First published in 1951, this book had its origin in a discussion as to whether the prime determining factor in human social relations is economic, as claimed by the Marxist world, and acted on implicitly by most of the rest of the world. Ralph Morton therefore begins with a study of the teaching of the Bible on economic and social life.
In all epochs of the church’s life Christians have been called upon to show some sort of distinctive social living as an unmistakable expression of the kingdom of God. For example, in the early church there was the life in which the followers of Christ held all things in common; in the Dark Ages there was the emergence of the monastic life.
The author puts forward the idea that the people of his generation too were called to examine the standards and values of their social living as Christians. Were they being asked to demonstrate an equally distinctive form of social life, where divine values would determine their activities?
Ralph Morton (1900-1977) spent his early adult life in missionary work in China and on his return served as minister of St Columba’s Church in Cambridge. In 1943 he became warden of Community House – the youth work venture started by George MacLeod of the Iona Community in Glasgow. He assumed the role of deputy leader of the Community in 1950, a post he held for 17 years until his retirement in 1967.