What is Anglicanism?

This Anglican think tank blog presents articles and conversations addressing what it means to be Anglican. At the core, Anglicanism is Trinitarian Christianity. And, Anglicanism can be described by How we Study, How we Worship, and How we Grow. Thus, "ATLAS" concerns Theology, Liturgy, and Spiritual formation.
Britian has some of the earliest evidence of Christian art. This 4th century lead tank from Suffolk includes the ancient Chi-Rho and Alpha-Omega symbols. It was probably designed to hold water at a church. The grounds also included a cemetery, which may explain the reverse order Omega-Alpha.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anglicanism means Anointing

The Cathedral Seat at Canterbury.
Every Archbishop of Canterbury since the 12th century has been consecrated in this very chair.
It is a symbol of how Christ Himself gave authority to His apostles and continues to do so generation after generation.
Anointing for ministry flows with such delegated authority.  Read more about this in the article
Anglicanism means Anointing.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Anglicanism means Expansion

Canterbury Cathedral
I grew up in Merritt Island, Florida.  I met Jesus in a row-boat on the Banana River near my house.  That area is home-base to me.  I was at Canterbury Cathedral on March 11, 2011.  This is a symbolic home-base for Anglicans, and a symbol of the Communion which unites those who have met Jesus and those who are related to the Anglican church.

So, how can I understand the movement of the Spirit which progressed from Canterbury, founded by Augustine in AD 597, to Florida 1400 years later?

This movement of the Spirit is crucial to understanding the heart of Anglicanism.  This heart can be expressed by the same word which summarizes the movement of the Spirit in the NT book of Acts.  The word is "expansion."  An inherent characteristic of Anglicanism is expansion.  A church which does not embrace this characteristic is not fully expressing Anglicanism.

Anglicanism is "The Church in England" and can be traced back to the 1st century when Roman soldiers and merchants brought Christianity to England.  Celtic peoples were converted during that time, and Celtic peoples also migrated to England from Gaul (France) and Galatia (Asia Minor) during the persecutions of the 2nd century.  The Christian Church in England was alive and well before Augustine even arrived in 597.  A good summary of the early history of Christianity in England can be found at http://www.localhistories.org/christian.html
For about a thousand years, the Church in England grew and was shaped by a variety of influences, including Rome.  Eventually, Celtic roots, political friction, a desire to reform aspects of Catholicism which had gone awry from Scripture, and good ole human willfullness contributed to "the Church of England" being formed during the Reformation era (1500-1600).  As an institution, it maintained the biblical teaching that every pastor needs a pastor (ie, bishops), but it rejected extra-biblical elements of Roman Catholicism such as purgatory and transubstantiation. 

For the next 400 years, the Church of England was part of the English movement of colonization around the world.  Though once again human interests and politics were mixed with Christian mission (and some aspects of colonization rightfully need re-examination), the reality is that the gospel was spread.

Anglicanism expanded around the globe, and today the worldwide Communion comprises dozens of nations.  The Church from England has grown up from the roots of the Church in England.  My Anglican church in Florida has roots in the Church in England, a church no longer limited to the geography of the British Isles, nor to Celtic and Anglo peoples.

This pattern of expansion was no accident.  The heritage of "expanding Christianity" began with the Apostles, especially John in France and Paul in Asia Minor, and has been passed on to Celtic and Roman Christianity in England, and Anglican Christianity from England.

This pattern of expansion is the continuation of what we see in the book of Acts.  Notice especially Acts 1:8, and the subsequent outline of the book which shows a geographic expansion of the gospel from the upper room out to the Gentile regions.  Notice also Acts 2:39, and the subsequent events of the book which show a biographical expansion of the gospel from Jews, to Gentiles, and all people groups.  Notice also Acts chapter 2, and 4:39, and the amazing difference of the disciples between the time they ran in fear at the Crucifixion, and the occasions in Acts when they boldly preached Jesus in the face of danger and persecution.  Such expansion of maturity and spiritual depth is only possible through the Spirit.  Note finally Acts 1:2 which refers to the 12, Acts 1:15 which refers to the 120, and Acts 13:1 which refers to additional apostles including Paul (as does Rom. 16:7).  This is an expansion of those who are equipped and sent out as ministers.

Here's a quick way to evaluate our Anglican heart - are we continuing our heritage of expansion in the realms of - geography, biography, spiritual depth, and ministers?

As Anglicanism in America presses forward, my prayer is that we do not exclude any of these realms of expansion.

If you are involved in an Anglican parish now, what is your parish's vision for expansion in each of these realms?

Practially speaking, expansion geographically could mean planting a church in a new town, and it can mean getting involved in reaching an area of the globe still in need of the gospel.
Expansion biographically could mean orienting your parish around the passion of reaching another people-group such as the elderly, or migrant workers, or college students, or unwed pregnant girls, or ...
Expansion in terms of spiritual maturing could mean orienting your parish around becoming a retreat center for those who would come for a week or a month of inner healing ministry, spiritual direction, formational prayer, and other forms of discipleship.
Expansion regarding ministers could mean orienting your parish around becoming a Training Site for the next generation of Clergy and Lay Leaders.  Instead of investing resources in directions only enjoyed by the local membership, invest resources in ways that would provide quality theological and ministry training to those who will carry the Anglican vision on after you.

These questions apply not only to Anglican parishes as corporate bodies, but also to Anglican individuals.  In what ways is God calling you - yourself - to be involved in the expansion of the gospel?