This chapter considers the future of Anglicanism especially in the light of the interpretation of Scripture. It considers a recent instance of impasse and suggests a possible way forward. It goes on to discuss the contemporary issues concerning Anglican interpretations of scripture by looking at treatment of sexuality and violence. It considers hermeneutical differences among societies. The second half of the chapter questions whether the approach of scriptural reasoning that has been modelled by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars, in which Anglicans have played a prominent part, could assist different religions and different cultural contexts in hearing one another and learning to reason about the Bible together.
By virtue of its historical origins as well as its commitment to fundamental doctrines such as the Trinity, and the transformation of perspective as a result of ecumenism and the continuation of the Anglican Communion worldwide, Anglicans draw on an extraordinary range of resources both old and new. Reflection on scripture, saints both pre- and post-Reformation, and the willingness of present-day Christians to lay bare their own engagement with God result in a rich and demanding range of possibilities. The impact of liturgical reforms and revisions post Vatican II have resulting in the reordering of places and spaces for worship, increased sensitivity to ‘sacramentalism’ very broadly construed, attention to the arts in all their complexity, and in some cases in serious re-engagement with political and social life.
In the light of recent Anglican practice, initiated by the Anglican Primates’ taskforce, Theological Education for the Anglican Communion, to speak of ‘the Anglican Way’ rather than Anglicanism, this chapter explores whether the notion of a single ‘Anglican Way’ is feasible, given the theological diversity of Anglican history and the Anglican Communion. The chapter maintains that there are historically at least ten different ‘Anglican ways’ from the time of the Elizabethan Settlement (such as Puritanism, Latitudinarianism, Evangelicalism, Tractarianism), and describes them briefly, arguing that, interacting historically and in the present, they can be seen as contributing to a single Anglican Way. However, recognizing the tensions among these ten Anglican ways and the single Anglican Way, the chapter makes seven suggestions for resolving tensions. It then describes the new global Anglican Way that is emerging against a very narrow Anglican Way that discredits history and Anglican diversity.
The chapter focuses on the nature and character of Anglican wisdom, exploring this in the context of church structures, tradition, and truth. Drawing on a variety of different examples and contrasting wisdom with folly, it argues that, historically and in the present time, Anglican wisdom is rooted in its capacity, in the presence of God, to acknowledge and hold the complexity and contradictions of human life in all its fullness. Lacking the authority structures required to give a single definitive Anglican view on any given subject, wisdom in the churches of the Anglican Communion continues to emerge through an ongoing, collective, often fraught act of listening to God.
This chapter considers the emergence of the complex relationship between Anglicanism and a broader evangelical movement (often known as ‘pan-evangelicalism’) which transcends denominational boundaries. The origins of this relationship goes back to the sixteenth century, but became especially important from the eighteenth century onwards as a result of the ‘evangelical revival’ in England, and its extended influence. The expansion of British colonial power was an important factor in consolidating and extending an evangelical influence within Anglicanism, especially on account of the role of entrepreneurial individuals and mission societies in propagating the Christian faith. The chapter concludes with reflections on the future of this relationship, given contemporary developments within both Anglicanism and evangelicalism.
Anglicanism from the time of the Reformation has been characterized by a persistent interest in the Fathers of the church which joins authorities as diverse in date and disposition as Cranmer and Pusey or Jewel and Newman. While both the methods of reading and the conclusions drawn from considering patristic sources have varied greatly, Anglicans of different tendencies have tended to value the Fathers such as Augustine both as representing a Catholic consensus opposed to Roman and Puritan extremes, and as uniquely useful sources for theological discourse, constructive or controversial. Even where the authority of the Fathers is not regarded as theologically unique, the characteristics identified as necessary in a Church both catholic and reformed have tended to be drawn from the practice and belief of ancient Christianity, as in the Quadrilateral. Anglicanism is less a tradition characterized by confessional adherence to the Fathers as by consistent acknowledgement of its historical basis in the early Church in terms of both doctrine and dogma.
This chapter explores questions of power and authority under the headings of identity, orthodoxy and ministry. Written from a (South African) postcolonial context, and employing the method of theologies of liberation, the chapter interrogates the shifting positions of insider/ outsider identities and how these relate to who exercises power in the churches of the Anglican Communion. In turn this opens the question of who is recognized as holding the authority to define contemporary orthodoxy. Finally, in considering the relationship of leadership to authority and power, some reflections on the question of the churches’ mission to draw in those on the margins are offered.
From the time of the Reformation, the Bible has always been among the primary sources for Anglicanism. Through a close study of biblical hermeneutics, this chapter reflects on how ‘scripture’ has been located among the other primary sources, tradition, and reason, at various stages and in different places within Anglican history. The chapter then goes on to argue that context ought to be considered a fourth primary source for Anglicanism. Drawing on postcolonial Anglican biblical interpretation and the experience of various stages of imperial expansion, particularly from a Southern African Anglican context, the chapter analyses how context reconfigures the other three primary sources.
Kim Micah Eun-Kya
This chapter searches the new identity of Post-Anglicanism beyond Anglicanism in the age of the global empires. The British Empire and Anglicanism were a two-wheeled vehicle during the colonial period. Anglicanism can be understood as justifying a ruling ideology in colonial ages just as the Pax Romana justified the Roman Empire under the slogan of the expansion of the Kingdom of God. This can be called the Pax Anglicana. How then can Post-Anglicanism frame the future of the Communion? It needs to take seriously today’s global contexts in the light of Minjung (the oppressed) in Asia, Latin America, Africa. For this we need to read the Bible against the background of the society and religion of ancient Israel and their links with ancient empires. And it has to reconstruct Anglicanism in terms of justice, peace, and religious dialogue against the global empire.
The Anglican Communion has recently experienced a sea change in its understanding of and approach to canon law, hitherto a matter lacking worldwide attention amongst Anglicans. Whilst the worldwide Communion has no global system of canon law applicable to its member churches, each church (or Province) is autonomous, with its own system of law and government. These individual legal systems deal with such subjects as government, ministry, doctrine, liturgy and ritual, and church property. However, in recent years there have been key developments. The chapter describes, explains (particularly in the context of the juridical experiences of other international ecclesial communities which are ecumenical partners of Anglicans), and evaluates the process leading up to, and the terms of, the document the Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion, launched at the Lambeth Conference 2008, and the juridical aspects and issues which relate to the Anglican Communion Covenant.
This chapter discusses charismatic renewal within Anglicanism. It begins with a brief description of charismatic Christian spirituality and its roots. The charismatic renewal movements of the 1960s and their Pentecostal origins, in the US and Britain, and their impact on Episcopal and Anglican churches are reviewed. Tensions between those within these renewal movements and the established churches are discussed. The chapter includes an overview of charismatic Christianity around the globe, and of the forms of worship and theology generally associated with charismatic renewal.
The rapidly growing discipline of Congregational Studies, which draws on insights from across a number of different academic field, offers a particularly interesting and relatively dispassionate way of understanding and comparing different forms of congregational life from a detailed analysis of the lived experience of communities so as to develop what has been called a congregational ecology. Congregational life displays elements of social capital as well as conflict. Across many different denominations and in different contexts this area of study has been able to show that there are important commonalities as well as some distinctive differences between churches and congregations. This chapter will suggest how Congregational Studies might be used effectively to understand and locate these commonalities and differences within the different churches, and connected communities of worldwide Anglicanism.
The history and continuing presence of British colonialism are inseparable from the past and present shape of the Anglican world. This has meant the spreading of a localized, specific form of Reformation Christianity in domains of the former British Empire, and the negotiation of how its local theology would interact with the multitude of local languages, cultures, and socio-religious practices. The reality of geopolitical, religio-cultural contextualities continues to challenge the resources of Anglicanism. This chapter explores some of the hermeneutics, methods, and varieties of cultural diversity involved in incarnating different varieties of Anglicanism. It argues that the work of moving beyond ‘civilizational confinement’ involves a theological hermeneutics that honours multiple layers of identity and culture, and necessitates the difficult work of restoring and transforming relationships.
What skills and knowledge does one require for ministerial formation? It is a question to which a variety of answers could be offered—from several different parts of the Anglican Communion, and from different ages. Attention to scripture and tradition could be assumed; but not, perhaps, the levels and types of critical engagement. The necessary arts and skills as well as the character and wisdom required for the exercise of ministry may vary from culture to culture. The curriculum will vary too, according to the ecclesial ethos of the seminary or college and the cultural context of the future ministers. Identifying the common curricular denominators in the training of Anglican clergy across the Communion will not be a straightforward matter: one cannot assume a reservoir of putatively transferable skills and knowledge that will work in all Provinces. This chapter considers the contexts and challenges Anglican theological education and ministerial training faces today.
Paula D. Nesbitt
This chapter explores, from a sociological perspective, the emergent conflicts involving different understandings of doctrine and authority across the Anglican Communion, varying by culture and social context. It argues that, as these conflicts have intensified, so have pressures to achieve doctrinal clarity as a means to resolve them. As an outcome of the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences of Bishops two concurrent streams have emerged: (1) increasing doctrinal developments and a formalization of organizational authority, and (2) the call for a listening process and the introduction of indaba into the 2008 Lambeth Conference and beyond. Both streams have been argued as a means of preserving unity and of maintaining a coherent Anglican identity. Yet each suggests a differing direction with significant implications for the Anglican Communion’s future.
This chapter explores Anglican ecumenical engagement. After a brief historical survey of Anglican involvement in the global ecumenical movement, it focuses on the mostly bilateral ecumenical discussions which have taken place since the Second World War, considering relations between Anglicans and Old Catholics, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravians, Methodists, Reformed, Baptist, United and Charismatic/Pentecostal Churches, offering a snapshot of the state of these relationships in 2012. It concludes that ecumenical dialogue has proved effective in helping churches to know and understand each other better, but that this level of discussion can feel unconnected from the lived reality of individual Christians, particularly in contexts in which confessional boundaries are no longer experienced as clear lines of demarcation. Increasingly, the focus of ecumenical encounter is on shared mission.
Proceeding from autobiography, this chapter analyses the multiple dimensions that influenced the formation of the Church of South India. Such a post-Anglican ecumenical movement was prompted by drawing away from the receding shadow of the British Empire and moving towards other native communities emerging at the dawn of Indian Independence. Against this backdrop, the chapter examines the current realignments taking place within the Anglican Communion. The emergence of ‘transnational compactism’, in which collaborations are pursued with like-minded churches, are not the same as previous movements of ecumenism. What then are the directions open for the Anglican Communion? ‘Cosmo-transAnglicanism’ is offered as a model. Constructively working with Christology, a re-appropriation of Christ as the reconciling and compassionate One, is put forward as a challenge to both the Uniting Churches and the not-so-united churches within the Anglican Communion.
Sarah Rowland Jones
This chapter considers understandings and expressions of episcopé, the ministry of oversight, across the Anglican Communion. Drawing on reflections on the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and examples from around the Anglican world, it reviews contemporary practices of, and challenges to, church leadership not only of bishops—acting personally, collegially, and communally—but more widely in the mission and ministry of the whole people of God. This includes clergy and laity formally in synods and church structures, and in many informal ways, as well as ecumenical dimensions. How Anglicanism’s long-standing commitment to appropriate local adaptation of episcopé is exercised today, over hugely diverse contexts, is considered in the light of scripture and of historic emphases on episcopacy as the focus of unity, teaching, eucharistic presidency, and pastoring. God’s calling, guiding, equipping and empowering is stressed as foundational above all else.
This chapter has three sections. The first is historical and reviews the sequence of events that lies behind the present state of the establishment of the Church of England. The second is contextual and considers the factors that must be taken into account in order to understand the religious situation in modern Britain. The notion of ‘vicarious religion’ is central to this discussion. The third section deals with the place of an established church in a society which is both increasingly secular and increasingly diverse. Throughout, the emphasis lies on creative thinking about the role of establishment in a modern democracy, paying careful attention to the advantages of a ‘weak’ established church. A final paragraph introduces a global perspective, specifically the Anglican Communion.
This chapter puts the theological use of father and son language in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity into perspective by showing that this language has a limited theological point and no exclusive privilege. These terms cannot stand on their own, moreover, without threatening to bring with them serious misunderstandings. As with every set of terms used to discuss the relationship between the first and second persons of the Trinity, the connotations of this one need to be severely modified in ways the simple use of the terms themselves cannot convey. While Anglicanism itself may be loath to change its liturgy, its favourite theological literature gives the whole church reason to reconsider that reluctance. By discussion of patristics, the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus, it seeks to show how gender can be reconceived.