Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) was a Christian theologian and Baptist minister. He was a key figure in the Social Gospel movement in the United States of America. While attending Rochester Theological Seminary, he came to believe that Jesus died "to substitute love for selfishness as the basis of human society." Known as the father of the Social Concern movement in America, Rauschenbusch's social ethic was based on not one but four complementary influences: pietism, sectarianism, liberalism, and transformationism. Walter Rauschenbusch served for eleven years as pastor of the Second Baptist Church in New York City's "Hell's Kitchen." He was a loving pastor and social prophet, and did much to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable". The religious convictions and experiences that shaped and molded Rauschenbusch and his ideas have often been ignored. "The ideal of the Kingdom of God," he said, "is not identified with any special social theory. It means justice, freedom, fraternity, labor, joy. Let each social system and movement show us what it can contribute, and we will weigh its claims."
His passion to see God's will done "on earth as it is in heaven" has inspired a large number of pastors and social reformers. The new edition of Holy Women, Holy Men (Church Publishing, 2010), which includes Rauschenbusch, Gladden, and Riis in the liturgical caldendar in conformity with the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, notes this about Rauschenbusch: "In works such as Theology for the Social Gospel (1917), Rauschenbusch enumerated the 'social sins' which Jesus bore on the cross, including the combination of greed and political power, militarism, and class contempt."