Ecclesiology is the study of the very nature of the Church. Though he is an Anglican Bishop, John Fenwick, PhD, demonstrates that ecclesiology isn’t an appendix to the gospel but lies at the very heart of communion with God – calling us back to the Apostolic and Biblical roots of faith and practice rather than forward to “modernization.” Ecclesiology is not a matter of choosing sides on “core” issues of the day and applying church life to them but, rather, it is a matter of faithfulness to the apostolic tradition that has been handed down to the Church, primarily within the Scriptures, and then living it out in the daily life of the Church. Fenwick is a master at showing us the interconnections while never losing sight of the ultimate authority of Holy Scripture.
This book—commended by seventeen global Anglican leaders—strongly engages with the greater story of the Church Catholic: Eastern and Western. The footnotes and bibliography are a goldmine alone.
Here is that literary rarity: a most scholarly work that is also a “good read.”
Nowhere else can be found in one volume this kind of thorough treatment of the ecclesial and sacramental aspects called for in the Great Commission. For John Fenwick ecclesiology is apostolic from beginning to end and a reminder that the Gospel has not, will not, and cannot change.
His is a fresh view of what really is at stake these days. All who share J.I.Packer’s belief that “the Anglican heritage is the richest heritage in Christendom,” will understand how much this work is a pearl of great price. This big, broad-based, erudite 557 page book argues that from the ecclesiological heritage of a small, separate body, the Free Church of England (FCE) – wherein both Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical dimensions are fully in place and function in harmony – may be found the apostolicity that Anglicans everywhere (and others) should be seeking. Some may wonder how a small, little known church could point the way for orthodoxy. Because the FCE is what it is, it has developed its ecclesiology free of much of the turmoil within Anglicanism in recent years.
The Author’s subtitle The Renewing of a Vision points to meaningful conclusions wherein the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ for the unity of his Church (John 17:20-23) can begin to be realized and the Church’s witness to the world made can be stronger. In this extraordinarily wide-ranging scholarly survey of the current worldwide scene, this work in a very engaging manner renders a tremendous service to Anglicans worldwide in raising questions and scrutinizing the serious issues facing the Church today and their impact on the Body of Christ. It winsomely calls the wider Anglican family to face the present controversies, which happen to be troubling the church, through the lens of the ancient Christian faith, as it was received by the Church of England and bequeathed to her thirty-nine daughter churches throughout the world. (Anglicans are the world’s largest group of Protestants.)
Skillfully argued, with an eye towards ecumenical dialogue, this engaging book lays out what is truly at stake in many of the divisive issues of the present day. Exploring what different traditions teach about the place of the Bible in the Church, the nature and task of the ministry, and the role of the laity, and with apostolicity as its unifying theme, here is a very enriching, challenging, and even compelling read offering discussion agendas into which both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox may enter with precision and without compromise.
The author does this in a gentle conciliatory manner, with an eye to possible convergences where there has been controversy. Anglican Ecclesiology and the Gospel is invaluable for an age that is gradually ripping historical Christianity apart, and which is in danger of bequeathing to the next generation a Church without the Gospel of Christ.