Master of Arts (MA)
Religion & Culture / Religious Studies
Faculty of Arts
The question under consideration is the effect of the belief in personal salvation on the theology of North American Evangelicalism, for the purpose of developing a theology of social justice.
This study is a preliminary investigation of the history of Evangelical individualism and the potential influence that individualism might have on Evangelical theology. Certain trends toward isolation and separation, as well as a tendency to neglect what I have called systemic evil, are examined to see how they may result from the Evangelical stress on individualism. Also presented in a skeletal outline of Marcuse’s analysis of one-dimensional society in order to clarify the power and influence of systemic evil. Finally, these observations are applied to C.F.H. Henry’s book Aspects of Christian Social Ethics, to analyze how his theology manifests those trends and to examine the power of individualism in North American Evangelical theology.
It was found that a belief in individualism as expressed by the theology of personal salvation may lead Evangelicalism into isolation and separation, and it might also pressure Evangelicalism into neglecting the corruption in society.
The primary conclusion of the study are that to attempt to found a social theology on North American Evangelicalism’s belief in personal salvation, as some have tried to do, is to cater to isolation and separation from society. Also, one may be persuaded to accept the very society that a social theology must be designed to change. Thus a more corporately oriented approach should be found, upon which to begin building a social theology. One suggested alternative is to view social problems and issues from within the dynamic tension between the social strategies of revolution, reformation, regeneration and revaluation.
Gmeindl, Robert F.J., "An Examination of Personal Salvation in the Theology of North American Evangelicalism: On the Road to a Theology of Social Justice" (1980). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). Paper 1421.