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A Theology for the Social Gospel (Library of Theological Ethics) Paperback – August 1, 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) was a Christian theologian and Baptist minister, and a key figure in the Social Gospel movement in the United States.
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Theological Ethics
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; First Edition edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664257305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664257309
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy J. Brooks on May 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a very heavy theological book (in concept), while remaining a light read. Rauschenbusch does a masterful job of commencing a discussion of what it means to be an active Christian in the world we find ourselves. This means never turning a blind eye to the manifest social evils of our society.

Therefore, as Christian we must reconsider what it means to be Christian outside of Christendom, realizing that we are part of a broken world of hurt and anguish.

Chief among the social problems is poverty, and Rauschenbusch seeks to explicitly name this problem and then call and mobilize the church to be the chief combatants of this problem.

Rauschenbusch is particularly qualified to write this book because of his solid theological background/expertise (He became a thologican at Rochester Seminary) and saw the social evils he seeks to combat as pastor in Manhattan's "Hell's Kitchen" in the early 20th century.

Finally, it must be stated that this book is an important read for Christians for two reasons: (1) it is academic enough that it was assigned in a Master's Level course that I took and (2) the rhetoric is light enough that anyone that is prepared to love their neighbor in a profound and transforming way could be profoundly affected by the content in these pages.
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Format: Paperback
This classic of Christian ethics is a must read for anybody who is even concerned with the history of Christian thought. Rauschenbusch writes about why Christianity must be focused on helping the other and not so much on correct doctrine and an assent to that doctrine.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rauschenbusch writes in a fun, snarky way and also has impeccable reasoning with more-than-thorough explanation. It reminds you of the good old days, like Chesterton and Lewis. His theology is sound, but he is just honest enough to where you can see why he never made it. His brilliance is a recipe for suicide, because it combines bold ideas with the genius to back them up. He scared us, and we killed him for it. It's interesting that his last chapter here is about the suffering of squelched prophets. We'll do the same with Mr. Bell, but whether we notice it or not, their message is coming through. It's just slow, like a mustard seed or a bit of leaven.
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Format: Paperback
I can't say I'm giving his theology 4 stars...but this book is the primary source for understanding the social gospel. I recommend every evangelical protestant read this book. The social implication of the gospel are starved in the church. This book does not provide all the answers. Yet, it will spark many good questions.
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Format: Paperback
How does on conceive who God is? How does one perceive how God has worked in the past and the future? What agenda does one bring into interpreting the bible? What philosophy does the reader have about God and His creation? Dr. Rauschenbusch perspective about God, His creation, and the bible is at variance to mine. His respect for the bible as a historic document and God's inspired word is quite different from mine. His theology is based on a more open mind then mine. He states the bible is inspired then proceeds to redefine what it means to be God's inspired word. I believe God through His providence has given the Christian community of Saints an inerrant group of books compiled into one cannon commonly known as the bible. Rauschenbusch teaches that God wants to test every spirit for truth. He refers to Paul when he asks Christians to test every spirit for truth.

This book is written in fine eloquence. Yet his biblical interpretation is quite subjective, and convenient. This book first came to my attention while reading about the theology of Dr. Martin Luther King jr. the Book titled King Came Preaching stated Dr. Rauschenbusch had great influence on the formulation Dr. King's theology and sermon subject manner. Later I saw the book cited as a major influence on theological debate in these United States inside Ligonier's devotion Table Talk.

Rauschenbusch's Paradigm

"The argument of this book is built on the conviction that the social gospel is a permanent addition to our spiritual outlook and that its arrival constitutes alarge development of the Christian religion."

Rauschenbusch writes about the evaluational nature of Christianity. He even is critical Martin Luther not being more open minded about what is truth.
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Very interesting and surprisingly timely.
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