The Heritage of Anglican Theology

Attending a Baptist seminary, I became familiar with Leon McBeth’s book A Baptist HeritageThe 800+ page text teaches one about Baptist history while sharing insights about other denominations. Sure, it has its flaws, but no book is perfect. Despite its imperfections, it would be great if each Christian denomination had texts summarizing its history, like A Baptist Heritage. Fortunately, The Heritage of Anglican Theology by J. I. Packer is similar for someone curious about Anglicanism, as it offers a comprehensive account. 

Every organization has a story. Christian churches and denominations are no different. The Heritage of Anglican Theology tells the historical journey the worldwide Anglicanism. From its infancy to its subgroups, to themes that could unite Anglicans, this book, if people will hear Packer’s acceptance of multiple strains within Anglicanism. Those who adhere that their way is the only version of Anglicanism will fail to appreciate the differences while rejecting some of the histories in this book. 

All organizations have a foundational and institutional DNA. Anglicanism is similar to other denominations riddled with conflict and competing factions. Throughout The Heritage of Anglican Theology, Packer showcases the different groups that have and still exist within worldwide Anglicanism. From chronicling the monarchs to Puritan influence to revivalism to the Oxford movement to modern Anglican results, one gets a big picture yet detailed view of Anglicanism without getting overwhelmed with information. 

Additionally, due to Packer’s charitable posture towards most Anglicans, one should walk away with orthodox freedom to work with others across its church heritage. This shared unity reaches back to the church Fathers throughout Christianity’s history. An agreement that’s not to be confused with modern progressive theology but with historical beliefs throughout the history of Christianity. 

Looking at “new theology,” it’s important to note that there’s nothing new under the sun. Like Christianity, Anglicanism isn’t immune from heretical ideas or legalistic tendencies. Looking at its history can help Anglicanism, and other Christian denominations navigate today’s issues, no matter the theological fad. 

With Anglicanism’s emphasis on historic beliefs dating back to the Church Fathers, Packer also helps bridge the gap between Protestantism and Ancient Faith. On both sides of the debate, some argue whether Anglicans are protestants. Throughout the The Heritage of Anglican Theology, regardless of status, Packer argues that they share the historic fundamentals of the faith that they should work together. With his position, all should read it because it will help bring more Christians together.

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