More

If we were to slip back just over a century ago, we would find a certain Baptist just gaining prominence as well as controversy: Walter Rauschenbusch. It is fitting that we gather in April 2018 for a conference to remember such a significant theologian. Recalling significant Baptists from our 20th-century heritage is helpful as we […] Read More

The Abyssinian Baptist Church surely is among the great congregations to rise up and minister to the urban multitudes in the history of New York City churches. Among their past ministers, Adam Clayton Powell Sr. is among the most visionary. He led the church to move to Harlem to replant the congregation amid neighborhoods changing […] Read More

I have read a great deal of liberation theology, which arose first in the late 1960s to early 1970s among Roman Catholic scholars, particularly in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. Gustavo Gutiérrez’s landmark book, “A Theology of Liberation,” continues to resound as a major moment in late 20th century theology, an engagement of “history, politics and […] Read More

A fervent desire for social justice exists today among many Christians, but realism about the extent to which change can happen is often lacking. To address this issue two things are required. First, an inspiring call to advance the common good that is rooted in the teachings of Jesus. Second, a realistic understanding of human […] Read More

I’m not sure how it happened. I grew up in Baptist churches and attended a Baptist university. Yet, I do not remember learning about Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) – a Baptist pastor who emphasized the social nature of the gospel proclaimed and embodied by Jesus – until my last year of seminary. Maybe I missed it […] Read More

Although Athens, Greece, is ordinarily the epitome of mild, Mediterranean weather, January and February are our cold months. Surrounded as we are by mountains, recent weather has been at the freezing point, with snow on the ground in the city. As the temperature went lower and the price of heating oil went higher due to […] Read More

America’s foreign interventions over the last century arise from deeply held religious motivations. The source of these motivations reaches back to the end of the 19th century and the invention of the “social gospel.” A gospel that would redeem not only individual souls but groups and even nations, the social gospel took root in the […] Read More

Not long after announcing to my home church my intention to enter the ministry, one of the senior deacons came to me with some advice. He put his arm around my shoulder and said, “We’re all real proud of your decision. There’s just one thing you need to be careful about. Be sure you don’t […] Read More