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The Kirk and the KingdomA Century of Tension in Scottish Social Theology 1830–1929$
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Johnston McKay

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780748644735

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748644735.001.0001

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Signs and Signals

Signs and Signals

The Stirrings of Social Criticism

(p.5) 1 Signs and Signals
The Kirk and the Kingdom

Johnston McKay

Edinburgh University Press

The social theology of representative nineteenth century churchmen, Patrick Brewster, Robert Burns, Robert Buchanan and Norman Macleod are examined to show that the claim that Brewster was, in Donald Smith's words “the unique exception” to the failure of the Scottish Church's prophetic role in the middle of the nineteenth century. Brewster's role is shown to be less effective than has been thought due to his inability to compromise and his personal arrogance. Burns, Buchanan and Macleod are shown to have gradually understood that structural changes in society were as important for the improvement of social conditions as the religious conversion which had been assumed to be essential to that improvement.

Keywords:   Prophetic Role, Society, Paisley, Glasgow

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