Social Gospel

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The most conspicuous movement representing the social aspects of Christianity in American and Canadian Protestantism in the late 19th and early 20th cents. Washington Gladden (1836–1918), a Congregational minister and prolific author who defended the right of working people to form unions, is known as the ‘father’ of the Social Gospel. Josiah Strong (1847–1916) organized interdenominational gatherings that promoted the movement while he was secretary of the (American) Evangelical Alliance; W. Rausenbusch became its foremost prophet. It was influential in the Congregational, Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches. Based largely on liberal theology, the movement had a high view of human nature and its potentiality, stressed the idea of progress, was reformist in tone, and had a somewhat utopian cast. It passed its zenith after the First World War, but left an important legacy in the thought of many Churches.

Subjects: History of the Americas — Christianity.

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