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Bible Encyclopedias
Charles Gore

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

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CHARLES GORE (1853-), English divine, was born in 1853, the 3rd son of the Hon. Charles Alexander Gore, brother of the 4th earl of Arran. His mother was a daughter of the 4th earl of Bessborough. He was educated at Harrow and at Balliol College, Oxford, and was elected fellow of Trinity College in 1875. From 1880 to 1883 he was vice-principal of the theological college at Cuddesdon, and, 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, he was appointed principal, a position which he held until 1893. As principal of Pusey House Mr Gore exercised a wide influence over undergraduates and the younger clergy, and it was largely, if not mainly, under this influence that the "Oxford Movement" underwent a change which to the survivors of the old school of 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 any compromise with the modern critical and liberalizing spirit. Mr Gore, starting from the same basis of faith and authority, soon found from his practical 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 Protestant bodies, while the second, Roman Catholic Claims, is a defence, couched in a more popular form, of the Anglican Church and Anglican orders against the attacks of the Romanists.

So far his published views had been in complete consonance with those of the older Tractarians. But in 1890 a great stir was created by the publication, under his editorship, of Lux Mundi, a series of essays by different writers, being an attempt "to succour a distressed faith by endeavouring to bring the Christian Creed into its right relation to the modern growth of knowledge, scientific, historic, critical; and to modern problems of politics and ethics." Mr Gore himself contributed an essay on "The Holy Spirit and Inspiration." The book, which ran through twelve editions in a little over a year, met with a somewhat 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 Scriptures 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 greatly impressed by a system of defence which seemed to draw an artificial line beyond which criticism was not to advance. None the less the book produced a profound effect, and that far beyond the borders of the English Church, and it is largely due to its influence, and to that of the school it represents, that the High Church movement developed thenceforth on "Modernist" rather than Tractarian lines.

In 1891 Mr Gore was chosen to deliver the Bampton lectures before the university, and chose for his subject the Incarnation. In these lectures he developed the doctrine, the enunciation of which in Lux Mundi had caused so much heart-searching. This is an attempt to explain how it came that Christ, though incarnate God, could be in error, e.g. in his citations from the Old Testament. The orthodox explanation was based on the principle of accommodation. This, however, ignored the difficulty that if Christ during his sojourn on earth was not subject to human limitations, especially of knowledge, he was not a man as other men, and therefore not subject to their trials and temptations. This difficulty Gore sought to meet through the doctrine of the KEvcoaes. Ever since the Pauline epistles had been received into the canon theologians had, from various points of view, attempted to explain what St Paul meant when he wrote of Christ (2 Phil. ii. 7) that "he emptied himself and took upon him the form of a servant" ( EauTOv µop4 v OovXoD Xa(3c7.v). According to Mr Gore this means that Christ, on his incarnation, became subject to all human limitations, and had, so far as his life on earth was concerned, stripped himself of all the attributes of the Godhead, including the Divine omniscience, the Divine nature being, as it were, hidden under the human.' Lux Mundi and the Bampton lectures led to a situation of some tension which was relieved when in 1893 Dr Gore resigned his principalship and became vicar of Radley, a small parish near Oxford. In 1894 he became canon of Westminster. Here he gained commanding influence as a preacher and in 1898 was appointed one of the court chaplains. In 1902 he succeeded 1 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 Loofs, Art. "Kenosis" in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopadie (ed. 1901), x. 247.

J. J. S. Perowne as bishop of Worcester and in 1905 was installed bishop of Birmingham, a new see the creation of which had been mainly due to his efforts. While adhering rigidly to his views on the divine institution of episcopacy as essential to the Christian Church, Dr Gore from the first cultivated friendly relations with the ministers of other denominations, and advocated co-operation with them in all matters when agreement was possible. In social questions he became one of the leaders of the considerable group of High Churchmen known, somewhat loosely, as Christian Socialists. He worked actively against the sweating system, pleaded for European intervention in Macedonia, and was a keen supporter of the Licensing Bill of 1908. In 1892 he founded the clerical fraternity known as the Community of the Resurrection. Its members are priests, who are bound by the obligation of celibacy, live under a common rule and with a common purse. Their work is pastoral, evangelistic, literary and educational. In 1898 the House of the Resurrection at Mirfield, near Huddersfield, became the centre of the community; in 1903 a college for training candidates for orders was established there, and in the same year a branch house, for missionary work, was set up in Johannesburg in South Africa.

Dr Gore's works include The Incarnation (Bampton Lectures, 1891), The Creed of the Christian (1895), The Body of Christ (1901), The New Theology and the Old Religion (1908), and expositions of The Sermon on the Mount (1896), Ephesians (1898), and Romans (1899), while in 1910 he published Orders and Unity.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Charles Gore'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​c/charles-gore.html. 1910.
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