Fifty Years Of Anglican Theology

An Era in Anglican Theology, by Arthur Michael Ramsey (Scribner’s, 1960, 192 pp., $3.50), is reviewed by Philip E. Hughes, Editor, The Churchman, London.

In 1959 the Archbishop of York, Dr. A. M. Ramsey, delivered the Hale Memorial Lectures of the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston. These lectures are now made available to a wider public between the covers of this book. The era surveyed by the Archbishop is that stretching from Bishop Gore to Archbishop Temple—or, more precisely, from the publication of Lux Mundi in 1889 to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. This period was a half-century of transition during which Anglo-Catholic modes of thought gained an ascendancy in the theological circles of the Church of England (though not in the life of the Church as a whole). At the same time, it was a lean period for theology of a distinctively Reformed and evangelical character, not because the Reformed and evangelical well had run dry, but because of the prevalence of a pietistic temper which viewed theology (in the more academic sense) with distrust and even fear as something dangerous, and therefore to be avoided by young men going up to the universities. This frame of mind is now, happily, a thing of the past and there are clear indications of the renascence of a virile evangelical theology in the Church of England.

The era under review is one in which Anglo-Catholicism underwent a process of “liberalization” and thereby was probably saved from suffering theological eclipse. At important points the transformation experienced was of a somewhat radical nature, especially with regard to the incorporation of the evolutionary concept into the Anglo-Catholic theology of the ...

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