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The Social Philosophy of Josiah Strong: Social Christianity and American Progressivism

  • Dorothea R. Muller (a1)

Extract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries progressivism and social Christianity were two answers to the need of that day for social action and reform. A study of the social philosophy of Josiah Strong, a leader in the movement for applied Christianity, provides an interesting illustration of the harmony of the social ideas of these two movements.

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1. Taylor, Graham, Pioneering on Social Frontiers (Chicago, 1930), 380; Rausehenbusch, Walter, Christianizing the Social Order (New York, 1913), 9; Gladden, Washington, “Josiah Strong,” The Congregationalist and Christian World, CI (05 11, 1916), 628.

2. Letters of tribute to Strong are in a miscellaneous collection provided by Elsie Strong in the author's possession. See also New York Times, May 8, 1916.

3. Hopkins, Charles Howard, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915 (New Haven, 1940), 113–16, 260–63; May, Henry F., Protestant Churches and Industrial America (New York, 1949), 194.

4. Strong, Josiah, The New Era or The Coming Kingdom (New York, 1893), 1112. For a summary of the influence of Darwinism on both the social gospel and progressivism see Hofstadter, Richard, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Revised Edition, Boston, 1955), 105–22.

5. Strong, Josiah, Our World. The New World-Religion (New York, 1915), 500, 395, 6; Strong, Josiah, The Times and Young Men (New York, 1901), 214, 217–18; Strong, Josiah, The Next Great Awakening (New York, 1902), 27, 104.

6. Strong, Josiah, Our World. The New World-Life (New York, 1913), viii; Strong, Josiah, My Religion in Everyday Life (New York, 1910), 3839; Strong, Josiah, Religious Movements for Social Betterment (New York, 1900), 17; Strong, Josiah, “The Disproportionate Growth of the City,” Social Service. A Monthly Review of Social and Industrial Betterment, I (09, 1906), 12; Strong, , World-Religion, 501–3; Next Great Awakening, 22; New Era, 188. For statements by other social-gospel leaders on the harmony of science and social Christianity see Gladden, Washington, How Much Is Left of the Old Doctrines? A Book for the People (Boston, 1899), 47, 17, 317–18, 27; Gladden, Washington, Applied Christianity. Moral Aspects of Social Questions (Second Edition. Boston, 1886), 233–34, 189; Gladden, Washington, Ruling Ideas of the Present Age (Boston, 1895), 296; Abbott, Lyman, The Evolution of Christianity (Boston, 1892), 237, 20, 59; Abbott, Lyman, Christianity and Social Problems (Boston, 1896), 84, 365.

7. Letter by Strong to the editors of The Kingdom, no date (1895?) in Scrapbook, IV, Evangelical Alliance for the United States. See also Strong, , World- Religion, 10, 395; Times and Young Men, 163–64; Gladden, , Recollections (Boston, 1909), 161, 86, 418; Taylor, Graham, Religion in Social Action (New York, 1913), 8; Abbott, , Evolution of Christianity, 72, 137, 170. For a discussion of the basic concepts of the social gospel see Visser't Hooft, W. A., The Background of the Social Gospel in America (Haarlem, 1928), 161, 3943; Hughley, J. Neal, Trends in Protestant Idealism (New York, 1948), 1617, 121, 140–48.

8. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 154–55; New Era, 12, 230, 37; Gladden, , Applied Christianity, 231–33; Ely, Richard T., Social Aspects of Christianity And Other Essays (New York, 1889), 122.

9. Strong, , Next Great Awakening, 102, 104; World-Religion, 8, 18; World-Life, 164; Strong, Josiah, The Twentieth Century City (New York, 1898), 41; Abbott, , Evolution of Christianity, 247; Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 274, 280; Recollections 427.

10. Strong, , “Editorial,” Social Service, III (04, 1901), 90; World-Religion, 514; Times and Young Men, 174; New Era, 121, 113; Gladden, , How Much Is Left f the Old Doctrines?, 63, 42.

11. Josiah, Strong, “What the Kingdom Is,The Gospel of the Kingdom, II (01, 1910), 12; New Era, 227; Next Great Awakening, 115; Times and Young Men, 60; World-Religion, 518.

12. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 4243; World-Religion, 29–30, 271–72; Next Great Awakening, 115; New Era, 20; Taylor, , Religion in Social Action, 94; Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 12, 8; Abbott, Lyman, The Theology of an Evolutionist (Boston, 1897), 10; Bury, J. B., The Idea of Progress. An Inquiry Into Its Origin And Growth (New York, 1932), 334–49.

13. Strong, , World-Life, 80; New Era, 230–31; Strong, Josiah, The Challenge of the City (New York, 1907), 86; Strong, Josiah, “The American Institute of Social Service,Social Service, VI (10, 1902), 71.

14. Strong, , World-Life, 34; World-Religion, 29–30; Times and Young Men, 215; Gladden, , Ruling Ideas. 255–57; Taylor, , Religion in Social Action, xxii; Brown, Ira V., Lyman Abbott. Christian Evolutionist. A Study in Religious Liberalism (Cambridge, 1953), 234.

15. Strong, , World-Life, 53; New Era, 53; World-Religion, 514.

16. Tributes to Strong by Graham Taylor and Robert A. Woods, May, 1916, in the Elsie Strong Collection. See also reviews praising Strong's, Our Country for its use of facts, Our Country. Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (New York, 1885), Appendix, 14. See also aTaylor, , Pioneering on Social Frantiers, 399.

17. Strong, , New Era, 19; World-Life, 174; World-Religion, 111; Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 269, 245–46.

18. Strong, , Religious Movements for Social Betterment, 39; World-Life, 17, 39, 174 ff. New Era, 77–78, 19; Strong, Josiah, “The Increasing Oneness of the World,” The Gospel of the Kingdom, I (12, 1908), 17. For a statement to the effect that Strong “loudly announced in 1885 the rise of a progress theory built on combative racial and national pride,” see Budd, Louis J., “The Idea of Progress at the Close of the Gilded Age,” The Georgia Review, XI (Fall, 1957), 283.

19. Strong, , New Era, 116, 29; World-Life, 186; Times and Young Men, 220–21; Ely, , Social Aspects of Christianity, 122, 127.

20. Editorial note by Strong entitled “Service” and prefaced to his article, “The Law of Service Applied to Capital and Labor,” Social Service, II (July, 1900), 7; editorial note by Strong, , “Evolution not Revolution,” Social Service, II (02, 1900), 3; Strong's review of Introduction to Sociology By Fairbanks, Arthur, Social Service, III (06, 1901), 193. See also Strong, , Times and Young Men, 7374, 106–9; Twentieth Century City, 141, 123–25, 117; Challenge of the City, 185–86, 174–78; World-Life, 92, 95; Ely, Richard T., The Social Law of Service (New York, 1896), 252; Ely, , Social Aspects of Christianity, 130; Gladden, , Applied Christianity, 187; Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 83, 88, 94.

21. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 149–50; Next Great Awakening, 142. See also Knox, John, “Christianity and the Christian,” Van Dusen, Henry P., ed., The Christian Answer (New York, 1945), 165, 167; Paul Tillich, “The World Situation,” Ibid., 5–8, 21; Waldo Beach and John Coleman Bennett, “Christian Ethics,” Nash, Arnold S., ed., Protestant Thought in the Twentieth Century: Whence and Whither? (New York, 1951), 143, 135.

22. Strong, , World-Religion, 516–17; Next Great Awakening, 154–56; Times and Young Men, 140–41; New Era, 121. For statements urging acceptance of the practicability of applying the Gospel see Gladden, Applied Christianity, 177; Gladden, Recollections, 419; Gladden, , The Church and Modern Life (Boston, 1908), 106, 194; Abbott, , Evolution of Christianity, 235; Taylor, , Religion in Social Action, 81, 100; Ely, , Social Aspects of Christianity, 29.

23. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 174–75, 187–91, 7374; World-Religion, 135–39; Next Great Awakening, 140.

24. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 117–23, 219; Challenge of the City, 170–72; Next Great Awakening, 196. See also Ely, Richard T., Socialism An Examination of Its Nature, Its Strength And Its Weakness, With Suggestions for Social Reform (New York, 1894), 94; Ely, , The Labor Movement in America (New York, 1886), 319; Ely, , The Social Law of Service, 127, 155; Taylor, , Religion in Social Action, 4751, 73, 92; Gladden, Washington, Burning Questions Of the Life That Now Is And Of That Which Is To Come (New York, 1890), 241–42; Gladden, Washington, Social Salvation (Boston, 1902), 6, 85; Gladden, Washington, Rights and Duties. An Address Delivered At the Fifty-Eighth Annual Commencement of the University of Michigan, Thursday, June 19, 1902 (Ann Arbor, 1902); Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 12; Gladden, , Recollections, 294.

25. Strong, , World-Life, ix; Strong, Josiah, Expansion Under New World-Conditions (New York, 1900), 272, 245–46.

26. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 216–17; New Era, 10. See also Strong, , “Evolution not Revolution,” Social Service, II (02, 1900), 3; Strong, , “The Home and Social Betterment,” Social Service, II (06, 1900), 710; Gladden, , Social Salvation, 5; Abbott, , The Church and Social Problems, 133; Abbott, , Evolution of Christianity, v.

27. Strong, Josiah, “Prospectus,” The League for Social Service (New York, 1898), 4, 8. See also Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 255–57; Taylor, , Religion in Social Action, xxii; Brown, , Lyman Abbott, 234.

28. Strong, Josiah, “Why the League for Social Service,” Social Service, V (09, 1902), 43.

29. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 187–91, 7475; New Era, 21, 290, 223; World- Religion, 139–40, 153, 108; Next Great Awakening, 142. See also Gladden, Recollections, 96, 313–14; Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 23; Gladden, , How Mach Is Left of the Old Doctrines?, 228–29; Abbott, , Evolution of Christianity, 251–54; Abbott, , Theology of An Evolutionist, 188–90.

30. Strong, , World-Religion, 216.

31. Strong, , World-Religion, 489, 235, 24; Next Great Awakening, 129–30.

32. Beach, and Bennett, , “Christian Ethics,” in Nash, Protestant Thought, 131–34; Walter M. Horton, “Systematic Theology,” op. cit., 120.

33. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 16, 18, 218–19; World-Religion, 170–71, 53, 109–11; New Era, 125; manuscript sermon by Strong on immortality in the Elsie Strong Collection in the author's possession. See also Gladden, , Recollections, 417.

34. Strong, , World-Religion, 194, 189; New Era, 230, 241–42; Challenge of the City, 55; Next Great Awakening, 115; Religious Movements for Social Betterment, 31; Times and Young Men, 102, 16, 110–13; Gladden, Church and Modern Life, 89–90.

35. Strong, , Twentieth Century City, 140–41, 117; Our Country, 111; Challenge of the City, 173–74; World-Life, 93; Religious Movemants for Social Betterment, 40–41; New Era, 39. See also, Abbott, , Evolution of Christianity, 176; Gladden, , Church and Modern Life, 131.

36. Strong, , Next Great Awakening, 190; Our Country, 180.

37. Strong, Josiah, “The American Institute of Social Service,” Social Service, VI (10, 1902), 66; Strong, , New Era, 130; Next Great Awakening, 95; Religious Movements for Social Betterment, 16–17; Challenge of the City, 4, 95, 160; World-Religion, 29, 143.

38. Strong, , New Era, 119, 193; Strong, Josiah, “The Signs of the Times and the Churches,” Charities Review, VI (03, 1897), 13. See also Gladden, , Ruling Ideas, 68, 261–62; Gladden, , Social Salvation, 136–38; Abbott, , Church and Social Problems, 129–30, 133; Taylor, , Religion in Social Action, 23, 38, 223–24.

39. Strong, , Challenge of the City, 158–59, 163; Our Country 143–44, 195; World-Life, 223–27; Hopkins, , Rise of Social Gospel, 110, 135, 322.

40. Strong, , Times and Young Men, 113; Strong, Josiah, “The Mutual Interests of Capital and Labor,” Social Serviae, IV (10, 1901), 103–5.

41. Holmes, John Haynes, “Josiah Strong,” Dictionary of American Biography, XVIII, 151.

42. Hopkins, , Rise of Social Gospel, 259–60.

43. For criticism of Strong as one who advocated action by social service activities as a substitute for political action and reform see Roberts, Robert R., “Economic and Political Ideas Expressed In the Early Social Gospel Movement, 1875–1900,” unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, 1952, 123–24, 151.

The Social Philosophy of Josiah Strong: Social Christianity and American Progressivism

  • Dorothea R. Muller (a1)

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