what is anglicanism?

Anglicanism today consists of 38 independent churches around the world, with a 39th entity in formation. These churches are called "provinces" of the "Anglican Communion," all of which are historically descended from the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. There are 80 million Anglicans worldwide, making it the third largest Christian Communion in the world. Anglicanism has no central authority like the Roman Catholic Church has in its pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury acts as the convener and host of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops every ten years, but only in his own Church of England does he exercise actual authority.

 

In 1888, the conference of bishops issued a statement setting out the essentials for the reunification of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” These essentials define Anglicanism. The four basics are: 1) the Holy Scripture as containing all things necessary for salvation; 2) the two sacraments ordained by Jesus Christ himself: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; 3) the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed as concise statements of the faith; 4) the historic episcopate (bishops) carrying on the apostolic ministry for the unity of the Church.

 

Another way to define Anglicanism

is that we are

Scriptural, Sacramental, Creedal and Episcopal.

  • scriptural

    The Articles of Religion (39 Articles) state that, “Scripture containeth all things necessary for salvation.” The Holy Scriptures, commonly called the Bible, are the books of the Old and New Testaments. We call the Holy Scriptures the Word of God because we understand that God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible today. Scripture is the primary foundation of the Anglican tradition because Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

  • sacramental

    A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality or grace, conferred by Jesus Christ as confident and certain means by which we receive that grace. There are two sacraments ordained by Jesus Christ himself; Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Holy Baptism is the sacrament through which we are adopted by God into his family and it makes us members of the Church, which is Christ’s Body. Through our baptism, we are heirs with Christ and inheritors of the kingdom of God. The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ as a continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his return. The Holy Eucharist is called by many names including the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or the Mass. This service is the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present to and for all believers.

  • creedal

    The two creeds used during worship in Anglican churches are the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. In them, we proclaim our basic Christian beliefs. The Apostles’ Creed is the ancient Baptismal creed used during daily worship to recall the covenant made at our baptism. The Nicene Creed is more comprehensive and longer and is used at the Eucharist.

  • episcopal: the term

    Episcopal: The word bishop derives from the Greek word from which we get the term

    “episcopal.” Bishop means “overseer” as in one who has authority over another. Bishops in the Anglican Communion are standing in the tradition of the original apostles. They are charged with the task of guarding the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; of celebrating and providing for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; of ordaining priests and deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; as well as being in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ.

  • liturgical

    Liturgical: The four essentials of Anglicanism are experienced within the liturgy or “work of the people.” Anglicans combine the word and sacraments on a continual basis through their worship each week. Many places have a Book of Common Prayer to help believers participate in a full and meaningful way in all worship services.