Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Apostle to the Wilderness: Bishop John Medley and the Evolution of the Anglican Church

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Apostle to the Wilderness: Bishop John Medley and the Evolution of the Anglican Church

Article excerpt

BARRY L. CRAIG. Apostle to the Wilderness: Bishop John Medley and the Evolution of the Anglican Church. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005. Pp. 246, illustrations, glossary, bibliography, index. $45.00.

Barry L. Craig writes that a biography of Bishop John Medley is justified because he was "a pivotal figure in [the] Victorian Canadian church and society, especially in eastern Canada." Tolerance of pluralism and civility are not uniquely Canadian characteristics, but they seem to be embraced there more than in odier countries in the western hemisphere. Craig maintains that Medley helped to create Canada's mellow culture.

Craig writes that Medley believed that the Anglican church "needed to adapt itself to society while remaining true to its doctrinal foundation." So Medley, who served as bishop in New Brunswick through the middle decades of the nineteenth century, was neither reactionary nor (for lack of a better term) "liberal." He was associated with the Oxford Movement, but he was not among its most combative associates. He "generally preferred toleration to doctrinal rigorism with regard to disputes within the church." He urged reliance on the mind, scripture, tradition and reason; he was "far from a simple antirationalist." Medley was a high churchman, but he "pointed to the Wesleyan revival as the last, best chance the church and state had to revitalize themselves. …

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