This collection of writings examines the central, yet often overlooked, role played by women in the formation of the social gospel movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A practical theological response to the stark realities of poverty and injustice prevalent in turn-of-the-century America, the social gospel movement sought to apply the teachings of Jesus and the message of Christian salvation to society by striving to improve the lives of the impoverished and the disenfranchised. The contributors in this volume set out to broaden understanding of this radical movement by examining the lives of some of its female participants and the ways in which their involvement expanded and enriched the scope of its activity.
Through the essays in Gender and the Social Gospel, the women of the social gospel movement emerge as passionate and vibrant social and religious activists, as different from one another as from the men who frequently overshadowed them. In addition to examining the lives of individual women, these essays contain broader analysis of the gender and racial issues that have caused the histories of movements such as the social gospel to be viewed almost exclusively in terms of their male, Euro-American, intellectual participants, at the expense of the women, African Americans, and Canadians whose contributions were just as worthy of attention.
Not only useful as a historical work, Gender and the Social Gospel compellingly argues that issues of social justice, including gender and race inclusiveness, are as critical to a contemporary social Christianity as they were more than a century ago.