The Clash of Christs

David Burns

in The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199929504
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315963 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

The Clash of Christs

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Bouck White (chap. 3) is the focus of this chapter dealing with the relationship between the radical historical Jesus, muscular Christianity, and the militaristic Christ of the preparedness movement. White never announced that he was a muscular Christian, but he utilized the doctrine to reach individuals in the mainline denominations. The creed cut both ways, however, and during the run-up to World War I, Jesus became a warrior of democracy to most Americans. White recognized that the internationalism championed by his Church of the Social Revolution was being drowned out by the patriotism preached by Theodore Roosevelt and Lyman Abbott, so he temporarily conceded the field to conventional muscular Christians, abandoning his opposition to the war and urging radicals to follow suit. But when White renewed his campaign against militarism and nationalism, he was a pastor without a flock, an author without an audience, and an easy target for vigilantes.

Keywords: muscular Christianity; preparedness; World War I; democracy; internationalism; social revolution; patriotism; Theodore Roosevelt; Lyman Abbott; militarism

Chapter.  14975 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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