IN DEFENSE OF REFORMED CATHOLIC WORSHIP
BOOK IV OF HOOKER'S LAWS: A MODERNIZATION
Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity is one of the great landmarks of Protestant theological literature, and indeed of English literature generally. However, on account of its difficult and archaic style, it is scarcely read today. The time has come to translate it into modern English so that Hooker may teach a new generation of churchmen and Christian leaders about law, reason, Scripture, church, and politics.
In this fourth volume of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Institute, we present Book IV of Hooker’s Laws, in which Hooker defends the legitimacy of the Church of England’s reformed catholic liturgy. Arguing that Protestants must be guided by a positive vision of the purpose of worship, and not a negative reaction to Roman Catholic practice, Hooker surveys common Puritan objections to traditional liturgy and finds them wanting. Along the way, Hooker considers how Christians should understand the Jewish ceremonial law and what Christians should do when ceremonies cause a weaker brother to stumble. Still as relevant today as when it was penned more than four centuries ago, Book IV of the Laws offers an enduring vision of moderation and respect for the past that remains forthrightly Protestant.
About the Author
Richard Hooker (1553/4-1600) was the pre-eminent theological writer of the Elizabethan church, and many would say in the entire history of the Church of England.
Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D, University of Edinburgh), is the President of the Davenant Trust and a leading scholar of Richard Hooker’s thought, having authored Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work (Cascade, 2015), and The Promise and Peril of Christian Liberty: Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology (Eerdmans, 2017).
Brian Marr is an editor and researcher at Canon Press, an alumnus of New Saint Andrews College, and a devoted servant of the liberal arts.
Bradley Belschner is a systems analyst at EMSI, a determined generalist, and an enthusiast of Reformation theology.