The book will provide a solid introduction to Rauschenbusch’s theology of the Social Gospel to students, pastors, theologians, and laypersons who might be unfamiliar with his work. Such an introduction, of course, should open the path to reading Rauschenbusch’s primary works as well as exploring secondary sources that give greater attention to his life and thought. -- William T. Chandler, Reading Religion, American Academy of Religion
Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918), a Baptist minister and theologian in Rochester, New York, was the primary voice of the Social Gospel movement in the United States in the early twentieth century. The foundational insight of this movement was that Jesus’ mission and message essentially concerned establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth. As Rauschenbusch noted, the “Our Father”—the only prayer that Jesus taught us—challenged us to build the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”
These writings had a large impact on a range of theologians and ministers, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and they prefigured many elements of liberation theology. This collection will help introduce Rauschenbusch’s profound message to a new generation.
Joseph J. Fahey is emeritus professor of religious studies at Manhattan College. He is the author of War and the Christian Conscience (Orbis).