Walter Rauschenbusch, a leading theologian in the uniquely North American social gospel movement, and Gustavo Gutierrez, a founding figure in the development of liberation theology, are two of the most ethically, socially challenging Christian theologians of the past century. They both rely heavily on the theological symbol of the Kingdom of God for the formation of ethical reflection. A comparison of Rauschenbusch and Gutierrez reveals that they have insufficiently eschatological understandings of the Kingdom and overly optimistic views of anthropology, history, and politics. At times, they appropriate cultural ideology into theology in a fashion that obscures the moral import of the Kingdom. The Kingdom's role as a guiding symbol for theological ethics is best understood as that of an eschatological reality that challenges persons and communities to live and act in a manner that is faithful to the always probing challenge of God's eschatological Reign
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