1) What is an Anglican?
The Anglican (pronounced: Ang-lik-en) Church refers to the churches
around the world associated with the established Church of England.
In the 16th century, King Henry VIII rejected the authority of the pope
over the (Catholic) Church in England and thus defined the Church IN
England as the Church OF England with the national sovereign (i.e., the
monarch) as the chief authority over the English church. The Anglican Church
has never, however, ceased to see itself as anything but Catholic whilst it also
embraced the much needed reforms which sprang up all over the European
continent about the same time. Anglicans are thus BOTH catholic AND
2) What similarities does the Anglican Church have with the Roman
The Anglican worship design (called "the liturgy") comes from the Book
of Common Prayer (BCP). It was (and is) called "common" because it has
been expected that Anglicans, all over the British empire, should conform
their worship to the words and structure laid out therein. And while contemporary
editions of the BCP have been published to allow for changes in language
(both updating archaic nomenclature to contemporary English, as well as including
non-English language translations), the sentiment of the original common prayer
(i.e., worship) remains intact.
Anglican worship includes 2 basic public services: (1) Daily Prayer (called "the daily
offices") and (2) the Mass, also called the Holy Eucharist. This is where Anglicans
and Roman Catholics are most similar. The words of the mass for Anglicans is
nearly identical to that used in the Roman church. Many Roman Catholics
who attend an Anglican church for the first time are stunned by the similarities
in the two liturgies.
Anglicans also share several other sensibilities with Roman Christians, such as
a similar belief in the "real presence" of Christ in the Communion, the cherished
role of the saints in the church, the place and authority of bishops, the value of
confession (called "reconciliation of a penitent"), calling their priests "father," and many
other shared religious proclivities.
3) How are Anglicans similar to Protestants?
Anglicans share the Protestant belief that the Bible is the Word of God and it alone
holds final authority in determining Church doctrine. In the Roman Church the Bible
holds authority, but on a par with it stands the pope, the Magisterium and the Church
councils. And while Anglicans uphold the ecumenical councils (and the three creeds
produced by them) and the authority of bishops, we see them as penultimate authorities
who confirm doctrine based on the Bible.
Anglicans also share the Protestant doctrine of "justification by faith," the belief that
people are brought into a relationship with God by grace and through the merits of
the shed blood of Jesus Christ, alone. We also cherish the power of preaching, the
need for fresh expressions of faith in songs of worship, and in the need for all Christians
to embrace their vocation as ambassadors of Christ in the world.
4) Some churches have peculiar rules; do Anglicans have any of these rules?
Sorry, we do not. We do not tell people what they can eat or drink or when they can do so.
We do place the Ten Commandments before our people and remind ourselves that God
has rules for moral living. But beyond the clear commands of Holy Scripture we tend to allow
the Holy Spirit to guide people in their daily lives.