Ordained Ministry in Free Church Perspective: Retrieving Robert Browne (c. 1550-1633) for Contemporary Ecclesiology (Studies in Reformed Theology, nr. 41)

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 08 Oct 2020
In Ordained Ministry in Free Church Perspective Jan Martijn Abrahamse presents a constructive theology of ordained ministry by returning to the life and thought of the English Separatist Robert Browne (c. 1550-1633).

This study makes a substantial contribution not only by solving one of the most thorny problems in congregational ecclesiology, but also by recovering the legacy of this ecclesial pioneer. Through an in-depth analysis of Browne’s literature, the author provides a covenantal theology of ordained ministry in conversation with present-day authors Stanley Hauerwas and Kevin Vanhoozer.

Inspired by the emerging trend of ‘theology of retrieval’ Abrahamse offers a methodologically innovative way of doing systematic theology in a manner in which voices from the past can be made fruitful for today.
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ISBN-13: 9789004440715
ISBN-10: 9004440712
Dimensiuni: 155 x 235 mm
Greutate: 0 kg
Editura: Brill
Colecția Brill
Seria Studies in Reformed Theology



1 Introduction: Challenges and Controversies
 1.1 Ministering a Gathering
 1.2 Restoring Our Story
 1.3 Doing Systematic Theology by Retrieval
 1.4 Historical Challenges
 1.5 Systematic Challenges
 1.6 Ordained Ministry in Browne’s Historiography
 1.7 Ordained Ministry: Areas of Controversy
 1.8 Outline and Prospect

Part 1: A Reconstruction of Robert Browne’s Theology of Ordained Ministry

2 Ordained Ministry in the Context of Sixteenth-Century Cambridge: A History of Controversy
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 The Story of Robert Browne
 2.3 Reformation and Nonconformity at Cambridge University
 2.4 Ordained Ministry in the Context of Cambridge
 2.5 Conclusions

3 Ordained Ministry in Browne’s Separatist Literature (1582–1585): A Theology of Covenant
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 A Treatise of Reformation without Tarying for Anie (1582)
 3.3 A Treatise vpon the 23. of Matthewe (1582)
 3.4 A Booke Which Sheweth the Life and Manners (1582)
 3.5 A True and Short Declaration (1583)
 3.6 An Answere to Master Cartwright (1585)
 3.7 Ordained Ministry in Robert Browne’s Ecclesiology: An Assessment
 3.8 Conclusions

part 2: A Retrieval of Robert Browne’s Theology of Ordained Ministry

4 Controversy After Christendom: Ordained Ministry in the Ecclesiologies of Stanley Hauerwas and Kevin Vanhoozer
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 The Problem of a Distinctive Ministry
 4.3 The Suspicion Toward Authority
 4.4 Ordination and the Fear of Clericalism
 4.5 Systematic Directions and Browne’s Contributions
 4.6 Conclusions

5 Reforming Controversy into Covenant: A Retrieval of Robert Browne’s Theology of Ordained Ministry
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 Criterion 1: Communal Priesthood
 5.3 Criterion 2: Permanent Accountability
 5.4 Criterion 3: Interdependence
 5.5 Conclusions

Notă biografică

Jan Martijn Abrahamse, Ph.D. (2018), VU University Amsterdam, is Tutor in Systematic Theology and Ethics at Ede Christian University of Applied Sciences (CHE) and the Baptist Seminary (VU University) in the Netherlands.


In ‘retrieving’ the covenantal theology of Robert Browne, the author skilfully combines historical theology with systematic theology, as he develops a theology of ordained ministry in a congregational tradition. He achieves a remarkable conversation both with a significant (though under-regarded) theologian of the past, and with present-day theologians such as Stanley Hauerwas and Kevin Vanhoozer. With scrupulous scholarship, yet also in a thoroughly interesting style, he measures Browne’s grounding of ordained ministry in a covenantal theology against challenges raised by contemporary critiques of ordination. Making a consistent argument that Browne advocates a ‘prophetic’ understanding of ministry, he demonstrates the relevance of this to current questions with an authority and conviction. The book is essential reading both for those who hold a ‘free church’ perspective, and for those who enquire about its place in the modern world. — Paul Fiddes, Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford

The 1982 Lima Document challenged all Christian churches to strive toward ecumenical consensus on the faith and practice of baptism, eucharist, and ministry. Free Churches have made significant strides on the first two, but theological work on the third has lagged behind. Jan Martijn Abrahamse’s study of Robert Browne marks an important contribution in ecumenical conversation. It shows how ordination among Free Churches is more than a particular congregation consecrating the call of a minister or a denominational body recognizing action by a congregation. By revisiting the origins of congregational ecclesiology in early English Separatism, Abrahamse offers a constructive proposal for how ordination may be understood as being set apart for ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ. — Curtis W. Freeman, Research Professor of Theology, Duke University Divinity School.

What happens when a young scholar does not echo established scholars but explores the sources himself? Jan Martijn Abrahamse shows the result with this study of Robert Browne’s theology of ordained ministry. With his fresh and accurate reading of Browne’s works, the author succeeds in going beyond the old and well-trodden path of a sharp distinction between Presbyterian and congregational models of church. Browne’s emphasis on the covenantal character of the community of the church helps to understand ordained ministry as a gift to the community, not as replacement of the communal christocracy. In all, Abrahamse has provided us with a must-read in ecumenical theology. — Cornelis van der Kooi, Professor Emeritus Systematic Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

This book offers a timely perspective on the understanding of ordained ministry in the times of a crisis of authority, doubts regarding the permanency of divine gifts, and human commitments. Retrieving the 16th and 17th century debate in religiously divided England, Abrahamse shows a paradoxical insight learned from the separatist “gathered churches”: the value of catholicity emerges most clearly when it is in danger of being lost. Ordained ministry as a lasting and yet vulnerable gift to vulnerable people and a vulnerable church is placed into a broader ecclesiological vision, complementing the Free Church Tradition with previously excluded voices. — Ivana Noble, Professor of Ecumenical Theology, Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University, Prague