What Does It Mean to Be Anglican?
To be Anglican is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity. Rather it is a distinct way of being a “mere Christian”—one that is at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.
Anglican Christianity is unique, not in any core doctrine, but in that it is strategically positioned to be ecumenical (practicing a shared Communion with other Christian traditions), biblical, sacramental, historically rooted through Apostolic succession, and globally connected via the Anglican Communion.
“The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, “has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning. It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to “the faith once delivered to the saints.”
The Big Picture
The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian body in the world (following the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox Church); it’s the largest Protestant denomination. It has approximately 80 million adherents in countries all around the world, making it a truly global communion. Anglicanism is vibrant and growing in many regions of the world. Here at home, the Anglican Church in North America is growing at a rapid rate as hundreds of churches are being planted across the country.
The Anglican Communion has some great tools to help churches in different regions of the world care for each other. One of them is the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. Our congregation participates in contributing to this fund in order to extend Christian humanitarian work in places where it is needed. The relief and development efforts are organically connected to the work of local churches.
For more on what it means to be a Christian in the Anglican Way, participate in our “To Be a Christian” workshop.