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|The Rt. Rev.
|Bishop of Oxford|
|Appointed||17 October 1911 (confirmed)|
|Term ended||1 July 1919|
|Successor||Hubert Murray Burge|
|Consecration||23 February 1902|
|Born||22 January 1853
Wimbledon, London, England
|Died||17 January 1932 (aged 78)|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Parents||Charles Alexander Gore and Augusta Lavinia Priscilla Gore (née Ponsonby)|
|Feast day||17 January, 16 January|
|Venerated in||Church of England, Episcopal Church (United States)|
Charles Gore (22 January 1853 – 17 January 1932) was an English theologian and Anglican bishop. Born in 1853, Gore became one of the most influential of Anglican theologians. He helped reconcile the Church to some aspects of biblical criticism and scientific discovery, yet was Catholic in his interpretation of the faith and sacraments
Early life and education
The Gores are an Anglo-Irish family. Gore was the third son of the Honourable Charles Alexander Gore, and brother of the fourth Earl of Arran. His mother, Augusta Lavinia Priscilla (née Ponsonby) was a daughter of the fourth Earl of Bessborough.
Theologian at Pusey House
He was ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1878.
From 1880 to 1883 he served as vice-principal of Cuddesdon Theological College.
When, in 1884, Pusey House was founded at Oxford as a home for Dr Pusey's library and a centre for the propagation of his principles, Gore was appointed as Principal, a position which he held until 1893. As Principal of Pusey House Gore exercised wide influence over undergraduates and the younger clergy, and it was largely under this influence that the Oxford Movement underwent a change which to surviving Tractarians seemed to involve a break with its basic principles. Puseyism had been in the highest degree conservative, basing itself on authority and tradition and repudiating compromise with the modern critical and liberalizing spirit. Gore, starting from the same basis of faith and authority, found from experience in dealing with the doubts and difficulties of the younger generation that this uncompromising attitude was untenable, and set himself the task of reconciling the principle of authority in religion with that of scientific authority, by attempting to define the boundaries of their respective spheres of influence. To him the divine authority of the Catholic Church was an axiom, and in 1889 he published two works, the larger of which, The Church and the Ministry, is a learned vindication of the principle of Apostolic Succession in the episcopate against the Presbyterians and other Reformed Church bodies, while the second, Roman Catholic Claims, is a defence, in more popular form, of the Anglican Church and Anglican ordinations and sacraments against the criticisms of Roman Catholic authorities.
So far his published views had been in consonance with those of the older Tractarians, but in 1890 a stir was created by the publication, under his editorship, of Lux Mundi, a series of essays by different writers, attempting to bring the Christian creed into a right relation to the modern growth of knowledge, scientific, historic, critical, and to modern problems of politics and ethics. Gore himself contributed an essay on The Holy Spirit and Inspiration, and from the tenth edition one of Gore's sermons, On the Christian Doctrine of Sin, was included as an appendix. The book, which ran through twelve editions in little over a year, met with a mixed reception. Orthodox churchmen, Evangelical and Tractarian alike, were alarmed by views on the incarnate nature of Christ that seemed to them to impugn his Divinity, and by concessions to the Higher Criticism in the matter of the inspiration of Holy Scripture which appeared to them to convert the impregnable rock (as Gladstone had called it) into a foundation of sand; sceptics, on the other hand, were not impressed by a system of defence which seemed to draw an artificial line beyond which criticism was not to advance. Nonetheless the book produced a profound effect far beyond the borders of the Anglican Church, and it is largely due to its influence, and to that of the school it represents, that the Anglican High Church movement developed on Modernist rather than Tractarian lines from then on.
In 1891 Gore was chosen to deliver the Bampton lectures, and he took for his subject the Incarnation of Christ. In these lectures he developed the teaching enunciated in Lux Mundi. This is an attempt to explain how it came about that Christ, though incarnate God, could err - e.g. in his citations from the Old Testament. The orthodox explanation was based on the principle of accommodation. This, however, had not solved the difficulty that if Christ on earth was not subject to human limitations, especially of knowledge, he was not as other men, not subject to their trials and temptations. This difficulty Gore sought to meet through revisiting the Kenotic Theory of the Incarnation. Theologians had attempted to explain what St. Paul meant when he wrote of Christ (Philippians 2:7) that he emptied himself (kenosis) and took upon him the form of a servant. According to Gore this means that Christ on his incarnation, although sinless, became subject to all human limitations and stripped himself of all attributes of Godhead, including omniscience, the Divine nature being hidden under the human.
Radley parish and Westminster Abbey
In 1894 he became a canon of Westminster. Here he gained commanding influence as a preacher, and in 1898 was appointed one of the court chaplains.
Community of the Resurrection
In 1892, while Principal of Pusey House, Gore founded a clerical fraternity, known as the Society of the Resurrection. The society became a religious community, and he became their first superior, only resigning when appointed Bishop of Worcester in 1902. Its members were Anglican priests bound by the obligation of celibacy, living under a common rule and with a common purse. Their work was pastoral, evangelistic, literary and educational. The Community followed Gore to Radley in 1893, most of them remaining there when he moved to London in 1894. In 1898 the House of the Resurrection at Mirfield, near Huddersfield, became the centre of the community.
It embraces a Benedictine rule, and follows a liturgical day familiar to Catholic monks. But from its foundation in 1892, Charles Gore wanted it to engage in social action, and five out of six of its founding members belonged to the Christian Social Union. Hence the decision to settle in the industrial north, between Wakefield and Huddersfield. 
In 1903 a college for training candidates for the Anglican priesthood (College of the Resurrection), was established there and, in the same year, a branch house for missionary work was set up in Johannesburg in South Africa.
Bishop in Worcester, Birmingham and Oxford
In 1905 he was installed as the first Bishop of Birmingham, a new see, which he had helped to create, by dividing his see of Worcester. The second parish church of Birmingham, St Philip, became the cathedral. While adhering to his views on the divine institution of episcopacy as essential to the Christian Church, Bishop Gore from the first cultivated friendly relations with the ministers of other Christian denominations, and advocated co-operation with them in all matters when agreement was possible.
In social questions he became a leader of the group of High Anglicans known loosely as Christian Socialists. In 1889 at Pusey House he had helped found the Christian Social Union. He worked actively against the sweating system, pleaded for European intervention in Macedonia, and in 1908 was a keen supporter of the Licensing Bill.
On 28 September 1917 he licensed 21 women as lay readers called the "Diocesan Band of Women Messengers". These were possibly the first female lay readers in the Church of England. The last one, Miss Bessie Bangay, died in 1987, aged 98.
Retirement in London
He resigned in June 1919, and retired to London, where he took residence at 6 Margaret Street, as tenant of the parochial authorities of All Saints, Margaret Street. There he remained for several years, celebrating regularly in the church and in the sisters' chapel close by, and taking his usual keen interest in the affairs of the church and parish. At the same time he attached himself to Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, and was licensed to the Rector of St George's, Hanover Square, in whose parish that Chapel stands, thus becoming for the first time in his life a licensed curate.
Gore was a bundle of contradictions, a Catholic in the Church of England whose questioning of the Old Testament produced in the 1890s a crisis for many believers. In the judgment of his biographer, he was a loner who thought he had a vocation to community life. He chose to be buried at Mirfield, though he had never managed to be more than a visitor there.
He died in 1932. Gore left instructions for his body to be cremated, a practice seen as unChristian by some at the time, provoking the Anglo-Catholic Lord Halifax to exclaim, a little late, "I could shake the life out of him with my own hands. The ashes were taken to Mirfield in Yorkshire for burial in the church of the Community of the Resurrection. His cope and mitre remain at the Grosvenor Chapel.
- Lux Mundi (editor) (1889)
- The Incarnation of the Son of God (The Bampton Lectures 1891)
- Roman Catholic Claims (1892, revised 1920)
- Dissertations on Subjects connected with the Incarnation (1895)
- The Creed of the Christian (1895)
- The Sermon on the Mount (1896, revised 1910)
- Leo the Great (1897)
- The Epistle to the Ephesians (1898)
- Prayer, and the Lord's Prayer (1898)
- Romans (1899)
- The Church and the Ministry (1899, revised 1919)
- The Body of Christ (1901)
- The New Theology and the Old Religion (1907)
- Orders and Unity (1909)
- The Religion of the Church (1916)
- Dominant Ideas and Corrective Principles (1918)
- The Epistles of St John (1920)
- Christian Moral Principles (1921)
- Belief in God (1921)
- Belief in Christ (1922)
- The Holy Spirit and the Church (1924)
- The Doctrine of the Infallible Book (1924)
- Christ and Society (Halley Stewart Lectures, 1927) (pub. 1928)
- A New Commentary on Holy Scripture (contributor and co-editor) (1928)
- Dogma in the Early Church a Lecture (1929)
Belief in God, Belief in Christ and The Holy Spirit and the Church were reissued in a single volume as The Reconstruction of Belief in 1926.
- Crosse, Gordon, "Charles Gore: A Biographical Sketch", by Gordon Crosse, Milwaukee: Morehouse, 1932
- Rice, Hugh a. Lawrence, The Bridge Builders: Biographical Studies in the History of Anglicanism", Darton, Longman & Todd, London, 1961
- Cf. the Lutheran theologian Ernst Sartorius in his Lehre von der heiligen Liebe (1844), Lehre ii. pp. 21 et seq.: the Son of God veils his all-seeing eye and descends into human darkness and as child of man opens his eye as the gradually growing light of the world of humanity, until at the right hand of the Father he allows it to shine forth in all its glory. See G. F. Loofs, Art. Kenosis in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie (ed. 1901), x. 247.
- Howse, Christopher, "The Levelling of Mirfield Church", The Telegraph, November 13, 2009
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Wilkinson, Alan (1992). The Community of the Resurrection: a Centenary History. London: SCM Press. ISBN 0334025311.
- Charles Gore - from the Diocese of Oxford
- Charles Gore and the Lux Mundi School from Anglo-Catholic Socialism website
- Project Canterbury: Charles Gore
- Works by Charles Gore at Project Gutenberg
- Thoughts on Religion By the Late George John Romanes (edited by Charles Gore)
|Church of England titles|
John James Stewart Perowne
|Bishop of Worcester
Huyshe Wolcott Yeatman-Biggs
|New title||Bishop of Birmingham
Henry Russell Wakefield
|Bishop of Oxford
Hubert Murray Burge