Gospel: personal or social?

Last week I was made aware of this quote about the gospel. The content is great, but what I find most impressive about the quote is the year it was written- 1929. The “new” debate over the nature of gospel is not new at all. The church has been wrestling with this issue for decades if not centuries. Is the gospel about personal salvation only? Or is it about social justice only? Eighty years ago, someone accurately said it’s both…

“We must preach the whole gospel of personal salvation and social service, and whatever it means, have no fear of giving actual expression to love of the neighbor. It is imperative that social service should not be substituted for evangelical religion, as it sometimes has been, but be shown to be one of its integral characteristics … the gospel of salvation must be preached not only as a gospel of personal redemption, but also of social reconstruction, if we are to reach this age, and if, indeed, we are to preach the whole gospel of the New Testament.”

J. Ernest Rattenbury, 1929 

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