Martin Marty – Jim Wallis on Values and Morals

In 1957, young Harvard-bred historian Timothy Smith, of the Church of the Nazarene, knocked a lot of us budding ordinary historians – secular, “mainstream,” and whatnot – off our library stools with his book Revivalism and Social Reform. We had been trained to look for the roots of American social Christianity in the liberal Protestant Social Gospel (post-1907) and progressive Catholicism (post-1919).  Smith back-dated such movements by a half-century, to revivals around 1857, which, he argued, added concern for morality and ethics in the social order to the private-and-personal moral agenda of older evangelicalism.  Having fought against dueling, profanity, Sunday mails, et cetera, these revivalists found new ways to address slavery, poverty, and inequality.  Imperfect, they did chart a course. Continue reading “Martin Marty – Jim Wallis on Values and Morals”