The And Martin Luther King

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hr and Martin Luther King were seekers of justice and embraced liberal protestant outlooks early on. The similarities in their theology, while not surprising as King derived much of his material from Niebuhr, proved to be uncanny in that they both concerned themselves with how the church should operate within society, the way love should be implemented in the ethics of individuals, and social change brought forth by nonviolence. Niebuhr’s quest for justice was in result to the horrific events he witnessed in World War I and World War II. King’s, on the other hand, was in result to the economic and racial injustices he experienced. While the catalyst in each theologian’s beliefs differed, their shared views on justice, nonviolence to an extent, and God offer a resource for Christians today in understanding their place in society.

Pertaining to the ideas of love and justice, Niebuhr prescribed to the belief that in order for perfect justice to arise, the moral imagination of others must seek to meet the needs of fellow individuals. Because “The love of God is an impartial goodness beyond good and evil,” true justice in Niebuhr’s mind will never be reached on earth. “The Christian gospel which transcends all particular and contemporary social situations can be preached with power only by a church which bears its share of the burdens of immediate situations in which men are involved, burdens of establishing peace, of achieving justice, and of perfecting justice in the spirit
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