This Social Gospel--which offered a way of refocusing the attention of Christians who had been distracted by fossils, monkeys, and alleged errors in the Bible--was heralded in Methodism by the Methodist Federation for Social Service, founded in 1907. The next year this Federation, led by Herbert Welch, Frank Mason North, and Harry F. Ward, persuaded the Methodist Episcopal General Conference to adopt a Social Creed, which called for "equal rights and complete justice for all men in all stations of life." It sought humanization of the marketplace through industrial arbitration, factory safety, abolition of child labor, protection of women workers, reduction of hours of labor, and guarantee of a living wage. All this was to be achieved by recognizing "the Golden Rule and the mind of Christ as the supreme law of society and the sure remedy for all social ills." Similar social creeds were adopted by the United Brethren in 1909, southern Methodism in 1914, and the Methodist Protestants in 1916. Evangelical bishops declared in 1913 that the success of Christianity was to be measured not by the number on church rolls, but by its leavening influence in transforming society. Clearly idealism was at high tide.
home table of contents index back continue