This Week's Commentary From the Social Gospel Blog for 04/24/22 with Author Rev. Paul J. Bern
What Is the Social Gospel, and Why Is It So Relevant In the 21st Century?
The Social Gospel Worship and Learning Center, Its Vision and Its Mission
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
What's the Social Gospel? It means Christianity without the dogma, and faith without the spiritual pollution of conservative politics. The phrase “social gospel” is usually used to describe a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that came to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who adhered to a social gospel sought to apply Christian ethics to social problems such as poverty, slums, poor nutrition and education, alcoholism, crime, and war. Advocates of the movement interpreted the Kingdom of God as requiring social as well as individual salvation, and sought the betterment of industrialized society through application of the biblical principles of charity and justice. The Social Gospel was especially promulgated among liberal Protestant ministers.
The Social Gospel Gets a Reboot
Today, I am one of many who are in the process of reviving and reinvigorating the Social Gospel into 21st century life. So, this is nondenominational Christianity viewed from a progressive or populist perspective, which is far closer to what Jesus originally taught than the ultra-conservative slant being taught today. What good is our faith if we hoard all our money and material possessions while ignoring the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill, the homeless, and the newly released prisoner? What good is our faith if we vehemently oppose abortion while fanatically sending our sons and daughters off to fight wars that only benefit a few?
What Are the Advantages of Web-Based Churches?
So, what are the advantages of being a member of Social Gospel Worship and Learning Center, or any web-based virtual church for that matter? The first advantage is financial. Here at the Social Gospel Worship and Learning Center, we never ask people to “tithe” 10% of their incomes. If fact, we don’t take up a collection at all. This is the primary reason that brick-and-mortar churches despise and mistrust virtual churches like this one. We don’t operate like they do.
It’s Really About the Money
Mainstream churches are, for the most part, (although there are exceptions), run like businesses. If a 100 member congregation whose average income is a modest $30,000 per year per individual and they all give their 10%, that’s three million dollars per year. That’s a pretty good haul for a medium-sized church. These churches I’m writing about are either denominational and nondenominational, but that does not change the fact that it’s all about the money. Being strictly online like I am, I don’t have the luxury of passing a collection basket around. I sell Christian merchandise such as books, tee shirts, calendars and I’ll be adding survival gear as soon as supplies can be shipped. Better to offer something the people can really use instead of asking for money.
Why Our Teaching Is Different
The Social Gospel Worship and Learning Center is not a denomination, nor are we a religious cult operating out in a desert somewhere. We pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ alone. No one or nothing else will do. We also stay out of politics as much as possible. Jesus was apolitical, so we are too. Finally, the last main advantage to virtual worship is that you don’t have to leave home, saving wear and tear on your vehicle.
Faith Without Works Is Dead
What good is our faith when we condemn same sex marriage while having a divorce rate within Christianity that is the same as the secular world? American society, or any other for that matter, can measure how just and fair it is by the way in which we treat our most vulnerable citizens. In so doing, we become ambassadors for Christ while living our lives in complete accordance with God's will. Jesus summarized it perfectly when he said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice".
Visit Our Online Church For a Contemporary Viewpoint of the Ministry of Jesus Christ
Here at the Social Gospel Worship and Learning Center, you can go to a virtual online church without having to wear a mask, spend some quiet time in prayer and meditation, or tap into a little Spiritual wisdom by accessing my biweekly blog, and all without having to leave home. But equally important is the fact that this is a Social Gospel website, which means that I teach complete faith and trust in Christ from a modern perspective without the encumbrances of traditional dogma. It’s a church that’s not a church. The Social Gospel is similar to progressive Christianity, meaning Christian faith plus anti-war and human rights activism go hand in hand, but without the taint of American politics.
Our Mission Field
The twin mission fields for this ministry, in no particular order, are the Internet and the inner city of Atlanta. I am commissioned by God through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior to preach and teach the real Gospel and what it means to be a real Christian and not merely to be religious. Ordained by the Holy Spirit, I am a defender of the poor, minorities, the elderly, the disabled, the fatherless, the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the mentally ill, the unemployed, and all the others who have been cast out into the cold reality of a poverty-stricken 21st century America.
The Social Gospel also means that Christian faith plus anti-war and human rights activism go hand in hand. The US military-industrial-incarceration complex and those in the top 1% income bracket who control it have the American people in a stranglehold. This ministry and this pastor are dedicated to render as much assistance as possible to breaking that stranglehold. This is a ministry that stands against all social and economic injustice while preaching and teaching the salvation of Jesus Christ.
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