See C. E. Raven, Christian Socialism, 1848-1854 (1920, repr. 1968); J. C. Cort, Christian Socialism (1988).
On the Catholic side, the Rerum Novarum encyclical letter of Leo XIII (1891) was the starting point of a Teaching on social questions that was expanded and updated all through the 20th century. Though avoiding the word Socialism (as the Socialist movements of the day were anti-religious) the encyclical promotes a kind of corporatism based on social solidarity among the classes with respects for the needs and rights of all. In the more Catholic countries of Europe the encyclical's teaching was the inspiration that led to the formation of new Christian-inspired Socialist parties.
A number of Christian socialist movements and political parties throughout the world group themselves into the International League of Religious Socialists. It has member organizations in 21 countries representing 200,000 members.
Christian socialists draw parallels between what some have characterized as the egalitarian and anti-establishment message of Jesus, who according to Christian Gospel spoke against the religious authorities of his time, and the egalitarian, anti-establishment, and sometimes anti-clerical message of most contemporary socialisms. Some Christian Socialists have gone as far as to become active Communists (see Christian communism). This phenomenon was most common among Christian missionaries in China, the most notable being James Gareth Endicott, who became supportive of the struggle of the Communist Party of China in the 1930s and 1940s.
Christian socialism is not to be confused with certain parties with "Christian Social" in their names which are found in the German-speaking world, such as the contemporary Christian Social Union in Bavaria or the Christian Social Party in Austria-Hungary circa 1900. Such parties do not claim to be socialist, nor are they considered socialist by others. The term Christian Democrat is more appropriately applied to the contemporary parties.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wrote in 2006 that "A Christian perspective, informed by a social gospel or Christian socialist tradition, should not be rejected contemptuously by secular politicians as if these views are an unwelcome intrusion into the political sphere. However he also described socialism as an "arcane, 19th century" doctrine and stated that "I am not a socialist. I have never been a socialist and I never will be a socialist.
If we all came of the same father and mother, of Adam and Eve, how can they say or prove that they are better than we, if it be not that they make us gain for them by our toil what they spend in their pride?|4=John Ball
Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."|4=George LansburyCapitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus ChristHe [Jesus] accompanied me in difficult times, in crucial moments. So Jesus Christ is no doubt a historical figure— he was someone who rebelled, an anti-imperialist guy. He confronted the Roman Empire. Because who might think that Jesus was a capitalist? No. Judas was the capitalist, for taking the coins! Christ was a revolutionary. He confronted the religious hierarchies. He confronted the economic power of the time. He preferred death in the defense of his humanistic ideals, who fostered change. He is our Jesus Christ.|4=Hugo Chávez
- Christian anarchism
- Christian communism
- Christian left
- Christian politics (index)
- International League of Religious Socialists
- Liberation theology
- Postmodern Christianity
- Agrarian socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920 (University of Oklahoma Press, 1999).
- The Aftermath with Autobiography of the Author (John Bedford Leno published By Reeves & Turner, London 1892)
- Official site of Christian Socialist Movement (UK)
- Religious Socialists Vision Statement of the Religion and Socialism Commission of the Democratic Socialists of America
- Socialism and Faith Commission of the Socialist Party USA
- Spartacus Educational on nineteenth-century Christian socialism
- New Testament Supports Socialism
- Anglo-Catholic Socialism