The Future of Anglicanism: Essays on Faith and Order

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The Future of Anglicanism: Essays on Faith and Order. Edited by The Reverend Robert Hannaford, Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity at Canterbury Christ Church College, England. Leominster: Gracewing, 1996. x + 155 pp. $18.50 (paper).

While this collection of essays fulfills the promise of its subtitle, Essays on Faith and Order, it fails to address the future of Anglicanism in a significant way. This slim volume is one more example of our penchant as Anglicans for historical analysis and anachronistic retreat to the past rather than constructive theology. While any attempt to address critically matters of faith and order requires an appropriate retrieval of scripture and tradition, a mere rehearsal of the past with a few cantious suggestions regarding church order hardly gives us a vision for the future of Anglicanism.

The Reverend Robert Hannaford, Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity at Canterbury Christ Church College, England, has compiled this series of papers which originated in two international conferences held at Canterbury Christ Church College in 1994 and 1995. The first dealt with the "Future of Anglicanism"; the second, a meeting of the International (Anglican) Bishops Conference on Faith and Order, addressed the subject of "Authority, Order, and Communion" within Anglicanism.

Paul Avis's essay opens the discussion by raising the basic question, "Do Anglicans really want a future for Anglicanism?" He calls Anglicans to move beyond acquiescing to "provisionality" and to have confidence in our Anglican confessional identity, our Anglican faith and tradition, our Anglican order, and the Anglican communion itself Tim Bradshaw's contribution invites a Christological corrective to the tendency within contemporary Anglicanism to be a "Christ of culture" in acceding to the values and mores of secular culture.

Mark Chapman, Kenneth Locke, and Peter Davie each address aspects of the history of Anglicanism that could have major implications for its future direction. Chapman examines Cyprian's ecclesiology and its focus on the potential of provincial autonomy. Kenneth Locke offers a critical look at the idea of Anglican orthodoxy grounded in antiquity by way of the Oxford Movement, and in particular by John Henry Newman. Locke concludes that Newman demonstrates how the appeal to antiquity is, irr the end, of limited value "since it remains virtually impossible to reach an acceptable consensus on how the past is to be approached and interpreted" (p. …