What does it mean to be an Anglican? And Evangelical? Can these two identities be held together with integrity? Where the church seems to be fragmenting, how should we relate to the rest of the Anglican Church?
Thirty years ago two influential Anglican thinkers, J.I. Packer and N.T. Wright, addressed these questions in short and provocative Latimer Studies. Their work remains stimulating and important, and is republished here for a new generation, with fresh prefaces from each author reflecting on recent developments.
"The Evangelical Anglican Identity Problem" (Packer, 1978) addressed Anglican evangelicals who were unsure whether it was warrantable to continue as Anglicans.
"Evangelical Anglican Identity: The Connection Between Bible, Gospel & Church"(Wright, 1980) builds upon Packer's study, addressing Evangelical attitudes to the church.
"A Kind of Noah's Ark?" (Packer, 1981) had in view clergy and laity who were baffled and discouraged by the continually broadening spectrum of tolerated unorthodoxies within the Church of England, and in particular the hesitations felt by young men called to be pastors who were unsure whether it made sense to pursue their vocation as Anglicans.
All three pieces were thus tracts for the times, but are astonishingly relevant today.
J. I. Packer is Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is one of the most important evangelical theologians of the last fifty years.
N. T. Wright is Bishop of Durham and a highly respected New Testament scholar, publishing at both academic and popular levels.