Anglican Reading Recommendations
The Anglican Communion is the third largest body of Christians in the world, and the largest Protestant denomination. According to J. I. Packer, Anglicanism possesses “the truest, wisest and potentially richest heritage in all Christendom.”
Serving as Canon for Vocations for The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, I get asked lots about resources on Anglican studies. I started keeping a list of all the tools and books I find helpful. It is a growing list, so I’m not claiming these are the best or only books that should be read.
Logos Anglican Library
The Logos Anglican library is packed with amazing and helpful tools for Bible study and exploring the resources of the Anglican tradition. I use Logos for preparation for preaching and teaching, personal Bible study, and academic research. If you purchase it, use this coupon code (HOLCOMB6) to receive a 15% discount.
Book of Common Prayer
Where to start? Start with a copy of the the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer is packed with devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations. The Book of Common Prayer (1979) is the latest, complete BCP used by the American branch of Anglicans, the Episcopal church.
- Book of Common Prayer
- Praying Shapes Believing: A Theological Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer by Leonel L. Mitchell
- Commentary on the American Prayer Book by Marion Hatchett
- The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer edited by Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck is a guide to the history and usage of the original Book of Common Prayer and its variations.
- A Short History of the Book of Common Prayer by William Reed Huntingdon is about the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the American Books of Common Prayer.
- The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography by Alan Jacobs tells the story of how the Book of Common Prayer became a venerable work whose cadences express the heart of religious life for millions.
- Edward VI and The Book of Common Prayer by Francis Gasquet focuses on the Early Tudor Context: Henry VIII, Edward VI, Thomas Cranmer, the 1549 and 1552 Books of Common Prayer.
- Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England by Judith Maltby provides an overview of the Elizabethan Settlement and the 1559 Book of Common Prayer.
These books serve as guides to the use of the Book of Common Prayer that is sensitive both to its liturgical and theological backgrounds and to the practical and pastoral issues surrounding public worship.
- The Ceremonies of the Eucharist: A Guide to Celebration by Howard E. Galley
- Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the Great Fifty Days: A Ceremonial Guide by Lionel L. Mitchell
- Pastoral and Occasional Liturgies: A Ceremonial Guide by Leonel L. Mitchell
- A Priest’s Handbook: The Ceremonies of the Church by Dennis G. Michno
- A Manual for Acolytes: The Duties of the Server at Liturgical Celebrations by Dennis G. Michno
- Prayer Book Rubrics Expanded by Byron D. Stuhlman is a liturgical manual that discusses each service of the Church according to shape, theology, past practice, and varieties of local expression.
Anglican History & Theology
- A History of the Church of England by J. R. H. Moorman is an historical introduction to and narrative encyclopedia of the Church in England and its Christian forerunners in England.
- The Rise of Moralism: The Proclamation of the Gospel from Hooker to Baxter by C. FitzSimons Allison traces how the rise of moralism at the end of the 17th century marked a “seismic shift in English theology.” Such a shift “muffled” the evangelical view of justification as espoused by “classical Anglican theologians” such as Richard Hooker, John Davenant, John Donne.
- The Vocation of Anglican Theology edited by Ralph McMichael presents a contemporary Anglican theology rooted in its sources but reaching into the future.
- A History of the Episcopal Church by Robert Prichard
- A Brief History of the Episcopal Church by David Holmes
- The Theology of English Reformers by Philip Hughes is great for studying the theology of the English Reformers. Ample quotations from their writings reveal their views on Holy Scripture, justification, sanctification, preaching and worship, ministry the sacraments, and church and state.
- The Anglican Spirit by Michael Ramsey investigates the ethos, historical tradition, and emphasis of Anglicanism. Ramsey here stresses the catholicity, scriptural basis, and the use of reason and experience, as well as the openness to various interpretation and emphases within the Anglican tradition.
- Gospel and the Catholic Church by Michael Ramsey
- The Study of Anglicanism edited by Stephen Sykes, John Booty, and Jonthan Knight contains essay on the history and ethos of the Churches of the Anglican Communion from the Anglican reform of the 16th century to its global witness today.
- Our Anglican Heritage by John W. Howe
- The Churches in England from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II: Volume I, 1558-1688 by Kenneth Hylson-Smith
- The Churches in England from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II: Volume II, 1689-1833 by Kenneth Hylson-Smith
- The Churches in England from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II: Volume I, 1833-1998 by Kenneth Hylson-Smith
- Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity by Richard Hooker
- Leading God’s People: Wisdom from the Early Church for Today by Christopher A. Beeley presents, in a fresh and accessible way, key principles of church leadership as they were taught from some of the great theologians of the early church. Beeley is an Episcopal priest and professor of Anglican studies and Patristics.
Anglican Spiritual Tradition
- Divine Allurement: Cranmer’s Comfortable Words by Ashley Null investigates Cranmer’s gospel of divine allurement. Because justification by faith emphasized personal faith, persuasion was important to the Protestant Reformers. The verb “allure” was thus closely connected with their expression of the Gospel, and this is reflected in the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer.
- The Anglican Spiritual Tradition by J. R. H. Moorman
- English Spirituality: An Outline of Ascetically Theology according to the English Pastoral Tradition by Martin Thorton
- The Christian Priest Today, Michael Ramsey
- Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation Through the Book of Common Prayer by David A deSilva.
- Prayer Book Spirituality edited by J. Robert Wright is a great overview of Anglican spirituality. Many Anglican writers have produced devotional commentaries related to the Prayer Book. This book brings together selections form the most important of these devotional commentaries. Classical Anglican sources from 1552 on are included.
- Living Faithfully as a Prayer Book People by John Westerhoff walks readers through the ways in which the contents of the Prayer Book can shape our lives.
- Liturgy for Living by Charles P. Price and Louis Weil does three things. First, it explains the development of Christian worship, and particularly the Anglican worship. Second, it sets the new Book of Common Prayer in the context of the theological and historical development of worship. Third, serves readers in better understanding the intimate, indissoluble, and mutually influential relationship between worship and living. It underlines the importance of liturgy for life.
- Thomas Cranmer: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch is the definitive account, by an English Reformation scholar, of Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, King Henry VIII’s guide through three divorces, and ultimately a martyr for his Protestant faith.
- Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love by Ashley Null. Null is one of my favorite Anglican theologians. In this book, he explores Cranmer’s cultural heritage, why he would have been attracted to Luther’s thought, and then provides convincing evidence for the Reformed Protestant Augustinianism which Cranmer enshrined in the formularies of the Church of England.
- The Collects of Thomas Cranmer by Paul F. M Zahl and C. Frederick Barbee presents the Collects (prayers) written by Cranmer in their original form and order. Cranmer’s Collects are each followed by succinct commentary on their historical context and an insightful meditation crafted with contemporary Christians in mind.
- The Thirty-nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today by J. I. Packer and R. T. Beckwith aims to show how the sixteenth-century Articles should be viewed in the twenty-first century. They argue that the Articles should be given a voice within the Church, not merely as an historical curiosity but an authoritative doctrinal statement.
- “Thirty-nine Articles of Religion” in Know the Creeds and Councils by Justin S. Holcomb provides a short overview of the historical background, content, legacy, and relevance of the Articles. As the Church of England found itself in a sort of middle ground between the papacy of Rome and the Protestant Reformers, it recognized the need to set out its general beliefs. It is this need that the Thirty-nine Articles addresses.
Welcome to the Episcopal Church
The series “Welcome to the Episcopal Church” is a helpful place to start. It covers all the main distinctive elements of the Episcopal tradition:
- Welcome to the Episcopal Church: An Introduction to Its History, Faith, and Worship by Christopher L Webber
- Welcome to Sunday: An Introduction to Worship in the Episcopal Church by Christopher L. Webber
- Welcome to the Church Year: An Introduction to the Seasons of the Episcopal Church by Vicki K. Black
- Welcome to the Book of Common Prayer by Vicki K. Black
- Welcome to the Anglican Spiritual Traditions by Vicki K. Black
- Welcome the Bible by Vicki K. Black and Petter Wenner
- Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail by Robert Webber and Lester Ruth focuses on Anglicanism’s “six gifts”, as Webber puts it: mystery, Christ-centered worship, sacraments, historic identity, catholic traditions, and holistic spirituality.
- Modern Canterbury Pilgrims and Why They Chose the Episcopal Church by John H. Hallowell
Non-Anglicans on Sacraments
Here are some introductions to the sacraments from non-Anglicans.
- For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy by Alexander Schmemann. As a seminary professor, I assign this book as much as possible because it is a compelling presentation of sacraments by an Orthodox priest. He discusses secularism and Christian culture from the perspective of the Church’s liturgy — “the sacrament of the world, the sacrament of the kingdom.”
- Eucharist and Eschatology by Geoffrey Wainwright, a Methodist minister and seminary professor focuses on an eschatological understanding of the eucharist for the mission and unity of the church.