Mark Thompson (Sydney) has blogged about a lecture given by Ashley Null (the world's foremost expert on Cranmer) in a series on repentance in classical Anglicanism. Mark writes (italics mine):
"I have always thought that Cranmer's emphasis on the unadorned reading of Scripture, the prominence of the lectionary in his liturgical reforms etc., was a product of his commitment to the clarity of Scripture (a commitment he held in common with the continental reformers, especially Luther). No doubt that is true but there is another stream that feeds this river.
In line with Fisher and Reuchlin, Cranmer apparently accepted an essentially neoplatonic understanding of Scripture. The Homily on Holy Scripture reveals his conviction that the Holy Spirit imparts saving grace through the administration of Scripture. God works supernaturally through Scripture to change lives. At one point he is even able to describe Scripture as 'the most holy relic remaining on earth' [This, in Cranmer's Preface to the Great Bible].
Hooker apparently held similar views. This reinforced the conviction that the centrepiece of Christian liturgy is the bare reading of Scripture. Scripture is read without comment or gloss, not only because it does not need them by virtue of its own clarity, but also because Scripture in and of itself is a means of grace. This stands somewhat in contrast to the 'Puritan' stress on the centrality of exposition and preaching."
Now, here is a question: how effective is Scripture as a means of grace when it is poorly read?
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