Academic journal article Church History

Forum on the State of the Field of Focial Gospel Studies Editors' Note

Academic journal article Church History

Forum on the State of the Field of Focial Gospel Studies Editors' Note

Article excerpt

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Forum

Like puritanism, protestantism, Catholicism, and Christianity itself, the term "social gospel" refers to phenomena more heterogeneous than a simple name may suggest. Thus like these other terms, "social gospel" refers to a range of theories and practices that the essays in this forum begin to describe. At the same time, however, as these essays also indicate, distinctions between the social gospel and other modern forms of protestant Christianity may be sharper than previous historiography suggests.

In his contribution to the forum, Christopher H. Evans emphasizes the totalizing idealism of the social gospel. Evans calls attention to a broad array of American leaders mostly forgotten today, as well as to socio-economic concerns that distinguished these proponents of social Christianity from other theological liberals. Developing this theme, Heath W. Carter differentiates the economic progressivism of the social gospel from liberal theology as many Americans in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries understood it, citing important instances in which important representatives of liberal theology took stands against labor. …

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