home | about us | books | education | blog
martin thornton | john macquarrie

Anglican Historical Theology
Before we can renew Anglicanism as a tradition of theology and spirituality, its true nature must be understood. Contrary to some historical claims, our tradition did not begin in the 16th century. Instead, the 16th century was an episode within a tradition that is traceable to the New Testament Church, has two major periods of theological flowering, and includes a number of saints and major theologians. This diagram, based on the work of Martin Thornton, is nothing of an exclusive list, but irreducible minimum: such theology is what lay "behind the text" of the Prayer Book, and when interpreted through participation in Prayer Book liturgical spirituality, remains potent and alive.

The Contours of Prayer
in the Anglican Tradition

What is the nature of prayer in the Anglican tradition? First and foremost, Anglican prayer is rooted in Catholic theology and the texts of the English School. Prayer follows the "Catholic Rule" or "Regula" according to the Prayer Book. Furthermore, Anglicanism is a "pragmatic" or "ascetical" tradition of spirituality, rooted in the presence of God as "Holy Being", utterly embracing contemplative disclosure within everyday moments of life.
The Liturgical Spirituality
of the Prayer Book

Since A.D. 1549, the dominant liturgical book for English Christians, and those in that tradition, has been The Book of Common Prayer. Although in the 21st century we see a wide variety of international versions of the Prayer Book, what has held constant throughout is its fundamental ascetical principles and purpose. That is to say, it is a seasoned system for liturgical spirituality. In this slideshow, that liturgical spirituality is described within its proper, historical context.
Nine Texts Toward Catholic Renewal in Anglican Parishes
This essay summarizes theological texts central to the English School for devotional study by Anglicans who take their baptismal covenant seriously. These works can feed the growth of Catholic reality in parishes because through them, the Prayer Book takes on its true character: that of comprehensive system of liturgical asceticism.

"Spiritual But Not Religious" as Seed of Evangelization
What if, for even a minority, “Spiritual but Not Religious” expresses thoughtfulness, a grasping of something truly significant? What if the statement actually issues from a sensibility that can only find a proper home in Catholic Christianity? … “Not religious” might seem to be an immediate disqualifier, but maybe it is not. Christ said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Hence Alexander Schmemann calls Christ’s incarnation the “end of all religion”.
from the Sept 9, 2012 issue of The Living Church reprinted with permission
Read more...(PDF)
The Eucharist Prologue Office
All Christians are called to daily praise using prayer of, and thereby with, all of Holy Church. There have been a variety of forms of the Office used throughout Christian history: pre-Constantinian, desert, monastic, cathedral, urban, Eastern and Western — yet the ascetical purpose endures: objective praise to God the Father by God the Son in the power of God the Spirit. The Office, therefore, has a different (although complementary) ascetical purpose than Personal Devotion (more subjective praise to God the Spirit) and Mass (an objective/subjective balanced praise to God the God). Here an additional form you can use, one to be recited or, more preferably, sung.

Contact the Executive Director.