Beyond the Reformation
This book is a sequel to Paul Avis' successful Anglicanism and the Christian Church: Theological Resources in Historical Perspective (T&T Clark, 1E 1990, 2E 2002). In Beyond the Reformation Paul Avis examines the sources of authority in the Christian Church...
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This book is a sequel to Paul Avis' successful Anglicanism and the Christian Church: Theological Resources in Historical Perspective (T&T Clark, 1E 1990, 2E 2002). In Beyond the Reformation Paul Avis examines the sources of authority in the Christian Church - Scripture, tradition, reason, experience; the structures of authority - councils, synods, bishops, the papacy; and the dynamics of authority - the use of power, the involvement of lay people, consent and dissent. In defining and explaining the history and present functions of this authority, Avis brings out the specific resources and insights of Anglicanism in an ecumenical style, setting out where there is convergence and divergence with other Christian churches. Uniquely, he pays particular attention to the pre-Reformation roots of Anglican structures and principles of authority, which have been ignored. He brings many new insights from the history of the Christian Church to bear on the contemporary struggles over authority, not only in the Anglican Church but also in other communions.
Examining the sources of authority in the Christian church, this book highlights Anglicanism's specific resources and insights in an ecumenical style, revealing points of both convergence and divergence with other Christian churches.
Beyond the Reformation?sheds fresh light on divisive issues of authority in the Christian Church and puts them in a new historical and ecumenical perspective. Against the background of the perennial tension between the mystical and the institutional dynamics in the life of the Church, it goes beyond the tragic divisions of the Reformation era in two major ways. First, it examines the power struggles of the medieval period, the largely abortive attempts at reform, and the theological solutions to apparently intractable divisions that were proposed by the Conciliar Movement and enacted by the reforming councils of the fifteenth century. It shows how the legacy of conciliar theology was both continued and modified by the Continental and Anglican Reformers and how this has shaped the churches in the modern world. It examines the question of continuity and discontinuity in the Reformation, seeing that event as an unresolved argument within the family of the Western Church. But this book also seeks to move beyond the Reformation in a second way. Drawing on Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican theology, the book explores the theme of conciliar and primatial authority in relation to the ecumenical quest for reconciliation and unity in the fragmented Church of today.
In this major, ground-breaking work, Anglican theologian and ecumenist Paul Avis adds to his repertoire of studies of authority in the Christian Church, brings together historical, confessional and ecumenical aspects of ecclesiology, and charts a course for convergence between the major traditions on the thorny questions of authority, primacy and unity.
The Reverend Prebendary Dr. Paul Avis, is General Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity of the General Synod of the Church of England, Sub Dean of Exeter Cathedral and Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Theology.
He has written widely on Anglicianism and Theology, some of his recent publications include: God and the Creative Imagination: Metaphor, Symbol and Myth in Religion and Theology, An Introduction: The Anglican Understanding of the Church, Anglican Orders and the Priesting of Women, Divine Revelation, and Faith in the Fires of Criticism: Christianity in Modern Thought.