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Thomas Cromwell: The Man Behind the Curtain

Thomas Cromwell The Man Behind the Curtain By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins So many “Thomases” in the 16th century, it’s hard to keep them straight! Thomas Cromwell was beheaded July 28, 1540 by order of King Henry VIII for the crime of treason and heresy, but his real...

New Bishop for Complementarian Churches Consecrated

New Bishop for Complementarian Churches Consecrated The Revd Rob Munro was consecrated as Bishop of Ebbsfleet on Thursday 2 February in a service at Canterbury Cathedral.   In keeping with the complementarian understanding of ministry, Bishop Munro was consecrated to...

Hypocrisy of Authoritarian Bishops

The Hypocrisy of Authoritarian Bishops  Part 2 By the Revd Dr Lee Gatiss Sophistry I wonder if the bishops who wrote this report did so with a straight face? They tell us that church blessings are not pronouncements, and approval cannot be inferred from them. They...

South Sudan Primate Welcomes Church Leaders but Remains Firm on Biblical Marriage

South Sudan Primate Welcomes Church Leaders but Remains Firm on Biblical Marriage The Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Revd Dr Iain Greenshields, visited South Sudan in the first weekend of February to participate in...

Welby Chooses Disestablishment Over Global Breakup

Welby Chooses Disestablishment over Global Breakup Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has indicated that he prizes the unity of the global Anglican Communion over the continued established status of the Church of England, in surprising comments that were reported...

Conservative Bishops Reaffirm Church’s Teaching on Marriage

Conservative Bishops Reaffirm Church's Teaching on Marriage Fourteen Bishops of the Church of England have published "a relatively short theological summary of the doctrine of marriage as the Church of England has received it, and how it relates particularly to...

Pilgrim’s Process: Trials & Challenges

Pilgrim’s Process By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon Trials and Challenges As we travel to our heavenly city we face trials and challenges that can feel like they are more than we will be able to bear. The sufferings of this present age are considerable. When we are alone...

New Bishop to the Archbishops Announced

New Bishop to the Archbishops Announced The Rt Revd David Urquhart has been announced as the new Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, succeeding Dr Emma Ineson who has been appointed Bishop of Kensington. In this role, he will work directly for both...

Proper Bishops, PLEASE by the Northern Churchman

Proper Bishops, Please by the Northern Churchman In their proposals on human sexuality, the College of Bishops have given the Church of England a managerial solution to theological and moral issues. They have sought a compromise detached from Scripture and doctrine,...

Archbishop Has Audience with Sandi

Archbishop has Audience with SandiWhat the Actress Said to the Bishop The Archbishop of Canterbury has had his promised 'coffee and chat' with TV personality and prominent lesbian campaigner Sandi Toksvig. This invitation by Lambeth Palace was issued in response to an...

The English Reformed Tradition: Holloway

The English Reformed Tradition

Its distinctives & worth

David Holloway

Latimer Trust, 2022 (ISBN: 9781906327767, 43pp, £4)

The author of this short but valuable booklet is one of the longest-serving incumbents in England, having taken the reigns at Newcastle’s Clayton Memorial Church in 1973. As this was prior to the advent of the odious Ecclesiastical Offices (Age Limit) Measure 1975, Holloway has been able to retain the living into what will shortly be his Golden Jubilee year. Jesmond Parish Church, as it is commonly known, has flourished in this period, a beacon of gospel life in a challenging context. 

Although the booklet is published by Latimer, it is offered ‘in partnership with’ ReNew. This body, substantially the successor to Reform (whose covenant is somewhat anachronistically appended), is at a potentially volatile point of its development, as the ecclesiastical landscape shifts. English evangelicalism has always, quite reasonably, considered itself in harmony with the foundational texts of the Church of England and it is salutary for this harmony to be expounded for a major section of the party by so tried a hand.

The style of writing is accessible, even conversational, reflecting the genesis of the document in a Zoom presentation. Holloway’s two sections give, first, a taxonomy of reformations, and second a review of certain distinctive aspects of the English tradition. The earlier of these is drawn, somewhat inexplicably, from the writing of the C17th Norwich physician Sir Thomas Browne. Religio Medici was a popular spiritual reflection in its time but makes for an eccentric authority on the classification of reformed churches. The ‘Dutch tradition at Dort’ is, for example, presented in distinction to the Elizabethan Settlement, yet churchmen of that very settlement happily sat in council at Dort alongside representatives of the best reformed churches on the continent. Likewise, the Lutheran tradition, though undoubtedly further from England than the Dutch, played an important role in the development thereof, via the influence of Augsburg, Cranmer’s 1538 conference with Lutheran leaders, and Queen Elizabeth’s own theological sympathies. 

The second part of the book is however the more important and the more convincingly argued. Holloway lucidly presents the Vestarian Controversy as the touchstone of England’s principles of worship. The normative approach having been established under Ridley, Parker, and Hooker, that of the Westminster Standard is by contrast described as an alien innovation. Again, the interrelations are significantly more nuanced than is allowed, but as a rough sketch it suffices. A number of ‘fundamental issues’ which England ‘got right’ are considered: the Papacy, anthropology, the balance of piety and theology, and its resistance to what Holloway very neatly describes as ‘the severe logic of [double] predestination’. The main uncertainty of this section is its assertion of the congregationalist or ‘Sydney’ approach to Article XIX. This contrasts with the historic reformed perspective, whose modern proponents, awkwardly, include the main co-sponsor of ReNew (see A. Cinnamond in Foundations of Faith (2018)).

This booklet is an excellent introduction to some distinctives of English religion. If we must use the tiresome and much-misunderstood word ‘Anglicanism’ (as the volume does, repeatedly), then at least readers will see something of how its soul was formed not in the reductionist formulas of Chicago-Lambeth but more fully and richly in its reformation roots.

Edward Keene, Little Shelford

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