PASTORAL THEOLOGY
A Reorientation


an excerpt

Martin Thornton


Authorized Reissue

also known as The Heart of the Parish: A Theology of the Remnant


© Akenside Press and Matthew C. Dallman, 2016. Reissued with permission of Monica Thornton. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, Akenside Press.

First British edition, 1958
by S.P.C.K., London
American edition, 1989 (with new title)
by Cowley Publications, Cambridge Massachusetts

Cover image “Canterbury St Martin and Cathedral” by Oosoom licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original





CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION
1. Pastoral Theology
2. Ascetical Direction
3. Cure of Souls
4. The Parish as an Organism
5. The Remnant Hypothesis

Part One
“PAROCHIAL THEOLOGY”
6. The Example of our Lord Jesus Christ
7. Some Gospel Stories
8. The Apostolic Church: Theology
9. The Middle Ages: Monasticism
10. Transition
11. The Modern Age
12. Natural Theology

Part Two
TOWARDS A PASTORAL ASCETIC
13. Introduction: The Elements of Direction
14. “Religious Experiences”
15. “Natural” and “Sub-Christian” Ascetics
16. The Development of Christian Ascetics
17. Spiritual Health: The Holy Trinity
18. The Rule of the Church (i) The Office
19. The Rule of the Church (ii) The Eucharist
20. The Rule of the Church (iii) Private Prayer
21. The Rule of the Remnant
22. Synopsis and Conclusion

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES
1. Personal Relations in Pastoral Practice
2. Pastoral Reorganization
3. Church Finance
4. Christian Unity
5. Pastoral Visitation






PREFACE

I have tried to make this book a connected whole, and I would prefer it—ideally—to be read as such; nevertheless some explanation as to the relation between its two main parts may be helpful.

The second part of the book deals with ascetical theology on an ordinary pastoral level, and it is in this subject that my particular interest lies. But I do not think it is possible to treat the prayer of an individual soul in isolation from other souls, or to treat private prayer in isolation from corporate liturgy. There is, after all, no such thing as an individual Christian if that phrase means a soul divorced from the whole mystical Body, and I think that the failure to give full expression to this fact is the weak point in a good deal of modern ascetical thinking. Before we can guide the progress of a single soul we must clarify the relations with other souls in local environment—i.e, in a parish. Part One of the book deals with the complex of parochial inter-relations and thus becomes the necessary prologue to the main study in Part Two.

In Part One, I have attempted to propound and substantiate one particular system of parochial organization. I think this is a good system, even the best system, but I do not maintain that it is the only one. This system is briefly set out in the Introduction (Chapters 1 to 5), and if a particular reader is willing to accept it, he may find its exposition in Part One rather dull and superfluous—in which case he may prefer to omit it and proceed to Part Two. Conversely, the reader who rejects my introductory viewpoint—whose parish is perhaps working perfectly well by some other system—need not, I think, necessarily find Part Two wholly condemnable on that account.

I must confess, moreover, that although Part One is necessary and relevant to the complete thesis, it has led me rather far from my special interests. In fact I think it is ultimately a subject for a group of writers—at least a Biblical scholar, dogmatist, and historian—rather than for one. But as I firmly believe that one can only be a Christian by incorporation into Christ’s Church, and that Christian prayer in and of that Body, the problem of “parochial” theology presents me with a responsibility that I can hardly evade.

Go to CHAPTER 1.


© Akenside Press and Matthew C. Dallman, 2016. Reissued with permission of Monica Thornton. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, Akenside Press.