Monday, June 02, 2014

Book Review: The Anglican Way by Thomas McKenzie

Reviewed by Greg Goebel
May 30, 2014

The Anglican Way is well titled. This book is about a way. It invites people to an experiential journey with the Anglicans. It is also truly a “guidebook.” You can skip around in it like you would a Travel book. But its also easy to read through cover to cover. It will work best for someone who is actually visiting or regularly attending an Anglican church, although others would profit as well. As a pastor, I think this is very important, because our faith is shared in community. Thomas avoids the temptation to turn Anglicanism into a subject to merely be dissected, instead choosing to be a guide along the way as someone is seeking to be formed as a Christian, and as an Anglican.

Its so very difficult to summarize Anglican experience. There are the various streams, parties, and perspectives–not to mention liturgical approaches. This book does it though. It is non-partisan, but still confident and clear. I think it would be useful to every “stream” as a basic introduction. The main reason it succeeds in this is that it spends more time on what we affirm, than on what we deny — and almost completely avoids our speculative theologies.

Fr Thomas starts with the Compass Rose as a memorable tool for holding together an understanding of how Anglicanism can be both diverse and yet centered at the same time. Working through the kinds of things that most evangelicals think are binary opposites (such as Catholic-Charismatic or Liberal-Conservative), he systematically shows how, within the central circle of the compass (Christ/Creeds), these things can not only hold together, but also temper and correct one another. He tells personal stories from pastoral ministry, an approach which I think is the best part of this book. This is flowing from his care for his people, and his desire to share the Anglican Way with them.
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