A Theology for the Social Gospel

By Walter Rauschenbusch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
THE SOCIAL GOSPEL AND THE CONCEPTION OF GOD

MY main purpose in this book has been to show that the social gospel is a vital part of the Christian conception of sin and salvation, and that any teaching on the sinful condition of the race and on its redemption from evil which fails to do justice to the social factors and processes in sin and redemption, must be incomplete, unreal, and misleading. Also, since the social gospel henceforth is to be an important part of our Christian message, its chief convictions must be embodied in these doctrines in some organic form.

Now, the doctrines of sin and salvation are the starting-point and goal of Christian theology. Every essential change or enlargement in them is bound to affect related doctrines also. It will be the object of the remaining chapters of the book to indicate how the social gospel would re-act on the doctrine of God, of the Holy Spirit and inspiration, of the sacraments, of eschatology, and of the atonement.

The conception of God held by a social group is a social product. Even if it originated in the mind of a solitary thinker or prophet, as soon as it becomes the property of a social group, it takes on the qualities of that group. If, for instance, a high and spiritual idea

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