I've been reading about the Social Gospel movement and it seemed that the movement failed overall because it never reached it's target audience, the working class. Instead, it had a flare of movement in the middle class and then died out. Why is this?

  • 2
    It is a good idea to add a link from Wikipedia or elsewhere to define terms not in common use, like the "Social Gospel Movement." If you don't know how to do this, click edit to see what I did.
    – Tom Au
    Nov 30, 2016 at 23:20
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    It's still very much around in certain circles. Cynically, the reason it may failed to reach the working class is that the prosperity gospel succeeded instead. Nov 30, 2016 at 23:33
  • This may not be related, but the Salvation Army (origins U.K., spread to U.S.A., Australia and is now global) has flourished in its aims to reach out to the poor and the rejects of society: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Salvation_Army#History
    – Lesley
    May 22, 2019 at 16:04
  • I'd argue that it never really went away, but Evangelical Conservatism has had much better PR the last 40 years.
    – T.E.D.
    May 25, 2019 at 15:57
  • Have you considered the possibility that it reached its target audience, but that (in the main) that audience rejected it?
    – jamesqf
    May 26, 2019 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Apparently, it has not died out.

“In the United States, the Social Gospel is still influential in mainline Protestant denominations such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the United Methodist Church; it seems to be growing in the Episcopal Church as well, especially with that church's effort to support the ONE Campaign. In Canada, it is widely present in the United Church and in the Anglican Church. Social Gospel elements can also be found in many service and relief agencies associated with Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church in the United States. It also remains influential among Christian socialist circles in Britain in the Church of England, and Methodist and Calvinist movements.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Gospel

The National Council of Churches (NCC) in the U.S.A. finds expression through social action and social justice. It has 38 member communions—over 40 million individuals—100,000 congregations from Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African-American, and Living Peace traditions.

“In faith, responding to our Creator, we celebrate the full humanity of each woman, man, and child, all created in the divine image as individuals of infinite worth, by working for:

Full civil, political and economic rights for women and men of all races

Abolition of forced labor, human trafficking, and the exploitation of children

Employment for all, at a family-sustaining living wage, with equal pay for comparable work

The rights of workers to organize, and to share in workplace decisions and productivity growth

Protection from dangerous working conditions, with time and benefits, to enable full family life

A system of criminal rehabilitation, based on restorative justice and an end to the death penalty”

Source: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/

  • The AME Church BTW is about as working-class as it gets. The United Methodist Church is likely in the process of splitting over this as well.
    – T.E.D.
    May 25, 2019 at 15:19

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