The Study of Anglicanism

The Study of Anglicanism

The Study of Anglicanism

The Study of Anglicanism

Excerpt

The purpose of this collection of essays is to provide the reader with an introduction to the history and ethos of the Churches which constitute the Anglican Communion. This is at once a difficult and controversial undertaking. It is difficult because of the sheer number and variety of aspects which ought to be taken into account; and it is controversial because of the well-known breadth of conviction which Anglicanism has traditionally embraced.

In planning this work, the editors tried to cover as much of the substance of Anglicanism as can be reasonably contained in the pages of one volume. A glance at the table of contents will quickly show the reader what has been included, and what has had to be left on one side. The book begins with a survey of Anglican history from the Reformation onwards—a starting-point which is admittedly controversial and is discussed below. After the two historical chapters, a long contribution, the longest in the volume, considers the way in which the Churches of the Anglican Communion have understood and borne witness to the Gospel which Christ has entrusted to his Church. These two Parts together are foundational for all that follows. First, in Part Three, comes the consideration of Scripture, Tradition and Reason as traditionally constitutive of the Anglican understanding of authority and theological method. These chapters are succeeded by a section which deals with specific Anglican standards (Part Four). Here we treat not merely Prayer Books, The Thirty-nine Articles, and the Ordinals of Anglicanism, but also standard divines—those whom experience has shown to be eloquent interpreters of the faith—councils, conferences and synods, and canon law. Here too we find place for a theological treatment of a theme of great importance to Anglicans, the relation between prayer and belief.

The Churches of the Anglican communion teach and embody both a theory and a practice, which are examined in Parts Five and Six of the book. The doctrines of the Church, the sacraments and the ministry include in their perspective the whole people of God in their vocation and ministry, and the doctrine of the fundamentals of Christianity, beloved of Anglicans, as well as the equally foundational sacraments of baptism and Eucharist and the specific questions of priesthood and the episcopate. The section on . . .

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