What is an Anglican?


Anglicans are Christians who follow the ancient paths of Jesus Christ and his Apostles.

Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.   Jeremiah 6:16

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.   2 Thessalonians 2:15

 

Christ-Centered

First and foremost, Anglicans are Christians—sincere, devoted, and careful followers of Jesus Christ. As you read this, you will see how each of the distinctives of our Anglican identity help us to be and remain centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ

 

Ancient

The Anglican church is one of the most ancient branches of the catholic Christian faith stretching back to the earliest days of Christianity. We are the descendants of the ancient Church of England, and because the ancient name for England was Angleland, we are called Anglicans. Through the last two millennia, we, along with the other branches of Christ’s Church, have adopted the following “formularies” which help us maintain, practice, and explain our faith.

  • The Holy Bible

  • The Book of Common Prayer

  • The 3 Creeds of All Christendom

  • The Ecumenical Councils of the Church

  • The Catholic Teachings of the Early Church Fathers

  • The 39 Articles of Religion

 

The Holy Bible

From its very beginnings, the Anglican tradition has been firmly grounded in the Scriptures. Our theology, beliefs, and spirituality have flowed naturally from our conviction that the Bible is the word of God, entirely trustworthy, true, and authoritative.

Because of these strong convictions, Anglicans are very careful about the translations used, choosing only faithful, accurate, literal translations of the Scripture. This care gave the world the King James version of the Bible and continues to produce the best translations of the Bible in English available today. At St. Timothy's Church, we recommend the following translations and study Bibles. These are chosen for their reliability and excellence in translation theory, as well as the excellent quality of language.

  • The Authorized Version - also known as the King James Version (KJV)

  • The New King James (NKJV) - a modern language update of the classic original

  • The Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition (RSV2CE) - a contemporary English translation

  • The English Standard Version Study Bible(ESV) - an excellent, essentially literal modern translation

  • The Orthodox Study Bible - Eastern Orthodox translation of the LXX, with study notes

  • The Reformation Study Bible - available in the NKJV and the ESV translations

 

The Book of Common Prayer

After the Bible, the Prayer Book is the most important of Anglican documents. It has been said, "If you want to know what people really believe, listen to how they pray and worship." This is most certainly true of Anglicans. Furthermore, the documents listed in this section are contained within the Prayer Book. At St. Timothy's Church we use the REC Book of Common Prayer, which contains both the 1662 and 1928 classic versions of the liturgy.

The Book of Common Prayer is a collection of the ancient liturgies of the Church (worship services for Morning and Evening Prayer, Holy Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, weddings, burials, and ordinations) as well as a collection of prayers appropriate for almost any occasion. The bulk of the Prayer Book is direct quotations from Scripture. In fact around 80% is directly from the Bible. This includes Scripture readings for every Sunday of the year as well as the entire Book of Psalms, which Anglicans read, chant, and sing every day. In our Sunday Liturgies, we quote passages of Scripture back and forth to one another, and pray the words of Scripture. Furthermore, in the front of the Prayer Book is a lectionary, a daily Scripture reading plan which guides all Anglicans to read through the Bible every year. For Anglicans, the Prayer Book teaches us to incorporate Scripture into every area of our lives as we worship God according to his revealed desires each and every day.


The Catholic Creeds of All Christendom
(Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian)

Some have said, "We have no Creed but Christ." But which Christ? There have been many impostors in history. The classic creeds of Christendom are statements, drawn from Scripture, which ensure that we are speaking of and trusting in the God of Scripture, the holy Trinity of history and of reality - and not the false "christs" of human invention. You may read these three creeds in the Book of Common Prayer, pages 16 and 36.

 

The 39 Articles of Religion

Each of the 39 individual articles addresses some topic of our beliefs, including the nature of God, the Bible as the Word of God, the work of Christ, His Sacraments, and His Church. The 39 Articles function as an outline of our Anglican Faith and can be found in The Book of Common Prayer.

 

The Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church

Each of these councils spoke authoritatively for the whole Church and their godly pronouncements are received as binding settlements of controversy and heresy in the Church, as well as guides for orthodox (right) belief. A careful study of these councils reveals that Satan is a creature of habit. He continues to attack the Church of Christ on the same grounds today as always. Therefore, the teachings of the councils are as relevant today as they were in their own time.

 

The Catholic Teachings of the early Church fathers

The word "catholic", here and elsewhere on this site, means "that which has been believed by all Christians in all places at all times." We test our understanding and ideas concerning the faith to ensure that they are catholic, that our teaching is in accord with the faith of all the saints of all time, for the Spirit has been leading his church throughout history. One significant way we do this is by learning the teaching of the early fathers and saints. Through their teaching, we understand what the catholic faith is and especially what they learned in those early days from the Apostles themselves.