Anglican in America
Anglican simply means “of England.” There are Anglican churches—descendants of the Church of England—all over the world, making Anglicanism (after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches) the third largest body of Christians on Earth. In June 2009, God answered countless prayers through the development of a biblically orthodox Anglican province here in North America as thousands gathered in Bedford, Texas for the formation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the consecration of its first Archbishop Robert Duncan. The ACNA is a duly constituted province made up of evangelical, biblically orthodox Anglicans serving the people of the North America, and is currently led by Archbishop Foley Beach. The ACNA is recognized as a province of the global Anglican Communion by the Primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON), which represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide.
Until the late 20th century, the major expression of Anglicanism in America was The Episcopal Church (TEC). During the middle part of that century, however, TEC began to depart from classical, biblical Christian doctrines. These doctrines, which the ACNA, the Diocese of Christ our Hope, and Grace Anglican Church firmly endorse, include reliance on Scripture alone as the ultimate and sufficient authority in all matters of life and teaching, the existence of sin and the need for redemption, the unique necessity of Jesus Christ for salvation, and biblical standards for morality, notably the good news that God created humankind male and female in his image, the reservation of sexual intimacy to life-long marriage between one man and one woman, and the God-ordained sanctity of every human life, from conception through death. Because of these departures and theological revisionism, a new expression of Anglicanism in America was needed. The ACNA’s founding was a response to this need.
Christians have traditionally defined biblical orthodoxy by fidelity to the Creeds:
Anglicans, further, have ordered themselves according to:
At its founding, the ACNA endorsed the Jerusalem Declaration adopted at GAFCON 2008—the founding declaration of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans that defines Anglican orthodoxy:
Grace Anglican Church affirms each one of the above creeds, statements, and publications.
Anglicanism is a Christian tradition born out of the Protestant Reformation in England (16th century). However, a distinctive “Church in England” had taken shape centuries earlier when Roman soldiers and settlers brought the Gospel to Britannia. A lively, ancient church was born that was biblical, catholic (universal), and mission-driven. From the beginning, English Christians moved into villages and cities in order to take the Gospel to the people in their daily settings. They set up shop or took everyday jobs. They wore the same clothes, spoke the same language, and brushed shoulders at marketplaces with the pagans they sought to reach. As the Church in England grew, Christians assumed human culture was not opposed to the Gospel but a vehicle through which God’s glory can be expressed. Education, art, music, literature, commerce, and law were proper fields for Christian leadership and witness. They believed that God called them to take the lead in influencing society toward justice and compassion. They celebrated the goodness of God in the created world. A rich heritage of “embedded” Christian life was nurtured for more than a millennium.
This holistic orientation to Christian faith carried into the 16th century. Shaped by this “incarnational” view, English Christian leaders were even more formed by the Gospel of grace, the centrality of sacramental worship, and the authority of Scripture. The leaders of the Church in England had no interest in a new church but a reformed catholic church. They wanted to unite the Church in common faith, common worship, and common prayer in the language of the people. They sought to broaden the ownership of the Church and its mission beyond the clerical class. They were motivated to take the Gospel to the rest of the world. They were convinced that a polity that made decisions in council (“conciliar”) reflected the wisdom of Scripture and the practice of the ancient Church better than concentrated individual authority. Political pressures combined with these spiritual impulses to produce the Anglican Church.
For the next 400 years, British Anglicans, compelled by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, took their faith around the world. Anglican churches were established on every continent and in many nations. Church leaders encouraged autonomy and collegiality with these daughter churches. Over time, over 40 separate “provinces” of the Anglican Church were established in 165 countries around the world. Today these provinces function in a voluntary communion based around common beliefs and practices that serve approximately 80 million Christians worldwide.
Through the ACNA, the Diocese of Christ our Hope (the regional group of churches of which we are a member) is connected constitutionally and spiritually with biblically-grounded Anglicans throughout the world as members of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Grace Anglican Church was formally welcomed into the Diocese of Christ our Hope at their 2018 Convocation and Synod, held November 1-3 in McLean, Virginia.