The Implications of Scriptural Reasoning for Contemporary Anglicanism
Journal of Anglican Studies offers a serious scholarly conversation on all aspects of Anglicanism. This blogpost provides a précis of Andrew McGowan’s editorial piece, which introduces a special issue of the journal on Scriptural Reasoning.
Whoever then appears to understand the divine Scriptures or any part of them in such a way that by their understanding does not build the twin love of God and of our neighbour, does not yet understand (Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, 1.36.40).
Anglicanism has rarely been well served by introspective quests for its own identity. The great movements and moments in Anglican history, contested as they may be – the Reformation, the Oxford Movement – have been to do with the character of the Church catholic, of Christian faith, of the sacraments, of Scripture – not of Anglicanism. Current quests for Anglican renewal, unity and identity often risk missing this fact, and the basic insight it offers into the character and mission of Anglicanism. Anglicanism can only be defined, let alone renewed, by focusing on larger questions of Gospel, Church and world rather than on those of Anglican polity and identity.
Anglicans tend not merely to respect but to love the Bible. If at the present time it is evident that they differ about its meaning in certain cases, this is not a new or unusual phenomenon; it is the willingness on the part of some to depart from conversation, even and especially about Scripture, that most distinguishes the present Anglican crisis.
The essays that form the bulk of this special issue of Journal of Anglican Studies emerge from the remarkable project known as Scriptural Reasoning, a method of inter-religious exchange in which Christians, Jews, Muslims, and sometimes members of other faiths, meet to discuss their sacred scriptures together.
What is most striking about Scriptural Reasoning to this Anglican outsider is that it manages to draw into fruitful conversation a set of participants whose commonality relative to faith is actually far less than that of the diversity of contemporary Anglicanism. There are of course other commonalities, of culture and of academic discourse, among those in conversation. Yet the abiding implication of these creative exchanges is a sort of a fortiori scandal – if these can not only speak but learn and celebrate together, how much more those who do share a particular history and profess a common faith?
Access all the articles in this special issue free of charge for a limited period here.