Jul 2 – Rauschenbusch, Gladden, & Riis

Illumination - Rauschenbusch - Riis - Gladden

Walter Rauschenbusch, 1918
Washington Gladden, 1918
Jacob Riis, 1914
Prophetic Witnesses

click here for books on or by Walter Rauschenbusch, Washington Gladden, & Jacob Riis

From the Satucket Lectionary

Walter Rauschenbusch (October 4, 1861 – July 25, 1918) was a Christian theologian and Baptist minister. He was a key figure in the Social Gospel movement in the USA.

Rauschenbusch was born in Upstate New York to a German preacher who taught at the Rochester Theological Seminary. He was raised on the orthodox Protestant doctrines of his time, including biblical literalism and the substitutionary atonement. But when he attended Rochester Theological Seminary, those teachings were challenged. But rather than shaking his faith, these challenges reinforced his faith.

Rauschenbusch’s view of Christianity was that its purpose was to spread a Kingdom of God, not through a fire and brimstone style of preaching but by leading a Christlike life. Rauschenbusch did not view Jesus’ death as an act of substitutionary atonement but in his words, he died “to substitute love for selfishness as the basis of human society.” He wrote that “Christianity is in its nature revolutionary” and tried to remind society of that. He explained that the Kingdom of God “is not a matter of getting individuals to heaven, but of transforming the life on earth into the harmony of heaven.”

In Rauschenbusch’s early adulthood, mainline Protestant churches were largely allied with the social and political establishment, in effect supporting the domination by robber barons, income disparity, and the use of child labor. Most church leaders did not see a connection between these issues and their ministries, so did nothing to address the suffering. But Rauschenbusch saw it as his duty as a minister and student of Christ to act with love by trying to improve social conditions.

In Christianity and the Social Crisis (1907), Rauschenbusch wrote that ” Whoever uncouples the religious and the social life has not understood Jesus. Whoever sets any bounds for the reconstructive power of the religious life over the social relations and institutions of men, to that extent denies the faith of the Master.” The significance of this work is that it spoke of the individual’s responsibility toward society.

Additionally, Rauschenbusch also wrote:

— more at Wikipedia

Washington Gladden (February 11, 1836 – July 2, 1918) was a leading American Congregational church pastor and early leader of the Social Gospel movement. He was a leading member of the Progressive Movement, serving for two years as a member of the Columbus (Ohio) City Council and campaigning against Boss Tweed as acting editor of theNew York Independent. Gladden was probably the first leading U.S. religious figure to support unionization of the workforce; he also opposed racial segregation.

Washington Gladden wrote 40 books during his life. These included:

— more at Wikipedia

Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914), was a Danish American social reformer, muckraking journalist and social documentary photographer. He is known for his dedication to using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City, which was the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He helped with the implementation of “model tenements” in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. As one of the most prominent exponents of the newly practicable flash, he is considered a pioneer in photography.

His books include

— more at Wikipedia




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