Bishops Past, Present and Future by Martin Davie
The most comprehensive and up to date Anglican study of episcopacy produced in recent times.
842 pages | Paperback
RRP £19.95 / $32.00
Bishops, Past, Present, and Future is the fruit of over twenty years of study and reflection on the topics it covers. It is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Anglican study of episcopacy produced in recent times. Drawing on primary sources from the New Testament to the present day, it provides detailed answers to three key questions: ‘Why should the Church of England have bishops?’ ‘What is the proper role of bishops?’ and ‘How should bishops respond to the challenges facing the Church of England and the Church in the West in general?’
This is the book on Anglican ecclesiology that desperately needed to be written! Challenging the current assumption that bishops were a second century development by showing that the evidence points back to overlapping with the Apostles time, it re-establishes the Reformation case for Anglican polity. Wide ranging and thoroughly researched it will make people think again about their ecclesiology. Very importantly it satisfyingly addresses current questions about ‘what kind of bishops we need’ and how should jurisdiction be exercised in the face of liberal innovations. It strongly and convincingly advocates a return to apostolic practice. This is a very important book that every bishop and church leader should read. The Church would be the beneficiary!’
I am delighted to welcome this new book by Martin Davie and look forward to reading it, first because the subject matter is so significant at the present time and second because I admire the author and believe that he will have much to teach us.’
As we have come to expect from Dr Martin Davie, his latest book on episcopacy is incredibly thorough and well researched. Davie is not afraid to confront some previously held positions on the place of bishops in the first centuries of the church. His arguments are persuasive and a challenge to those of us who hold the title 'bishop'!’
In this ‘tour de force’ study on bishops, Martin Davie writes for two types of reader. For the church historian there are scholarly chapters on the history of episcopacy, demonstrating how it was described in the New Testament, how it was viewed in Patristic times, and then how, at the Reformation, Church of England teaching on the role of a bishop, and what his character should be, continued earlier teaching. All this helps the general reader to know what a bishop could and should be, in the present.
This is a book which needs slow reading, like the savouring of a banquet; it is worth reading, like the nourishment of a healthy diet. The book asks for “good enough” bishops; if that’s what you would like to be, or that’s what you would like to see, please read.
This book is a treasure trove of biblical interpretation and historical information, that will be a touchstone for anybody thinking or writing about bishops from now on. It is an impressive and learned exposition of the case for episcopacy and the development of it over the last twenty centuries, with a penetrating and provocative look at what bishops should be and should be doing today."
Evangelicals are rightly known for our desire to uphold the supreme authority of the Scriptures. There is a real danger of arrogance in this laudable desire because we start with the assumption that we have nothing to learn from the way others look at the Scriptures, particularly with reference to godly men and women of previous generations. Martin Davie does us a great turn in helping us address this assumption with regard to bishops. The assumption can be justified because so few have a positive experience of episcopacy but Martin helps us to appreciate how episcopacy came about and how it can serve the contemporary Church.
Martin Davie has written an immensely helpful book about bishops, in which he covers with great clarity the major biblical, theological, and historical contours of episcopacy, and brings this all to bear upon the present situation within the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the Church of England in particular. There is much in this book which will stimulate thought on the subject. But most of all, there is much in this book which needs to be heard afresh among episcopally led churches, especially about what it means to be a ‘good enough’ bishop for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.