Alister McGrath’s comments on the Graymoor draft

Received from Campion Hall based on discussions with Alister McGrath.

Author(s): Edward Yarnold, SJ
Dated: 22 Apr. 1986
Event: ARCIC II: Salvation and the Church, Graymoor, NY, 26-5 September 1985
Protocol: ARCIC-II-53-2C
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Edward Yarnold, SJ. "Alister McGrath’s comments on the Graymoor draft", ARCIC-II-53-2C (Graymoor, NY, 22 Apr. 1986).

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22 April 1986

Dear Christopher,

You asked me to put on paper an account of my discussion of the Graymoor Draft with Alister McGrath.

His main objection is to paras 2- 3. I told him they had been introduced into the text at a late stage, and showed him the earlier version of Sept. 1 (50/a). He thinks that the historical section in 50/a is far preferable. His detailed criticisms of this section in 50/c are as follows:

Para 2. (a) It is hard to see which “disagreements” in the two previous centuries the document is referring to. (b) In that period they would not have used “acceptance before God” as a synonym for “justification”. (c) The interest was much more in the parts played by the individual and God, rather than the role of the community. (d) The last 3 sentences of the para. don’t add anything, as they do not explain the “sharp contention”.

Para 3. The change in Luther cannot be shown to be due to his reading of Romans; if anything, it should be connected to his reading of the Psalms. It is not clear from the draft what the “revolution” is; it was much more about the role of God than the worthlessness of the soul, as the last sentence suggests.

Para 4. He made no detailed criticism of this para, but it will not be wanted if we return to 50/a.

He made no detailed criticism of the rest of the document. He expressed approval of the section headed “Salvation and Good Works”, and of the last para. Paras 11-21 he thought would do, but needed to be polished stylistically, and the run of the thought to be made clearer.

I hope this summary wi11 be of some use.

With best wishes, and regards to Hilary and [unclear].

Yours ever,