An Episcopal Ecclesiology of Apostolicity: Covenanted Charity and Unifying Generosity in the Writings of Thomas Bray and William Reed Huntington

By Antoci, Peter M. | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview

An Episcopal Ecclesiology of Apostolicity: Covenanted Charity and Unifying Generosity in the Writings of Thomas Bray and William Reed Huntington


Antoci, Peter M., Anglican Theological Review


Given the ongoing interest in Christian unity, it may be useful to review some of the ecclesiological reflections found within Anglican and Episcopal theology, particularly in light of the historic Lutheran-- Episcopal document Called to Common Mission. Two theologians from the Episcopal tradition spent a good deal of time reflecting upon the nature of our ecclesiastical institutions and their apostolic nature. Perhaps a consideration of their work may give us an appreciation for the historic evolution of their ideas within the life of our church.

Among the theological reflections on Anglican and specifically Episcopal ecclesiology over the last three hundred years, one may find the writings of Thomas Bray and William Reed Huntington to be instructive, if not even characteristic of this Communion. Bray was an Englishman who straddled the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and whose writings tell us much about the colonial context of the Church of England.' Huntington was an American priest who straddled the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and wrote for and about the Episcopal Church in the context of a radically changing, industrializing America. Nevertheless, one may see some links between their writings that are, if not obvious, then at least implied. While Bray writes at length about the notion of covenant and Huntington about unity, they both find warrants for these in particular notions of apostolicity. A comparison and analysis of apostolicity in the writings of these authors within the next several pages should help to manifest certain ecclesiological links between them. This text will move from a consideration of the Catechetical Lectures, to the Church-Idea (each section including references to ancillary, primary texts), to some concluding remarks.

Apostolicity in Thomas Bray's Writings: Covenanted Charity

Thomas Brays Catechetical Lectures draw deeply upon a covenant theology. With the Puritan movement of his day, Bray bases his reflections upon the mystery of election, a belief that God chooses whomever God wants for salvation and that the quality of a person's choices in response to this offer (via faith and repentance) will result in his or her eventual salvation.2 However, Bray develops this theology of election in a specifically ecclesiological manner. He posits that while God's offer of salvation and the human response to it are the heart of Christian soteriology, God has actually given an historical assurance of salvation through the ministry of the apostolic church. This is the promise or covenant of God, that the church would be the means for carrying on the work of Christ and his apostles through the proclamation of the Gospel and the celebration of the sacraments.3 The historic episcopate carries on this work through historic links in apostolic succession. In Bray's view, this kind of apostolicity is a key element of God's covenant in salvation history.4 While God may hear the prayers of those beyond the apostolic ministry, such a hearing would fall to God's "uncovenanted mercies."5 The picture one gets from this discussion is that a structure has been historically instituted to offer Christ's salvation to the world, and persons who accept that ministry are to be fairly confident of God's mercies. A God concerned with structure and institution would appear most reasonable and attractive to an Enlightenment audience.6

The attraction of ideological reasonability and social order to an English-speaking audience at the beginning of the eighteenth century cannot be underestimated. One must remember that Bray grew up in the context of the Restoration. His religious and civil life was marked by a widespread desire to put an end to the social polarization to which Laudian and Puritan ecclesiologies contributed.7 Tolerance, order, and reason were the values sown in the Restoration and they flowered in the Enlightenment. These values were manifested in political, philosophical, and theological discourse. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Episcopal Ecclesiology of Apostolicity: Covenanted Charity and Unifying Generosity in the Writings of Thomas Bray and William Reed Huntington
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.