On November 12, 2019, the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, in partnership with the Department of History and Classics at Acadia University, celebrated the release of three volumes of published works and selected writings of Walter Rauschenbusch in the Quiet Reading Room at the Vaughan Memorial Library.
Dr. William Brackney, Professor Emeritus at Acadia University, Adjunct Professor in the Department of History and Classics, past Director of the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, and Millard R. Cherry Distinguished Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics, Emeritus, Acadia Divinity College, and general editor for the project, was present at the event and shed light on the continuing relevance of Rauschenbusch’s work.
Brackney observed, “A century after his death, scholars from numerous disciplines have re-examined Rauschenbusch and realized the breadth and impact of his contribution. He was one of the leading theologians and social theorists in North America who deeply affected the course of democratic individualism and laid the groundwork for the welfare state. This set brings together Rauschenbusch’s major published texts and select correspondence in one authoritative corpus for the first time, including introductions and editorial work by a distinguished international team.”
The three-volume collection explores the life and work of Walter Rauschenbusch, a renowned German-American theologian who developed and advocated for the Social Gospel. Rauschenbusch sought a religious, social and economic reconstruction that would eradicate the sources of inequality, poverty, and the plight of America’s largely immigrant, working poor. Through the connection of Tommy Douglas, Rauschenbusch’s thought had a profound impact on the development of a national health care system in Canada.
Dr. Michael Dennis, professor of history, stated, “Professor Brackney and his associates have made available to a new generation of scholars and interested readers the most comprehensive collection of Rauschenbusch’s contribution to the Social Gospel on the market today. It is an invaluable contribution, and Rauschenbusch an essential starting point for understanding Social Christianity, both as a historical phenomenon and as a living tradition for the world we inhabit now.”
Dr. Melody Maxwell, current director of the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, observed, “Dr. Brackney’s publications help fulfill the purpose of ACBAS and further the knowledge of Baptist history and the broader Christian tradition. On behalf of ACBAS, Acadia Divinity College, and Acadia University, let me extend my thanks to Dr. Brackney for this significant contribution.”