Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Living with History

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Living with History

Article excerpt

Living with History. By Fredrica Harris Thompsett. The New Church's Teaching Series, Vol. 5. Boston: Cowley Publications, 1999. xii + 200 pp. $11.95 (paper).

Living with History is volume five of the New Church's Teaching Series, designed to help Anglicans deepen their understanding of Christianity and recognize the distinctive contribution of Anglicanism to the larger Christian community. This book is an excellent contribution to this endeavor. Fredrica Harris Thompsett offers a lively, engaging introduction to Anglican history and demonstrates its significance for the contemporary church.

Thompsett begins by defining history as remembering and telling stories that bring meaning to our lives. She exemplifies this in her book by demonstrating how personal memories, biographies of Anglicans throughout history, and accounts of Church controversies can be used to shed light on modern issues. One of her central arguments is that change and controversy have always been part of tradition. She introduces the topic with memories of her own experience of worship in her local parish. In a later chapter, she discusses three historic controversies of the Anglican Church and offers general lessons to be learned from them by the contemporary Church. In a final chapter, she offers practical suggestions (consonant with the Anglican tradition) for dealing with disputes within the Church.

Thompsett also illustrates how Anglican history and theology can offer resources for dealing with contemporary issues. In a chapter titled "Recycling Tradition," she discusses caring for the environment by appealing to Eastern fathers of the church, Western medieval saints, and the religious literature of the Caroline divines. …

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