Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Vocation of Anglican Theology

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Vocation of Anglican Theology

Article excerpt

The Vocation of Anglican Theology. Edited by Ralph McMichael. (Norwich: SCM Press, 2014, Pp. xii, 315. £35.00.)

This collection of essays is published in the context of tensions within the Anglican Communion with the aim of renewal (xi). Its eight chapters consist of an introductory essay followed by chapters on the traditional loci of systematic theology- the Trinity, Christology, anthropology, ecclesiology, soteriology, sacramentology, and eschatology. Each chapter is by an American or British theologian, including Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury, and the late Richard Norris of Union Theological Seminary. At the end of each chapter is a series of "Sources," excerpts by Anglican writers from the sixteenth to the twentieth century bearing on the locus of the chapter. Familiar names, notably Thomas Cranmer, Richard Hooker, John Donne, George Herbert, Lancelot Andrewes, Jeremy Taylor, Joseph, Butler, John Henry Newman, F. D. Maurice, Michael Ramsey, and William Temple, are represented alongside of less familiar ones, such as Henry Hammond, Robert Wilberforce, and Colin Buchanan.

Ralph McMichael's introductory essay (alluding to Tertullian) is entitled "What does Canterbury have to do with Jerusalem? The Vocation of Anglican Theology." Arguing that vocation finds its "origin and destiny... in the presence of God" (20), McMichael locates the Anglican theological vocation between the earthly city of Jerusalem as its origin and the heavenly Jerusalem as its destiny. He employs this spiritual topography to offer a fresh treatment of the relations among scripture, tradition, and reason. Acknowledging that the relations among these have been variously understood by Anglican writers, he nonetheless rejects theological pluralism in its own right, along with confessional uniformity, as equally inadequate indices of Anglican identity. Instead, by its consistent appeal to scripture and patristic tradition, Anglican theology has consistently subordinated theological distinctiveness to common tradition. …

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