Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Being Anglican

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Being Anglican

Article excerpt

Being Anglican. By Alastair Redfern. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2000. x'+ 139 pp. £7.95 (paper).

This volume is part of a series "designed for people who want to take Christian theology seriously" (preface, p. vii). Written by the Bishop of Grantham in the Church of England, Being Anglican is something of a primer in things Anglican, which in this case means almost exclusively the English expression of same. This is a book that details in quite brief but interesting compass, aspects of the English Anglican tradition and disposition. As a North American, I can only speculate as to its usefulness in its country and church of origin. For use in the context of this continent, its value is modest at best. Its quirks emphasize its limitations.

Following a rather befuddling introduction and a somewhat more illuminating first chapter-about both of which we will say more in a moment-each of the remaining nine short chapters carries a particular the me, exemplified by a particular person. These latter chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with Richard Hooker and "Foundation and Framework." The rest of the dramatis personne are George Herbert, William Laud, William Law, Joseph Butler, Charles Gore, Josephine Butler, Henrietta Bamett, and Michael Ramsey. Themes include spirituality, tradition, mission, re-fonning Anglican identity, and the like. In general, the "icon," as the author sometimes calls these figures, serves the authors intent well and the theme that is described is appropriate to the books intent. The accumulation of the themes would likely be edifying to the intended reader. Sadly, however, rather than conclude, the book simply stops.

In the authors first chapter, he provides a suggestive list of "marks" of Anglicanism: corporate worship and the centrality of Christ; the Incarnation is foundational; human experience is essential; the primacy of pastoral practice; a parochial not a gathered church; ambiguity and provisionality are important; loose ends are acceptable; the Lambeth Quadrilateral; and comprehensiveness. Some of this will be familiar and predictable to North American readers, some not. For example, when the author uses the word "parochial" he is using it geographically and in a positive sense, though at the end of the book, looking briefly as he does outside England, he finds Anglicans gathering for church rather than residing in a parish. …

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