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Walter Rauschenbusch and social theology gospel - Essay Example

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Walter Rauschenbusch and social theology gospel

The works of Rauschenbusch and his duties as a Protestant pastor were influenced very much by the teachings of Marx and his Communist Manifesto. They were about capital and labor and the dehumanizing condition of the ordinary working American in his time. But he worked with small congregations and he wanted to be near the common workingman. He wrote:
I wanted to do hard work for God. Indeed, one of the great thoughts that came upon me was that I ought to follow Jesus Christ in my personal life, and die over again his death. I felt that every Christian ought to participate in the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in that way help to redeem humanity, and it was that thought that gave my life it's fundamental direction in the doing of Christian work. (Kyle Potter)
Rauschenbusch began his first long-term pastorate at the Second German Baptist Church in New York, in a poor and dangerous neighborhood called "Hell's Kitchen," on 1 June 1886. He began to evangelize first and foremost, but that his education "in individualistic conservatism" had not prepared him for the poor standards of living, lack of education and danger. Rauschenbusch then decided that industrial crises existed due to the capitalistic system under which the poor struggled, exacerbating sickness, violence, and problems presented by bad food. (Kyle Potter)
He wrote in The Social Gospel the inhuman condition that he had observed. In the 90s, he said, he saw "good men go into disreputable lines of employment and respectable widows consent to live with men who would support them and their children" (Rauschenbusch).
Such was the condition at the time. Morality was down, there was a lot of poverty, and the system was to some extent inclined to a particular group known as the capitalists or oligarchs, but which were called in Marx and Engel's manifesto the bourgeois, in contrast to the lower class which was the proletariat.
Rauschenbusch was not concerned however of the ideology; rather, he was concerned of the Gospel in relation to the suffering of the working man. His writings, and teachings, were aimed to alleviate the plight of the workingman who was being abused and oppressed, and reduced to the lowest serf. The working conditions were worse at that time; the capitalist was only concerned of his capital while the living conditions of the working man, including his family, home, insurance were not being looked into.
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 (Wikipedia). Rauschenbusch gave a special emphasis on theology, legitimizing it in mainstream American Protestantism.
There is one and major distinction between Karl Marx's communist manifesto and Walter Rauschenbusch's social Gospel theology, and that is the former disregarded the belief in God amid socialism and communism ideas, while the latter connects his theories with the suffering Christ. Rauschenbusch argues that man should relate himself to the crucified Christ. 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" (Wikipedia).
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Summary

A man's work is not only the price he pays for the right to fill his stomach. In his work he expresses himself. It is the output of his creative energy and his main contribution to the common life of mankind. (Walter Rauschenbusch: The Social Gospel)
Walter Rauschenbusch, a theologian of the Social Gospel movement, was born on October 4, 1861, the period when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel's communist manifesto was spreading like wildfire throughout Europe and in the United States…
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Walter Rauschenbusch and social theology gospel essay example
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