Social Gospel Liberalism and the Ministry of Ernest Fremont Tittle

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Winner of the 1995 Jesse Lee Prize
Tittle, the renowned minister of First Methodist church, Evanston, IL, was among the prominent representatives of the post-World-War I social gospel movement. This study analyzes how Tittle's theology of social reform, based on racial justice, economic equality, and pacifism, was influenced by the upper middle class context of First Church Evanston. Using Tittle's life as a biographical prism, the volume provides important insights into the development of post WWI Methodism, explores how he adapted the leadership paradigm of the social gospel preacher as the primary means to define and articulate his theology for the middle class. Using research in church history, biography, theology, and social history, it shows how Tittle's cultural and theological world view interpenetrated with his congregation to produce a genre of liberal idealism not frequently examined by other scholars. Within Tittle's theology are the seeds for the social idealism that has had ongoing impact upon 20th century American culture, notably evident in the thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.


" . . . stands in a worthy line of Jesse Lee Award winners. The award is made every four years for a manuscript of extraordinary quality which makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the history of Methodism. Evans' work is impressive since it relates two important topics, the Social Gospel and the ministry of Ernest Fremont Tittle. . . . Those interested in American history, especially its religious dimensions, will find this book both informative and helpful." - Charles Yrigoyen, Jr., General Secretary, General Commission on Archives and History, The United Methodist Church

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