William Temple as Public Theologian: Throwback Thursday

This made its first appearance in 2004, at the Society for the Study of Anglicanism (an “additional meeting” of the American Academy of Religion.  A heavily corrected form appeared in 2006 (I think) in the Journal of Anglican Studies.

26 October 2004 was the sixtieth anniversary of the death of William Temple, 96th Archbishop of Canterbury. Although regarded as ‘the outstanding British church leader of [the twentieth] century’, his contin­uing signicance is unclear.[1] Partly, this is because ‘even those who still respect Temple often preserve only the vague aura of a great Christian of the past, which only discourages a detailed study of his work for today’.[2] In addition, even Ronald Preston, who supposedly stands in ‘apostolic succession’ to Temple[3] has rarely examined much of his work beyond the 1942 Christianity and Social Order, Temple’s best-known work. Some have claimed that Temple ‘died at the right time, and would have been out of place’ today.[4] Others admit that the world has changed drastically since Temple’s death, and extended re-working of his ideas would be necessary to reclaim his legacy.[5] Furthermore, Temple’s two most noted admirers in the United States were Joseph Fletcher (of ‘situation ethics’ fame), and the controversial Bishop James Pike of California. Perhaps the legacy of William Temple needs to be rescued from at least some of those who admired him.

I intend to show that Temple’s ideas, especially from his earlier works are applicable in the contemporary context. I will use, as a frame of reference, papers from a colloquium in memory of Ronald Preston (1913–2001), in March 2003. This gathering explored the topic of public theology, described signicantly in the lectures by Duncan Forrester and John Atherton. This is a way of ‘being church in public’ for a post-Christian context of plurality—one which Temple anticipated decades ago. Any consideration of Temple’s continuing relevance will need to come to terms with the public character of his theology, and the way in which the place of theology in the public arena has changed. The changing nature of public theology was highlighted at the Preston colloquium by Forrester and Atherton. It is my task to begin such an exploration by applying these ideas to Temple’s work.

Describing Public Theology

In most of the industrialized Western world, it is not possible to assume a Christian culture, or a privileged place for the church in the wider society. ‘Religion’ and ‘Christianity’ are not spoken of as equivalent terms. For example, Edward Norman has suggested that this is evidence of ‘a time not of religious decline but of transformation in the under­standing of religion’.[6] People seeking spiritual growth no longer consider Christianity their only option. Various reasons have been given, from Daphne Hampson’s claim that Christianity has been exposed as untrue (and does not deserve continued existence),[7] to Edward Norman’s asser­tion that the decline in support for the churches is the ‘insistence of church leaders themselves in representing secular enthusiasm for humanity as core Christianity’.[8] However, many assumptions about justice, the common good, and human dignity or ourishing, as described by Christian traditions, are still in operation.

Atherton presents some of the problems post-Christianity poses for the wider society. His summary of the situation for Christianity in Britain is bleak. He does not expect the Anglican Diocese of Manchester to exist in any signicant way by 2040.[9] Declining church attendance has led to ‘widespread religious illiteracy’.[10] This may or may not be a problem in itself, but it has implications for public life:

For people, communities and governments concerned to regenerate deprived localities and overcome the damaging consequences of increasing social disease, the decline of the churches should also be a matter of great concern. For churches have traditionally been centres of voluntary activity and volunteering, indispensable in rebuilding changed lives and neigh­bourhoods. The likely demise of that contribution to civic society should set alarm bells ringing in all public corridors.[11]

Atherton’s theology is clearly oriented to ‘the good of the city’. This is the basis for a theological justication for Christian action in a post-Christian world.

‘Public theology,’ as I am using it, is a composite of the criteria set out by Duncan Forrester and John Atherton. For Forrester,

Public theology…is not primarily and directly evangelical theology which addresses the Gospel to the world in the hope of repentance and conver­sion. Rather, it is theology which seeks the welfare of the city before protecting the interests of the Church…[12]

From this description, the characteristics of public theology emerge. Public theology must be:

  1. Contextual, responding to the challenges in the current situa­tion—especially when those challenges are hostile to Christian assumptions.
  2. Interdisciplinary, taking into account insights from non-theological sources.
  3. Praxis-oriented, and performative.
  4. Grounded in, but not enslaved by, tradition, so that it is ‘equipped to understand, interpret and respond to’ religiously plural contexts, while ‘endeavouring to hold fast to a tradition which has a constant core’.[13]

This is not a ‘justifying to the secular gatekeepers theology’s claim to a place in the public forum’, but instead ‘seeking the good of the broader community’ in which churches, and theologians, nd themselves.[14] Responding to the challenges of a post-Christian, religiously plural world, with a ‘disciplined and critical investigation of religious symbolic structures, and the careful and responsible use of religious language’,[15] is an area in which Temple’s legacy should be retrieved.

Revisiting Temple

  1. Biographical Background

William Temple must have seemed like an independent thinker in terms of the conventional Christian teachings of his time. His questioning of the historic accuracy of such biblical events as the virgin birth and the resurrection were the reason he was rejected for ordination when he originally presented himself to the Bishop of Oxford in 1908.[16] His own calling to the priesthood stemmed from two sources. First, despite growing up in the episcopal palaces of Exeter, London and Canterbury, it does not appear that the privileged life of the upper clergy was his primary motivation.[17] Rather, in his mid-twenties, Temple was discover­ing a church ‘at work in England’, with ‘a foot in 16,000 parishes, with its unique opportunity, its cumbrous machinery, its crippling anachron­isms, [and] its complacent worldliness…’.[18] He also discovered that the church’s leadership frequently lacked the intellectual resources to preach the gospel in a way that made a difference to the lives of individuals or the wider society. Frustration with the feebleness of the church on such social issues as education, temperance, and housing, is evident in letters to his friend John Stocks:

As a matter of practical politics—what is our so-called Christianity doing? Men are still rather encouraged to get drunk than otherwise; the poor are not housed, nor the naked clothed nor the hungry fed. And yet nearly everyone in England professes to believe that one at least of the sentences of nal condemnation is ‘I was a stranger and ye took me not in, etc.’[19]

These things were, for Temple, as much the responsibility of the estab­lished church as of the government. The church was abdicating that responsibility, largely because of the inadequacy of its leaders.

Because he was a critic of the church as well as a friend, Temple was surprised when he was asked by Archbishops Davidson and Lang to serve on a committee on church and state relations. Temple had been a critic of establishment, but the Archbishops were adamant believing that if Temple’s views were represented on the committee, they would do less damage to the church’s position. He knew that he was viewed with suspicion by both the church and the Prime Minister. In a letter to his brother in January 1942, Temple wrote that he would ‘be surprised if just at this moment the “powers” select me for Canterbury. Some of my recent utterances have not been liked in political circles, and it would be thought by some that to choose me now is to endorse them.’[20] Winston Churchill, however, set his differences aside, saying that Temple was the obvious choice, the ‘only shilling article in a penny bazaar’.[21] So, despite being critical of both church and government, William Temple became Arch­bishop of Canterbury in April of 1942. These biographical highlights suggest that he was a proto-public theologian in the terms I have outlined.

Beyond and/or Behind ‘Middle Axioms’

Despite Temple’s stature as one of the great intellectuals of the Church of England in the rst half of the twentieth century, his ideas are not exam­ined much today. This is partly due to the hagiographical nature of what scholarship has been done concerning him. However, it is more tragic that Temple’s own reputed theological successor, Ronald Preston, undercut much of his legacy. Preston completely dismissed two of Temple’s three largest and most important works (Mens Creatrix and Christus Veritas) as ‘almost unreadable’, and the third, Nature, Man and God, is never referred to in any of Preston’s rather copious writings.[22] In fact, the only work he cited is Christianity and Social Order. From this, and from the Oxford Conference of 1937,[23] Preston promoted Temple’s method of ‘middle axioms’ as if that was all there was to say. Middle axioms were certainly evident in Temple’s writing, but do not constitute the whole of his theological contribution. It is important to recall the method, and then to look to Temple’s writings for other ideas that are useful in cultural con­texts that have arisen since his death.

William Storrar has recently argued that middle axioms are important because they are ‘mediating moral directives that have a key function in the middle ground between the shared beliefs and related ethical prin­ciples of Christianity, and the very specics judgments that Christians … must be free to make…’.[24] Middle axioms are rooted in ‘fundamental theological and ethical conventions but evolve as highly contextual and provisional norms guiding Churches and Christians…’.[25] This represents the real clue for understanding the place of middle axioms in the work of William Temple. Temple was striving to help the church to be an active participant in the particular social struggles of his day. It is also crucial in understanding Temple’s use of middle axioms to note that they are not the sum total of what the church must be, say, or do.

Temple divided his list of guiding principles into two levels. The primary Christian social principles, of God’s purpose, and of the place of humanity in the world, are relatively stable and are ‘principles on which we can begin to act in every possible situation’.[26] The ‘derivative’ prin­ciples (freedom, social fellowship, and service)[27] are also still useful, but in the early twenty-rst century’s situation of religious and moral plurality they need re-examination. Some of these principles will remain constant, but others may develop and change with time. Temple’s earlier writings provide the resources to do exactly that. So, to work adequately with ‘middle axioms’, one must go behind and beyond them. An examination of a fuller cross-section of Temple’s work is needed to nd the enduring value of his work for Christians in the early twenty-rst century.

Incarnational and Eucharistic Ecclesiology as a Basis for Public Theology

Temple had a very full and rened ecclesiology which I have addressed elsewhere.[28] At a time when other theologians such as Karl Barth were highlighting the structural importance of ecclesiology for the formation of theology, Temple drew on the wide range of his theological interests for an ecclesiology which would be adequate to the range of challenges he saw facing the church in his day. One of his central concerns was for an authentically public theology and those aspects of his ecclesiology which are relevant to the argument of this article.

Temple’s vision of the church is an incarnational and thus eucharistic ecclesiology. The dominant metaphor throughout Temple’s work con­cerning the church is the Body of Christ, the continuation of the Incarna­tion on earth.[29] The church’s relationship to the world is proportional to that of Jesus during his time on earth. As Jesus was conversing and eating with, touching and being touched by, changing and being changed (and wounded) by the society in which he lived and moved, this is how the church should be in whatever context it nds itself. The church as body is a dynamic, visible and relational presence in the world.[30] This does not mean that the church’s identity is that of the world. It is in ‘continual interaction with other bodies in the world, both
critically and constructively, in its mission of furthering God’s work of redemptive transformation’.[31]

This leads directly into the church’s sacramental nature. Temple draws a close identication between the church and the eucharistic bread, claiming that ‘when St. Paul called the church the Body of Christ he used the words in just the same sense as when he called the Eucharistic Bread the Body of Christ’.[32] So, when the words of the eucharist, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ are said, it is a command to the church: ‘as I treat this Bread, so I treat my Body; and you must do the same’.[33] Both the bread and the church are to be broken and given for the sake of the world.[34]

Such an incarnational and eucharistic vision means that the church abandons any claim to a privileged position in, or attempt to live in isolation from, the world.[35] The Church is holy, but holiness is not separation from the world. Instead, the church’s holiness is that of Jesus Christ himself, in its risky interaction with that world. Such risk is necessary. For Temple, if God’s ‘victory and kingdom were to be all embracing, they must include such as Judas; the world must be welcomed into the Church if the Church is to convert and direct the world’.[36]

So, if embodied sacramental identity can be seen as the primary prin­ciple of the church’s being in the world, how is the church supposed to interact with that world? A deeper excavation of Temple’s thought yields some principles for the church’s presence in the world.

Being Church in Public Today: What Does William Temple Offer?

It is possible to move from Temple’s basic Christian convictions to some guiding principles for the church’s way of being in a plural, post-Christian context. This is not a program of action, but a measure for the way that the church conducts itself in public. It describes attitudes and dispositions more than tasks. It does not move directly from Scripture or church tradition to action demanded by the contemporary situation.

There is great exibility in authentic Christian belief and action. Temple frequently claimed that Christ left no written constitution to his followers, but a fellowship held together by common loyalty to their Lord.[37] This is not a weakness or oversight, but a guarantee of the intellectual freedom that is required to apply Christ’s teachings to a wide variety of circumstances, especially to those situations which the Gospel does not directly address.

From Temple’s vision of what the church is supposed to be, a way of interacting with the wider culture is indicated. I see three qualities that the church should demonstrate in a post-Christian, plural context. These are (a) intellectual excellence, which in turn leads to both a self-critique and an openness to difference; (b) a gracious and attractive quality of Christian life, which deserves the respect of non-Christians in society; and (c) a selessness on the part of the church which is in line with public theology as being ‘for the good of the city’.

Intellectual Excellence

William Temple sought ordination at least in part because the clergy were poorly equipped to meet the challenges of faith that many Christians were facing. He felt that he might be able to assist Christian reection on current issues with something more than the ‘maimed, or even false and unworthy, conception of God … preached from the pulpits in the parish churches of England’.[38] As headmaster of Repton (1910–14), he encouraged an inquiring and mentally rigorous approach to Christian faith. One of his most memorable sermons was entitled ‘The Sin of Stupidity’.[39] Based on 1 Cor. 14.20 (‘Brethren, be not children in mind; howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men’), Temple stressed that ‘real goodness and deep religion are incompatible with stupidity’,[40] because if one is stupid, ‘even in his efforts to do good he will do harm through ignorance or misunderstanding of the facts’.[41]

An intelligent approach to faith requires that a person should examine his or her belief and practice ‘in the crucible of criticism and by the experiment of life’.[42] He drew a sharp distinction between what he called ‘revealed truths’ (impossible to frame in unchanging language) and ‘truths of revelation’—those things indicated by the gospel, embodied in the Incarnation, and applied in changing circumstances.[43] Christian theology evolves and changes, as ‘orthodoxy is constantly refashioned so that its permanent essence may be synthesised with an ever-growing range of experience’.[44] Furthermore, Temple always regarded theology as the ‘progressive attempt to understand’ the ‘vitalising energy’ of God’s love for humanity as expressed in the life of Jesus Christ. It was not a ‘Deposit’ merely to be handed down unchanged through the generations.[45] Adequate theology did not need to provide a ‘complete and satisfactory’ explanation for all of reality, but it did have to help in ‘guiding us progressively forward in understanding God’s interaction with the world’.[46]

Verbal formulations of belief will change as new experience colors theological expression. This realization leads to an intellectual humility, which is the ‘necessary counterpart of [the] intellectual freedom’, which Temple believed was the right and responsibility of all Christians. Thus, intellectual excellence has a dual aspect. First, there is the exercise of self-criticism—the ability to ‘insist on our own part of the truth in such a way as to avoid all condemnation of other bodies—at least, all condemnation which we do not pronounce quite equally upon ourselves’.[47] The compli­mentary aspect is the desire and ability to ‘learn the truth which others possess in fuller degree than ourselves … Our temper … must be that rather of learners than of champions.’[48] For Temple, it ‘is never right to rest content with disproving another [person’s] view’.[49] Rather, one must ‘start with the conviction that there is no faith which is held by any very large body of people or by any sincerely reecting people, which has not the truth as its mainspring’.[50] So, it is equally important to discover what truth or insight an opposing view might contain.

The Graciousness or Attractiveness of the Church’s Being

Intellectual excellence, with its aspects of self-criticism and openness to the views of others, leads to the next feature of the church’s interaction with the world. The church should be a gracious presence in a plural society. It will be relaxed and condent, but not arrogant, and concerned with material as well as spiritual well-being. Reecting on the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel, Temple illustrates the requirement of graciousness:

[Jesus] not only disclosed the divine reality, but therein also displayed its beauty. Truth is august, often austere, sometimes repellent. But here it is gracious and winning. John the Baptist, who is also in mind here, was full of truth, but there was not much grace about him![51]

This is especially important when great cultural differences exist between the church and those for whose benet it exists (for Temple, usually not its own members!). As early as 1914, he indicated that contact with other cultures might cause the church to reformulate how it expresses the faith:

I am sure that if I were called to be a Missionary, I should desire abundant liberty of re-translating the experience in the Catholic tradition into language more intelligible to the children of another civilisation, and I should hope to learn from my converts’ way of responding to the revelation of God in Christ so much new truth as might require some change in my own formulation of belief.[52]

This is a respectful and realistic way of dealing with other religions. More than twenty years after leaving Repton, he still held that it would not be possible to enter conversation with non-Christians, because ‘it is not to be expected that they will give sympathetic attention [to the Gospel] until full appreciation has been shown for the spiritual treasures of which they are the heirs’.[53]

Temple was well aware that unfortunately Christians were not always gracious towards one another. He considered this to be a ‘sad reection of Christian discipleship’, and held that ‘to become bitter in controversy is more heretical than to espouse with sincerity and charity the most devastating theological opinions’.[54]

Because those outside the church would nd such bitterness unattrac­tive and confusing, it was a barrier to effective Christian inuence. The fellowship of the church was to be ‘the representation in this earth of the life of heaven’. However, if non-Christians were to ‘look at us and say, “In that case we don’t much want to go to heaven”,’ it is at least partly because the church’s public presence is inadequately gracious.[55] Temple reminded Christians that no matter how much good the church or its members are able to do, ‘our vocation is so to practise virtue so that men [and women] are won to it; it is possible to be morally upright repul­sively!’[56]

‘For the Good of the City’

‘[S]ervice of the world is the business of [the church’s] life.’[57] Everything the church does is not ultimately for its own members, but ‘for the King­dom of God’.[58] Such service can be effective only if the church is an intelligent and gracious presence, sacramental in the ways I have described.

Temple’s own social concerns, mainly elaborated in Christianity and Social Order, indicated those issues (fair wages, education, a just and humane penal system, among many others) with which the church had legitimate concerns in his day. However, in the 1940s, Temple could assume that the middle axioms approach was enough—the ofcial teaching structures of the church could announce principles, and Christian citizens would realize in their daily lives and occupations. The current situation indicates more direct involvement, and requires Christian leaders to be better informed in areas such as economics or politics. But both a changing situation and a faith that develops through greater experience and knowledge, would have been challenges Temple might have encouraged the church to meet. This may involve criticizing existing social structures—and accepting criticism of its own short­comings. To do so carries the distinct possibility that the church may suffer loss in terms of wealth or prestige, but a truly public church exists not for itself, but for the good of the city. An isolationist or separatist church would have been anathema to Temple’s way of thinking, as it would have been incapable of effecting social transformation.

William Temple as Source and Resource for a Post-Christian Public Theology

The world has changed drastically since Temple’s time. This has led to claims that his ideas are not dynamic enough to meet the challenges of a plural, post-Christian society.[59] Most specically, ‘we have seen the end of the Christendom situation’, which ‘Temple tacitly, and sometimes explicitly, assumed’.[60]

Perhaps what makes Temple’s thought seem somewhat dated today is precisely his successors’ emphasis on middle axioms, especially if limited to those primary and derivative principles described in Christianity and Social Order. It may be far more useful to sift Temple’s earlier, and often more challenging, ideas to develop a set of principles for the church in a plural, post-Christian setting. I agree with Malcolm Brown, former Executive Secretary of the William Temple Foundation, that ‘[W]e could do worse than start by rediscovering some of Temple’s theological insights’.[61] Forrester and Atherton claim that a public theology must have a basis in tradition. It makes sense to revisit some of the major thinkers in British theology to develop an adequate vision of church in society for the present context. I think that Temple’s commitment to principles for the Church’s being in the world still holds, but the specic principles outlined in Christianity and Social Order need revision and aug­mentation in a post-Christian plural concept. Without making this effort, Temple’s work indeed seems too deeply attached to its time and place.

For this purpose Temple’s ideas are still fresh today, almost ninety years after he claimed the need for religious understandings that could take into account ‘the wealth of spiritual activity in the world right now’.[62] Today, that abundant spiritual activity sometimes takes the form of ‘furious religion’,[63] the language of which must be disciplined and directed if religion in general is not to be treated as suspect. Christianity, especially in its institutional presence, must exemplify as well as assert its claim to be a force for good. By examining Temple’s writings in light of the standards of public theology set forth by John Atherton and Duncan Forrester, the church may reclaim an important resource for its presence and action in a plural, post-Christian context.

The church must have an intellectual vitality and an open, welcoming graciousness, if it is to fulll its purpose in the life, and serve the good of the city. All of its being, speech and action in the world must exhibit, and ow from, these characteristics. If the church is truly a sacrament of the incarnation, it must live for others—perhaps most especially for those who are not yet, and may never become, its members. William Temple’s thought is a rich resource for developing a public theology for the world today.

    [1].     Ronald Preston, ‘William Temple: The Man and his Impact on Church and Society’, in Ronald Preston et al., Archbishop William Temple: Issues in Church and Society 50 Years On (Manchester: The William Temple Foundation, 1994), p. 4.

    [2].     Suggate in Dackson, The Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple (1881–1944) (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2004), p. i.

    [3].     John Atherton, Public Theology for Changing Times (London: SPCK, 2000), p. 79.

  1. Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 4. I do not think Preston is entirely off-base in his appropriation of Temple. His continuation of Temple’s ethical and ecumenical concerns is very much in line with Temple’s. I do, however, hold that he has not adequately assessed Temple’s deeper theological foundations, and thus does not create an adequate ecclesiology from which to address those concerns. See Dackson, ‘But Was it Meant to Be a Joke Legacy? Ronald Preston as Heir to William Temple’, Studies in Christian Ethics 17.2 (2004), pp. 148-61, in which I explain further how Ronald Preston both was, and was not, Temple’s theological successor.

    [5].     Suggate, in Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. i.

    [6].     Edward Norman, Secularisation (London: Continuum, 2000), pp. viii-ix.

    [7].     See Daphne Hampson, After Christianity (London: SCM Press, 1996).

    [8].     Norman, Secularisation, p. ix.

    [9].     John Atherton, Marginalization (London: SCM Press, 2003), p. 31. Atherton gives an excellent description of the declining inuence of the church in contemporary British society (although the concepts are apt in other contexts, such as North America), and ways in which the church might work with both secular groups and other faiths to retain a corporate vitality. Space does not permit detailing his arguments here, but I highly recommend his book.

    [10].   Atherton, Marginalization, p. 33. I would venture that my own generation, born in the ‘baby boom’ years, is the rst generation for whom it was socially acceptable not to profess at least nominal religious afliation, and for whom it was common to be raised without some minimal level of religious activity.

    [11].   Atherton, Marginalization, p. 1.

    [12].   Duncan Forrester, ‘The Scope of Public Theology’, Studies in Christian Ethics 17.2 (August 2004), pp. 5-19.

    [13].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’; and John Atherton, ‘Marginalis­ation, Manchester, and the Scope of Public Theology’, Studies in Christian Ethics 17.2 (August 2004), pp. 20-30.

    [14].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’, p. 18.

    [15].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’, p. 19.

    [16].   F.A. Iremonger, William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury: His Life and Letters (London: Oxford University Press, 1948), pp. 108-11.

    [17].   William Temple was the rst son of an Archbishop of Canterbury to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

    [18].   Iremonger, William Temple, p. 105.

    [19].   Iremonger, William Temple, pp. 98-102.

    [20].   Iremonger, William Temple, p. 474.

    [21].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 4.

    [22].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 5.

    [23].   Alan M. Suggate, William Temple and Christian Social Ethics Today (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1987), p. 149.

    [24].   William F. Storrar, ‘Scottish Civil Society and Devolution: The New Case for Ronald Preston’s Defence of Middle Axioms’, Studies in Christian Ethics,17.2 (August 2004), pp. 37-46.

    [25].   Storrar, ‘Scottish Civil Society’.

    [26].   Temple, Christianity and Social Order, pp. 62-66.

    [27].   Temple, Christianity and Social Order, pp. 67-77.

    [28].   See Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple. Also Dackson, ‘But Was it Meant to Be a Joke Legacy?’

    [29].   Charles Gore is most likely the inuence on Temple’s primary ecclesiological metaphor. See his The Holy Spirit and the Church (London: John Murray, 1924), pp. 26, 111, 147.

    [30].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, pp. 74-75.

    [31].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. ii (from the Preface by Alan Suggate).

    [32].   William Temple, Christus Veritas (London: Macmillan, repr., 1954 [1924]), p. 250.

    [33].   Temple, Christus Veritas, p. 237.

    [34].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. 115.

    [35].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. 120.

    [36].   William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel (London: Macmillan, 1952 [1939–40]), p. 100.

    [37].   William Temple, The Church and its Teaching Today (New York: Macmillan, 1936), pp. 2-3.

    [38].   Iremonger, William Temple, p. 172.

    [39].   William Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth of Christianity (London: Macmillan, 1914), pp. 150-61.

    [40].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 150.

    [41].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 157.

    [42].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 161.

    [43].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 8.

    [44].   William Temple, Nature, Man and God (London: Macmillan, repr., 1949 [1934]).

    [45].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, pp. 39-40.

    [46].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, p. 48.

    [47].   William Temple, Church and Nation (New York: Macmillan, 1915), p. 115.

    [48].   William Temple, The Church Looks Forward (London: Macmillan, 1944), p. 30.

    [49].   Temple, The Church Looks Forward, p. 30.

    [50].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, p. 34.

    [51].   Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel.

    [52].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 55.

    [53].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, p. 32.

    [54].   Doctrine in the Church of England: The Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine Appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 1922 (Chairman’s Introduction by W. Temple; London: SPCK, 1950 [1938]), p. 1.

    [55].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, pp. 15-16.

    [56].   Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, p. 14.

    [57].   Temple, Church and Nation, p. 30.

    [58].   William Temple, Issues of Faith (London: Macmillan, 1917), pp. 21-22.

    [59].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 14.

    [60].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 9. However, Temple’s use of the term ‘Christen­dom’ is quite different from that of most of his critics. It was ‘precisely the world no longer alien’ (Mens Creatrix [London: Macmillan, 1961 (1917)], p. 326), and thus some­thing which had not yet been achieved.

    [61].   Malcolm Brown, ‘Work and Unemployment: The Church in the Moral Mineeld’, in Archbishop William Temple: Issues in Church and Society 50 Years On, pp. 17-30.

    [62].   Temple, Church and Nation, pp. 29-30.

    [63].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’,

26 October 2004 was the sixtieth anniversary of the death of William Temple, 96th Archbishop of Canterbury. Although regarded as ‘the outstanding British church leader of [the twentieth] century’, his contin­uing signicance is unclear.[1] Partly, this is because ‘even those who still respect Temple often preserve only the vague aura of a great Christian of the past, which only discourages a detailed study of his work for today’.[2] In addition, even Ronald Preston, who supposedly stands in ‘apostolic succession’ to Temple[3] has rarely examined much of his work beyond the 1942 Christianity and Social Order, Temple’s best-known work. Some have claimed that Temple ‘died at the right time, and would have been out of place’ today.[4] Others admit that the world has changed drastically since Temple’s death, and extended re-working of his ideas would be necessary to reclaim his legacy.[5] Furthermore, Temple’s two most noted admirers in the United States were Joseph Fletcher (of ‘situation ethics’ fame), and the controversial Bishop James Pike of California. Perhaps the legacy of William Temple needs to be rescued from at least some of those who admired him.

I intend to show that Temple’s ideas, especially from his earlier works are applicable in the contemporary context. I will use, as a frame of reference, papers from a colloquium in memory of Ronald Preston (1913–2001), in March 2003. This gathering explored the topic of public theology, described signicantly in the lectures by Duncan Forrester and John Atherton. This is a way of ‘being church in public’ for a post-Christian context of plurality—one which Temple anticipated decades ago. Any consideration of Temple’s continuing relevance will need to come to terms with the public character of his theology, and the way in which the place of theology in the public arena has changed. The changing nature of public theology was highlighted at the Preston colloquium by Forrester and Atherton. It is my task to begin such an exploration by applying these ideas to Temple’s work.

Describing Public Theology

In most of the industrialized Western world, it is not possible to assume a Christian culture, or a privileged place for the church in the wider society. ‘Religion’ and ‘Christianity’ are not spoken of as equivalent terms. For example, Edward Norman has suggested that this is evidence of ‘a time not of religious decline but of transformation in the under­standing of religion’.[6] People seeking spiritual growth no longer consider Christianity their only option. Various reasons have been given, from Daphne Hampson’s claim that Christianity has been exposed as untrue (and does not deserve continued existence),[7] to Edward Norman’s asser­tion that the decline in support for the churches is the ‘insistence of church leaders themselves in representing secular enthusiasm for humanity as core Christianity’.[8] However, many assumptions about justice, the common good, and human dignity or ourishing, as described by Christian traditions, are still in operation.

Atherton presents some of the problems post-Christianity poses for the wider society. His summary of the situation for Christianity in Britain is bleak. He does not expect the Anglican Diocese of Manchester to exist in any signicant way by 2040.[9] Declining church attendance has led to ‘widespread religious illiteracy’.[10] This may or may not be a problem in itself, but it has implications for public life:

For people, communities and governments concerned to regenerate deprived localities and overcome the damaging consequences of increasing social disease, the decline of the churches should also be a matter of great concern. For churches have traditionally been centres of voluntary activity and volunteering, indispensable in rebuilding changed lives and neigh­bourhoods. The likely demise of that contribution to civic society should set alarm bells ringing in all public corridors.[11]

Atherton’s theology is clearly oriented to ‘the good of the city’. This is the basis for a theological justication for Christian action in a post-Christian world.

‘Public theology,’ as I am using it, is a composite of the criteria set out by Duncan Forrester and John Atherton. For Forrester,

Public theology…is not primarily and directly evangelical theology which addresses the Gospel to the world in the hope of repentance and conver­sion. Rather, it is theology which seeks the welfare of the city before protecting the interests of the Church…[12]

From this description, the characteristics of public theology emerge. Public theology must be:

  1. Contextual, responding to the challenges in the current situa­tion—especially when those challenges are hostile to Christian assumptions.
  2. Interdisciplinary, taking into account insights from non-theological sources.
  3. Praxis-oriented, and performative.
  4. Grounded in, but not enslaved by, tradition, so that it is ‘equipped to understand, interpret and respond to’ religiously plural contexts, while ‘endeavouring to hold fast to a tradition which has a constant core’.[13]

This is not a ‘justifying to the secular gatekeepers theology’s claim to a place in the public forum’, but instead ‘seeking the good of the broader community’ in which churches, and theologians, nd themselves.[14] Responding to the challenges of a post-Christian, religiously plural world, with a ‘disciplined and critical investigation of religious symbolic structures, and the careful and responsible use of religious language’,[15] is an area in which Temple’s legacy should be retrieved.

Revisiting Temple

  1. Biographical Background

William Temple must have seemed like an independent thinker in terms of the conventional Christian teachings of his time. His questioning of the historic accuracy of such biblical events as the virgin birth and the resurrection were the reason he was rejected for ordination when he originally presented himself to the Bishop of Oxford in 1908.[16] His own calling to the priesthood stemmed from two sources. First, despite growing up in the episcopal palaces of Exeter, London and Canterbury, it does not appear that the privileged life of the upper clergy was his primary motivation.[17] Rather, in his mid-twenties, Temple was discover­ing a church ‘at work in England’, with ‘a foot in 16,000 parishes, with its unique opportunity, its cumbrous machinery, its crippling anachron­isms, [and] its complacent worldliness…’.[18] He also discovered that the church’s leadership frequently lacked the intellectual resources to preach the gospel in a way that made a difference to the lives of individuals or the wider society. Frustration with the feebleness of the church on such social issues as education, temperance, and housing, is evident in letters to his friend John Stocks:

As a matter of practical politics—what is our so-called Christianity doing? Men are still rather encouraged to get drunk than otherwise; the poor are not housed, nor the naked clothed nor the hungry fed. And yet nearly everyone in England professes to believe that one at least of the sentences of nal condemnation is ‘I was a stranger and ye took me not in, etc.’[19]

These things were, for Temple, as much the responsibility of the estab­lished church as of the government. The church was abdicating that responsibility, largely because of the inadequacy of its leaders.

Because he was a critic of the church as well as a friend, Temple was surprised when he was asked by Archbishops Davidson and Lang to serve on a committee on church and state relations. Temple had been a critic of establishment, but the Archbishops were adamant believing that if Temple’s views were represented on the committee, they would do less damage to the church’s position. He knew that he was viewed with suspicion by both the church and the Prime Minister. In a letter to his brother in January 1942, Temple wrote that he would ‘be surprised if just at this moment the “powers” select me for Canterbury. Some of my recent utterances have not been liked in political circles, and it would be thought by some that to choose me now is to endorse them.’[20] Winston Churchill, however, set his differences aside, saying that Temple was the obvious choice, the ‘only shilling article in a penny bazaar’.[21] So, despite being critical of both church and government, William Temple became Arch­bishop of Canterbury in April of 1942. These biographical highlights suggest that he was a proto-public theologian in the terms I have outlined.

Beyond and/or Behind ‘Middle Axioms’

Despite Temple’s stature as one of the great intellectuals of the Church of England in the rst half of the twentieth century, his ideas are not exam­ined much today. This is partly due to the hagiographical nature of what scholarship has been done concerning him. However, it is more tragic that Temple’s own reputed theological successor, Ronald Preston, undercut much of his legacy. Preston completely dismissed two of Temple’s three largest and most important works (Mens Creatrix and Christus Veritas) as ‘almost unreadable’, and the third, Nature, Man and God, is never referred to in any of Preston’s rather copious writings.[22] In fact, the only work he cited is Christianity and Social Order. From this, and from the Oxford Conference of 1937,[23] Preston promoted Temple’s method of ‘middle axioms’ as if that was all there was to say. Middle axioms were certainly evident in Temple’s writing, but do not constitute the whole of his theological contribution. It is important to recall the method, and then to look to Temple’s writings for other ideas that are useful in cultural con­texts that have arisen since his death.

William Storrar has recently argued that middle axioms are important because they are ‘mediating moral directives that have a key function in the middle ground between the shared beliefs and related ethical prin­ciples of Christianity, and the very specics judgments that Christians … must be free to make…’.[24] Middle axioms are rooted in ‘fundamental theological and ethical conventions but evolve as highly contextual and provisional norms guiding Churches and Christians…’.[25] This represents the real clue for understanding the place of middle axioms in the work of William Temple. Temple was striving to help the church to be an active participant in the particular social struggles of his day. It is also crucial in understanding Temple’s use of middle axioms to note that they are not the sum total of what the church must be, say, or do.

Temple divided his list of guiding principles into two levels. The primary Christian social principles, of God’s purpose, and of the place of humanity in the world, are relatively stable and are ‘principles on which we can begin to act in every possible situation’.[26] The ‘derivative’ prin­ciples (freedom, social fellowship, and service)[27] are also still useful, but in the early twenty-rst century’s situation of religious and moral plurality they need re-examination. Some of these principles will remain constant, but others may develop and change with time. Temple’s earlier writings provide the resources to do exactly that. So, to work adequately with ‘middle axioms’, one must go behind and beyond them. An examination of a fuller cross-section of Temple’s work is needed to nd the enduring value of his work for Christians in the early twenty-rst century.

Incarnational and Eucharistic Ecclesiology as a Basis for Public Theology

Temple had a very full and rened ecclesiology which I have addressed elsewhere.[28] At a time when other theologians such as Karl Barth were highlighting the structural importance of ecclesiology for the formation of theology, Temple drew on the wide range of his theological interests for an ecclesiology which would be adequate to the range of challenges he saw facing the church in his day. One of his central concerns was for an authentically public theology and those aspects of his ecclesiology which are relevant to the argument of this article.

Temple’s vision of the church is an incarnational and thus eucharistic ecclesiology. The dominant metaphor throughout Temple’s work con­cerning the church is the Body of Christ, the continuation of the Incarna­tion on earth.[29] The church’s relationship to the world is proportional to that of Jesus during his time on earth. As Jesus was conversing and eating with, touching and being touched by, changing and being changed (and wounded) by the society in which he lived and moved, this is how the church should be in whatever context it nds itself. The church as body is a dynamic, visible and relational presence in the world.[30] This does not mean that the church’s identity is that of the world. It is in ‘continual interaction with other bodies in the world, both
critically and constructively, in its mission of furthering God’s work of redemptive transformation’.[31]

This leads directly into the church’s sacramental nature. Temple draws a close identication between the church and the eucharistic bread, claiming that ‘when St. Paul called the church the Body of Christ he used the words in just the same sense as when he called the Eucharistic Bread the Body of Christ’.[32] So, when the words of the eucharist, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ are said, it is a command to the church: ‘as I treat this Bread, so I treat my Body; and you must do the same’.[33] Both the bread and the church are to be broken and given for the sake of the world.[34]

Such an incarnational and eucharistic vision means that the church abandons any claim to a privileged position in, or attempt to live in isolation from, the world.[35] The Church is holy, but holiness is not separation from the world. Instead, the church’s holiness is that of Jesus Christ himself, in its risky interaction with that world. Such risk is necessary. For Temple, if God’s ‘victory and kingdom were to be all embracing, they must include such as Judas; the world must be welcomed into the Church if the Church is to convert and direct the world’.[36]

So, if embodied sacramental identity can be seen as the primary prin­ciple of the church’s being in the world, how is the church supposed to interact with that world? A deeper excavation of Temple’s thought yields some principles for the church’s presence in the world.

Being Church in Public Today: What Does William Temple Offer?

It is possible to move from Temple’s basic Christian convictions to some guiding principles for the church’s way of being in a plural, post-Christian context. This is not a program of action, but a measure for the way that the church conducts itself in public. It describes attitudes and dispositions more than tasks. It does not move directly from Scripture or church tradition to action demanded by the contemporary situation.

There is great exibility in authentic Christian belief and action. Temple frequently claimed that Christ left no written constitution to his followers, but a fellowship held together by common loyalty to their Lord.[37] This is not a weakness or oversight, but a guarantee of the intellectual freedom that is required to apply Christ’s teachings to a wide variety of circumstances, especially to those situations which the Gospel does not directly address.

From Temple’s vision of what the church is supposed to be, a way of interacting with the wider culture is indicated. I see three qualities that the church should demonstrate in a post-Christian, plural context. These are (a) intellectual excellence, which in turn leads to both a self-critique and an openness to difference; (b) a gracious and attractive quality of Christian life, which deserves the respect of non-Christians in society; and (c) a selessness on the part of the church which is in line with public theology as being ‘for the good of the city’.

Intellectual Excellence

William Temple sought ordination at least in part because the clergy were poorly equipped to meet the challenges of faith that many Christians were facing. He felt that he might be able to assist Christian reection on current issues with something more than the ‘maimed, or even false and unworthy, conception of God … preached from the pulpits in the parish churches of England’.[38] As headmaster of Repton (1910–14), he encouraged an inquiring and mentally rigorous approach to Christian faith. One of his most memorable sermons was entitled ‘The Sin of Stupidity’.[39] Based on 1 Cor. 14.20 (‘Brethren, be not children in mind; howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men’), Temple stressed that ‘real goodness and deep religion are incompatible with stupidity’,[40] because if one is stupid, ‘even in his efforts to do good he will do harm through ignorance or misunderstanding of the facts’.[41]

An intelligent approach to faith requires that a person should examine his or her belief and practice ‘in the crucible of criticism and by the experiment of life’.[42] He drew a sharp distinction between what he called ‘revealed truths’ (impossible to frame in unchanging language) and ‘truths of revelation’—those things indicated by the gospel, embodied in the Incarnation, and applied in changing circumstances.[43] Christian theology evolves and changes, as ‘orthodoxy is constantly refashioned so that its permanent essence may be synthesised with an ever-growing range of experience’.[44] Furthermore, Temple always regarded theology as the ‘progressive attempt to understand’ the ‘vitalising energy’ of God’s love for humanity as expressed in the life of Jesus Christ. It was not a ‘Deposit’ merely to be handed down unchanged through the generations.[45] Adequate theology did not need to provide a ‘complete and satisfactory’ explanation for all of reality, but it did have to help in ‘guiding us progressively forward in understanding God’s interaction with the world’.[46]

Verbal formulations of belief will change as new experience colors theological expression. This realization leads to an intellectual humility, which is the ‘necessary counterpart of [the] intellectual freedom’, which Temple believed was the right and responsibility of all Christians. Thus, intellectual excellence has a dual aspect. First, there is the exercise of self-criticism—the ability to ‘insist on our own part of the truth in such a way as to avoid all condemnation of other bodies—at least, all condemnation which we do not pronounce quite equally upon ourselves’.[47] The compli­mentary aspect is the desire and ability to ‘learn the truth which others possess in fuller degree than ourselves … Our temper … must be that rather of learners than of champions.’[48] For Temple, it ‘is never right to rest content with disproving another [person’s] view’.[49] Rather, one must ‘start with the conviction that there is no faith which is held by any very large body of people or by any sincerely reecting people, which has not the truth as its mainspring’.[50] So, it is equally important to discover what truth or insight an opposing view might contain.

The Graciousness or Attractiveness of the Church’s Being

Intellectual excellence, with its aspects of self-criticism and openness to the views of others, leads to the next feature of the church’s interaction with the world. The church should be a gracious presence in a plural society. It will be relaxed and condent, but not arrogant, and concerned with material as well as spiritual well-being. Reecting on the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel, Temple illustrates the requirement of graciousness:

[Jesus] not only disclosed the divine reality, but therein also displayed its beauty. Truth is august, often austere, sometimes repellent. But here it is gracious and winning. John the Baptist, who is also in mind here, was full of truth, but there was not much grace about him![51]

This is especially important when great cultural differences exist between the church and those for whose benet it exists (for Temple, usually not its own members!). As early as 1914, he indicated that contact with other cultures might cause the church to reformulate how it expresses the faith:

I am sure that if I were called to be a Missionary, I should desire abundant liberty of re-translating the experience in the Catholic tradition into language more intelligible to the children of another civilisation, and I should hope to learn from my converts’ way of responding to the revelation of God in Christ so much new truth as might require some change in my own formulation of belief.[52]

This is a respectful and realistic way of dealing with other religions. More than twenty years after leaving Repton, he still held that it would not be possible to enter conversation with non-Christians, because ‘it is not to be expected that they will give sympathetic attention [to the Gospel] until full appreciation has been shown for the spiritual treasures of which they are the heirs’.[53]

Temple was well aware that unfortunately Christians were not always gracious towards one another. He considered this to be a ‘sad reection of Christian discipleship’, and held that ‘to become bitter in controversy is more heretical than to espouse with sincerity and charity the most devastating theological opinions’.[54]

Because those outside the church would nd such bitterness unattrac­tive and confusing, it was a barrier to effective Christian inuence. The fellowship of the church was to be ‘the representation in this earth of the life of heaven’. However, if non-Christians were to ‘look at us and say, “In that case we don’t much want to go to heaven”,’ it is at least partly because the church’s public presence is inadequately gracious.[55] Temple reminded Christians that no matter how much good the church or its members are able to do, ‘our vocation is so to practise virtue so that men [and women] are won to it; it is possible to be morally upright repul­sively!’[56]

‘For the Good of the City’

‘[S]ervice of the world is the business of [the church’s] life.’[57] Everything the church does is not ultimately for its own members, but ‘for the King­dom of God’.[58] Such service can be effective only if the church is an intelligent and gracious presence, sacramental in the ways I have described.

Temple’s own social concerns, mainly elaborated in Christianity and Social Order, indicated those issues (fair wages, education, a just and humane penal system, among many others) with which the church had legitimate concerns in his day. However, in the 1940s, Temple could assume that the middle axioms approach was enough—the ofcial teaching structures of the church could announce principles, and Christian citizens would realize in their daily lives and occupations. The current situation indicates more direct involvement, and requires Christian leaders to be better informed in areas such as economics or politics. But both a changing situation and a faith that develops through greater experience and knowledge, would have been challenges Temple might have encouraged the church to meet. This may involve criticizing existing social structures—and accepting criticism of its own short­comings. To do so carries the distinct possibility that the church may suffer loss in terms of wealth or prestige, but a truly public church exists not for itself, but for the good of the city. An isolationist or separatist church would have been anathema to Temple’s way of thinking, as it would have been incapable of effecting social transformation.

William Temple as Source and Resource for a Post-Christian Public Theology

The world has changed drastically since Temple’s time. This has led to claims that his ideas are not dynamic enough to meet the challenges of a plural, post-Christian society.[59] Most specically, ‘we have seen the end of the Christendom situation’, which ‘Temple tacitly, and sometimes explicitly, assumed’.[60]

Perhaps what makes Temple’s thought seem somewhat dated today is precisely his successors’ emphasis on middle axioms, especially if limited to those primary and derivative principles described in Christianity and Social Order. It may be far more useful to sift Temple’s earlier, and often more challenging, ideas to develop a set of principles for the church in a plural, post-Christian setting. I agree with Malcolm Brown, former Executive Secretary of the William Temple Foundation, that ‘[W]e could do worse than start by rediscovering some of Temple’s theological insights’.[61] Forrester and Atherton claim that a public theology must have a basis in tradition. It makes sense to revisit some of the major thinkers in British theology to develop an adequate vision of church in society for the present context. I think that Temple’s commitment to principles for the Church’s being in the world still holds, but the specic principles outlined in Christianity and Social Order need revision and aug­mentation in a post-Christian plural concept. Without making this effort, Temple’s work indeed seems too deeply attached to its time and place.

For this purpose Temple’s ideas are still fresh today, almost ninety years after he claimed the need for religious understandings that could take into account ‘the wealth of spiritual activity in the world right now’.[62] Today, that abundant spiritual activity sometimes takes the form of ‘furious religion’,[63] the language of which must be disciplined and directed if religion in general is not to be treated as suspect. Christianity, especially in its institutional presence, must exemplify as well as assert its claim to be a force for good. By examining Temple’s writings in light of the standards of public theology set forth by John Atherton and Duncan Forrester, the church may reclaim an important resource for its presence and action in a plural, post-Christian context.

The church must have an intellectual vitality and an open, welcoming graciousness, if it is to fulll its purpose in the life, and serve the good of the city. All of its being, speech and action in the world must exhibit, and ow from, these characteristics. If the church is truly a sacrament of the incarnation, it must live for others—perhaps most especially for those who are not yet, and may never become, its members. William Temple’s thought is a rich resource for developing a public theology for the world today.

    [1].     Ronald Preston, ‘William Temple: The Man and his Impact on Church and Society’, in Ronald Preston et al., Archbishop William Temple: Issues in Church and Society 50 Years On (Manchester: The William Temple Foundation, 1994), p. 4.

    [2].     Suggate in Dackson, The Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple (1881–1944) (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2004), p. i.

    [3].     John Atherton, Public Theology for Changing Times (London: SPCK, 2000), p. 79.

  1. Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 4. I do not think Preston is entirely off-base in his appropriation of Temple. His continuation of Temple’s ethical and ecumenical concerns is very much in line with Temple’s. I do, however, hold that he has not adequately assessed Temple’s deeper theological foundations, and thus does not create an adequate ecclesiology from which to address those concerns. See Dackson, ‘But Was it Meant to Be a Joke Legacy? Ronald Preston as Heir to William Temple’, Studies in Christian Ethics 17.2 (2004), pp. 148-61, in which I explain further how Ronald Preston both was, and was not, Temple’s theological successor.

    [5].     Suggate, in Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. i.

    [6].     Edward Norman, Secularisation (London: Continuum, 2000), pp. viii-ix.

    [7].     See Daphne Hampson, After Christianity (London: SCM Press, 1996).

    [8].     Norman, Secularisation, p. ix.

    [9].     John Atherton, Marginalization (London: SCM Press, 2003), p. 31. Atherton gives an excellent description of the declining inuence of the church in contemporary British society (although the concepts are apt in other contexts, such as North America), and ways in which the church might work with both secular groups and other faiths to retain a corporate vitality. Space does not permit detailing his arguments here, but I highly recommend his book.

    [10].   Atherton, Marginalization, p. 33. I would venture that my own generation, born in the ‘baby boom’ years, is the rst generation for whom it was socially acceptable not to profess at least nominal religious afliation, and for whom it was common to be raised without some minimal level of religious activity.

    [11].   Atherton, Marginalization, p. 1.

    [12].   Duncan Forrester, ‘The Scope of Public Theology’, Studies in Christian Ethics 17.2 (August 2004), pp. 5-19.

    [13].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’; and John Atherton, ‘Marginalis­ation, Manchester, and the Scope of Public Theology’, Studies in Christian Ethics 17.2 (August 2004), pp. 20-30.

    [14].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’, p. 18.

    [15].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’, p. 19.

    [16].   F.A. Iremonger, William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury: His Life and Letters (London: Oxford University Press, 1948), pp. 108-11.

    [17].   William Temple was the rst son of an Archbishop of Canterbury to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

    [18].   Iremonger, William Temple, p. 105.

    [19].   Iremonger, William Temple, pp. 98-102.

    [20].   Iremonger, William Temple, p. 474.

    [21].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 4.

    [22].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 5.

    [23].   Alan M. Suggate, William Temple and Christian Social Ethics Today (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1987), p. 149.

    [24].   William F. Storrar, ‘Scottish Civil Society and Devolution: The New Case for Ronald Preston’s Defence of Middle Axioms’, Studies in Christian Ethics,17.2 (August 2004), pp. 37-46.

    [25].   Storrar, ‘Scottish Civil Society’.

    [26].   Temple, Christianity and Social Order, pp. 62-66.

    [27].   Temple, Christianity and Social Order, pp. 67-77.

    [28].   See Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple. Also Dackson, ‘But Was it Meant to Be a Joke Legacy?’

    [29].   Charles Gore is most likely the inuence on Temple’s primary ecclesiological metaphor. See his The Holy Spirit and the Church (London: John Murray, 1924), pp. 26, 111, 147.

    [30].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, pp. 74-75.

    [31].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. ii (from the Preface by Alan Suggate).

    [32].   William Temple, Christus Veritas (London: Macmillan, repr., 1954 [1924]), p. 250.

    [33].   Temple, Christus Veritas, p. 237.

    [34].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. 115.

    [35].   Dackson, Ecclesiology of Archbishop William Temple, p. 120.

    [36].   William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel (London: Macmillan, 1952 [1939–40]), p. 100.

    [37].   William Temple, The Church and its Teaching Today (New York: Macmillan, 1936), pp. 2-3.

    [38].   Iremonger, William Temple, p. 172.

    [39].   William Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth of Christianity (London: Macmillan, 1914), pp. 150-61.

    [40].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 150.

    [41].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 157.

    [42].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 161.

    [43].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 8.

    [44].   William Temple, Nature, Man and God (London: Macmillan, repr., 1949 [1934]).

    [45].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, pp. 39-40.

    [46].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, p. 48.

    [47].   William Temple, Church and Nation (New York: Macmillan, 1915), p. 115.

    [48].   William Temple, The Church Looks Forward (London: Macmillan, 1944), p. 30.

    [49].   Temple, The Church Looks Forward, p. 30.

    [50].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, p. 34.

    [51].   Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel.

    [52].   Temple, Studies in the Spirit and Truth, p. 55.

    [53].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, p. 32.

    [54].   Doctrine in the Church of England: The Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine Appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 1922 (Chairman’s Introduction by W. Temple; London: SPCK, 1950 [1938]), p. 1.

    [55].   Temple, Church and its Teaching, pp. 15-16.

    [56].   Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, p. 14.

    [57].   Temple, Church and Nation, p. 30.

    [58].   William Temple, Issues of Faith (London: Macmillan, 1917), pp. 21-22.

    [59].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 14.

    [60].   Preston, ‘William Temple’, p. 9. However, Temple’s use of the term ‘Christen­dom’ is quite different from that of most of his critics. It was ‘precisely the world no longer alien’ (Mens Creatrix [London: Macmillan, 1961 (1917)], p. 326), and thus some­thing which had not yet been achieved.

    [61].   Malcolm Brown, ‘Work and Unemployment: The Church in the Moral Mineeld’, in Archbishop William Temple: Issues in Church and Society 50 Years On, pp. 17-30.

    [62].   Temple, Church and Nation, pp. 29-30.

    [63].   Forrester, ‘Scope of Public Theology’.

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