Friday, November 11, 2011

Austin Farrer, Radical Centrist

Austin Farrer (1904–1968) was one of the most brilliant and original British theologians of the previous century. Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, has described Farrer as “possibly the greatest Anglican mind of the twentieth century.” He was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, and C. S. Lewis. Farrer took the last sacraments to Lewis before his death and preached at his funeral. He wrote scholarly books on theology, but also more popular and devotional books. His collections of sermons are edifying. He should be more widely read than he is. He is another theologian who cannot be easily identified as either "conservative" or "liberal" but undeniably centered in Jesus Christ.

The following is from a wonderful little book of reflection on the Apostles' Creed, Lord I Believe: Suggestions for Turning the Creed into Prayer:

Though God be in me, yet without the creed to guide me, I should know neither how to call upon God, nor on what God to call. God may be the very sap of my growth and substance of my action; but the tree has grown so crooked and is so deformed and cankered in its parts, that I should be at a loss to distinguish the divine power among the misuse of power given. Were I to worship God as the principle of my life, I should merely worship myself under another name with all my good and evil. Lord I Believe, p. 14


C. Wingate said...

I knew of Farrer but had never managed to read anything much of his. I think this ought to change.

Matt Gunter said...

I am confident you will find him edifying, Charles.