New to Anglicanism?
Some reasons why I love being Anglican (by Pastor JT)
Here's some of what I love about Anglicanism:
- We appreciate church history as a way we can learn from the powerful figures, movements, mistakes and moments of the past. One way we learn from history is by utilizing prayers and spiritual readings that date as far back as the 1st century.
- We are deeply global with 70 million adherents worldwide. This offersa wide field-of-view as we establish connections oversees (for example in Rwanda), and diversity here in the US.
- Though we have clear values on the essentials of the faith, there is theological and Biblical diversity regarding non-essentials.
- Symbols and sacraments (like a chalice, kneeling at the altar, putting a veil over the cross or stripping the altar on Good Friday, etc) become powerful physical instruments pointing us to deeper realities, like a wedding ring. Though we do not worship these symbols and sacraments, we realize that they can point us to God and deepen our faith.
- The sermon is not the ‘home run’ of the service, communion is! Singing, prayer, the hearing and preaching of the Word are all essential but they all build to the Lord's Supper, where we celebrate Jesus as the centerpeice of the Christian faith.
- I see the very healthy balance of an academic and intellectual faith, as well as an experiential one that we see time and time again in Scripture. Movements which distill our faith into a purely mental or academic one, lobotomize the New Testament testimony of a God who is also deeply involved in the lives of his people today (i.e. Luke 24:32 “Were not our hearts burning within us while he [Jesus] talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”). The Gospel is for the whole of the person (physical, sexual, general, emotional, mental, social) as it is for the whole of society (food, clothing, shelter, racial reconciliation, justice, etc).
- We embrace mystery in theology, life, history and worship, to name a few. We speak about mystery regularly in the words leading up to the Lord’s Supper, just as the Bible embraces the concept of mystery.
Conclusion: Anglicanism is NOT sentimentality (worshipping the nativity scene instead of the Christ-child IN the scene), salvation by works, papalism, empty ceremony or superstition (such as rubbing holy stones on the ground or sending emails that say “pass this on to 20 people and you will be blessed”). Anglicanism offers a high degree of security in, and identity about, WHO we are; we don’t have to throw hype or spin, or be ‘sexier’ than the church down the street; we are ‘comfortable in our own skin’ as an orthodox historical, global and Biblical movement.