Mercer, Acadia Centre, American Baptist Historical Society to Co-Host International Scholarly Conference on ‘The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch’


ATLANTA – Mercer University’s Center for Theology and Public Life and McAfee School of Theology, in partnership with the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, the American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS), Sioux Falls Seminary, and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, this spring will host an international scholarly conference in recognition of the centenary of Professor Walter Rauschenbusch’s death.

“The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch” will take place April 9-11 on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta.

The campus hosts the ABHS, a premier religious historical society that houses the most extensive collection of Rauschenbusch family papers. ABHS will host a reception and display on the first night of the conference.

“It is truly exciting to be hosting this historic conference on Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the great Baptist scholars and activists of the 20th century,” said Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer. “I look forward to an event that brings Rauschenbusch to life for Baptists and others who need to engage his work 100 years later. He is certainly immensely relevant to the challenges we face in both the culture and the church today.”

The conference will begin with dinner on April 9 and end during the afternoon of April 11. Click here to view the full schedule of events.

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Bill Brackney (Acadia University), Dr. Heath Carter (Valparaiso University), Dr. Wendy Deichmann (United Theological Seminary), Dr. Gary Dorrien (Union Seminary, New York), Dr. Christopher Evans (Boston University), Dr. Dominik Gauthier (University of Oldenburg), Dr. Roger Prentice (Acadia University), Dr. Andrea Strubind (University of Oldenburg), Dr. Darryl Trimiew (Society of Christian Ethics past president), Dr. Raphael Warnock (Ebenezer Baptist Church) and Dr. Gushee.

Conference fees, which range from $125 to $225, gradually increase until registration closes March 25. Download the registration form here, or contact Edwina Cowgill at for more information.

In conjunction with the conference, Mercer University Press plans to release the first two volumes of a new three-volume critical edition of The Works of Walter Rauschenbusch, co-edited and with extensive historical, theological and ethical introductions by Dr. Brackney and Dr. Gushee. A follow-up volume of conference papers will also be edited by Dr. Brackney and Dr. Gushee.

Rauschenbusch was a Christian theologian and clergyman who is considered the father of the Social Gospel movement of the first two decades of the 20th century. A seventh-generation minister, he became pastor of Second German Baptist Church in New York City on the edge of the crime-ridden Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. His work to bring about the Kingdom of God by “transforming the life on earth into the harmony of heaven” has inspired countless clergy and social reformers, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu and many others.