""The Gospel and the Catholic Church " has two main aims: (1) ecumenism, and (2) ecclesiology rooted in the person and work of Christ. Michael Ramsey's work is a healthy balance of exegesis from both Testaments, church history, and historical theology. In an irenic spirit, he brings helpful exhortation for both Traditional and Evangelical wings of Christianity, not excluding his own Anglicanism.
"Ramsey spends the beginning chapters working out an ecclesiology rooted in Christ's death and resurrection. From Isaiah's Servant Songs, he highlights the tension between viewing the Suffering Servant as God's people and as an individual. Noting the mystery of this tension, he then proceeds to (1) show how the Christ fulfilled both as the Messiah and as the New Israel; and (2) how his work on the Cross is the root of the essence and structure of the Church. Just as Christ's work for redemption was by submission to the Father and by the death of self-hood, so the true Church would grow out of this Spirit-filled, cruciform reality: 'The Church, therefore, is defined .. .in terms of Christ, whose Gospel created it and whose life is its indwelling life (56).'
"It should be noted that his perception of the divide between the more Traditional and the more Evangelical is unhelpfully mitigated, as if there is mere dialectical tiff between those focused on the Gospel and those focused on the Church of the Gospel. Also, one wonders how the "preaching of the Gospel" was not included as a distinct mark of the true church.
"In any case, Ramsey's felt connection with both traditions gives an appropriate tone of love and correction. More importantly, by the reworking of an ecclesiology rooted in the Evangel of 'God, Ramsey provides a legitimate groundwork for the potential home of a reconciled Church. No, in fact, Christ provided this groundwork, and Ramsey, as a faithful bishop, has built on that foundation."
--"Theological Book Review"
About the Author
The Right Reverend and Right Honorable Arthur Michael Ramsey
(1904-1988) was the 100th archbishop of Canterbury. He also served as archbishop of York, bishop of Durham, and president of the World Council of Churches. Ramsey was the Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University and an influential Anglican theologian. His portrait appeared on the cover of Time magazine, August 16, 1963, introducing coverage of "The Anglican Communion: Worldly, Worldwide, Catholic, and Protestant." A noted scholar, his other works include The Resurrection of Christ
(1944), F.D. Maurice and the Conflicts of Modern Theology
(1951), and From Gore to Temple