The Kingdom Is Always but Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch

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The Kingdom is Always but Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch by Christopher Evans Library of Religious Biography. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2004. 348 pp. $25.00. ISBN 0-8028-4736-6.

CHRISTOPHER EVANS has written a biography of Walter Rauschenbusch that will prove to be enduring. Most impressive is the way Evans seamlessly places the development of Rauschenbusch's ideas within larger intellectual currents of his time and clearly underscores intersections between the social gospel and theological liberalism. Evans does not make Rauschenbusch out to be a hero, despite his obvious appreciation for Rauschenbsuch's work. With great adeptness, Evans shows the connections between Rauschenbusch's social concerns, his family life, and his professional life, as well as Rauschenbusch's struggles to clarify his positions concerning the most pertinent social issues of his day.

One good example is Rauschenbusch's reflections on World War I. Proud of his German heritage, Rauschenbusch thought Germany was unfairly victimized by the war, and defended Germany even as America entered the war. Evans' biography gives a sense of the personalities of Rauchenbusch and his children, and how relationships with them challenged his beliefs. Winifred, his eldest daughter, must have caused her father many sleepless nights because of her progressive views of women's roles in the public forum. At times, Rauschenbusch, who was known for his concern for the working class, struggled to emerge from the shadow of Victorian ideas, especially concerning women. …