What is the Social Gospel?
Definition: “Social gospel. 1 : the application of Christian principles to social problems. 2 a movement in American Protestant Christianity especially in the first part of the 20th century to bring the social order into conformity with Christian principles.” Merriam-Webster’s 11th. Collegiate Dictionary.
The first thing I noticed in the above definition is, that the gospel is nowhere mentioned. In fact, I do not believe there is any such thing as a “social” gospel. If there is, I don’t know what it is. As far as I am concerned, there is only one gospel. It is clearly defined in I Cor. 15 and defended in the book of Galatians. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again the third day for sinners. This salvation is for anyone who will accept it by faith. This is the only true gospel, and all other gospels are not the gospel at all.
Now, what of the definition given for the social gospel? It appears that some churches are working to get society to accept Christian principles. I noticed that on the Courthouse lawns there are monuments with the Ten Commandments on them. Should these commandments be allowed or removed? Do we want unsaved people to learn Bible principles about life before they are saved? Many would say “no.”
Should a church get involved when a national disaster strikes? Should they feed and clothe the naked and the hungry? Should we withhold the soup until they profess Christ as Savior, or are we allowed to give a bowl of soup in hopes that we can get the gospel to them? What about skid row mission work, orphanages, and helping the sick? Do we have a responsibility to help these, even if they aren’t saved?
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again the third day for sinners.[/pullquote]
What about your neighbor, would you help him repair his fence in hope you could witness to him? Would you get his car or animal out of the ditch if he was not saved?
I am fully aware that the number one goal is to get people saved. Is it unscriptural and anti-scriptural to use these avenues to get the gospel to the lost? I don’t think so.
There is no social gospel. There are social programs that any church could get involved in, in order to better their community and get the gospel to a lost world. For example, Open Door Baptist Church used the public school system to get thousands of invitations to the community. Who would fault them for doing that?
Don’t be afraid to get involved in community activities if it will better your community, help people, and open doors for witnessing. Remember, there is no social gospel.
If you can give a clear Scriptural definition of a social gospel, please do so.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.