Solidarity Revolution - The Violent Birth of a Peaceful Nation (Divine GPS Book 3)
Rauschenbusch strove to create a new society in which the major structures of American society would enable a more equitable distribution of resources. He directed his appeal to the American middle-class and exhorted them to work for the improvement of the working poor. Inaction on the part of the churches meant that they were complicit in perpetuating an unjust social order.
Rauschenbusch observed the effects of capitalism on the working poor:. One could hear the human virtue cracking and crumbling all around. Whenever work is scarce, petty crime is plentiful. But that is only the tangible expression of the decay in the morale of the working people on which the statistics can seize.
The corresponding decay in the morality of the possessing classes at such a time is another story. But industrial crises are not inevitable in nature; they are merely inevitable in capitalism Rauschenbusch, , Rauschenbusch argues in chapters that the prophets, Jesus, and the early church had articulated a genuine vision from God, which had subsequently disappeared in the Middle-Ages chapter 4.
Chapter 5 elaborates the present crisis. The concluding chapter 7 outlines a proposal for remedial action. The church must work for justice. Christians that toiled to build the Kingdom of God were entering a new phase of history. They were recovering the original radical spirit of Christianity that had been lost and applying it to modern industrial society. Rauschenbush did not believe that social and political progress were inevitable:. The continents are strewn with the ruins of dead nations and civilizations. Rauschenbusch was especially scathing towards evangelical Christians who claimed that advocates of the Social Gospel were not serious about the depth of sin in individual human beings, but who themselves were blind and indifferent to systemic forms of evil, even mistaking them for manifestations of divine goodness and power:.
Social religion, too, demands repentance and faith: repentance for our social sins; faith in the possibility of a new social order…. Those who believe in a better social order are often told that they do not know the sinfulness of the human heart. They could justly retort the charge on the men of the evangelical school. In asking for the possibility of a new social order, we ask for no Utopian delusion. We know well that there is no perfection for man in this life: there is only growth toward perfection…. We shall never have a perfect social life, yet we must seek it with faith….
At best there is always but an approximation to a perfect social order. The Kingdom of God is always but coming Ibid. Christianity and the Social Crisis was widely read and went through six printings in two years. Christianity and the Social Crisis articulated what many clergy wanted to say and propelled the message of the Social Gospel out of the shadows into the broad light of a very public day.
The genius of the book was the way in which Rauschenbusch linked a theological vision of social justice to a vividly described social crisis and challenged his readers to act on behalf of oppressed people Evans, , Rauschenbusch had issued a prophetic challenge to his contemporaries in the Protestant Mainline churches. Ten years later he would compose a systematic theology to justify the Social Gospel. A Theology for the Social Gospel argues for the reality of sin in both personal and social dimensions. Rauschenbusch insists that salvation also consists of personal and social dimensions.
The middle segment of the book seeks to show how the Social Gospel springs from the centrality of the Kingdom of God in the mission and message of Jesus Christ. Jesus initiated the Kingdom of God, which has implications for the Christian conception of God, and the task of the church. Walter Rauschenbsuch in the course of his pastoral ministry, seminary teaching, and advocacy of the Social Gospel never doubted that sin exists. In A Theology for the Social Gospel he maintains that Christianity has always had a strong sense of the reality of sin.
But what is sin? Classical theology has failed to understand the social aspect of sin, and instead viewed sin almost exclusively as a private matter between God and the individual person. Human beings sin against God, and at the same time, sin against fellow human beings because as human beings we are all connected to one another. The weakness of much theology lies in its failure to see the complex matrix of sin. Rauschenbusch defends the traditional doctrine of original sin, but reinterprets it.
The classic doctrine of original sin claimed a biological transmission of sin from generation to generation. What then is salvation? How can a person be saved? A person or persons can be saved only by turning away form self to God and to humanity. They will find salvation only if they give up selfishness in cooperative work with others to overcome it.
A religious experience of solidarity is more Christian than a purely individualistic one. Rauschenbusch is adamant that the old, individualistic conceptions of sin and salvation must be reconsidered in the more Biblical and corporate views of humanity proposed by the Social Gospel. Rauschnebusch does not deny the significance of individual salvation as an essential part of the whole spectrum of Christian salvation Ibid. Yet, a narrowly individualized notion of salvation is deficient in two respects. Second, it tends to see individual salvation as of ultimate importance and so does not recognize the necessity of the redemption of social institutions and the creation of an environment in which individuals can be transformed.
Rauschenbusch recognized that sin as a collective reality is manifested in supra-personal forces beyond the scope of individual responsibility. The task of the Social Gospel is to make this comprehensive vision of social salvation happen. A narrow, individualistic idea of Christian salvation can be corrected by a theology focused on the Kingdom of God that discloses the deeper social aspects of human sinfulness. The doctrine of the Kingdom of God is the center of A Theology for the Social Gospel , around which other theological themes are placed to construct a theology to support the Social Gospel.
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For Rauschenbusch:. The Kingdom of God is divine in its origin, progress and consummation. It was initiated by Jesus Christ, in whom the prophetic spirit came to its consummation, it is sustained by the Holy Spirit, and it will be brought to its fulfilment by the power of God in his own time…. The Kingdom of God, therefore, is miraculous all the way, and is the continuous revelation of the power, the righteousness, and the love of God Ibid. Christ offered a distinctive interpretation of the Kingdom of God, which sets Christianity apart.
Rauschenbusch is optimistic about the possibilities open to humanity. Rauschenbusch is convinced that the Kingdom of God embraces all aspects of human life. The Kingdom of God can be progressively realized with the co-operation of the divine and the human, but the Kingdom of God can never be perfectly realized. Rauschenbusch did not expect utopia to arrive within the contingencies of human history, but he did think it was possible to create a better social order than the one offered by capitalism.
He points out that the idea of God has been historically developed and, in that sense, is a social product, created by a particular social group. The concept of God is not unchanging but can change and grow because it is socially formed. Jesus was unique:. He disconnected the idea from the coercive and predatory State and transferred it to the realm of family life, the chief embodiment of solidarity and love. He not only saved humanity; he saved God Ibid. The Social Gospel succeeds to the spirit of the Reformation by liberating humanity from wrong concepts of God Ibid.
Rauschenbusch contends that the immanence of God to humanity is the foundation for democratic notions of God. Jesus Christ, for Rauschenbusch, is the initiator of the Kingdom of God. Rasuchenbusch is not interested in the traditional exposition of Jesus Christ as a hypostatic union of the divine and the human. Jesus lived out through his earthly life what he taught about the Kingdom of God. Within him the Kingdom of God got its first foothold in humanity. Rauschenbusch defines the nature of the Christian Church in relation to the Kingdom of God; the Church must not exist for itself, but for the Kingdom, which gives the Church power to save.
Rauschebusch operates with an instrumental concept of the Church; it exists to serve the Kingdom of God.
Rauschenbusch was a committed Baptist throughout his life. He adhered passionately to a congregational form of the church characterized by suspicion of hierarchy and creeds, but firmly in favor of democratic government. Rauschenbusch offers little in the way of reflection upon the doctrine of the Church, because the Church is so thoroughly subordinated to the doctrine of the Kingdom of God.
The final chapter in A Theology for the Social Gospel interprets the doctrine of Atonement in the light of two modern principles: personality and solidarity. Rauschenbusch is clear that the sins of humanity caused the death of Jesus and the spiritual situation of human beings has been changed by the death of Jesus. Rauschenbusch argues that social sins ultimately sent Jesus to the cross: religious bigotry, political power, a corruption of justice, mob spirit and mob action, militarism, and class contempt.
The death of Jesus is an example of vicarious suffering. The cross inspires the cause of prophetic religion and strengthens the redemptive power of the Kingdom of God.
He never embraced the new perspective on the Kingdom of God as an apocalyptic supernatural irruption into history advocated by Johannes Weiss and Albert Schweitzer at the beginning of the twentieth century. Niebuhr was critical of his predecessor, but, in reality, built upon his insights into systemic evil. The charge of sentimentality that Niebuhr leveled against the Social Gospel Movement can hardly be justified in the case of Walter Rauschenbusch, who was consistently alert to the reality of sin and the necessity of struggle to advance the Kingdom of God.
Martin Luther King, Jr. He saw himself as a fighting artist, enlisting his pen and paintbrush as his weapons against hatred, racism, and oppression before, during, and after World War II. As the leading anti-Nazi artist in America during the War, Szyk also created the important and widely circulated art for the rescue of European Jewry. Books will be available for purchase and…. Why do so many U. Wolfe suggests the answer lies in Cold war propaganda.
From the late s through the late s, the U. Throughout this period, the engines of U.