Michael Ramsey, Authority, and the Anglican Communion

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Spagna, Amy L.
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School of Theology Thesis 2019 , University of the South, School of Theology , Episcopacy , Authority of communion , Ramsey, Michael
This thesis examines the challenges posed by the understanding and use of authority within the existing structures of the Anglican Communion. Ramsey’s work highlights the special role of the episcopacy within the church. Ramsey argues that not only is the episcopacy a necessity, but also that those exercising the office are to use it in such a way as to support the constant process of the building up of the Body of Christ. Ramsey’s thinking on the issue forms a large part of the foundation of the theologizing around the proper use of authority which has taken place in the last twenty years. Two of the principal documents produced in the context of these debates, The Virginia Report and the Ridley-Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Communion Covenant, raise questions around the necessity of centralized governance structures which have the purpose of resolving doctrinal disputes. These documents also raise questions as to whether ascribing authority to a centralized structure is an undesirable innovation within Anglican ecclesiology.