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The March on Washington from the United States Information Agency, 1963

allowed him to face the difficulties in his work with boldness and confidence, enriching his ability to speak to a racially charged American public. What made Dr. King’s movement so powerful was that he centered it on this crucial notion of the Social gospel, a gospel that is concerned with the whole man – not only his soul but also his body, not only his spiritual well-being but also his material well-being.vi In other words, Dr. King believed that the Christian gospel affects all aspects of a person’s life, and its influence on someone should be evident in both spiritual and social spheres. The core of the gospel is the good news of Jesus dying on the cross for mankind’s sins, rising from the dead, and promising that “whoever believes in him should not perish but inherit eternal life.”vii The apostle Paul illustrates the meaning of this in 2 Corinthians: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the

ultimate problem is within the human heart, a broken system from which gross violations of the created order like racism and injustice spring. Rather than wipe the slate clean and start over, however, God decided to redeem the world through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and he did so out of his love for us. To bring this into more personal terms, when one accepts Christ as Lord and Savior, man’s redemption is secured, producing a new heart and an ability to imitate Christ. Through this renewal and relationship with Christ, one becomes capable of expressing to others the selfless love that Christ showed mankind through the cross. As a result, the hope of the gospel is that God has provided a means for humans to be redeemed back to himself and escape the chains of sin, including the otherwise intractable moral flaws that cause individuals to demonize and behave destructively toward each other. Such attitudes

What made Dr. King’s movement so powerful was that he centered it on this crucial notion of the Social Gospel, a Gospel that is concerned with the whole man – not only his soul but also his body, not only his spiritual well-being but also his material well-being. new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself . . . in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.”viii This is a key tenet of the Christian gospel; not only does Christ redeem and restore individual human beings, but he’s actually restoring the entire world to what it should be. This restoration is necessary because sin has corrupted the world we inhabit beyond our ability to fix, which is why the injustices that permeate our world seem so unsolvable despite our strongest attempts to do so. The

have no place in the kingdom that God is working to restore – a kingdom that, as signaled by the triumph Christ displays through the resurrection, is destined to soon arrive in full. King juxtaposed this hope of the gospel with the despair of the world. He recognized that the question of racism and civil rights was tearing America apart, and he knew that only love as illustrated by the gospel could provide a viable solution. What was ultimately needed was not just an external code of conduct that

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Spring 2016 • The Dartmouth Apologia •

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Apologia Spring 2016  

Volume 10, Issue 2

Apologia Spring 2016  

Volume 10, Issue 2

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