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Book Review

David L. Edwards

What Anglicans Believe in the Twenty-First Century

ISBN 0 8264 6539 0

Continuum, London & New York, 2002, £10.99

(price at publication of review)


Reviewed September 2004; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2004

This book, which has been revised and updated within twenty-five years, sold tens of thousands of copies in Britain and the USA; and then gone very quickly to two editions, has already shown its usefulness and readability.

At first sight we may think from the title that this is going to be an attempt to codify and explain Anglican understandings of, say, the creeds or formulas of Christian belief and doctrine; but not so.  As the author states in a personal and detailed expanded preface to this latest edition, the book is intended to be 'an account of the Anglican way of being a Christian', presenting in a conversational style those aspects agreed upon by the majority of Anglicans.

Edwards hopes to give Anglicans and others a better understanding of the faith; and suggests questions for discussion groups.  He puts quite strongly, and at length, the need for personal decision in respect of faith, and points out that while faith can never be proven knowledge, commitment and experience will deepen it.  He tells us that the book is 'for people who think for themselves and who are willing to think about God'; and a keynote throughout is freedom.

Chapters are short, each on a particular subject, the first ten given to what Anglicans believe and how these tenets are demonstrated in practice.  Then follow five more dealing with how Anglicans fit in the wider Church and in history; the basic need and duty to 'Do this' together; and a look at the future.  The last is a short selection of poetry entitled 'The heart of it all', each piece alluding to some aspect of the faith.  So often, we know, the nuances of an art form convey truth beyond all explanation.  A short appendix offers discussion questions for each chapter.

Elizabeth CSF




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