Denison Journal of Religion


This article brings Walter Rauschenbusch's theory of the Social Gospel into the current age and argues for its continued relevancy as a social critique and a charge to create a better world. The Social Gospel was concerned with collapsing Christianity and social issues onto each other. Rauschenbusch looked to a God active in history to make his argument that Christianity must be a revolutionary faith"one invested in politics and social concerns. To do this effectively, Rauschenbusch stated that religion must be concerned on all levels of daily life"from the larger political and economic issues, to the effects of those issues in everyday interactions. Rauschenbusch saw Christian churches as largely unsuccessful on this issue. For the most part, the Churches did not take part in a major "social reconstruction," but instead engaged in small acts of "suppression." This meant that while the Churches tried to hide some of their most blatant prejudices, there has never been a sufficiently ambitious attempt to put an end to such evils for good. Conley concludes her article with the claim that Rauschenbusch's influence on theology and social justice have not diminished, and that many of his theories continue to be illuminating in society today.