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Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up the Church Paperback – July 1, 2008
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“A book which left an indelible imprint on my thinking.” (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Republication in this form is a forceful intervention in contemporary debates in American religion and politics. (Commonweal)
Many of the societal concerns and questions of 1907, e.g., his alarm over iner-city poverty, societal injustice, crime, and ineffectual government, are just as relevant today. (Library Journal)
“Skillfully fashioned and perfectly timed, [Rauschenbusch’s] book was a supercharger for a movement . . . and set a new standard for political theology. Rightly viewed from the beginning as the greatest statement of the social gospel movement.” (Christian Century)
In a 100th-anniversary edition, Paul Raushenbush, the author’s great-grandson, has reprinted the text with essays by Cornel West, the Rev. Jim Wallis and others to prove that one can be a dedicated Christian and a social reformer at the same time. (The New York Times Book Review)
Rightly viewed from the beginning as the greatest statement of the social gospel movement . . . and set a new standard for political theology. (Christian Century)
From the Back Cover
In the wake of the success of God's Politics, comes an anniversary edition of Walter Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis, a book which outsold every other religious volume for three years and which has become a classic and mainstay for any Christian seriously interested in social justice. PBS has named Rauschenbusch one of the most influential American religious leaders in the last 100 years, and Christianity Today named this book one of the top books of the century that have shaped contemporary religious thought. So it seems fitting on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Christianity and the Social Crisis that Rauschenbush's great-grandson should bring this classic back into print, adding a response to each chapter by a well-known contemporary author such as Jim Wallis, Tony Camplo, Cornel West, Richard Rorty, Stanley Hauerwas, and others. Between 1886 and 1897, he was pastor of the Second German Baptist Church in the ?Hell's Kitchen? area of New York City, an area of extreme poverty. As he witnessed massive economic insecurity, he began to believe that Christianity must address the physical as well as the spiritual needs of humankind. Rauschenbusch saw it as his duty as a minister and student of Christ to act with love by trying to improve social conditions.
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Analytical Review: What I appreciate most in Rauschenbusch is his desire for greater equality, and to make the Christian religion matter socially and politically. I too favor a more just and equal society, but I see that as possible by working in and reforming a free-market society. Rauschenbusch oversimplifies - he dichotomizes social impulses as "competition is bad and evil" and "cooperation is good" (and therefore Christian). This is a gross oversimplification. Rauschenbusch didn't fully understand capitalism or its primary defenders. He mentions Adam Smith only once, and shows no real immersion or criticism of the classical defenders of the capitalist system, which leads me to suspect he did not read them or read them only superficially. He certainly had read Marx. If Rauschenbusch better understood, instead of morally demonized, all business and competitive instinct, I think it would have given this book a more lasting and permanent impact. I still prefer Nieburhr's classic "Moral Man, Immoral Society."Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics (Library of Theological Ethics)
Recommended as a classic of Christian impulse to social and equal justice, but be cautions about his conclusions unless you have read more in classical economics. Ironically, Milton Friedman was completely tone-deaf to many of the central and genuine concerns that Rauschenbusch had, and Rauschenbusch was completely tone-deaf to the real advantages of a competitive (and yes, also in part cooperative) capitalist economy.
who speak plainly and from the heart. This writing had a specific agenda
and while supposedly a classic civil rights movement
book, it did not add significantly as the works of MLK.