Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Social Gospel

The Social Gospel was not intended only for America and Europe. It is applicable wherever there are men and women. The work of the missionary is an illustration of its message as truly as are improved tenements and municipal reform in our great cities.
But we cannot limit our thought of missions to Christian work in foreign lands, important and extraordinary as that now appears in the light of great transformation through which Asia is passing. There are missionaries on the American continent who are equally heroic exponents of the gospel.
There is the work among the Eskimos and the Indians; the ministration of Doctor Grenfell to the fishermen on the coast of Labrador, which extends across the entire range of social activities, business, home life, disease, mechanics, religion.
Vastly wider in influence is the work of Christian missionaries on the frontier of America and Canada. In point of self-sacrifice and willingness to endure privation for the sake of others, the lives of such missionaries are in no wise second to those of the missionary in foreign lands. Any person who has visited our great Northwest, and has seen how the Sunday-school worker and the missionary pastor have built up their churches and carried over the spirit of the gospel into every form of life, will realize how much our country owes to their efforts. Our missionary work among the foreign-speaking populations in America has been of importance not only religiously, but politically. No better training in the American spirit could be given the newly arrived immigrant than that given by Protestant churches. In a new world facing a new life under new conditions, the new settler, whether he be of American or foreign descent, needs the message of the gospel to enable him to withstand the temptations which spring up all too quickly.
from The Social Gospel by Shailer Mathews, Dean of the Divinity School, University of Chicago, 1910 

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