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Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up the Church
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Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up the Church

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  24 reviews
First published in 1907, Christianity and the Social Crisis outsold every other religious volume for three years and then became a mainstay for Christians and other religious people seriously interested in social justice, inspiring leaders such as Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Christianity and the Social Cris ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by HarperOne
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Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walter Rauschenbusch had two jobs in 1907, when he wrote Christianity and the Social Crisis: one was as a professor of church history, and the other was as minister to a congregation of immigrants in Hell's Kitchen, New York City.

The combination led him to an incisive yet nuanced view of the church and its role in American society at a time of incredible deprivation and inequality. And makes him a singularly important person to read 110 years later. Consider these quotes:

p.5: The force that woul
Donovan Richards
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An Allegory of the 19th Century

Walter Rauschenbusch begins the fifth chapter of Christianity and the Social Crisis with a poetic allegory of the 19th Century. Upon the end of that century, Rauschenbusch imagines the 19th century descending into “the vaulted chamber of the Past”, where previous centuries congregate to discuss the perils and pieties of their respective eras. With unprecedented material success accumulated in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, the 19th Century metaphorically p
Elizabeth Rhea
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An amazing social re-framing of the relationship between church and society throughout history. Many of Rauschenbusch's insights have gut-punching relevance even over 100 years after he wrote them.

(Note-- I didn't read the edition with additional essays, unfortunately. I'm rocking the Harper Torchbooks 1964 edition.)

Rauschenbusch was a visionary socialist before socialism became taboo through the real and perceived traumas of the 20th century. He here re-paints the entire history of Judaeo-Chri
Will Dezern
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Raushenbusch challenges the notion that Christianity is a private religious experience and encourages the Church and Christiandom to enact social change through the ethical teachings of Jesus and the prophets. This book is immensely relevant today; in many cases dates and years can be switched and the story reads the same over a century later, only this time Christianity does not hold the same sway over society it did at the beginning of the 20th century. As a 21st century reader, the book is eq ...more
Nick Wilson
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rauschenbusch is timeless. Even though written in 1907, it is as applicable today as it was a century ago.

I haven’t connected this profoundly with a theologian in a very long time. It’s no wonder he was so influential on the theology of Marin Luther King, Jr.

This is the 100th Anniversary Edition and contains essays by contemporary theologians at the end of each chapter. These essays are, by no means, worth getting this edition over a previous edition. When compared to the original work of Raus
Morgan Brown
Mar 11, 2021 rated it liked it
A very well-written and fanciful account of optimistic idealism. Rauschenbusch has a clear vision for the world and proves that he seeks to shape a society that protects the vulnerable. But in his idealism, he often loses a grip on reality and proposes reforms of such extremity that they fall into the realm of clear impossibility. A thought-provoking read, but overlooks the realities of society and men’s inherent sin that renders many of his points irrelevant not only in our day but in his
Steve H
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
It has some good history but it doesn't tell me anything I haven't heard before and I don't think his views are right. ...more
John Willis
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The book was written in 1907 and this is the updated version with comments from Pastors or Theologians. I really enjoyed Rauschenbusch's perspective that the church needs to be aware of the social issues that are around us. Several of the chapters felt like they could have been written for exactly what is happening today. ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
In my college education, the Social Gospel was an negative phrase spoken in criticism of anyone that cared more for social justice than soul-saving, an unhelpful dichotomy as I now understand it. When the Social Gospel was studied very briefly in seminary, it was quickly dismissed as being un-biblical, possessing an obvious triumphal modernism, and implicit Marxism.

If there is one impression that stands out from Rauschenbusch's classic is that this man cannot be pigeon holed. This work displays
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual-growth
This was a challenging read full of ups and downs. I had not ventured much into strong liberal theology until now and this book left me quite informed. If you are willing to hear Rauschenbusch's distaste for Millenialism or Apocalypticism, Christian individualism or asceticism, then you will tap into an amazing call to challenge the injustice of our time. Although this collection of essays is from 1907, I continuously mistook the book as contemporary due to his accurate disections of today's soc ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
I'm so glad I came across Walter Rauschenbusch in my Baptist History textbook. Sadly, the social gospel caught on about as much as unsweet tea did in the early part of the nineteenth century. Fortunately a good man like Rauschenbusch didn't let that stop him, nor did he let the nay-sayers in the north (and there were many) dampen his spirit or his mission, either.

Both of these things - his spirit and his mission - are needed more than ever today to a new breed of ministers and laity with the ve
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, theology
First published in 1907, Rauschenbusch's plea is for a reformed Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and emphasizing not just individual conversion but also conversion of society as a whole in line with the ideals of the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus spoke so much. He calls for a spirit of Christian empathy for the poor and lower classes in order to bring about an equality envisioned by the early church. It's a passionate book, geared toward the excesses of the Gilded Age but app ...more
A great read about the history and sweep of Protestantism in the early 20th century. Rauschenbusch not only offers an interesting historical perspective on the Bible (he focuses on the prophetic aspect of calling society to bring justice) he motivates his readers to take action and bring change in their communities. For anyone interested in a history or summation of the Social Gospel, this is a must read.
Aug 13, 2011 marked it as to-read
This 1907 American book is on my "to-read" list after James Calvin Davis in In Defense of Civility said it "outsold every other religious text for a three-year period." ...more
glenn boyes
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An one hundred old classic on the importance of social concern and the church that is as relevant today as it was when published in 1907. Following the example of Jesus and the tradition of the social prophets of the Old Testament, Rauschenbush clearly challenges the church to step into the gap and in doing so, bring need change to our society.
Nathan Langford
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is amazing to find a book on 'spirituality' or moral conduct, or to shift our paradigm of thought and provoke us to action, even knowing that it was written more 100 years ago. The view points and messages inside this work are still relevant to current times. ...more
Feb 09, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: adult
Added by Barbara.

This is the classic call to social justice in Christianity published in 1907 and updated for now. While the modern additions probably don't exceed 50 pages, the book is interesting both historically and as a means to put our drive for social justice into perspective.
Brad East
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Flaws and all, this is a classic for a reason. Not only a compelling and prophetic work, but a blast to read: his reading of the Gospels was ahead of his time, and there's a quotable line on every page. You can't help but love the man and his vision. ...more
Lynne Demichele
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Insightful, brilliant analysis, but hard to stay with.
Dec 27, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-long-ago
read in the 80's
this is a new edition:LIBRARY pp (184) 185 186 207 220
Christopher Broadwell
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-justice
Just absolutely fantastic reflections on contemporary society and Walter Rauschenbusch. The Church would be forever grateful to heed the lessons of Christ energized by Walter.
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book; it sort of started the "social gospel" movement of the 20th century. This version marks the 100 year anniversary of its publication and is updated with 2007 commentary. ...more
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Who is Richard Rorty and why would they let him write the afterword? 1 5 Jan 08, 2009 10:03PM  

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