29 June 2022, The Tablet

‘Keep the Faith Baby’: Kenneth Leech’s Christian socialism

by Jonathan W. Chappell


‘Keep the Faith Baby’: Kenneth Leech’s Christian socialism

The Anglican priest and writer Kenneth Leech was a fierce proponent of the integration of the spiritual and the political. Jonathan W. Chappell explores the way Leech’s theology was founded in his pastoral ministry with the marginalised in London, as well as in the writings of the Church Fathers, the Oxford Movement and the English Christian socialists.

Kenneth Leech’s political theology was deeply rooted in his belief in the centrality of both the Incarnation and the Trinity to the Christian gospel. He argued that the Incarnation demonstrates the inherent value of humanity, while the Trinity foregrounds the centrality of community to the Christian faith. Only through embracing these truths can Christians live out the gospel and establish the Kingdom of God ‘on earth as it is in heaven’.

Kenneth Leech’s life and ministry
When he was 17, Kenneth Leech was deeply affected by hearing a speech denouncing apartheid delivered by Trevor Huddleston, a priest who had just returned from South Africa. He recalled that, ‘If this faith could drive this man to oppose racism with such passion, perhaps it could drive me too.’1 The experience changed Leech’s life and inspired him to become both a Christian and a socialist.


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