Bringing back the religious left?

A Brookings Institution study says that today’s Democrats are less interested in even liberal Christianity, but that it still might be possible to bring back the religious left.  I would think this is true.  Pope Francis seems to be bringing liberal Catholicism back into power.  Many ostensible evangelicals are reconfiguring their teachings to promote liberal, rather than conservative,  politics.  And of course there are the mainline liberal Protestants who are still around in significant, though reduced, numbers.   (Do notice that I am not referring to people who are liberal politically though conservative theologically, which used to be commonplace and is still evident in many congregations and on this blog.  I’m referring to new iterations of the social gospel.) [Read more...]

Back to the social gospel

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...]


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