One of the sharpest critics was Neo-Orthodox theological Reinhold Niebuhr, who in 1936 defined the assumptions of the Social Gospel in terms of six propositions:
- That injustice is caused by ignorance and will yield to education and greater intelligence.
- That civilization is becoming gradually more moral and that it is a sin to challenge either the inevitability or the efficacy of gradualness.
- That the character of individuals rather than social systems and arrangements is the guarantee of justice in society.
- That appeals to love, justice, good-will and brotherhood are bound to be efficacious in the end. If they have not been so to date we must have more appeals to love, justice, good-will and brotherhood.
- That goodness makes for happiness and that the increasing knowledge of this fact will overcome human selfishness and greed.
- That wars are stupid and can therefore only be caused by people who are more stupid than those who recognize the stupidity of war.