At 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 23, Parsons Public Library will host a book discussion of A Theology for the Social Gospel by Walter Rauschenbusch. The Rev. Dr. Stan Basler will lead the discussion.
In A Theology for the Social Gospel, Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) argued the individualistic gospel had made the sinfulness of the individual clear, but it had not shed light on institutional sinfulness. “It has not evoked faith in the will and power of God to redeem the permanent institutions of human society from their inherited guilt of oppression and extortion.”
The Kingdom of God is crucial to Rauschenbusch’s theology. He believed the doctrine of the Kingdom of God had been gradually replaced by the Church. He saw four practical advantages in emphasizing the Kingdom of God rather than the Church: The Kingdom of God is not subject to the pitfalls of the Church; it can test and correct the Church; it is a prophetic, future-focused ideology and revolutionary, social and political force that understands all creation to be sacred; and it can help save the problematic, sinful social order.
Social justice and civil rights advocates including Martin Luther King, Jr., followed such principals.
Basler is the pastor of Hamilton Chapel United Methodist Church. He is an ordained elder (retired) in the United Methodist Church. He is also a retired attorney and former Montgomery County Commissioner.
For six years, he served as Visiting Professor of Restorative Justice and Prison Ministry at Saint Paul School of Theology and for 20 years was an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law. For 16 years, he was an instructor at Saint Paul School of Theology Course of Study School. He taught courses in restorative justice, church mission, systematic sin and leadership. For 13 years, Basler practiced law. For 18 years, he served as Director of Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries, Oklahoma Conference, United Methodist Church.
He and his wife, Janet, live on a farm in rural Galesburg.
Copies of A Theology for the Social Gospel are available for checkout at the library. Parsons Public Library is located at 311 S. 17th St. For more information about the event, contact the library by calling 620-421-5920.