The image of the American Protestant minister in the American novel of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was, according to many scholars, predominantly a negative one. Conservative, steeped in outdated creeds, aloof from modern realities, and materialistic—these were some of the kinder descriptions of the much maligned Protestant clergyman which they find in the American novel of this period. But my own study of over one hundred Christian social novels, which reflect the rise of the social gospel in American Protestantism, leads me to urge a reassessment of this traditional view of the literary image of the Protestant minister. As propaganda for the emerging social gospel, the Christian social novel portrays not only the stereotyped picture of the clergyman, but more prominently a new kind of minister—physically rugged, intelligent, deeply religious, compassionate and above all a man concerned with the application of the gospel to economic and social problems. He was, in sum, an idealized image of the kind of heroic minister needed to take the gospel out of the sanctuary and into the slums and factories of modern urban America.