Monday, January 12, 2015

Is the Social Gospel Necessary?

The social gospel of the Church, in Korea like other countries of the world, is often misunderstood and  attacked. A priest in the Catholic Times gives us some  answers to many of the difficulties in his article. Those who are sensitive to issues of justice write and speak often on the problems they see, and this interest gives rise to much rebuttal, making the topic relevant.

Is the social gospel about problems in society? Why don't they see their own faults and those of the church instead of expressing criticism of society?  There are those who do not want to hear anything about politics, and want those  interested in the social gospel to go outside to make their opinion known. However, the Church exists in society. The social gospel is not only limited to society, humans need others to live, we were born to live with others, the social gospel helps us have a right relationship with God and our follow human beings.

Do you think the social gospel is something extra, good if we have it, and good if we don't? Our belief is made up of what we believe and what we need to do. What we need to do is the social gospel; it is not an extra but an integral part of the teaching. It is what I am called to do in my daily life.

There are those that bring in the separation of Church and State as a reason for not getting involved. We can't separate religion from life. The separation of Church and State is to prevent one Church becoming involved in the governing of a country. The Church is not to infringe in the proper field of the government but to teach the way of God. 

Many are those that think the social gospel has a leftist tendency and is part and parcel of the     progressive agenda. However, welfare and morality issues would be in most cases just opposite what the progressives desire and there is confrontation. On the other hand the conservative policies and directions in these areas would be more compatible. In examining society the social gospel may have many different opinions, but they are all based on Scripture.  It may seem at times to be similar to some special groups in society but it is based on the gospels which makes the difference.

A good gauge for the level of our religious life  will depend on our acceptance of the social gospel.  If we do not meet God in the Scriptures, pray, study and   do not share in the body and blood of Jesus at Mass, we will not be bearing the fruit of love. The social gospel is an important part of our faith life. When we have an antipathy or misunderstanding of the social gospel there is a serious problem with the teaching of the Church.  What is the reason for my misunderstanding, is it the Scriptures or the World? 

"So if the light in you is darkness, how terribly dark it will be"( Matt. 6:23).  

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