Anglicans around the world have responded to the gospel in many different cultural contexts. This has produced different customs and different ways of thinking about church issues. In the process of enculturation Anglicans have found themselves encountering social and political realities as malign forces against which they have had to struggle. As a consequence, the personal and local dynamic in Anglicanism has created not just diversity of custom and mental habits, but it has done so at points that have been vital to the way Anglicans have been committed to the gospel.
Conflict and the Practice of Christian Faith looks at the process by which local traditions developed in Christianity and how these traditions have related to other sub-traditions of the universal church. It assesses some specifics of the Anglican experience and argues for a significant re-casting of some prominent elements of that tradition, at the same time clarifying some of the distinctive elements in the Anglican tradition. This leads to a more nuanced appreciation of the force of the social and political framework within which Anglicans have had to work out their salvation and of the different forms of secular society and different understandings of plurality and diversity. It also entails showing how the imperial route to catholicity took no firm root in Anglicanism. Going global has been a significant experiment in Anglican ecclesiology that is by no means over yet. The terms of that experiment lie at the heart of the current Anglican debates.
This book will be of interest to Christians generally who belong to faith traditions spread across different cultures. It is also a case study of the issues of global reach and local tradition.
Part One: Conflict and Connection in the Church
1. Conflict and Connection in Early Christianity
2. Local Traditions and the Universal Church
3. Catholicity Without Leviathan
4. The Powers, Church, and Truth
Part Two: Will the Current Anglican Experiment Go Anywhere?
5. Why the “Virginia Report” is not Good Enough
6. The Windsor Report: The Questions Less Asked
7. Will the Windsor Process Lead to the Precipice?
8. Lambeth – A Conference Re-discovered?
9. Conflict, Catholicity, and Hope
Endorsements and Reviews
In this wise and erudite book, Bruce Kaye provides a constructive way forward for Anglicans and all Christians to negotiate how to find unity without denying our necessary differences. In particular, Kaye draws us into the mystery of Christ’s universal Lordship so that we can see how locality is a necessary expression of the cosmic character of Christ’s cross. Kaye also provides an extremely important account of Anglican identity beginning with Bede that frees us from the unhappy political alternatives of modernity. I know of no more hopeful book for the future of the Anglican Communion.
Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School
There are few Anglicans in the world who can write with such clarity about the global Communion and few theologians who can range with such confidence across the fields of history, sociology and philosophy. This is a beautifully crafted book that reveals Dr Kaye’s wide reading and reflects his deep thinking. It will persuade Anglicans of all affiliations to think again about their Church and will help non-Anglicans to make sense of the challenges and the conflicts that every Christian community must face as the local expression of a universal faith. This is a fine book from a gifted theologian and an accomplished writer. It is highly recommended.
Tom Frame, Director, St Mark’s National Theological Centre
Bruce Kaye continues to be one of the most astute and accomplished thinkers on ecclesiology and world Christianity today. In this book he uses the case of the current challenges before the Anglican Communion to present an understanding of the catholicity of the Church that honors the realities of both the universal and the personal. Here is a defense of plurality and diversity that goes beyond political correctness to the heart of the Gospel. Anglicans, global Christians, and anyone interested in the intersection between faith and globalization will profit greatly from this book.
The Rev Ian T. Douglas, Angus Dun Professor of Mission and World Christianity, Episcopal Divinity School
This book is essential reading for all concerned with the future direction of the Anglican Communion.
Church of England Newspaper, No 6102
As we search for a way thorugh our current difficulties, wise and moderate voices need to be heard above the clamour of simplistic and divisive slogans at both extreme ends of the [Anglican] argument … Bruce Kaye is such a voice. A New Testament scholar and a historian … Kaye is sensitive to the legacy of colonialism and to the more subtle pressures of Western cultural hegemony today. He throws out a timely challenge to Anglicans … In each case he has useful, thought-provoking thIngs to say.
Church Times, December 2011
It provides, not least for those outside Anglicanism, a judicious and informed guide to the turmoils in which a major branch of the world Church is caught up and by which we are all affected. Enrichingly this is set within a wider context … Kaye offers encouragement and insights that are of universal importance which can enrich the whole Church, making the Anglican experience a case study of the struggle to be faithful in a time of rapid change globally.
Paul Ballard, in Theological Book Review, Vol 23, No 2
There are fascinating discussions of the ways in which theology and the church are shaped by political culture … Kaye … remains optimistic, and his conciliar church of many loosely connected churches is perhaps the only way forward when the covenant fails to command the support that it requires to work. One can but hope.
Mark Chapman, in The Journal of Modern Believing, April 2012
His dominant theme is the need for patient and generous engagement in the way in which Anglicans do their theology. … The book’s most persuasive refrain is the exhortation for ‘a gospel sense of patience’ (p. 136) and the foolishness of imagining that major changes in worldwide Anglicanism … can be made in a hurry.
Andrew Atherstone, in Journal of Anglican Studies, September 2012
Kaye calls for a renewal of ‘fallibility and modesty’ in Anglican debate, and a recognition that today’s generation are stewards of a long Anglican heritage, not its final arbiters. The author himself models the patient theological engagement he advocates, and his essays provide much rich food for reflection and further conversation.
Andrew Atherstone, in Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol 11, Issue 01, May 2013