The Civil Writer Magazine

Jesus to many is the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God. Yet with all his knowledge he never preordained, decided or determined a future course of action for racism. The only social tool Dr. King was able to use from Christianity was love thy neighbor. But love alone was not enough to tackle Civil and equal rights issues. Dr. King knew that the great tragedy with using Christianity alone was that it couldn't cause a complete or dramatic change in racial relationships.

Dr. King believed in a social gospel rather than a salvation gospel. As an advocate of the social gospel, King’s theology was concerned with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well-being. King realized that racial and economic injustice could not be resolved by the gospel ministry alone because it resolved differences by isolation. Matt 10:5 These twelve, Jesus sent forth, having instructed them , saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans.

When you visit Dr. King's office in Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church you will notice the absence of a picture of Jesus in his office but above his desk is a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi who was his greatest influence. It was from Gandhi where he learned how to apply nonviolent protest. His Social gospel influence came from Henry Emerson Fosdick, popular pastor of New York’s Riverside Church during the 1930s and 1940s. From Jesus it was love thy neighbor that was only 1/3rd of the resources he needed to fight racism.