January 31, 2011

Evangelical or Catholic? A Bibliography

Filed under: Anglicanism,Ecumenism — William Witt @ 6:49 am

I want to thank all those who read my post on “Evangelical or Catholic?” In a month, this has received over 1,100 hits, more than any single blog post I have written. I am usually happy if what I write gets 100 reads. Clearly there is sympathy (or at least interest) in getting beyond the old polemics between Evangelicals and Catholics. At the same time, many of the public comments I have received have been negative, both from Protestants and from Catholics (and some Orthodox), who seem quite happy to keep the old polemics alive. Oh, well. This is discouraging, but I am more heartened by the numbers than discouraged by the occasional sniping.

Anyway, I promised at the end of that post to include a bibliography and here it is. These are books that I have found helpful. Some of them are old, and they influenced me in my own path from free church Evangelical to Anglican.  Some are quite new. All are good.

Readers will notice that the ecclesial identities of the authors cover a lot of ground, including not only Anglicans, but also Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and even the odd Baptist. That is as it should be. Denominational loyalty has never been the primary concern in my own theological studies. Nor should it be, if the choice between Evangelical and Catholic is a false one.

Abraham William, et al. Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

William Abraham is a Methodist theologian whose “canonical theism” project is about moving away from the modern focus on epistemological criteria to a focus on the primacy of ontology, and particularly on the historic doctrines and practices of the undivided church, which he and his group refer to as canons: not only Scripture, but also creeds, doctrine, episcopacy, saints, councils, icons. Canonical theism is thus about embracing this “canonical heritage” of the church.

Allison, C. Fitzsimmon. The Rise of Moralism: The Proclamation of the Gospel from Hooker to Baxter. Regent College Publishing. 2003.

Fitz Allison’s book might be considered an example of “enclave” theology, since Allison is a self-identified Evangelical theologian, and the book is a study of “justification by faith,” in which Allison clearly identifies with the Protestant theology. However, ecumenical theology also demands that we be honest about what the issues actually are, so as not to reach superficial agreements that are not really agreements. Allison documents that the Reformation issue of justification by faith boiled down to the question of “formal cause”: specifically, is the ground of my justification Christ’s finished work apart from my own efforts, which I appropriate by faith alone, or is the ground of my justification my own appropriation of Christ’s work? Allison documents that all the Anglican Reformers, including Richard Hooker and later Caroline Divines like Lancelot Andrewes held to the first. However, with some of the Caroline Divines, especially Jeremy Taylor, justification by faith becomes understood to mean justification based on the sincerity of my faith rather than Christ’s finished work: justification by sincerity. The result is a corresponding moralism and scrupulosity.

Ayris, Paul and Selwyn, David. Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar. Boydell Press, 1999.

A more recent book on Thomas Cranmer that provides an alternative to the revived view of Cranmer (and the Anglican Reformers) as radical Protestants that is represented by recent works like Diarmaid McCulloch’s popular biography.

Balthasar, Hans urs von. The Theology of Karl Barth: Exposition and Interpretation. Ignatius Press, 1992.

A sympathetic discussion of Barth by the twentieth century’s greatest Roman Catholic theologian (in my humble opinion). Balthasar’s book is not only a good study of Barth, but an example of ecumenical theology in the best sense, especially in clarifying misunderstandings of the Catholic tradition by Protestants.

Beasley-Murray, G. K. Baptism in the New Testament. Wipf & Stock, 2006.

This is a “biblical theology” of baptism by a British “sacramental” Baptist. The book was instrumental in my own conviction that the Bible really does teach that baptism is a sacrament that effects what it symbolizes.

Booty, John. John Jewel as Apologist of the Church of England. London: SPCK, 1963.

Unfortunately nothing substantial has been written on Jewel in the last forty years, with the single exception of an anti-Anglican polemic written by a former Anglo-Catholic convert (to Orthodoxy?) that portrays Jewel as a radical Protestant. It is interesting that the view of the Reformation as a radical break with Catholicism that was being repudiated by Roman Catholic scholars forty years ago is currently being revived. Booty presents a sympathetic reading of Jewel as a “Reformed Catholic.”

Braaten, Carl E. and Jenson, Robert W., eds. The Catholicity of the Reformation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.

Carl Braaten and Robert Jenson are two of the most important American Lutheran theologians of the late twentieth century, now reaching retirement age. They are the founders of The Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, and its journal, Pro-Ecclesia. This is a series of essays by Lutherans arguing for an “evangelical catholic” interpretation of the Reformation.

Bromiley, Geoffrey. Thomas Cranmer, Theologian. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956.

Brooks, Peter. Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist: An Essay in Historical Development. NY: Seabury Press; Macmillan,, 1965.

It is interesting how the most catholic interpretations of the English Reformers come from Evangelical authors. Here are two.

Clark, Francis. Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Reformation. Basil Blackwell, 1967.

This is an important work by a Roman Catholic, who documents the understanding of eucharistic sacrifice among late Medieval Catholics at the time of the Reformation. Clark establishes that the standard Protestant (and Anglican) rhetoric against eucharistic sacrifice did not address the doctrine Catholics actually held. Late Medieval and Tridentine Roman Catholics did not believe that Christ was re-sacrificed, in the mass, but that Christ’s atoning death on the cross was the once sufficient sacrifice. What Clark does not get quite right was the reason for Protestant objections to eucharistic sacrifice. Hunsinger (below) is good on this.

Cullmann, Oscar. Early Christian Worship. SCM Press, 1966.

This is the book that convinced me that the Eucharist was at the center of early Christian worship.

Cullmann, Oscar. “The Tradition,” The Early Church. London. SCM Press, 1956.

This article is the definitive discussion of the relation between Scripture and tradition, arguing for the significance of the canonizing of Scripture, and the relation between canon and tradition.

Dugmore, Clifford. The Mass and the English Reformers. London: Macmillan, 1958.

A sympathetic reading of the English Reformers as Reformed Catholics.

Fairweather, Eugene R. “Christianity and the Supernatural,” New Theology No. 1.  Martin Marty and Dean G. Peerman, eds. NY: Macmillan, 1967.

This  article assesses the significance of a proper Christian ontology rooted in the relation between God and creation. The constant temptation for theologians is to imagine the relation between Creator and creature as that between two competing created realities. God is thus viewed as the most powerful thing around, but not as genuinely transcendent. Whenever Creator and creature are misconstrued in this way, theologians will venture either into “naturalism” (panentheism, monism) or into “anti-supernaturalism” (voluntarism).  Fairweather traces examples of “anti-naturalism,” “naturalism,” and “super-naturalism” in the history of the church.

Hunsinger, George. The Eucharist and Ecumenism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

This is one of the most helpful contemporary discussions of eucharistic theology, written by a Reformed theologian, entering into dialogue with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican theologians, as well as his own Reformed heritage.

Jenson, Robert. Canon and Creed. Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.

A recent book on the relation between canon, creed, (episcopacy, worship, and the ecumenical councils). Although Jenson is a Lutheran, this book could well have been written by an Anglican.  See above about Jenson and Braaten.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.

Alasdair MacIntyre is one of the most important contemporary Roman Catholic philosophers. He writes about ethics, but his main focus of discussion is that all knowledge takes place within the context of tradition and traditions.

Mascall, Eric L. Christ, the Christian, and the Church: A Study of the Incarnation and its Consequences. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1946.

Mascall, Eric L. The Openness of Being: Natural Theology Today. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971.

Mascall, Eric L. Via Media: An Essay in Theological Synthesis. Greenwich, CT: Seabury Press, 1957.

Mascall was an Anglo-Catholic theologian (and a Thomist), who wrote from an ecumenical perspective. He not only addressed Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but also continental Protestantism, as well as more Evangelical understandings of Anglicanism. He argued for Anglicanism as Reformed Catholicism. The above are just three of the numerous books he wrote. They were extremely helpful to me in making the transition from free church Evangelical to Anglican “Reformed Catholic.”

McSorley, Harry. Luther: Right or Wrong? An Ecumenical Study of Luther’s Major Work, The Bondage of the Will. NY: Newman Press & Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1969.

An ecumenical discussion of Luther’s “bondage of the will,” written from an ecumenical  Roman Catholic perspective.

Moeller, C. and Phillips, G. The Theology of Grace and the Oecumenical Movement, London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., 1961.

I discovered this short little book from a reference by E. L. Mascall. It is an ecumenical discussion between Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Reformed on the doctrine of grace.  It is the book that first drew my attention to the significance of the permanent humanity of Christ for eucharistic theology.

Newbigin, Leslie. The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church. London: SCM Press, Ltd., 1953; Wipf & Stock, 2009.

One of the best books around on ecumenism and ecclesiology. Newbigin was a Reformed missionary who became one of the first bishops in the Church of South India, after that church was formed by a union of Anglicans, Reformed, and several other denominations.

Oberman, Heiko. The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963; Baker Academic, 2001.

Oberman wrote many books on late Medieval theology and the Reformation. This is a helpful reading of the late Medieval Roman Catholic Church, showing the significance of Nominalism.

Persson, Per Erik. “The Reformation in Recent Roman Catholic Theology,” New Theology No. 1, Martin Marty and Dean G. Peerman, eds. NY: Macmillan, 1964.

An article about the newer more balanced and ecumenical approach to church history that arose mid-twentieth century, particularly the history of the Reformation, written from a Roman Catholic perspective. It was a major factor in my own becoming interested in the relation between Medieval Catholicism and the post-Reformation church. Unfortunately, there seems to be a return to the old polemics among some more contemporary church historians.

Michael Ramsey. The Gospel and the Catholic Church. Hendrickson Reissue, 2009.

Michael Ramsey was one of the most important modern Archbishops of Canterbury. This is his case for Anglicanism as”Reformed Catholicism.” Ramsey was an “Anglo-Catholic” who read Karl Barth, and it shows.

Schaff, Philip. The Principle of Protestantism. Wipf & Stock, 2004.

Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin (Reformed theologians) were the leaders of the Mercersburg Theology, a reading of the Reformation as a reforming movement in the Catholic Church. Nevin’s corresponding text was entitled, The Mystical Presence, arguing for an objective presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.

Sykes, Stephen The Integrity of Anglicanism. NY: Seabury Press, 1978.

Sykes, Stephen. Unashamed Anglicanism. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.

Stephen Sykes’ book, The Integrity of Anglicanism, was instrumental in my deciding to pursue systematic theology rather than philosophy. Sykes’s book is largely an attack on some of the fuzzy thinking of a lot of twentieth century Anglican theologians, particularly in the easy acceptance of Liberal Protestantism as just one more ecclesial party within Anglicanism.

Southgate, Wyndham. John Jewel and the Problem of Doctrinal Authority. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962.

The other book on Jewel, representing him as a “Reformed Catholic.”

Thornton, Martin.  English Spirituality: An Outline of Ascetical Theology According to the English Pastoral Tradition. SPCK, 1963.

A good overview, not simply of Anglican, but also of pre-Reformation English spirituality. Thornton’s book is good in that it focuses on theology, rather than psychology, as do too many modern books on spirituality.

Torrance, Thomas F. Theology in Reconciliation: Essays toward Evangelical and Catholic Unity in East and West. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976; Wipf & Stock, 1996.

Torrance was a student of Karl Barth, who discovered the church fathers. He wrote on the Trinity, Christology, ecclesiology, and the relation between science and theology. This is one of the best books around on ecumenism.

Tugwell, Simon. Ways of Imperfection: An Exploration of Christian Spirituality. Springfield, ILL: Templegate Publishers, 1985.

I discovered Tugwell when I picked up one his books in a “used book” barn when I was on vacation in rural Maine. Tugwell is an English Dominican, and writes on the history of spirituality, particularly Dominican spirituality, which, I would argue, has a lot of affinities to Anglicanism. This is his history of spirituality.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine and Life A Systematic Theology. NY: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Geoffrey Wainwright is a Methodist theologian, who is interested in liturgy. This is an entire Systematic Theology written from the perspective of worship.

Webber, Robert E.. Common Roots: The Original Call to an Ancient-Future Faith.  Zondervan, 1978, revised edition, 2009.

Webber, Robert E. The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006.

Webber, Robert E.  Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals are Attracted to the Liturgical Church. Morehouse Publishing, 1989.

Webber, Robert E.  The Orthodox Evangelicals: Who they are and what they are saying. NY, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1978.

Robert Webber was a free church Evangelical who converted to the Episcopal Church. He was the organizer and one of the authors of something called the “Chicago Call,” a call for Evangelicals to recover the sacramental and pre-Reformation roots of the church. Webber’s Common Roots came out shortly afterwards, followed shortly by Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail, a book about Evangelicals converting to Anglicanism. The Divine Embrace was his last book, a call for Evangelicals to recover the patristic roots of Christian spirituality.

Williams, A. N. The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Most ecumenical discussion is between Roman Catholics and Protestants.  This is a comparison of the theology of grace in two of the most important Catholic and Orthodox theologians.

Even as I prepare to send this off, more titles come to mind, but this is already too long. Enjoy.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful resource, Bill. What a great treasure you and your work are!


    Comment by Kevin Maney+ — February 2, 2011 @ 5:52 am

  2. You are welcome, Kevin. This was a work of love,and a tribute to those to whom I owe much.

    Comment by William Witt — February 2, 2011 @ 7:14 am

  3. And God bless you for it.

    Comment by Kevin Maney+ — February 3, 2011 @ 4:43 am

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