Social Gospel

From Academic Kids

The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant movement that was most prominent in the late 19th and early to mid-20th century. The movement attempts to apply Christian principles to social problems. Part of the Christian "modernism" trend with a strong emphasis on social justice, the movement is a rival to evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity. Members of the movement see it as a return to the beginning of Christianity, that is to the message of Jesus.

In the United States prior to World War I, the Social Gospel was the religious wing of the progressive movement which had the aim of combatting injustice, suffering and poverty in society. In this context, it is seen as having provided the philosophical underpinning for the New Deal. After the war, the movement shifted its focus to the civil rights arena, and later, became outspoken in its opposition to the Vietnam War.

With the ascendancy of the Christian right beginning in the 1980s, the Social Gospel agenda declined in the United States, but examples of its continued existence can still be found, notably the organization known as the Call to Renewal.

Sometimes seen as a branch of Christian socialism, the Social Gospel movement was especially influential in Canada and led many ministers to become active in the socialist movement in the form of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and later the New Democratic Party. Social Gospel is still influential in Canada's United Church and in the Anglican Church but has less influence in the United States. It also remains influential among Christian socialist circles in Britain in the Church of England, Methodist and Calvinist movements.

In Catholicism, the Catholic Worker Movement and Liberation Theology both have similarities to Social Gospel. In the Anglican Church, the social gospel has found expression in pacifism.

Prominent Social Gospel advocates have included:

See also

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