Anglicanism and Social Theology
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Our Anglican heritage has
deep roots in pre-Reformation English Christianity. In the following, I
identify four major pre-Reformation contributions to this tradition of social
theology. The first is the care for place evident in the liturgical advice of
Gregory the Great to Augustine of Canterbury. The second is the concept of
restitutive justice that is held up in the writings of Anselm as a model of
good earthly justice. I then turn to an implicit critique of clerical privilege
that can be derived from the Thomas Becket event. The fourth and final element
is the church’s interest in and responsibility for good government, which is
indicated in the Magna Carta of 1215.
Our post-Reformation history yields three main questions concerning social
theology: our theology of, for, and in society. I have proposed that these
three questions are largely answered in order by Richard Hooker, Thomas Arnold,
and William Temple together with Rowan Williams.