Hillary Clinton cited her commitment to the “social gospel” in a speech to United Methodists. That goes back to the 19th century when many Protestants said that instead of emphasizing the gospel of eternal salvation in Heaven through Christ, they should emphasize a gospel of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
The social gospel, which inspired all kinds of social reforms and progressive political activism, became the hallmark of liberal theology. After World War II, even in liberal theological circles, neo-orthodoxy reacted against the utopianism of the social gospel, though in the 1960s it came back with liberation theology. Conservative theologies, of course, rejected the social gospel, but today there is arguably a social gospel of the right. [Read more…]