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

Saint Thomas Church was proud to offer a lecture series entitled “An Introduction to Anglicanism” given by Dr. Christopher Well. You can listen to audio of Dr. Wells’ first series of lectures from September of 2019 at the bottom of this page.

The audio above is from Dr. Wells’ second series of lectures in December of 2019. The overarching topics of these lectures was “Communion Transformations”. These lectures charted 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.

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: The 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.”