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Spanish Studies. Yet Rauschenbusch takes an extra step, asserting that communities also carry the responsibility of salvation. He writes,. In ways similar to the legal standing of corporations as individual citizens, Rauschenbusch believes that the collective actions of an organization are a source for salvific consideration. For Rauschenbusch, the entity that ties together his theology of sin and salvation is the church.

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Rauschenbusch argues:. It brings social forces to bear on evil.


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Therefore, the connection between personal and collective sin and salvation lies with the church. It possesses the ability to speak into the life of an individual and against the injustice of a collective. Even though A Theology for the Social Gospel explores the importance of adding collective moral weight to the notions of sin and salvation, certain assertions from Rauschenbusch are questionable.

A Theology for the Social Gospel

First, he decries the classic notion of universal sin. Most Christian traditions consider sin to be sin no matter the depth or consequence. A white lie is as sinful as committing murder. Yet, Rauschenbusch clearly believes that sin is too widely defined. On the whole, Rauschenbusch argues against a legalistic morality, but I worry he wanders too far in the other direction.

For Rauschenbusch, salvation occurs during alignment with God and alignment with the Church body. Given his inductive approach to the social gospel, Rauschenbusch has no need for grace. Clearly, Rauschenbusch does not stress a Pauline view in his social gospel.

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But I am wary that without mentioning grace, Rauschenbusch ignores a portion of the gospel. In A Theology for the Social Gospel , Walter Rauschenbusch sets forth an attempt for a systematic theology that fulfills the social gospel from an inductive approach. Focusing on sin and salvation that includes both personal and collective pieces, Rauschenbusch believes that the social institution of the church acts as the fulcrum between the individual and society. However, if you find unorthodox or non-conservative theological positions dangerous, I suggest you steer clear. Have you read Timothy Keller's Generous Justice?


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I am reading it now and learning quite a bit so far.