Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

1977

Department

Religion and Philosophy

Abstract

The Berkeley Free Church was a major actor in the drama of church social action in the sixties. The emergence of the Free Church coincided with the high water mark of social action, and its dissolution paralleled the receding waters of church based social action in the early seventies. The and fall of the Free Church, as this study point out, indicates that there were forces outside the churches that were also dictating the ebb and flow of the waters of church social action. As much as the church activists were involved in social reform movements in the sixties and early seventies, most of the leadership and impetus for these movements were not church based. The growing oppositional youth culture, composing the new left and the "counterculture," was the source and inspiration for much of the church social activism. Therefore, the Free Church's identity was shaped not just by its relationship to church based social action but also by its role in the oppositional youth culture of the sixties and early seventies. The flounderings of the youth culture and social protest in the early seventies coincided with the flounderings of the church social action, a fact which indicated that church social action was not an independent force but more a dependent product of the oppositional youth culture.

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