Walter Rauschenbusch

Baptist Social Reformer

Walter Rauschenbusch was the primary theologian of the Social Gospel movement of the first two decades of the twentieth century.  While a number of prominent ministers of the day became involved in the movement's mission to meet social needs through the ministrations of the institutional Church, Rauschenbusch gave this special emphasis a theology, legitimizing it in mainstream American Protestantism.  The following pages are a discussion of the man's work, the movement, and its context.  

Victorian America.  Nothing in history occurs in a vacuum, and men and women at the beginning of the twentieth century faced an unprecedented amount of change in their everyday lives.  This section examines the characteristics of Victorian ideals as they were expressed in social and religious thought, and how the changes wrought by industrial capitalism nullified the practical value of those ideals.  

The Political and Religious Context of the Social Gospel.  The excesses of Victorianism gave rise to a political situation many citizens and politicians found intolerable.  General disapproval of the abuse of public office and lack of government regulations to protect the disadvantaged birthed the Progressive Era.  Liberalism and Modernism are also discussed as religious movements that sought to answer the challenges of the modern world.

Theology of the Social Gospel.  A discussion of the Church and the Kingdom of God as understood by adherents to the Social Gospel.

Walter Rauschenbusch.  The life, opinions, and theology of the man who gave a detailed, lasting voice to the Social Gospel.

Theology and Writings.  Here is a brief discussion of Rauschenbusch's personal contributions to Social Gospel Theology and a sample of the writing that had such a powerful impact on Protestant America.

Conclusions.  A summary of Rauschenbusch's impact on the Social Gospel Movement.

Bibliography.

These pages were last updated by
Kyle Potter
on 26 March 2001

Please e-mail me with questions or comments.

Return to History 338 Class Supplements