The Social Gospel of Mars Hill?

I was watching a video done by Mark Driscoll’s ever-expanding Mars Hill in which one of MH’s pastors, A.J. Hamilton discusses leaving Seattle for the campus that Mars Hill is setting up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

What struck me in this video was that Hamilton was asked about what he’d like to see MH accomplish in Albuquerque and he responded by talking about fatherless children and men who leave women. MH’s goal would be to “raise up Godly men” so that they could take care of women and children.

I know that the social gospel movement is tied in the minds of most to early-20th Century progressivism and to figures like J.S. Woodsworth or Tommy Douglas in Canada – in other words it is a movement that helped give birth to organized labour in this country as well as the NDP. Most people leave it at that – a sort of fusion of Christianity with various left-wing policies. I suppose the “social” part of the social gospel makes the name sound like “social democrats” or “socialists” would support it.

Is not the concern of Mars Hill over encouraging men to take care of the children and single mothers of their communities a form of social gospel? Yes they say that they want to preach the gospel to Albuquerque, but the reason for this that is immediately stated relates to the social concerns that the church expresses over there being men who are not taking responsibility for their children. The solution is different from what might have been proposed by the social gospel proponents of the last century, but then they were dealing with fewer divorces or out-of-wedlock births too (though often a high proportion of single parents on account of industrial accidents, disease, and the like)

I’m not sure what this all means, but it is – at least to me – a noteworthy parallel.

Lastly, since we discussed Albuquerque: