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.