There’re all kinds of cups in the world. Imagine pouring wine into one. Experts will tell you that the kind of cup you pour wine into affects the taste. The cup won’t turn the wine into something it’s not (wine doesn’t become beer in a red Solo® cup), but it will change the experience, and the right wine glass can bring out the flavor of the wine. A good cup can lead to a richer experience.
While Anglicanism is a cup, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the wine. It’s a good cup for this most magnificent of wines, but it isn’t nearly as important as the wine itself. It isn’t the only kind of cup you could use, but it is a good one, and one that does a nice job of allowing the wine to be experienced more fully.
So, What's This Cup Like?
The Anglican Communion is the third largest body of Christians in the world. It’s one of the most active, growing, and fruitful fellowships of churches on the planet. In North America, new Anglican congregations are popping up on a weekly basis. Many thousands of people are joining these churches. It’s part of an unexpected and amazing worldwide movement of God.
There are several things that make the Anglican cup unique. Each of these things, taken individually, will be found in all kinds of churches. But you probably won’t find all of these together in a church that isn’t Anglican.
Primacy of Scripture
Anglican churches hold that Old and New Testaments together are the Word of God and contain all things necessary for salvation. We believe that the Bible holds authority in questions of God and humanity over all other traditions, arguments, decisions, and values.
Anglicans believe that there is One God who exists eternally in three persons— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Furthermore, we believe that Jesus Christ is completely God and is also completely human.
Anglicans believe that every human being on earth is in need of the saving help of Jesus Christ. We believe that salvation is in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.
Word and Sacrament
Anglicans believe that a church is a community that gathers around the proclamation of the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments of Christ. We believe in preaching the whole of the Gospel. We teach that the Sacraments are external signs of interior grace, signs commanded by Christ for the building up of his church.
We believe that God has called us to live our lives together in Christ. We engage in liturgical disciplines of prayer, worship, and repentance. Anglicans embrace a full life of seasons and hours, fasts and feasts. We are called to lives that are both ordered and creative.
Anglicans have a mission to the world. This mission is one of both proclaiming the Gospel and living it out. This means that we believe in starting new churches, evangelizing our neighbors, ministering to the poor, and caring for the world.
The Church preserves and protects the Gospel through bishops. They are the successors of the Apostles through heritage, teaching, and character. Our bishops were consecrated by other bishops, who were consecrated by other bishops, all the way back to the Apostles.
Anglicans are never finished. We are, as the Latin phrase to the left puts it, “always reforming.” Although we are stabilized by tradition, we are nevertheless always seeking ways to better promote and proclaim the Gospel in our own day.
This Latin term means “the middle way.” Anglicanism lives at the center rather than the extremes. We have learned that it’s impossible to be radical about more than one thing. We don’t desire to be radical about politics, traditions, ideas, or even religion. We want to be radical about the only thing worth being radical about: the amazing love of God in Jesus Christ.