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Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Why do so many evangelicals find themselves attracted to liturgical traditions today? Robert E. Webber suggests some answers by describing his own migration from an evangelical denomination to the Episcopal Church. Webber found that the Anglican tradition met six important needs: a sense of mystery in religious experience, a Christ-centered worship experience, a sacramenta ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 174 pages
Published February 1st 1989 by Morehouse Publishing (first published June 1st 1985)
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I would recommend reading it in three parts and in an order that flows differently from the book. First, read the personal stories of individuals who have "walked the Canterbury Trail" from an Evangelical to Episcopal Church in part two (chapters 7-11). Next, go back and read Dr Webber's original book in part one (chapters 1-6). Finally, finish up with part three (chapters 12 & 13), which is an update on the various Anglican and Episcopal options today (an unnecessary addition i
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
An odd little book. The edition I read was somewhat dated (1985); much has happened in the Anglican Communion since then. In summary, this book describes the movement by the author, a late Professor at Wheaton College, and others, to join the Episcopal Church from various evangelical backgrounds. Almost all have some connection to Wheaton College (a Christian college) and apparently went to the same Episcopal Church (St. Barnabas). I am happy for them, but this seems in many regards to be the re ...more
Tyler Collins
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals Are Attracted to the Liturgical Church" was an exceptional read for me. I have felt myself being drawn to the "Canterbury Trail" (although I have not previously named it as that) over the past year as I have learned more about the historical church. There were points in the book where I wondered whether I or Robert Webber had written the book because he gave voice to many of the thoughts and feelings I have been having—in many ways he physi ...more
Lori Neff
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rather dated at this point, but a good and concise look at the author's faith story. ...more
Alex Strohschein
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
The late Robert Webber was one of the most prominent proponents of the “ancient-future faith.” Through his works, along with that of others such as Thomas Howard and Thomas Oden, many low-church evangelicals have become attracted to the liturgical churches. “Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail” specifically focuses on Webber’s own pilgrimage into the Episcopal (Anglican) Church, although in the introduction he also notes that there is also a movement of Protestants streaming into more historica ...more
Jared Tremper
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
As Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke Skywalker, "That's good! You've taken your first step into a larger world," that is precisely what this book seems to have done. For anyone coming from a Fundamentalist/Evangelical world, such a book that explores a journey towards Anglicanism may seem incongruous to classic biblicism. What this book has done for me is given me permission to continue exploring that world without any commitments and without tossing overboard any of my biblical convictions. True, questi ...more
Melissa Travis
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting personal narrative by a Wheaton scholar who journeyed from Evangelicalism to the Episcopal church during the late 1960's. It also includes narratives from several others who have made the journey down the Canterbury Trail more recently. The terminology can be a little confusing, since categories and affiliations within this branch of Christianity have changed quite a bit over the last several decades, but a later chapter in the revised edition of the book helps to clar ...more
Tim Hoiland
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, anglican, favorites
This was a significant book for me when I first read it in the summer of 2013, just before visiting Christ Church Anglican in Phoenix for the first time that September. It's been rewarding to revisit a book that shaped so many of my early impressions of the tradition that has now become our own. ...more
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exploring the Trail

Not sure yet where my own trail will lead, but Webber’s thoughts along with the stories of others has given voice to my own present experience. I began using the ACNA 2019 Book of Common Prayer in November of 2020, and at the time didn’t realize I was beginning at the beginning of the church calendar year. Through the BCP, Robert Webber, Winfield Bevins, Thomas McKenzie, Greg Goebel & Joshua Steele from, and others I have been exploring the Canterbury Trail
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was honestly hoping for some a little more. . . substantial. Instead, the reader is treated to an emotivist account of why a professor at a mainline Christian college decided to join the Anglican church.

As an ex-Evangelical Christian, my problem with this book is that I disagree with the author; rather, my problem is that there is not much for ex-Evangelical Christians who are drawn to liturgical practices to learn about. Most of Dr. Webber's account (Part 1 of the text) describes his convers
Ellie Sorota
Jan 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
I didn't end up finishing this book because it was so lackluster. The author documents and analyzes his gradual change from Evangelical to Anglican and it was so similar to almost everyone's journey along these lines that it struck me as dull. I didn't need to read a book about what just happened to me, it was rather fresh! That being said, if you are looking to define your longing for liturgy and having trouble articulating your hopes for the evangelical church, or are looking to understand som ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid little book outlining some of the reasons the author, and others in evangelical churches, would consider Anglicanism to be attractive. The first part of the book is the "meat," where the author outlines the attractiveness of Anglicanism. Part 2 are shorter stories by others who journeyed into Anglicanism, highlighting their similarities with the author's experience. Part 3 contains three short essays, more or less, that add other perspectives on the Canterbury Trail.
This is a good book i
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding update of a classic

I read this book as part of my introspection of what God is doing in my life. The ancient future means of faith formation so beautifully written about in this revision of Bob Webber's classic book resonated with me. I recommend this book to anyone who considering the Anglican way as their means to delve into the rich history of liturgy in order to become a more relevant Jesus worshiper and follower.
Cara Meredith
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I gulped up most of the book, but then the last couple of chapters (by outside writers, after the fact) - meh. This really is perfect for anyone on a journey out of the Evangelical Church, toward the Anglican umbrella.
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I was leaving the Evangelical church and finding my home in the Anglican communion (The Episcopal Church), this book was the most helpful resource to me. It gave words to so much that I was feeling, and helped me find beauty in elements of the liturgical church that were still mysterious to me.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was fine but it was a very surface level exploration of the merits of liturgical settings like Anglicanism. I had hoped for more depth.
Stephen Pett
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting. As a person raised Baptist who has become an Episcopalian I found much of what I felt in this process given form in Dr. Webber’s book.
Briana Grenert
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting but a bit dated
Johan Haneveld
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I just saw I actually read the revised edition instead of this one, but as I gather from the introduction the gist of the work is the same between editions, with some new testimonies of people walking the road from an evangelical expression of faith to a more liturgical and sacramental way of being church, as exemplified by the Anglican tradition. Last year I myself (together with my then fiancee, now wife) started visiting an Anglican church in The Hague (Netherlands), which was the best decisi ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I guess that becoming a mainline Protestant, after being raised a fundamentalist, would be a huge choice in the 1970s. Perhaps the lines were sharper and more watchfully enforced back then.

However as an evangelical raised, in varying degrees, in fundamentalist churches during the 1990s, my own drift into becoming Anglican hasn't felt as huge. Perhaps being raised in a home whose heroes were often ecumenists would help with that.

Now, having drifted out of the reformed, capital R!, church, and st
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give it 4.5 stars if possible as it is more of a personal journey told than a thoughtful analysis of "Why evangelicals are attracted to the liturgical church." With that said, this book is great for what it really is: a personal treatise of why Robert Webber, and others have found their home in the Anglican tradition. Many of my own thoughts and feelings found validation and expression in this book. ...more
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Robert Webber's Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail is old enough now (1985) to be considered a relic (if not a classic). For example, he perceives his pilgrimmage to the Episcopal church as part of a larger, growing trend among evangelicals going back to (liberal) mainline denominations (p.11). He must regret that prediction!!

Still the book is a good topic, very readble, and makes some decent points.

174pp. Its divided into two parts. First part Webber explains how the Anglican tradition met
Greg Dill
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Overall, the book was good but not great. It touched upon some things that I really connected with. For example, a description of the evangelical's longing for something more spiritual, more ancient, and more participatory. All of which is found along the Canterbury Trail in the liturgy of the Episcopal Church. However, I found the book to be severely lacking. For one, it's dated (originally written in 1989). The churches and the issues that Webber describes, both the ones he came from and the o ...more
Robert Webber, with help here and there from some fellow "pilgrims", shares his own journey down the "Canterbury Trail" and manages to make some really strong points along the way. The appeal of a more formal, liturgical, holistic and historically-grounded Protestant tradition (Anglicanism) to an increasing number of contemporary evangelicals is explained in a way that is mostly right on the mark, as far as it goes. The casual, ahistorical ethos of the contemporary church (in America, especially ...more
Andy Zell
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail by Robert E. Webber is a book I needed to read. Perhaps it would have been even better if I had read it when I first started attending an Episcopal church in grad school. The book is mostly a story, the first half Webber’s personal story from evangelicalism to the Episcopal church, and the second half the stories of other like-minded evangelical pilgrims on the Canterbury trail, so to speak. Webber frames his own story as a search for six needs that he found ...more
Jacob Aitken
EDIT: I am no longer enamored of Webber's project for the following reasons: 1) he never asks, "How did God tell us to worship?", and 2) The "church" he is looking for in here is non-existent.

Half of the book is Webber's own pilgrimage to the Anglican church. It's like an autobiographical account of his ancient-future books. In other words, what distinguishes Christian worship from Mosque worship?

The answer is best seen in defining worship as the public enacting of God's narrative. He does a goo
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Webber's method and writing style leave much to be desired if you are interested in the liturgical church and its appeal - as a man who came out of the independent Baptist church, Webber still uses the lens of "whatever I like for worship is good worship", as his focus is almost exclusively individual, even as he applauds the communal, historical, and transcendent in the liturgical church.

What's more, his glossing of the theological differences in the ECUSA from historic Christianity look much
Jun 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
After Frank Beckwith went back to the Catholicism of his youth he gave an interview to Christianity Today where he echoes two of the reasons that I left the charismatic Protestantism of my youth: liturgy and a sense of history.

"Looking at tradition would also help evangelicals learn about Christian liturgical traditions, like Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, that many evangelicals reject because they say liturgy is unbiblical. When did these practices come to be? It turns out many of them cam
Lynn Joshua
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I do sympathize with his concerns about segments of the evangelical church, esp. the separatist/individualistic tendencies, the lack of historical roots, or the tendency of some to elevate doctrinal belief (esp. denominational distinctives) above proper worship/obedience.
However, I was disappointed that he focuses on finding a worship "experience" that connects him to God and the Church instead of asking, "What does God's Word tell us about how we should worship in spirit and in truth?" So, in
Jul 24, 2016 added it
Having recently met someone whose spiritual journey led them from conservative evangelicalism to the Episcopal church, I have been curious about how someone might explain it or what drew them along the way. This book, as well as Webber's book Worship Old and New, was recommended. I am grateful the author has shared his story, along with the stories of several other people who have followed similar paths which he includes at the end of the book. This book was written in 1985, and I wondered if he ...more
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“I find when most people are honest about their spiritual pilgrimage, they admit to the difficulty of maintaining the habit of a spiritual discipline. What attracks me most about the Anglican spiritual tradition is that it provides purposeful spiritual direction in the life of Christ.” 1 likes
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