Turning to God: Anglicans Talk About Sin, Grace, and the Christian Life


106 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55126-344-0
DDC 230'.3




Reviewed by A.J. Pell

A.J. Pell is rector of Christ Church in Hope, B.C., editor of the
Canadian Evangelical Review, and an instructor of Liturgy, Anglican
Studies Programme at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.


This is the second workbook issued by the Primate’s Theological
Commission of the Anglican Church of Canada. Like the first volume,
Turning to God, it comprises short papers and responses by the
Commission members, and was written so as to be accessible to a
reasonably wide section of the church’s membership. Once again, a
brief “Ways to Use This Book” section presents ideas for
individuals, groups, and parishes.

The material is organized into three main sections. “Sin and Grace”
sets out the basic themes and concerns of the whole book. “Nourished
by Grace” is subdivided into “The Sacraments,” brief explications
of theology and various rites, and “Prayer,” which covers not just
prayer but also mysticism and pilgrimage (including an unnecessary and
distracting section on Santiago de Compostela). “How Should We Then
Live” explores the practice of grace in the life of individual
Christians and the corporate church (here contextual theology around the
environment, the Native residential schools, and the Prairie family farm
crisis is included).

The book acknowledges the increasingly divided nature of the Anglican
Church of Canada through Eileen Scully’s paper on the roots of that
division (“Conversion”) and David Reed’s response. Two models are
used to encapsulate the differing views: “the medicinal model,” (a
part of the process of becoming more fully human) and “the juridical
view” (a sudden or gradual choice to accept the substitutionary
forgiveness of the Cross). One view is human-centred, while the other
view looks for a supernatural explanation. What is left unanswered after
two workbooks is whether these conflicting points of view can defy our
society’s pattern of dwelling on differences and individualism, or
whether the opposing groups can find a new Anglican via media. Perhaps a
third book will tackle the problem directly.


Primate's Theological Commission., “Turning to God: Anglicans Talk About Sin, Grace, and the Christian Life,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10022.