Social Gospelism

Donald Willis
Wichita Falls, Texas

Denominations are engulfed with the social gospel. Gospel preachers have opposed the Lord's people forsaking the authority of the word of God and turning to human wisdom and traditional practices.

One observes from NEWSWEEK (January 12, 1970) that the Shinto and Buddhist temples are beginning to engage in like practices. Religious articles are being sold to the "once a year" worshippers: "... sake, rice cakes and religious amulets, including hamaya wooden arrows to ward off bad luck in the coming year."

Private business is undertaken as a religious function: "Since many shrines occupy prize property in congested urban centers, some priests have opened parking lots for extra revenue" (My Emphasis, DW). At the Reizanji temple in Nara, "... the clergy now manages a hot-spring inn, restaurants, parking lots and a taxi company."

An Ion Bath House has been established, charging $3 for a bath in a mixture of sawdust, honey, milk and the essences of 30 vegetables. Now, the priests intend to grow their own holy vegetables. Of course, all this is religious!

While one is often hard-pressed to get brethren to give a justification for their social gospel involvement, the Shinto and Buddist priests have offered the following:

1) Sotokichi Ishida reasons, "We talk to them while they are relaxing .... Naturally we want to save the suffering from ill health." The end must justify the means.

2) " A religion must extend its hand for the salvation of people, not only spiritually, but also physically." Or, the church has benevolent responsibility to all the world.

3) Nichii Kaneko said, "My mission.., is to provide counsel to people from cradle to grave." Sounds like some enterprises of the brethren.

But there is opposition. Takaski Takayama observes, "If a priest has to engage in business like an ordinary merchant in order to maintain his religion, then the religion is already dead (My Emphasis, DW). But, he further opined, "I don't think many Shinto priests share my rather strict view.

The social gospel concept is pervading the ranks of world religion, and, sorrowfully, has riddled the church. The church of Jesus Christ is under the dominion of God. Any attempt to change it is an attack upon God.


March 26, 1970