Apology of the Church of England

By John Jewel and Edited by Robin Harris & Andre Gazal
About this book

Discover the Protestants as Genuine Reformers

John Jewel (1522-1571), Bishop of Salisbury, stands as one of the leading architects and perhaps the staunchest defender of the Protestant Church of England. Writing in 1562 when the Elizabethan church was yet young and fragile, and menaced by Catholic foes at home and abroad, Jewel proudly proclaimed the independence of the English church from Roman rule, and the deep catholicity of its reformation.

Appealing throughout to the testimonies of the Church Fathers, Jewel made a powerful case that the Protestants were not heretics or innovators, but genuine reformers, restoring the church to the purity of apostolic practice and proclaiming anew the “faith once delivered to the saints.” Along the way, he refutes common misunderstandings or caricatures of Protestant teaching, and takes the offensive against what he sees as the tyrannical power of the medieval papacy.

The result is a ringing defense of the English Reformation that became an instant classic, integral to the theological self-understanding of the Church of England and to the Anglican Communion that later developed from it. It remains essential reading today for Anglicans—or any English-speaking Protestants—seeking to better understand and articulate their relation to the church’s biblical roots, catholic tradition, and sixteenth-century renewal.

Paperback | 165 pages | 6×9 | Published November 27, 2020 | ISBN 978-1949716047

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From The Book

“IT HATH been an old complaint, even from the first time of the patriarchs and prophets, and confirmed by the writings and testimonies of every age, that the truth wandereth here and there as a stranger in the world, and doth readily find enemies and slanderers amongst those that know her not. Albeit perchance this may seem unto some a thing hard to be believed, I mean to such as have scant well and narrowly taken heed thereunto, specially seeing all mankind of nature’s very motion without a teacher doth covet the truth of their own accord; and seeing our Saviour Christ himself, when he was on earth, would be called “the truth,” as by a name most fit to express all his divine power; yet we—which have been
exercised in the holy scriptures, and which have both read and seen what hath happened to all godly men commonly at all times; what to the prophets, to the apostles, to the holy martyrs, and what to Christ himself; with what rebukes, revilings and despites they were continually vexed whiles they here lived, and that only for the truth’s sake—we (I say) do see, that this is not only no new thing, or hard to be believed, but that it is a thing already received, and commonly used from age to age.”

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“No text was more important than Bishop Jewel’s Apologia for the newly independent Church of England in the late sixteenth century. This elegant and readable new edition makes it once more readily available for a new generation. Its recovery is long overdue, and this edition will be an excellent resource for studying the roots of Anglicanism in the Protestant Reformation.”

Gerald Bray
Samford University



Introduction – Bradford Littlejohn


About the Text – Andre Gazal


Letter to Lady Anne Bacon


Part One: A Reformed Catholic Church


Part Two: The Faith Once Delivered


Part Three: Strife, Division, and Catholic Unity


Part Four: The Corruptions of the Church of Rome


Part Five: The Antiquity of England’s Doctrine


Part Six: Concerning General Councils


Select Bibliography

About the Editors

Andre Gazal (Ph.D, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Vice President of Academic Affairs at Montana Bible College, and has also served as the assistant project editor for the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. A specialist in the English Reformation, Andre is the author of Scripture and Royal Supremacy in Tudor England: The Use of Old Testament Historical Narrative (Edwin Mellen Press, 2013) and editor of Defending the Faith: John Jewel and the Elizabethan Church (PSU Press, 2018). Among much else, he has published numerous articles and essays on the theology of the English Reformers. He lives in Montana with his wife, Agata, and son, George.

Robin Harris (M.A. University of Kansas, B.A. New St. Andrews College) was the Director of Children’s Ministries at an Anglican church in Raleigh, North Carolina from 2011-2019. A midwest native who has had extended jaunts in the Northwest and South, she now lives in Queens, NYC. She blogs at thefairytalerealist.wordpress.com and teaches classes online at robinjharris.com.

Praise for this work

“Against the undying myth that the Church of England came into being only to satisfy the political ambitions of King Henry VIII, ‘An Apology of the Church of England’ demonstrates that genuine reform was at the heart of England’s split from Rome. The expansive and comprehensive learning of the Bishop of Salisbury, John Jewel, illustrates that the first generation of Reformers in England were fully able to do intellectual battle with their Roman Catholic adversaries. Jewel argues for reform of the inherited Catholic tradition, not because it was wrong in its entirety, but because it had been twisted. We are reminded of why, in its day, the Apology was considered such a tour de force.

More accessible than older editions, and featuring enumerated sections and updated footnotes, this modernized edition of Jewel’s ‘Apology’ is long-awaited. I hope it is a bestseller.”

– Roberta Bayer Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Government, Patrick Henry College and Former Editor of Anglican Way Magazine


The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness. Below are some of the works we’ve published towards that end.

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