Monday, February 18, 2013

Cranmer: Continental reformer - an addendum...

Question to Anglicans - Who's church is it?

From his book, The Westminster Assembly - Reading Its Theology in Historical Context, Robert Letham (an OPC ordained minister, graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, adjunct professor of systematic theology at WTS, and visiting professor at Reformed Theological Seminary) lays out the history surrounding the Assembly and, in part, the history connecting the Westminster Standards to the Church of England's Thirty-Nine Articles. He offers this bit of insight into the much misunderstood Thomas Cranmer:
In his magisterial and widely acclaimed critical biography of the great English reformer, Thomas Cranmer, Diarmaid MacCulloch demonstrates that Cranmer, throughout his career, was much in contact with continental Reformed churches and theologians...  
Thereafter [i.e. his marriage to Osianders’s niece], his career was a tortuous but persistent attempt to bring the Church of England into line with the Reformed churches on the continent, a trajectory that accelerated with the accession of Edward VI in 1547... In MacCulloch’s words, “The thread running through [his career]... is his fierce determination to promote the evangelical reform of the Church.”  Cranmer’s “middle way” was not a midpoint between the Reformation and Rome, but “between Wittenberg and Zurich,” the path trod by Bucer and Calvin.  He was “a Reformed Catholic” who sought to rebuild the Catholic Church on the basis of the Bible, the creeds, and the great councils of the early church. (p. 52)


  1. Thanks, but a more rigourous analysis is needed than this. Thanks.

  2. Philip, Rome wasn't built in a day - or in one post... Piece by piece. Keep your powder dry!

  3. those who have read "Five Women of the English Reformation" would know this. he only had 6 years to do it

  4. Six years to do, but Jewel and Hooker continued the task and sealed it by 1600.

    1. Hello Dr. Kirby,

      Sealed it by 1600 or further reformation ended by 1600? By the way, Jewel, among others, seemed less than enthused by the progress of reform and the prospects of that progress due to QE and the supremacy of the monarch. A needed and overlooked reform?
      Thanks for visiting TWR.