What does 'Anglican' mean?
The Anglican Church is not as much a denomination as it is a way of life. That’s why we like to speak of the Anglican tradition not in terms of an “ism” but as a way—or rhythm of life—that helps us cultivate deep relationships with God and others. We seek to live rhythms of daily morning and evening prayer, weekly celebration of Holy Communion, and feasting and fasting throughout the year as we walk through the church’s calendar which follows the life of Christ. The Anglican Way is as old as Christianity in Britain; in fact the name “Anglican” comes from the word “Anglo” which technically refers to the people living in England. Since the English Reformation of the 16th century, however, Anglican began to be used to refer to the Church of England and its affiliated churches around the world. The Anglican way is the church of John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, C.S. Lewis, John Stott, J.I. Packer, and the Alpha Course, an introduction to Christianity which is run in over 165 countries across denominational lines. As a multi-national, multi-ethnic family, Anglicans are 80 million strong world-wide.
Are you catholics or protestants?
Yes. We are Protestant in the sense that Anglicans protested the abuses of the medieval Roman church and recovered the Bible’s teaching of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. We are catholic in the sense that we are a Reformation church that maintained the universal (catholic) practices of the ancient church (before there were different denominations) such as its liturgical worship, succession of Bishops, and sacraments.
What's Distinct About the Anglican way of following Jesus?
One of the major distinctions of the Anglican Way is that it is a broad river, containing the evangelical (Calvinist and Arminian), catholic, and charismatic streams of Christianity. Anglicans are a pretty diverse family, but are bound together by a common liturgy as found in the Book of Common Prayer as well as a common ethos. The Book of Common Prayer is simply scripture put to prayer, giving our worship and prayer lives structure and depth and allowing for the freedom of authentic expressions of devotion. The Provinces of the Anglican Communion hold four things in common: 1. The Bible as the basis of our faith and the lens through which we see the world. 2. The Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as basic statements of Christian belief. 3. A celebration of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. 4. An historic line of Bishops who safeguard the Faith, provide oversight for local congregations, and lead and serve the church.
Why do you worship using a liturgy?
The word “liturgy” comes from the Greek word “liturgia,” which simply means “the work of the people.” Let’s begin by first recognizing that every church has a liturgy whenever they gather for worship. Baptists have a liturgy, Presbyterians, Methodists, Charismatics and Pentecostals all have a liturgy! It’s the work of all the people, not just the professional “man or woman of God” up front. Very simply, the Sunday liturgy is our Spirit-enabled response of love to God for his saving acts in Jesus Christ. It is an order of service that helps to shepherd our hearts into a genuine encounter with both the other-than-ness and the nearness of God. Let’s face it, it’s easy to “check out” of any worship service, or let our crummy week dictate the fervor of our worship. A good liturgy is saturated with truth AND Spirit; meets us where we are at, ignites faith, hope, and love, and carries us into the holy of holies to encounter a God of love. Our liturgy, as found in the Book of Common Prayer is simply scripture put to prayer.
Do you believe God still works miracles?
Absolutely! Jesus’ first coming was characterized by both the proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Kingdom or “reign” of God is the way things are in heaven, it is the way life should be. Jesus demonstrated God’s Kingdom by receiving the outcast, heling the sick, raising the dead, and freeing people from demonic affliction. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom and gave his followers authority to continue advancing the Kingdom by doing the same works. In the 21st century the Kingdom continues to advance. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever and so the followers of Jesus live with the expectation that God will heal and transform lives. Jesus loves to save and heal the whole person: our minds, our wills, our emotions, and our bodies through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, after all, is “the Lord and giver of life” as the creed says, and he loves to bring glory to the Father and Jesus by demonstrating the power and love of God’s Kingdom. He draws people to Christ, makes them alive with Christ and transforms us into the image and likeness of Christ. By the power of the Spirit the followers of Jesus are to bring heaven’s future (when God reigns in all matters) into the present, through signs, wonders, healings, prophetic ministry but most importantly through growing us up into our true identities as sons and daughters of God.
Why do call your ministers 'priests'?
Well, at Imago we call the ministers here “Pastor,” or “Father,” or “Mother.” Nevertheless, Anglicans have for centuries called their pastors priests. Why? Doesn’t the New Testament talk about all believers being priests? Well, English is a funny language. Let’s start with the Greek word often translated in the New Testament as ‘Elder.’ It’s presbyteros, hich became presbyter and then prester. Prester became Old English preost, which became the word priest. Unfortunately, the same English word is used to describe the individuals who stood between God and his people in the Old Testament but there is a specifically different word used for this priesthood. When Anglicans say ‘priest’ we mean the God-ordained office and order of ministry represented by elders (presbyters) in the New Testament–not individuals who stood between God and his people.
What is a sacrament?
A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. To put it another way, a sacrament is a tangible, physical element that you can see, touch, taste and feel that points to something equally as real, but intangible. For example, the Sacrament of Communion is a regular part of our worship and lets us participate in the reality of the sacrificial death of Christ and the family that is created by his grace and through our faith in him. In the broken bread we see his broken body, in the wine we see his blood spilled for us, as we share this covenantal meal together – one with Jesus and one with each other. The other sacrament is Baptism, which lets us experience the reality of how the death and resurrection of Christ washes us clean and brings us into the Christian community. Each of these sacraments are a means by which God imparts to us love and power.
Have Your own question not listed? Ask away!
If you want to go deeper in your exploration of Anglican beliefs and worship, are curious about the 'ethos' or unique vision and mission of this particular church, or are interested in knowing how to move forward in your own journey as a baptized disciple of Jesus, be on the lookout for future Threshold classes. Threshold is usually offered 1-2x a year and lasts Sundays after Eucharist. The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter is a companion text used for this class.