Church and state in New Zealand, 1930-1935: a study of the social thought and influence of the Christian Church in a period of economic crisis
The origin of this thesis was a purely theoretical problem - that of the meeting of the ideal and the possible, the ethical and the political. Is it possible to speak of a 'Christian' approach to politics and economics, and if so can it expect to be influential? Since setting off on this note I have been led along unexpected paths, and what has emerged could hardly claim to answer, or perhaps even ask, the original question. The period was narrowed to the depression since it marked a stage when fundamental political ideas were nearer the surface than usual. The subject gradually restricted itself to the Church, and became increasingly concerned with the nature of the Christian ethic rather than its influence. The final product must stand as a detailed study of the interaction of Church and society at a time of particular social and economic stress. As political history it can be no more than an essay in public opinion; as religious history it may be an excessively ambitious exploration of an important but neglected field - the Church's responsibility to society.