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Sixty years after William Temple's death, little in the way of constructive theology has been done with the body of writings he left. Part of this is due to the way in which his legacy has been (mis)appropriated by some of the scholars and church leaders who are seen as his heirs and admirers. An over-emphasis on the ‘middle axioms’ approach exemplified in Christianity and Social Order, and later promoted heavily by Ronald Preston, explains much of this lack. Although the ‘middle axioms’ approach is still applicable, the principles set out in Temple's most famous work need to be re-examined and perhaps expanded in the light of a post-Christian plural society. The purpose of this essay is to examine a broader range of Temple's work than is commonly done. By doing so, I will propose that the virtues of intellectual excellence, graciousness, and the welfare of the wider (non-church) society are guiding principles for ecclesial being, speech and action that are fully present in Temple's writings.
William Stringfellow (1929–85) was an Episcopal layman, attorney and social activist. Although much has been written about him since his death, most of it is in the form of personal testimony. Examinations of various doctrinal areas of his theological writings are unusual. Therefore, this article examines Stringfellow's idea of sacramental reality and grounds it in the worship of the Church and Christian engagement with the world. The concluding comments offer a justification for seeing this vision as one of enduring importance for faith and action in a post-Christian society.
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