Problems of Authority in the Reformation Debates

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During the Reformation period many of the fiercest debates centered on the nature of authority. These covered every aspect of Christian faith and life. The authority of scripture; the authority on which disputed points of faith and order could be decided; the authorizing of ministry in the Church; the efficacy of the sacraments, were all contested. Such issues are shown by the author of this study to remain ecumenically significant, both because it proved impossible at the time to resolve them to everyone's satisfaction, and because they continued to represent the focus of mutual hostility among the separated churches.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Athough this book represents something of a departure from Evans' earlier works, which focused primarily on medieval thought, readers familiar with her writings will recognize the mastery of sources, finely-honed analysis, and engaging prose that we have come to expect from Evans." Glenn S. Sunshine, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Evans' mastery and sophisticated handling of the sources, her expertise in the medieval context, and her effort to make sense of the sixteenth-century conflicts by a sympathetic 'intellectual fellowship' with the combatants, results in a finely-tuned historical study in which the ecumenical implications are suggested with delicacy and moderation....For Reformation scholars committed to ecumenical dialogue, Evans has produced a thesis that will stimulate reflection and discussion." Craig S. Farmer, Pro Ecclesia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521892469
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/18/2002
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Principal collections of articles and theses mentioned in the text; Introduction; Part I. Authority For the Truth of the Faith: 1. The authority of the text; 2. Authoritative testimony; 3. Authoritative proof; Part II. Saving Authority: 4. Powerlessness before sin; 5. Justification; 6. The empowering of the will for good; Part III. Authority in the Church to Reconcile: 7. The saving power of the sacraments; 8. The penitential system and 'power to bind and loose'; 9. The Eucharist and authority to forgive; Part IV. Authority in the Visible Community: 10. Visible and invisible; 11. The two swords and the political analogy; 12. Making ministers; 13. Higher authority; Part V. The Authority of Common Sense: 14. A decision-making body; 15. Decision-making in a divided Church; Conclusion: the unity we seek; Select bibliography; Index.

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