Prolegomena To An Anglican Discussion of Authority: The Role of History on The Current Crisis
Neufeld, Bryan. Prolegomena To An Anglican Discussion of Authority: The Role of History on The Current Crisis; A Thesis Submitted to Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree, The United Centre for Theological Studies, The University of Winnipeg. Winnipeg, July 2016.
Authority is problematic. It is problematic in theory, and it is problematic in practice. According to the Lutheran theologian Günther Gassmann, "The issue of authority has been a perennial problem in the framework of Christian thinking, Christian life, and the church." This general problem of Christian authority has at the present moment taken on unique features within the Anglican Communion, where today it threatens it with schism. Through this thesis I will investigate the history of the Anglican church around the question of authority and how this has lead the Communion to its current crisis on the subject. The overreaching argument of this thesis will be two-fold. First, that Anglicanism has historically never had an uncontested practice, or doctrine, of authority up to the present day. Second, that, because of this, the history of Anglicanism needs to play a much larger role in the current discussions around the crisis of authority as there is much to learn from it. There is no simple solution to the challenges that face the Communion, and none is put forward here. What this thesis seeks to do is offer up a modest starting point from which further discussions on the concept and practice of authority within Anglicanism can move forward from.