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Anglican Theologies of the Eucharist

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Chapter Summary

Anglican theologies of the Eucharist, from the Evangelical ascendancy under Edward VI until the English civil wars of the 1640s, shared considerable common ground. Against both Roman Catholic and Lutheran positions, Anglicans of all stripes rejected transubstantiation and a corporeal presence of Christ, and they took great pains to distinguish the sort of sacrifice they saw in the Eucharist from that of the medieval Mass. Mainstream views, from Thomas Cranmer onwards, held that God might act simultaneously with the administration of a sacrament, but tried to downplay the role of the sacrament in and of itself. An emerging view, held by Richard Hooker, Samuel Ward, and the ceremonialists associated with William Laud, argued that the sacraments were an instrumental means by which God acted. This emerging view would later come to dominate Anglican thought, but as late as the Restoration era, divines taught that the Eucharist benefitted only worthy receivers.

Keywords: Anglican theologies; eucharist; Richard Hooker; Thomas Cranmer



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