Nota bene: the purpose of this post is to reflect a little on the general question of "generous orthodoxy." There is no intention in this post of continuing the past few posts re the Anglican Communion in the light of the Lambeth Conference 2022 - posts which, in a sense, have asked the question, how generous is the orthodoxy of the Anglican Communion. Commenters are free, of course, to make links to the state of the Communion, but I am not intending to generate further such discussion via this post.
Back in the day (2006), North American Christian theological thinker and influencer, Brian McLaren wrote A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, ... emergent, unfinished Christian which made quite an impact (including his being invited to speak at the Lambeth Conference 2008).
I think it might be fair to say that many orthodox Christians responses and reviews could be summed up as,
"Perhaps too generous."
That is, too many views along too wide a range of Christian diversity got included in McLaren's generous understanding of orthodoxy for every reader's comfort.
This year at Lambeth Conference 2022 it was both good to meet up again with Bishop Graham Tomlin and to buy his latest book, Navigating a World of Grace: The Promise of Generous Orthodoxy (itself a companion book to a denser theological work, which Graham has edited with Nathan Eddy, called The Bond of Peace: Exploring Generous Orthodoxy, featuring essays by an array of distinguished theologians).
How might the present and future responses and reviews of +Graham's book be summed up? My prediction is something like this:
"Perhaps just the right amount of generosity."
I say that because the strength of this book is its resolute sticking to, and continuing affirmation of the Nicene Creed. Or, put another way, this book is an exposition of the Nicene Creed, not a deconstruction of it, and the exposition explores and highlights the ways in which the tight, disciplined statements in the creed actually express the boundless love of God, the wide and deep work of the Spirit throughout creation, and the fulfilling, fruitful implications of the Trinity for the spirituality and sociality of humanity.
It is worth noting, further, that this book, in a very clear, readable manner is an effective "systematic theology" in a relatively few pages (170), compared to the tomes of our friends, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther, Barth, Jenson and so on!
Also worth citing is Tom Holland's (author of Dominion, not the Spiderman actor) observation in a promotional blurb on the back cover that,
"this is a book that achieves what even many Christians may find a startling feat: a demonstration that orthodoxy is far more radical and interesting a concept than heresy."
As Bishop Graham unpacks the words of the creed he opens up the generosity of the God detailed in the propositions of the creed. Our eyes are opened to the grace and love of God who has created us and redeemed us. By the end, our hearts are challenged to ourselves be generous people of God.
"The heart of orthodoxy is the overflowing generosity and grace of God and its goal is the formation of generous people." (p. 154)
I commend this book to ADU readers.