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Christianity and the social crisis

by Rauschenbusch

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Text extracted from opening pages of book: CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL CRISIS BY WALTER RAUSCHENBUSCH F1OFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY IN ROCHESTER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY TStto 0tfc THE MACMILLAN COMPANY LONDON : MACMILLAN ft CO., LTD. I92O All rights rts* COPYRIGHT, THE MACTVUI^ ATST t* p auad elcc 1 1 or y jp^ J , Published Oo. Berwick Jb Bmlth Oo. So THE WOMEN WHO HAVE LOVED ME MY MOTHER MY SISTERS FRIDA AND EMMA MY DEAR WIFE PAULINE AND MY LITTLE DAUGHTERS WINIFRED AND ELIZABETH THIS BOOK IS LOVINGLY INSCRIBED THY KINGDOM COMB/ THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH/ CONTENTS PACK INTRODUCTION xi CHAPTER I THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY THE HEBREW PROPHETS Historical importance of the prophets Their religion ethical and therefore social Their morality public and not pnvate. Their sympathy with the oppressed The effect of their social interest on their religious development Later religious indi vidualism a triumph of faith, but not pure gam The prophetic hope of social perfection The ' pessimism of the prophets. Summary I CHAPTER II THE SOCIAL AIMS OF JESUS The new social interpretation of the gospel Jesus not a social reformer, but a religious initiator Significance of his relations to John the Baptist. The kingdom of God his aim , its pre vious meaning , his changes in the ideal , the persistence of its social essence. The ethics of the new society. Christ's indifference to ritual and his insistence on social morality. His teachings on wealth His social affinities. His revolu tionary consciousness 44 CHAPTER III THE SOCIAL IMPETUS OF PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY The probability of a gap between Jesus and his followers The limitations of our information. The hope of the coming of vn Viii CONTENTS FAG* the Lord. The revolutionary character of the millennial hope. The political consciousness of Christians. The society-mak ing force of primitive Christianity. The so-called communism at Jerusalem. The primitive churches as fraternal communi ties. The leaven of Christian democracy. The outcome of the discussion 93 CHAPTER IV WHY HAS CHRISTIANITY NEVER UNDERTAKEN THE WORK OF SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION? The problem stated. Impossibility of any social propaganda in the first centuries. Postponement to the Lord's coming. Hostility to the Empire and its civilization. The limitations of primitive Christianity and their perpetuation. The other worldlmess of Christianity. The ascetic tendency. Monas ticism. Sacramentahsm. The dogmatic interest. The churchliness of Christianity. Subservience to the State. The disappearance of church democracy. The lack of sci entific comprehension of social development. Results of the discussion. The passing of these causes in modern life. Conclusion 143 CHAPTER V THE PRESENT CRISIS A prelude. The industrial revolution. The land and the people. Work and wages. The morale of the workers. The physi cal decline of the people. The wedge of inequality. The crumbling of political democracy. The tainting of the moral atmosphere. The undermining of the family. The fell or the rise of Christian civilization 211 CHAPTER VI THE STAKE OF THE CHURCH IN THE SOCIAL MOVEMENT The purpose of this chapter. The Church and its real estate. The Church and its income. The volunteer workers of the CONTENTS Church. The supply and spirit of the ministry. The Church and poverty. The Church and its human material. The hostile ethics of commercialism. Christian civilization and foreign missions. The Church and the working class. The forward call to the Church 387 CHAPTER VII WHAT TO Do No thoroughfare. 11 Social repentance and faith. Social evan gelization. The pulpit and the social question. The Chris tian conception of life and property. The creation of customs and institutions. Stewardship and ownership. Solidarity and communism. The upward movement of the working class. Summary of the argument. The new aposto late , 343 INTRODUCTION WESTERN civilization is passing through a social revolu tion unparalleled in history for scope and power. Its com ing was



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