Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

The New Work of the Church

The church must shift its emphasis from the problem of saving the individual to the problem of saving society. …

Here is the world with its hungry to be fed, its naked to be clothed, its sick to be healed, its imprisoned to be emancipated.  Here is the world with its evils to be extirpated, its misery to be banished, its injustice to be cured, its sorrow to be turned to joy.  Here is the world with the strong preying upon the weak, … the rich grinding the faces of the poor, the few reveling in the luxury and ease which is builded upon the wretchedness of the many.  Here is the world with its international hatreds and racial prejudices, with its rotten politics and corrupt business, with its passion for riches and its lust for power, with its industrial injustice and its social inequality. …

The work of the church, I say, is the work of social redemption.  In the pursuit of this work, the true church will grapple with the problem of poverty.  It will accept the doctrine of the best social authorities of our time that poverty is due not to individual depravity or individual inefficiency, but to social maladjustment, and upon the basis of this doctrine will so readjust social conditions that poverty will be as impossible as wealth.  In pursuit of its true work, the church will enter upon the task of reconciling the hostile races of the world.  …

No longer will its work be done by priests who merely pray and preach, marry the living and bury the dead – rather shall this work come to be done by a new priesthood, which shall include not merely the minister, but the merchant also and the politician, the physician and the sociologist.

John Haynes Holmes, "The New Work of the Church," 1909

Holmes was born November 29, 1879

John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

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