My friend Rod Bennett is wondering if there’s another Oxford Movement afoot — like the first one, starting with Evangelicals.
The Oxford Movement, remember, began when Evangelicals like Newman and Keble, horrified at the rapid liberal collapse happening to the Church of England in the 1830s, looked around for new weapons with which to defend her–and chanced upon the writings of the Church Fathers. (Something very similar was happening to Scotch Presbyterians in America around the same time: the “Restoration Movement” of Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell.) Now, thanks to the current “Post-Evangelical” phenom (in which the disgruntled kids of Reaganite moms are struggling to make Evangelicalism safe for abortion and gay marriage) the crisis is becoming acute again–and traditional “Bible-only” safeguards are proving impotent to the task. Thank God the writings of the Church Fathers are still available, with their shining vision of apostolic tradition, of One, Holy, Catholic Church.
And if you haven’t read Rod’s lovely book on the early Fathers — what are you waiting for?