An Introduction to Anglicanism

Saint Thomas Church is pleased to offer this lecture series featuring our Guest Historian-in-Residence, Dr. Christopher Wells. Throughout the coming program year (2019-2020), Dr. Wells will travel from his home in Dallas, Texas to present his lectures series in Andrew Hall on the theme: “An Introduction to Anglicanism.” Over the course of a total of nine lectures following Evensong, he will paint a broad and engaging picture of our Anglican history and heritage. Join us for this extraordinary journey together.


Series Overview

The Long Shadow of Augustine: Defining and Locating the Church; Multiplying Churches

  • Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30-8:00pm

Listen to an audio webcast of these lectures

Communion Transformations

  • Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Thursday, Dec. 5, 6:30-8:00pm

Whither Anglicanism?

  • Tuesday, March 10, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Wednesday, March 11, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Thursday, March 12, 6:30-8:00pm

Guest Historian-in-Residence

Dr. Christopher Wells

Dr. Christopher Wells is executive director of the Living Church Foundation, overseeing all of its publishing and teaching initiatives, fundraising, and staff. Christopher completed doctoral studies in historical theology at the University of Notre Dame and served as a lay leader in the Diocese of Northern Indiana before coming to the Living Church in 2009. He earned a BA at St. Olaf College and MAR at Yale Divinity School.

He is Affiliate Professor of Theology at the General Theological Seminary and Nashotah House Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses on Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and Anglican ecclesiology. He has published articles on Aquinas and ecclesiology in various journals, and since 2011 has served as theological consultant to the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S. (ARC-USA).
Christopher is a member of the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, and he enjoys reading, running, gastronomy, Notre Dame football, and all the arts.


More Information on “An Introduction to Anglicanism”

This course seeks to identify and analyze the main streams of Anglican thought about the one Church of the creeds. Our inquiry will combine historical and theological aspects, holding each accountable to the other: historical descriptions will be placed in conversation with normative principles from Scripture, ecumenical consensus, and authoritative doctrinal formulae, while constructive solutions will be held accountable to events and commitments of the past and the present. We will note the reality of Christian division since the 16th century, set within the patristic context of St. Augustine of Hippo. In this way, we will learn the main lineaments of traditional Western ecclesiology and be able to evaluate the plausibility of a divinely-given Anglican vocation.

Part 1: Long Shadow of Augustine: Defining and Locating the Church; Multiplying Churches (Sept. 24-26)

This first part of the course is built on the foundation of St. Augustine of Hippo’s incomparably influential theology of the Church Catholic, drawn from On Baptism, his richly scriptural and doctrinal engagement of Donatism and its associated consequences and lessons. With Augustine in hand, we will sift similarities and differences between two foundational figures of the classical Anglican period, John Jewel (Apology of the Church of England) and Richard Hooker (Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity), and examine the 39 Articles, in order to set forth the contours of several, distinctive and nascent “Anglicanisms.”

Part 2: Communion Transformations (Dec. 3-5)

Part two of the course charts the emergence of a wider Anglican “communion” beyond England along the same Augustinian lines, with special attention given to the contribution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. The founding texts of the Episcopal Church, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, and the towering Lambeth Conference of 1920 will be called upon to illustrate the decided pull of catholicism, turned outward in hopeful service to the whole Church.

Part 3: Whither Anglicanism? (March 10-12)

The final stage of the course alights on the ecumenical transformation of Anglican ecclesiality in the latter part of the 20th century, with special attention to the Anglican-Roman Catholic international dialogue (ARCIC) and its reception by the councils of the Communion. The now-familiar Augustinian grammar and lexicon will again guide our examination of contemporary Anglican discernments about faith and order, and propose some means of holding together both catholicity and apostolicity.