Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Paul Raushenbush on the Social Gospel

Thanks to Michael Westmoreland-White for pointing out this informative article by Paul Raushenbush on "My Great-Grandfather and the Social Gospel."

I recently sent Brian McLaren an e-mail introducing myself as the great-grandson of Walter Rauschenbusch. Brian is a pastor, the bestselling author of, among other books, "A New Kind of Christian," and a leader in the Emergent Church, one of today’s most vibrant Christian movements.

I had just edited the 100th anniversary edition of Rauschenbusch’s first book, "Christianity and the Social Crisis" (with the updated title, "Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century"), and I was curious to see what Brian thought of Rauschenbusch. I knew that the Emergent Church shared some of my great-grandfather’s concerns, blending evangelical devotion to Jesus while preaching an active response to social questions of the day. But the intensity of Brian’s response caught me off guard.

"Like a lot of people from Evangelical backgrounds," Brian wrote, "in my childhood and youth I was taught that the "social gospel" was nothing but evil. I heard it a thousand times in sermons...Now, of course, I think this kind of anti-justice, privatized-gospel propaganda is evil!"


What strikes me about Brian’s faith journey is how it mirrors mine in reverse.
Click here to read the rest of the article.

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