E. Stanley Jones was a 20th century Evangelist who devoted his life to following Christ and spreading the Gospel. He spent many years in India and wrote The Christ of the Indian Road It is full of powerful insights into the Gospel and the best ways to spread the Gospel.
In the chapter What or Whom? he points out that when Christians start discussing What they believe conflict arises and causes dissension. When Christians discuss Whom they believe, Jesus, they are brought together. The Church divided once over Whom to believe in. The Unitarians split off, and that is the right thing because they no longer believe Jesus is central. The Church is headed in the right direction if it makes Jesus Christ central and doesn’t worry overmuch about all else.
In 1896 Charles M. Sheldon wrote In His Steps. It proved very popular and sold millions of copies all over the world. Because of copyright problems he only received royalties on a tiny percentage of them. People thought he was rolling in money, and many wrote to him asking for financial help he was totally unable to provide. Despite the fact that he produced a great deal of written material he wrote very little of a personal nature.
Almost ten years later, in 1905, he published The Heart Of The World. It is the story of Rev. Frederick Stanton, D.D. who writes “The Christian Socialist”, a book eerily similar to In His Steps. Stanton, unlike the married Sheldon, is single when the tale begins, but like Sheldon his life is disrupted by the turmoil that results from the publication of the book once it becomes known he is the author. I enjoyed The Heart of the World for its message of the love and redemption that can come from God and for the possibility that the problems and travails of Stanton from “The Christian Socialist” were a reflection of Sheldon’s own turmoil as a result of “In His Steps”.
The Heart Of The World is available from KincaidBooks.com as a free download in both a mobi version, HeartOfWorld.mobi and an epub version HeartOfWorld.epub. I’d be quite pleased to sell a few of the print version available on Amazon but hope you enjoy The Heart Of The World. as much as I did whether you read it an an ebook or in print.
Although Charles M Sheldon is best known today as the author of In His Steps he also wrote and published many other books dealing with the Social Gospel.
In His Brother’s Keeper the plot revolves around two friends who grew up together in an iron mining town. One from a mining family and the other the son of the owner of the largest of the mines. There is a strike and it carries over the summer into the winter when the miners begin to truly suffer.
At the start of the novel thirty year old Stuart Duncan, having finished with college, has spent a year in Europe before returning home. He was looking forward to a position in his father’s mining company. The last thing he expected when he stepped out of the train station was to see his best friend from childhood, Eric Vassall, in the bandstand leading about five thousand miners striking against his father and the other mine owners.
With the death of his father he was suddenly in control of the largest mine complex in the range. With the miners on one side and the owners on the other Stuart was in the middle. How could he prevent suffering as the snow and cold of winter set in and the out of work miners families were going cold and hungry?
Neither side in the strike was willing to compromise and Stuart was only one man. He had plenty of money to spend on the problem, but how could he use it wisely to help those who were truly in need? Stuart knew that if he failed to act to somehow alleviate the suffering the failure would haunt him as long as he lived.
His Brother’s Keeper was first read to Charles M. Sheldon’s Sunday evening congregations a chapter at a time in 1895, one year before he read his most famous book, In His Steps, to them in 1896. The Salvation Army plays a prominent part in His Brother’s Keeper and there are the words to several of the songs sung by the Army in the 1890s.
A Kincaid Books edition of His Brother’s Keeper is available on Amazon.com.
Ever since the 1970’s “WWJD” and “What Would Jesus Do” have been popping up everywhere – bumper stickers – graffiti – conversations and more. Where did it come from? It came from In His Steps by Charles Monroe Sheldon, a Congregational Pastor who lived in Topeka Kansas at the end of the 19th century. To encourage people to come back on chilly winter days to the Sunday evening service he wrote stories to read a chapter at a time on Sunday nights. The stories were popular and people came out for the second service to find out what was going to happen next. The best known of these stories is In His Steps, read during the winter of 1896-1897.
In His Steps was serialized in a Chicago religious magazine. Nobody wanted to publish it as a book because they didn’t think it would sell. Sheldon convinced the magazine to print a paperback edition. It sold out and the same people who previously had no interest wanted to publish it. It was expensive to file for a copyright in the 1890’s so the weekly magazine In His Steps first appeared in was not copyrighted. This meant that the copyright on the book edition was invalid and anyone could publish it. They did, and it ended up with well over thirty editions and was reputed by Sheldon to have sold many millions of copies. Kincaid Books has a trade paperback edition available on Amazon, and we would be thrilled if you bought a copy. But we also want you to read it, so we are making the ebook available for free download. The ebook is available in two versions, in mobi format for Kindles and in epub format for most everything else
Faith in Christ is more than the mere acknowlegment that Jesus is God, for as it says in James even the devils believe. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.” (James 2:19 KJV) The devils tremble because they don’t have faith and so won’t be saved. Love of Christ is what elevates mere belief to saving faith.
When first looking into the Social Gospel online you might come across the assertion that the Social Gospel puts forth the idea that Christian works are required for salvation. By placing so much emphasis on Christian Behavior it is said that the Social Gospel obscures the fact that Christians are saved by the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ who came to earth and died for out sins. It is by Grace alone that we are saved. No amount of good works is ever going to be enough to overcome ones sins.
Shailer Mathews, dean of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago from 1908 until his retirement in 1933 was a prominent advocate of the Social Gospel. In 1914 he published The Individual and the Social Gospel. He stated in no uncertain terms that “The Social Gospel Is Not Another Gospel.” As a matter of fact, it was the title of the first section of the first chapter of the book. Here are the first two paragraphs:
Long ago Paul made it plain that, however various may be the conditions and persons to whom the gospel applied, there is only one gospel. Peter and James might preach to the Jew, and Paul and Barnabas might preach to the Gentile, but each had the same message of divine power, of Continue reading
Washington Gladden (1836-1918) was a leader of the Social Gospel Movement as well as the prolific author of some forty books and several hymns. In the 1898 book The Christian Pastor And The Working Church he wrote “The unity of Christendom is a problem to which the great ecclesiasticisms have lately been addressing themselves with unusual seriousness and insistance. It seems to be felt, on all sides, that something must be done about it.”
His strong belief in the need for Christian unity and cooperation is a basic theme in his novel, The Christian League of Connecticut, first published in 1883. It was one of the first novels in the Social Gospel genre, the most famous of which is probably In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon and added the question “What Would Jesus Do?” to the religious landscape of America.