What is the Social Gospel?

The social gospel is a movement that started in the early 1900’s with the intent to bring heaven to earth, speaking somewhat figuratively. The movement has been reborn today as “social justice.” Karl Marx’s communism was an influential ideology that helped start the movement, being liberal from the very beginning. The social gospel has a strong desire to see earthly blessings far more so than spiritual blessing, and could be rightly considered one of the precursors to the modern health and wealth gospel. The main passage that would summarize the views of this movement would be when our Lord was teaching the disciples how to pray; saying “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” The social gospel’s desire is the make God’s kingdom manifested on earth; and taking political activism as the key to making this happen, instead of prayer and personal holiness in one’s life, coupled with the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.

The social gospel believes that heaven should be here on earth. This is what has given rise to the post-millennial position of Revelation that has become moderately popular in America. It has also given rise to some good things perhaps, but this movement is concerned about what they believe are “social justice” issues. However, usually those who hold this ideology are holding a view that is contrary to the sacred Scriptures. For example, a sample list of “social justice” issues that the social gospel believes is worth fighting for, would be; racism, poverty, economic inequality (read- “it’s unfair God gave you more money”), “alcoholism” (opposed to what the Bible calls drunkenness), sexism (usually Gods idea of how to run things), slums and unclean environments, and the killing of whales and trees (that is, idolatry). These are “evils” and “social injustices” that this movement wishes to read into the Scriptures. Clearly God does have things to say about many of these issues, either directly or indirectly. However, because this movement does not base itself on God’s Word and God’s justice, but instead on human wisdom and human idea’s (read- wrong ideas) of justice, it proves to be very problematic for the Christian, particularly those who strive to be both biblical and rational.

The Problem

The problem with the movement, being a documented fact in history, is that they started with their own ideology, then went to Scriptures to find support. That is to say, they did not start with a biblical foundation; therefore, whatever they fight for that happens to be true and biblical is only by accident.

The other problem is that the social gospel diminishes the true gospel; that is the true good news. The good news is that we who have wronged an infinitely holy God and can now be forgiven, not that the poor can get money, or free healthcare. Though it is true that Christians are to stand for justice, the social gospel rarely, if ever, has a biblical understanding of justice and equality.

This movement, the social gospel, has helped give rise to liberalism, feminism, homosexual, and political activism in the Christian church. Political liberalism and theological liberalism have historically gone hand in hand with this movement, all the way to the present day.

The Solution

Christians are never to be content with this world; we are foolish for trying to make an utopian society. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. We need to keep in mind that we are sojourners passing through, that our real loyalty belongs to heaven, not earth. Our actions need to show it. Yes, we are to fight for the oppressed, but the main way that we are to do that is preaching the word so that oppressed sinners can be freed from their sin. The overwhelming majority of the time, the so-called “oppression” that this group fights against is actually God ordained leadership and authority, not genuine oppression. We need to take a critical eye to what people call “oppression” to see if it matches up to both the Scriptures and common sense.

Secondly, we as a Christian church need to take a look at liberalism in all spheres, to include politics. Karl Marx and communism, with its modern offspring, socialism, and feminism, are inherently anti-Christian, and unBiblical. Liberal politics always leads to liberal theology, and vice versa. This is so tricky and deceptive because the liberals and ungodly people use the same words that we do; like “love” and “freedom” but their definitions are patently unBiblical and incorrect. If we have a wrong idea of what equality is, or justice, then we are incapable of dispensing and defending either one. Take for example, most in this movement believe that women should be able to be pastors, even though God said no. They would say that this is “unfair” because it is an “inequality.” They are of course blaspheming God by declaring Him to be unjust. And yet, God has declared that women would have glory in childbirth, and no man can share in this. Is this an ‘unfair inequality’ because man cannot do what woman does? Besides being patently wrong and unBiblical, the movement as a whole is utterly absurd. But then, this is what always happens when we do not think God’s thoughts after Him, but chose man’s ‘wisdom’ (read-folly) as our guide.

Lastly, and most importantly, we need to keep in our minds, very clearly, what the true gospel really is. We must do so with clarity and precision, keeping in mind what is of greater importance. It is far greater that man be freed from the oppression of sin, then the oppression of a dictator. We must be heavenly minded, not earthly minded. No, we must not neglect this world. But the spiritual and eternal will always be of greater importance then the physical and temporal. This movement, if the devil has his way, would keep us distracted with more trivial and earthly things, instead of being about the kingdom of God. The devil always tries to come clothed in light, talking about things like love and freedom. Let those who have ears, hear.


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