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Biblical Bishops: James Ussher's Defence and Reform of Anglican Polity


ARE BISHOPS BIBLICAL? As fissures emerge within the worldwide Anglican communion, the principle and praxis of episcopacy have never been more pertinent. For some Anglicans, bishops are essential for the church. For others, they are something of a necessary evil; baggage from the English Reformation that we might be better off without. These concerns are nothing new. In the seventeenth century, debates surrounding the validity and authority of bishops abounded. Into those debates wrote James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Ussher was a remarkable figure: a preeminent historian, biblical scholar and theologian, respected by English Puritans and Irish Jesuits alike. As is often the case with

such luminaries, various camps have claimed Ussher as their own; whether they be Puritan, high church, or Anglo-Catholic.

By studying Ussher's ecclesiastical career and his two works on church government, this study assesses Ussher's episcopalian convictions, particularly regarding the validity and authority of bishops. In doing so, it hopes to reintroduce Ussher to the evangelical Anglican world, and demonstrate that episcopacy is not a necessary evil, but a force for good in the church of God.

Author: Peter Blair
Latimer Trust, 2022. Paperback, 82 pages.

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