Introduction to the classes
The Fall, 2022, classes will be Tuesday evenings, 7:30 – 9PM, Oct. 11, 25, Nov. 1, 8, 15. A Zoom link will be provided to class registrants upon registration.
Teacher: Paul Julienne (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
This series of five classes builds upon a prior Anglican Essentials series of four classes that provides a simple introduction to the basics. This prior series situated Anglican Christianity within the overarching narrative told in the stories of Israel and Jesus in the Bible. It examined the historical origins of Anglican Christianity and explored the sources and nature of Anglican belief and worship with an emphasis on the corporate and personal aspects of the liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer.
This second series of classes is designed to help you go deeper in understanding how “all things hold together in Christ” within an Anglican perspective, thereby enabling you to be a more informed follower of Christ today. Anglicanism is firmly rooted in the creeds and doctrines established in the early centuries after Jesus. The first class will review the basic concepts from the earlier Anglican Essentials series and will motivate what we will be doing in this new series. The next two classes will look at the beliefs and spirit of the ancient Christianity that so dramatically changed the pagan Greco-Roman world and can again change ours. The last two classes will help you understand the relation between God and the world that we know as creation ex nihilo (creation from nothing). It enriches our lives and faith to read the two books of nature and Scripture together. We will look at some contemporary Anglican voices to help us to see the hand of God in all things.
The links below [to be provided] will take you to the material for each class.
- 1st class: Introduction and Review of Anglican basics (Oct. 11)
- Why “go deeper” and why look at history?
- The sources and character of Anglican belief and worship
- The big picture: Creation to New Creation
- Early Christianity
- English Christianity
- 2nd class: Introduction to the early Christians (Oct. 25)
- 3rd class: Articulating the faith (Nov. 1)
- In what way is Jesus God? The Nicene Creed
- Players in the drama to understand Jesus and God
- 4th class: Creation from nothing (Nov. 8)
- 5th class: A contemporary perspective (Nov. 15)
Much of the material on early Christianity is based on The Sprit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God by Robert Louis Wilken, emeritus Professor of Christian History at the University of Virginia and a former president of the Patristic Society. Wilken’s book breathes with the spirit of the early Christians. This spirit is infused with “liturgy-assisted thinking,” dealing with practical issues of instructing a praying and worshiping community on how to live the faith amid the diversity and varied political circumstances of Greco-Roman culture that gradually became Christian. We will examine how Christian doctrine came to be by looking at the words and lives of the early Christians themselves.
Much of the material on creation ex nihilo can be found in a recent (2017) book, Creation: A Guide for the Perplexed, by Simon Oliver, a contemporary Anglican theologian at the University of Durham in the UK. Professor Oliver gives a relatively simple and understandable account of the classic doctrine worked out in the early centuries of Christianity through Thomas Aquinas. He also shows how thinking about “creation” has changed as we moved into the modern world. The classical understanding is still viable today and need not be in conflict with the findings of the sciences, whether of a physical, chemical, biological, psychological, or biomedical nature. Yet the classical understanding can be in conflict with certain mechanistic and reductive worldviews that fail to appreciate the nature of the relation between God and the created order of the universe.
The slides presented in class can be viewed or downloaded at this link. Registered members of the class will get a link to the recordings of the classes; others can contact me via email to ask for permission to see the recordings.