Social and Religious Transformations of an Image, 1890–1940
7. Conclusion 231
231 7. Conclusion By the late twentieth century, Jesus still seemed to have a high profile in New Zealand religion. Widely publicised Jesus marches in 1972 provided one example of his prominence,1 while the growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity was also accompanied by a more explicit devotional emphasis on Jesus. One hundred years after In His Steps first appeared, Charles Sheldon’s question ‘what would Jesus do?’ was back in vogue, only remarketed for a new generation as WWJD with matching bracelets and assorted paraphernalia. While Sheldon’s Jesus had been invoked on behalf of the social gospel, this late twentieth- century personality was overwhelmingly associated with evangelical forms of Christianity. These later representations of Jesus were in some ways built on an earlier pattern. The Jesus of late twentieth-century evangelical religiosity was often highly personalised, and cohered with a tendency to downplay doctrine and theology. Despite these commonalities, however, there were also substantial differences. Most significantly, the early twentieth- century emphasis on Jesus was not simply indicative of an evangelical- isation of religion. Indeed, while it remained an important influence, most commentators rightly note that evangelicalism was fracturing and its influence waning rather than increasing at this time.2 Jesus-centred religion was primarily shaped by a preoccupation with religion and its audiences. In particular, the churches embraced Jesus as a means for navigating their way through the social and cultural changes of the age. He was a tool for addressing the challenges of modernity in a mature colonial society....
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.