Healing Broken Bodies: The Missional Ecclesiology Behind J. H. Oldham’s Middle Axioms

This essay explores J. H. Oldham’s development of the middle axiom
approach, in particular the missional ecclesiology that framed
it, found in the publications he developed for the Oxford Conference
in 1937 on “Church, Community, and State.” With this
framing ecclesiology established, it becomes clear that Oldham’s
approach better accommodates criticisms of middle axioms that
have arisen in ecumenical and Anglican social ethics. Further, it
becomes possible to distinguish Oldham’s middle axiom approach
from that of later practitioners, in particular William Temple
and Ronald Preston. Finally, the modifications required for a retrieval
of Oldham’s approach in contemporary social ethics are
considered.

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