Dear Friends,

I often have great conversations with keen Christians from other denominations. They try to take me to task on different aspects of our Anglican practice, liturgy, polity or doctrine. Often, one of the factors that confuses our conversation is that they have some experience with other Anglicans and/or Anglican churches. They assume we all believe the same thing, so they challenge me with these other churches in mind. I confess that in Canada we are odd and part of an odd and tiny minority. We are classic or historic Anglicans, rooted in the classic formularies of Anglicanism: the 1662 Common Book of Prayer, the Thirty-nine Articles, and the Ordinal (with its preface). We are no longer part of the Anglican Church of Canada. We are part of the Anglican Network in Canada. While we are part of a tiny minority in Canadian Anglicanism we are actually part of the majority from a world-wide Anglican perspective – we are part of the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future) movement which makes up 80% of the worlds Anglicans. For the record, the Anglican Church of Canada is not a part of that large, evangelical, missionary, renewal movement.

Back to conversations with keen Christians from other denominations. I try to show them how our practices and beliefs are biblical. This matters to us because the key questions, “What does the Bible teach” is a foundational Anglican question. Consider these quotes from the Thirty-Nine Articles, a foundational statement of Anglican belief

“Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation. Consequently whatever is not read in Scripture, nor can be proved from Scripture cannot be demanded from any person to believe it as an article of faith. Nor is any such thing to be thought necessary or required for salvation. By Holy Scripture is meant those canonical books of the Old and New Testaments whose authority has never been doubted within the church.” Article 6 (I have left out the list of Bible books, See an ESV or NIV for the list)

“The three creeds, the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and that known as the Apostles’ Creed, ought to be wholeheartedly accepted and believed. This is because their contents may be proved by definite statements of Holy Scripture.” Article 8

“The church has authority to decree forms of worship and ceremonies and to decide in controversies concerning the faith. However, it is not lawful for the church to order anything contrary to God’s written Word. Nor may it expound one passage of Scripture so that it contradicts another passage. So, although the church is a witness and guardian to Holy Scripture, it must not decree anything contrary to Scripture, nor is it to enforce belief in anything additional to Scripture as essential to salvation.” Article 20

I could go on. The point is that in the true, ancient, world-wide Anglican way, we are to be a Bible people. We learn from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to ask the question, “What does the Bible say?” And we go with what the Bible says, even if it is unpopular or counter cultural. I am an Anglican, but I have always understood “Anglican” as an adjective, not a noun. So, I am an Anglican Christian, or an Anglican evangelical, or an Anglican evangelical Christian. We love our peculiarities and distinctions, but our hope and trust is first and foremost in the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and coming again in glory!