Cardinal Walter Kasper recently stated that Anglicans needed to choose between the sixteenth century and the first millennium. To the contrary, historic Anglicanism–as represented by Thomas Cranmer, John Jewel, and Richard Hooker–argued that they were choosing the church of the first millennium, over against the departures from Catholicity of the late Medieval Roman Church.
Bringing up the tired old polemics of the Reformation is a constant temptation in the crisis of un-faith that is affecting all churches today–not only the churches of the Reformation, but certainly Rome. But blaming the Reformation (or conversely, blaming Trent) will not help the church today because it does not address the real crisis the church is in.
Yesterday my students and I finished an entire semester of studying Contemporary Theology. We began with Schleiermacher and Barth, then covered everyone from Brunner, Bonhoeffer, the Niebuhrs, the Catholic Resourcement movement (DeLubac, Congar, Danielou), Orthodoxy (Bulgakof, Schmemann, Lossky), post-Vatican II theology (Rahner, Lonergan, von Balthasar), theology of hope/revelation history (Moltmann, Pannenberg) post-Liberalism (Lindbeck, Hauerwas), Evangelicals (Packer, Henry), (post-conservative) Evangelicals (N.T. Wright, Vanhoozer), “Scientific” theology (T. F. Torrance, Alister McGrath). We finished with Anglican theology–Ramsey and Sykes. All of these fairly clearly lined up with Barth. On the other side, we studied Bultmann, Tillich, process theology, feminist theology, liberation theology. All of these fairly clearly lined up on the other side–with Schleiermacher. (more…)