What Do We Believe?
We Believe the Bible
1. We believe in the authority of the Bible as the fully inspired Word of God, and as containing everything necessary for salvation (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21).
2. We believe that the Bible is one book with one central message: salvation through faith in Christ alone. We believe that the Old Testament was a preparation and anticipation of what Christ would fulfill in the New Testament.
3. We don’t believe the Bible is open to “private interpretation,” in the sense that it can be twisted to mean something that is contrary to the consistent consensus of interpretation of Scripture over the centuries.
We Believe the Creeds
4. We also believe “the Faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), which was handed down to the Church by the Apostles, and is summarized in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.
5. This means, first, that we believe in the Holy Trinity: One God in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
6. It also means we believe that Jesus Christ is One Person who is both fully Man and fully God.
7. It means we believe that Christ was conceived by the virgin Mary and was born without sin; He truly died on a cross to pay for our sins, and truly rose again from the dead to give us the hope of eternal life; He ascended back to heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father as the Ruler of Heaven and Earth and intercedes for us as our faithful High Priest; He will return to judge the living and the dead and to restore all things.
8. It means we believe that the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in glory and power, gives life to all people, and renewed life to all who are united to Christ.
9. It means we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which is not a man-made institution, but was built by Jesus Christ Himself upon the foundation of the Faith-confessing Apostles (Mt. 16:18), is catholic (or “universal,” not “Roman Catholic”) in the sense that it transcends all national or temporal boundaries, and is made up of all who have been set apart as holy to God by being baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27-29; 1 Cor. 1:2). We believe that there are several branches of this One Church, including the branch founded in England (Anglia in Latin) in the earliest Christian centuries, from which our church has its roots.
10. Finally it means we believe that when Christ returns He will raise us up bodily from our graves and will transform our mortal bodies so that they will be like His glorious body (Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:42, 43).
We Believe the Gospel
11. As Anglicans we believe that because of the sin of Adam we have all inherited his fallen nature, are born sinners, and are liable to the judgment of God (Rom. 5:19; Eph. 2:3).
12. We believe this means human beings are incapable of restoring themselves to the state of righteousness Adam had before the Fall, or even of raising themselves up by their own efforts to faith in Christ, without the grace of God enabling them (Rom. 8:7, 8; Eph. 2:6, 8
13. We believe the Law of God reveals that the standard of righteousness by which we will be judged is the standard of God’s own righteousness (Jesus said, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” [Mt. 5:48]), but that we all fail to meet that standard (Rom. 3:23).
14. But we also believe the Good News that Christ lived a life of perfect righteousness on our behalf, and suffered the punishment for sin on the cross in our stead, so that merely by putting our faith in Him we are forgiven all our sins, are credited with His righteousness, and are therefore accounted by God as perfectly righteous in His sight. This we believe to be the Biblical doctrine of Justification by Faith (Rom. 3:21-24; 2 Cor. 5:21).
15. We believe that true faith will always be accompanied by good works because both faith and works are the fruit of the same work of the Holy Spirit to renew our hearts (Rom. 6:1-4; Eph. 2:10).
16. We believe that after we come to faith in Christ we remain sinners, and must strive daily against our sins, but are free from the condemnation of sin (1 Jn. 1:8, 9; Rom. 8:1).
17. We believe that there is no salvation apart from a persevering faith in Christ (Col. 1:21-23; Heb. 4:12-14).
We Believe in the Church
18. We believe that, since Christ promised the Holy Spirit would lead His Church into all truth (Jn. 16:13), the Church as whole cannot finally error in matters of the Faith. Therefore, since representatives of the whole Church were gathered together in Seven Ecumenical Councils, we maintain the statements of faith (including the Nicene Creed) that came from those Councils.
19. We believe that Christ ordained three distinct offices of ministry in the Church: Bishops, Priests (or Presbyters), and Deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-3; Tit. 1:5-9); and that a Bishop’s ministry is to exercise general oversight over the Church, to ordain other men to ministry (we do not believe in the ordination of women), and to administer the Rite of Confirmation; that a Priest’s ministry is to preach the Word of God, to administer the Sacraments, and to pronounce absolution and blessing in Christ’s name; and that a Deacon’s ministry is to assist the Priest and to care for the poor and infirm in the parish.
20. We believe in the importance of being organically connected to the One Church of Jesus Christ by being in fellowship with a bishop who is in historic succession from at least one of the Apostles (1 Jn. 1:3).
21. We believe that the Bishop of Rome (aka “The Pope”) is a true bishop of the Church, but not that he has universal jurisdiction or infallible authority as Christ’s supreme representative in the world. We are not under the Pope in any way.
22. We believe that Christ gives to those He ordains as Bishops and Priests in His Church the authority to absolve repentant sinners of their sins, and to hold back absolution from those who refuse to repent (Mt. 18:18; Jn. 20:22, 23).
23. We believe that there is no such thing as Purgatory, but that when a Christian dies his soul goes to be with the Lord and his body rests in the earth in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection at the Last Day (2 Cor. 5:8; 1 Thess. 4:15, 16).
24. We believe that the Saints of the Church are to be celebrated and emulated for their great examples of persevering faith and holiness life (Phil. 3:17), but are not to be worshiped or prayed to. We believe, however, that images of Christ and the Saints are allowable for inspiration and instruction.
We Believe in the Sacraments
25. We believe in the “sacramental principle,” that is, that since God made Man as a union of spirit and body, He generally uses physical means to minister to us His spiritual grace.
26. We believe that there are only two Sacraments that were instituted by Christ to be “generally necessary to salvation,” in the sense that they bring us into, and sustain us in, our union with Him: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
27. We believe that the Sacrament of Holy Baptism is God’s work of grace, and that it therefore really does wash away our sins and make us one with Christ (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3, 4; Gal. 3:27).
28. We believe that God reveals in His Word that He desires whole families to come to Christ, and that whole families were baptized by the Apostles, and therefore that even infant children of believing parents should be baptized (Mk. 10:13-16; Acts 2:38, 39; 16:14, 15).
29. We believe that all baptized persons must come to have a personal faith in Christ finally to be saved (Jn. 3:5, 16; Heb. 6:11-12).
30. We believe that the bread and wine of the Sacrament of Holy Communion (or the Eucharist) do not change into the Body and Blood of Christ, but are the means by which the Holy Spirit truly gives us to partake of Christ’s Body broken for us, and His Blood shed for us, so that we might be renewed in our union with Him and continue to receive the benefits of His sacrifice (1 Cor. 10:16).
31. We believe that a person must come to the Lord’s Table in a living faith in Christ and with true repentance for his sins in order to receive the blessings of the Sacrament (1 Cor. 11:27-29).
32. We believe that God uses other sacramental means, including the ordained Christian ministry, Confirmation, marriage, private confession, and anointing with oil to specially bless His people.
We Believe in the Worship of God
According to the Historic Liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer
33. We believe that it is not what we want in a worship service that counts, but what God wants; and that is, number one, that He should be treated as Holy (Lev. 10:3).
34. We believe that the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer helps us do this by, first, putting God’s holy law before us, and then by making it clear that we can only approach this Holy God by way of the sacrifice and mediation of His Son, Jesus Christ.
35. We believe that, when we gather together in Christ’s Name, the Holy Spirit truly lifts us up into the Holy of Holies of Heaven itself, to meet God on His throne, and to be nurtured by Him by His Word and His Sacrament.
36. We believe that true Christian worship is always sacrificial, and that in response to the grace of God given to us, the liturgy moves us to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, as well as the living sacrifice of our souls and bodies in consecration to His will and service.
37. We believe that Christ’s sacrifice of Himself was once offered and is complete, and therefore we do not “re-sacrifice” Christ upon our altars, but offer only a memorial of His sacrifice.
We Believe in Biblical Sexual Ethics
38. We believe that sexual intercourse should take place only between a man and a woman who are married to each other for life.
39. We believe that fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts are sinful in all circumstances.
40. We believe that Christian leaders are called to be exemplary in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality, as a condition of being appointed or remaining in office.
41. We also believe that the Church is called upon to show Christ-like compassion to those who have fallen into sexual sin, encouraging them to repent and receive forgiveness, and offering the ministry of healing to all who suffer physically or emotionally as a result of such sin.
We Believe in the Sanctity of All Human Life
42. We believe that all human persons, from the moment of conception to their last breath, are made in the Image of God, and therefore have God-given value and dignity, and an inherit right to life.
43. We deplore the practice of permitting abortions, with the possible exception of cases where it has been clearly established that the life of the mother is in danger.
44. We believe that any form of euthanasia or suicide is murder, and therefore an assault on the Image