Anglican Gifts



June 2019


Brenda and I have just returned from attending the College of Bishops meeting of the Anglican Church in North America and Disciple 2019 - the provincial assembly of ACNA.

 

My own introduction to the Anglican Church came in 1968, when I was baptized at St. Peter’s on the Hill in Auckland, New Zealand.  In the baptism liturgy of the Anglican church, promises are made to bring up a child in the Christian faith and bring him to confirmation to declare the Christian faith for himself.

 

One of the great gifts of the Anglican Church is the certain place of the word of God and the sacraments of the gospel (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) in our liturgy and doctrine.  God’s written word, the bible, and the two sacraments of the gospel have enriched my own faith over the years and continue to do so.

 

In the Anglican Church, the living word of God is the supreme authority. Article VI of the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, “Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation,” puts it this way: Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

 

Daily bible reading is a necessary discipline for every disciple of Jesus Christ. Each year, I read the bible from cover to cover by following a set bible reading plan.  You might consider doing this - - you can start at anytime.  The gospel coalition has provided some helpful resources at this link.

 

Following the lectionary readings of the church is another helpful way of participating in daily bible reading.  The Book of Common Prayer 2019 elevates the public reading of God’s word in the liturgies of the Church as among the most important features of any act of worship and returns us to the principle adopted at the Reformation that the whole of Holy Scripture should be read each year. More information here.

 

What about the sacraments? The catechism of the prayer book asks: How many Sacraments hath Christ ordained in his Church? Answer = Two only, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

 

Question. What meanest thou by this word Sacrament?

Answer = an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us; ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.

 

A sacrament is an outward visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us by Christ himself.

 

These two sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s supper) are called the Sacraments of the Gospel.  Why?  Because both express the gospel -- Christ's death, His burial, His resurrection on our behalf. In baptism, we are baptized with water; we are raised to new life.  At the Lord’s supper, we remember that the Lord gave his body and shed his blood and we feed on him in our hearts with bread and wine, by faith with thanksgiving.


Great Anglican gifts - the word and the sacraments!