13 Pages

Social Issues

John Stephens was a Wesleyan preacher who totally endorsed the existing social order in the turbulent years following the Napoleonic Wars and went on to become president of the Wesleyan Conference in 1827. As superintendent minister at Manchester from 1818 to 1821 he enforced connexional discipline against political radicals according to the wishes of Jabez Bunting, the dominant figure in Wesleyan Methodism. The Socialist really suspects the Christian Socialist of being a wolf in sheep's clothing, of caring not so much for the people as for his sect or his Church, and of engaging in the social struggle in order to make religious capital out of it. Against Christian Individualism, which demands 'the simple Gospel,' Christian Socialism maintains that the Christian Gospel is twofold individual and social that the former never has been, and never can be, neglected, but that the latter both has been and is grossly neglected.