Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome to Tracts for the Times

The title "Tracts for the Times" captures what we hope to accomplish with this blog. The Tracts for the Times were published between September 9, 1833 and January 25, 1841 and were written by such illustrious Church of England clergy as John Henry Newman, John Keble and E.B Pusey, all of whom were associated with the University of Oxford. The Tracts were part of a concerted effort to recall the Church of England back to her catholic principles during a time when the established church was drifting away from catholic Christianity into what Newman called "Church of Englandism," that is a merely cultural Christianity which consisted of whatever nineteenth century Englishmen would accept as "religion".
The Tracts were phenomenally successful and enjoyed a wide circulation in Britain, largely because they addressed the issues facing the Church of England from a thoroughly theological perspective. The conviction animating all the Tracts was that the Church was a divine institution founded on apostolic authority and that she had a commission from God to proclaim an authoratative Gospel and to celebrate sacraments through which her Lord was present and in which he powerfully worked. At a time during which British religion was becoming more and more sentimental and agnostic (and Gnostic!), the Tractarians held to the ideal of Christianity as a religion centered enduring, objective Truth (dogma) and and constituted by the redeeming work of the Triune God.
Our hope is to carry on the work of the Tracts for our own day, acknowledging that our situation is quite similar to that of the Tractarians. Our committment is to inform, to challenge, to stimulate and, above all, to recall the Church to her catholic foundations with the hope of rendering a robust witness to the incomparable work of God in the world.
Michael Petty


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