What Does It Mean To Be Anglican?
The following are a few distinctions …
- Received Jesus as Lord and Savior.
- Baptized and active in a congregation calling itself Anglican.
- Believes that the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God and contain all things necessary for salvation.
- Worships using the structure found in an Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
- Holds to the basic doctrine summarized in the Nicene Creed and in the historic Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (both found in the Book of Common Prayer).
- “Follows Christ, comes together week by week for corporate worship, and works, prays and gives for the spread of the Kingdom of God.”
The Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic compiled a booklet of essays and lectures on the meaning of Anglicanism. The words inside this booklet come from a variety of different leaders, ranging from Archbishop Robert Duncan and social critic Os Guinness to clergy and laity across our diocese.
Statement of Faith
We recognize the need today for reaffirming the following beliefs:
The Holy Trinity. The one God exists eternally in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and has so revealed Himself to us in Scripture.
The Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ, God incarnate and fully human, is, by reason of His birth of the Virgin Mary, sinless life, atoning death, bodily resurrection, glorious ascension, and triumphant reign, the only Mediator between God and man.
The Holy Scriptures. The canonical books of the Old and New Testaments are trustworthy as “God’s Word written,” sufficiently teach God’s will for His world, and have supreme authority for faith, life, and the continuous renewal and reform of the Church. They are inspired, infallible, and “contain all things necessary for salvation.”
Justification and Sanctification. Repenting and believing sinners are (i) justified through faith alone by God’s gracious act of declaring us righteous on the ground of the reconciling death of Christ, who suffered in our place and rose again for us; and (ii) sanctified by the gracious, continuing activity of the Holy Spirit who perfects our repentance, nurtures the new life implanted within us, transforms us into Christ’s image, and enables us to do good works in the world.
The Christian Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. Its members belong to Christ’s new humanity and are called and sent to live in the world in the power of the Spirit, worshipping God, confessing His truth, proclaiming the Good News of Christ, supporting one another in love, and giving themselves in sacrificial service to others, especially those in need. Its great mission is to make disciples of all nations and peoples.
Spiritual Gifts and Ministry. All Christians are called to exercise their God-given gifts to work, witness, and suffer for Christ. The particular call of ordained ministers is to preach, teach, and provide leadership and pastoral care to equip God’s people for His service and present them mature in Christ.
The Gospel Sacraments. The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace given to us and ordained by Christ Himself as means by which we receive such grace and pledges to assure us of it.
The Return of Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ will personally return in glory at the end of this age for the resurrection of the dead, some to life and some to condemnation, for the glorification of His Church and for the renewal of the whole Creation.
Some Contemporary Implications of the Gospel
The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ. While religions and philosophies of the world are not without elements of the truth, Jesus Christ alone is the full revelation of God, who through the Gospel judges and corrects all views and doctrines. All persons everywhere need to learn of Him, come to know and believe in Him, and receive forgiveness and new life in Him, as there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.
Church and Society. Biblical social commandments and Christian ethical principles are foundational to the well being of every society. Recognizing the call of Christians to be faithful witnesses and a challenging presence in society, we are committed to seek ways to express these commandments and principles in all spheres of life, including the public life of the nation.
Sanctity of Life. All human life is a sacred gift from God and is to be protected and defended from conception to natural death. We will uphold the sanctity of life and bring the grace and compassion of Christ to those who face the realities of previous abortion, unwanted pregnancy, and end-of-life illness.
Fellowship. In grateful response to Christ Jesus, in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, we will extend the welcome of the church to every man, woman, and child regardless of race, social or economic status, sexual history, or past behavior. We will oppose prejudice in ourselves and others and recognize that all have sinned and need to repent.
Marriage, Family, and the Single Life. God has instituted marriage to be a life-long union of husband and wife, intended for their mutual joy, help, and comfort; for the procreation and nurture of godly children; and for the blessing of society. Divorce is always contrary to God’s original intention, though in a fallen world it is sometimes an all-too-frequent and tragic reality. The roles of father and mother, exercised in a variety of ways, are God-given and profoundly important since they are the chief providers of moral instruction and godly living. The single life, either by call or circumstance, is honored by God. It is therefore important for unmarried persons to embrace and be embraced by the Christian family.
Human Sexuality. Sexuality is inherent in God’s creation of human beings in His image as male and female. All Christians are called to chastity: husbands and wives by exclusive sexual fidelity to one another, and single persons by abstinence from sexual activity. God intends and enables all people to live within these boundaries, with the help and in the fellowship of the Church.