What is the ANGLICAN Church ?
The Anglican Church is the spiritual mother of all English-speaking Christians. In the first century, about the time that St. Paul was writing his epistles, missionaries brought the Christian faith to Britain. The British (or Celtic) Church founded by these missionaries of the Apostolic era was an integral part of the ancient and undivided Church of Jesus Christ our LORD.
Later, after the Angles and Saxons migrated to Britain, claiming it as "Angleland", missionaries from the native British Church and the Roman Church (which arrived with St. Augustine in A.D. 597) worked to evangelize the new inhabitants. These efforts were unified at the Synod of Whitby in A.D. 664, so that in the seventh century of her life and work, the Anglican or English Church associated herself with the Church on the continent for the sake of Christian unity. Missionaries from England then planted Christian missions in Germany. The best known of those missionaries was St. Boniface (also knows as Wynfrith, 675-754) and the story of his ceremonial destruction of the sacred oak of Donar at Geismar. Boniface was consecrated as archbishop and was martyred at Dokkum during a confirmation Service.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, after erroneous teachings and practices had crept into the life of the Christian Church, it became clear that the Church needed reforming to be restored to the faith and doctrine taught in the Bible and by the ancient Fathers who had succeeded Christ's Apostles as leaders in the Church.
From the 1520's, Anglican reformers took on the dangerous task of restoring the Church of England to a completely Biblical faith and practice. Men like Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley (all of whom were eventually burned at the stake) seized the opportunity of Henry VIII's dynastic and political problems to achieve the only truly successful reformation of an entire national church. Their principles were a return to Biblical doctrine and the unified teaching and practice of the undivided Church of the first ten centuries. They did not seek division or discord within the Church, but were firm in their resolve to separate from Rome's errors. They claimed only their ancient, scriptural right to a free fellowship of scriptural truth within the one Body of Jesus Christ.
What is the EPISCOPAL Church?
The faith that Anglican missionaries brought to the New World in the 16th century was both "Catholic" and "Reformed." It was Catholic because it was the faith of the Bible universally held by Christians in all times and places since the time of the Apostles, which faith was required of all men to be believed for salvation. It was Reformed because it embraced the labors of the reformers who restored to the Church the order and practice that gave structure to her life and worship from the beginning, all of which was scrutinized by godly men in the light of the Holy Scriptures.
The Anglicans also brought with them a form of church government that involved every member in a representative order. It was in these representative bodies that many Americans learned the lessons of self-government, including George Washington, Patrick Henry, James Madison, and others.
After the War for Independence, the Anglican Church became known in America as the Episcopal Church (meaning "having bishops as chief pastors"). But despite the minor change in name, the American branch of the Anglican Church maintained the fullness of the faith recovered during the Reformation and preserved in the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion.
What is the Anglican Church TODAY?
Beginning more than 100 years ago, the thoughtless modernism and centralization of power that have spoiled so much of American life began to have their effect on America's churches, including the Episcopal Church. Old freedoms in Christ began to disappear before a wave of uncharitable bureaucracy.
The church through the ages always has a tendency to wander from God's ways and to embrace the standards of the surrounding culture instead. Today, the battle is over the issue of Biblical authority: is the Bible still valid today because a timeless God has delivered a Revelation of Himself once and for all?
Or has God changed His mind and is now doing a "New Work", even one that contradicts the Word that He has given to the world in the early centuries of the Christian Church? Why is this "New Work" so much in line with the increasingly amoral culture of our day?
God has called His Church to unity without question, but unity with Whom? The unity has to be either with the changing Episcopal Church that radically seeks to restructure Biblical faith, or with the larger orthodox worldwide Anglican Communion that now lives in impaired communion with the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA).
The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) remains in union with orthodox Anglican bishops. Its oversight comes through the archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Rev. Emmanuel M. Kolini, and the archbishop of southeast Asia, the Most Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung both of whom responded to the spiritual emergency in North America.
Orthodox and historic Anglicanism today is in a process of re-alignment that may lead to a united presence of all historic Anglican groups under one jurisdiction. This is no less than a 21st century equivalent of the great Protestant Reformation in Europe that revitalized the Christian faith and took the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. We have a unique opportunity to serve Our Lord and Savior in this difficult time, standing on our Godly heritage:
·+ the ancient, Apostolic Faith once delivered to the saints in all its fullness by God, ·+ the continuous practice and traditions of a faithful church for nearly 2,000 years, ·+ the Biblical doctrines and form of worship the Reformation recovered, and ·+ Christian fellowship enjoyed among all faithful people.
We are committed to Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today, and forever; and to His Church historic, obedient, and triumphant in Him.