Uniting The One Church

Anglicanism in Ecumenical Perspective, by William H. van de Pol (Duquesne University, 1965, 293 pp., $6.75), is reviewed by William B. Williamson, rector, Church of the Atonement, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As the fourth book in the Duquesne Studies, Theological Series, the editors have chosen a work that is both superficially encouraging and profoundly disquieting. On first glance, a non-Roman Christian is tempted to marvel at the freshness and frankness exhibited throughout. The author is one of the “new breed” of Roman Catholic scholars, interested in “renewal” (a word which seems to mean “reform” as Van de Pol uses it), ecumenical activities, and Christian unity, as well as in a position he refers to as “the full riches of the Gospel as they are found in the whole Bible” (p. 253). Significantly enough, Professor van de Pol writes from a background that included twenty-two years as a member of the Dutch Reformed and Lutheran churches and twenty years as a communicant of the Church of England prior to his reception into the Roman (the editor puts the word “Roman” in brackets in his preface) Catholic Church. It is indeed encouraging to find a “convert” who speaks well of his former brothers, with respect for their beliefs and practices. His good will comes through despite a translation that is not always smooth. How the editor who claims that the text was “carefully revised” missed the long, unclear, and poorly structured first sentence could well be discussed by the publisher.

To those who hold a New Testament and thus primitive doctrine of the nature of the Church as a dynamic, inspired institution, the author’s emphasis on the resolution of the right relation between the Church and the Gospel will ...

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