Item description for The Anglican Vision (The New Church's Teaching Series, Vol. 1) by James E. Griffiss...
In this first volume to the New Church's Teaching Series James Griffiss provides an introduction to the Anglican tradition. He focuses especially on Anglicanism's ability to hold together theological continuity (especially the emphasis on the Incarnation) with social and cultural change. After discussing the Episcopal Church today and the ways in which it has changed over the past fifty years, Griffiss shows how the distinctive Anglican approach has been lived out in its history, spirituality, mission, worship, and approach to Scripture. Throughout, the book stresses the place of Anglicanism in the late twentieth century and its ability to be both flexible and traditional in rapidly changing cultures. The Anglican Vision is intended for wide parish use, including adult education, parish forums, inquirers and newcomers classes, and study groups throughout the church year. It includes a study guide, list of resources, and suggestions for further reading.
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Studio: Cowley Publications
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.43" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2001
Publisher Cowley Publications
Series New Churchs Teaching
Series Number 1
ISBN 1561011436 ISBN13 9781561011438
Availability 0 units.
More About James E. Griffiss
James E. Griffiss is editor of the Anglican Theological Review and the series editor of the New Church's Teaching Series. An Episcopal priest and theologian, he has taught systematic theology and several Anglican seminaries in North America, including Hashota House, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and Seabury-Western.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Anglican Vision (The New Church's Teaching Series, Vol. 1)?
The broad view... Jun 11, 2004
The Episcopal church in the twentieth century took advantage of the general availability of publishing to good advantage, compiling through several auspices different collections and teaching series, the latest of which was only completed a few years ago. There have been 'unofficial' collections of teaching texts, such as the Anglican Studies Series by Morehouse press, put out in the 1980s, as well as an earlier teaching series. However, each generation approaches things anew; the New Church Teaching Series, published by Cowley Publications (a company operated as part of the ministry of the Society of St. John the Evangelist - SSJE - one of the religious/monastic communities in the Episcopal church, based in the Boston area) is the most recent series, and in its thirteen volumes, explores in depth and breadth the theology, history, liturgy, ethics, mission and more of the modern Anglican vision in America.
The first volume, by James Griffiss, is entitled 'The Anglican Vision', and is a one-volume introduction to Anglicanism. There are two primary sections - Origins of Anglicanism, and Anglican Belief and Practice. In the first part, rather than beginning with the Reformation or the Church Fathers, Griffiss traces the development of Anglicanism in a very personal way, using stories of his own experiences in seminary and ministry, as well as the stories of others in their journeys toward church community. The more standard history - here a very basic overview (as a more in-depth history comes in a later volume) - is developed in the following three chapters, always with an eye toward setting the context for Anglicanism today.
In the second section, Anglican Belief and Practice, again Griffiss gives a brief overview of topics such as worship and belief (there are more detailed discussions of each topic here in later volumes in the series). Griffiss puts his own belief structure into this - the church has no set dogmatic or doctrinal system to which one must adhere. Griffiss sees, in addition to the various sacramental practices of the church, that the church itself can be viewed as a sacrament, an 'outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace'. Griffiss traces some of the relationships between scripture, reason, tradition, liturgy and spiritual practices that comprise a community.
One of the important issues facing the church today is the tension between continuity and change. Griffiss addresses this at each turn, focusing upon the incarnational aspect of the church. There are controversies of identity, ethics, inclusion, and practice; Anglicanism does not have an authoritarian structure that dictates policies on these matters for the whole communion (nor indeed often for individual provinces in the church). Griffiss does a good job at keeping the various sides in play in his discussion.
Griffiss is a priest and systematic theology professor, who was named Canon Theologian by the current Presiding Bishop of the church. He is a respected clergyman and respected author, who care and dedication to the church is very apparent in these pages.
Each of the texts is relatively short (only two of the volumes exceed 200 pages), the print and text of each easy to read, designed not for scholars but for the regular church-goer, but not condescending either - the authors operate on the assumption that the readers are genuinely interested in deeping their faith and practice. Each volume concludes with questions for use in discussion group settings, and with annotated lists of further readings recommended.
Strangely boring. Nov 25, 2003
I agree that this book was disappointing. It's hard to say why--I just didn't find it very readable or lively. I kept putting it aside and not picking it up again, so it took days to finish, even though it's quite brief. As a reader who's an "inquirer," I was particularly put off by what felt like long, stern listings of what Anglicans believe; I felt like I was just being told that I'd have to learn to believe this by fiat rather than by having things explained.
Don't let this cast aspersion on the rest of the series, though: I've now read Vol. 2 (Opening the Bible) and found it fascinating.
The Anglican Vision: Or, Lack Thereof Nov 22, 2003
This book was a disappointment. Although it is obvious that the author feels very strongly about Anglicanism and that it has a rich history, his writing lacks the persuasiveness and clarity of vision that the title would imply.
Anglican theology, in reading this book, seems to have been most shaped by the Book of Common Prayer and the sacramental theology of Cyril of Jerusalem, which is neither fully Roman Catholic nor fully Protestant (rather, it is the best of both); the idea of the Anglican church as a type of "via media" (middle way) is present throughout Griffis' book. He then goes on to talk a bit about the Oxford movement, the mid-20th century the push towards social engagement and social justice, and how the Anglican church allows for a critical inquiry into various issues that may result in not taking the Scriptures or the Tradition/s at full face value; Griffis' vision of Anglicanism is one that leaves possibilities open.
Griffis repeatedly notes that there is a lot of disagreement in the Anglican church, most notably on issues of abortion, homosexuality, and the place of women in the church (and if that doesn't really cover most of the spectrum of controversial issues today, I don't know what does). This lack of vision - this lack of agreement - is what really left me thinking that, at the very least, Griffis lacks vision; at most, Anglicanism lacks vision.
Although the *idea* of a church that leaves room open for discussion is very attractive, there seems far less room for discussion on many matters than Griffis would presume (if, of course, the threats of much of the Global South to break off communion with many of the churches in the West means anything); perhaps his view is representative more of the liberal (= Western? = bourgeios?) desire for "discussion" - or, perhaps more accurately, license - about what have traditionally been issues of morals that were agreed upon by the vast majority of Christians.
Griffis' vision of Anglicanism may very well tear the Anglican communion apart.
informative Jun 19, 2003
This is one of the best introductions to Systematic Theology from an Anglican/Episcopal perspective. I found it highly informative and covering a huge ground, while not taking off on theological mambo-jambo. Well, if you think it is boring, maybe Systematic Theology isn't for you.
American Anglicanism in Perspective Apr 30, 2002
James Griffiss does an incredible job of tying together the many ends of the Anglican experience as it exists in the Episcopal Church. This book is perfect for people considering joining the church, people interested in the life of the church, or for church study groups. The writing is free flowing and easy to understand without being childish. I highly recommend this book.