- Gore, Charles
- ( 1853-1932 )advocate of the social gospel and ecumenicalismCharles Gore, Anglican bishop, liberal theologian, and ecumenical leader, was born in Wimbledon, England, in 1853, and educated at Harrow school and Oxford University. He was named a fellow of Trinity College in 1875 and ordained as a priest of the Church of England in 1878. Two years later, he was named vice-principal of Cuddesdon Theological College.In 1883, following the death of Edward Pusey (1800-82), a leader of the high-church Tractarian movement, Gore was made principal of Pusey House, the library established at Oxford in his honor. This appointment brought some controversy as Gore was an advocate of the new biblical criticism, which Pusey had opposed. As part of his work at Pusey House, Gore wrote two books on the priestly office in the early church, defending the Church of England's Anglican orders against Roman Catholic challenges. Gore's social activist views led him to cofound the Christian social Union in 1889 and become its vice president. The union attempted to apply Christian perspectives toward the reform of society, with the problems of trade unions being of primary concern. Gore was heavily criticized for his leanings toward socialism. He later became a harsh critic of British policy in the Boer War.In 1889, he edited Lux Mundi: A Series of Studies in the Religion of the Incarnation, which called for a revision of traditional Christian affirmations in light of scientific findings and biblical research. His own essay, on the "Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures," suggested that the books of the Bible be valued not for historical or scientific information, but for their information on God's nature and his dealings with humanity. Gore also expressed his views on Christology by advocating what is generally referred to as the Kenotic (emptying) Theory of the incarnation, which draws on Philippians 2:7, where Jesus is said to have emptied himself and to have taken on the nature of a servant. Gore interpreted this passage to suggest that Jesus, in taking on the limitations of humanity, also assumed the limitations of human knowledge of his first-century surroundings. Therefore, his words should be interpreted in light of his ignorance of modern science.in an attempt to reassure his colleagues and the public, Gore presented what amounted to an apology at the annual Bampton lectures in 1891. His papers were later published as The Incarnation of the Son of God. Some years later, he argued strongly against Anglican clergy who publicly denied the virgin birth and physical resurrection of Christ. in 1887, Gore privately founded the Society of the Resurrection, an association for deepening the spiritual life of priests. The society evolved into the Community of the Resurrection order in 1892, with Gore as its senior.In 1894, Gore was made a canon of Westminster. His lectures there became the basis of several additional books. in 1902, Gore was consecrated bishop of Worcester, and was ordained the first bishop of Birmingham in 1905. Six years later, he became bishop of Oxford, where he earned wide support for the workers of Reading who were seeking to improve their living conditions. His final years as a bishop were spent laying plans for the quick repair of relations between the opposition sides in World War i. He retired in 1919 but continued to travel, lecture, and teach. He worked with the Faith and Order movement, which became one of the foundations of the World Council of Churches. At the end of the 1920s, he gave the famous Gifford lectures, published in 1930 as The Philosophy of the Good Life. He lectured across India in 1930-31 and died on January 17, 1932.Further reading:■ Charles Gore, The Incarnation of the Son of God (New York: Scribner, 1891); , ed., Lux Mundi: A Series of Studies in the Religion of the Incarnation (London: Murray, 1891)■ ----, Philosophy of the Good Life (London: John Murray, 1930)■ G. L. Prestige, The Life of Charles Gore (London: William Heinemann, 1935)■ Hugh A. Lawrence Rice, The Bridge Builders: Biographical Studies in the History of Anglicanism (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1961).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.