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What is the Classical Anglican Way?



  • A Spiritual Heritage – The classical Anglican way is not something we created, nor is it the latest spiritual fashion. It’s a way of living out the Christian life that grew out of the practice of the Ancient Church, was renewed by the 16th and 17th Century reformers and divines of the Church of England, and has been passed down to us in the classic Book of Common Prayer. It’s not the only way of being a Christian, but it is a tried and true way, a way that has survived the test of time and has proved itself in the lives of millions of people as a great way of making true disciples of Jesus Christ.


  • A Way of Worship that Forms the Soul – Lex orandi, lex credendi. It’s an old phrase the Church has passed down over the centuries. Very literally it means, “The rule of prayer is the rule of faith.” But as someone has recently written, “Maybe a better way to think of it is, ‘The way you pray and worship becomes the way you believe’…The way you worship and pray shapes the way you believe, which in turn shapes the way you live.” The Anglican way of worship, with its confession, absolution, praise, instruction, petition, communion, giving, fellowship and benediction, forms our souls not just by telling us about Jesus, but by giving us Jesus. We are transformed by the liturgy as the liturgy forms Christ in us.


  • A System of Spirituality – A fence is a system. It has large vertical posts at the ends, smaller posts in between, and horizontal members that connect the posts together. Without any of the three main parts there is no fence. The Anglican system of the spiritual life is like a fence. The big posts are the weekly celebrations of the Eucharist. The smaller posts in the middle are the Daily Office, the corporate services of Morning and Evening Prayer. And the horizontal slats connecting the whole thing together are the various traditional practices of private devotion. Eucharist—Office—Private Devotion. This ancient “three-fold rule of prayer” is the foundation of the Anglican spiritual life. We think it’s a very strong foundation for making strong Christians.


  • A Biblical Way – The center of Christian devotion is the Bible. The Book of Common Prayer, with its daily and weekly lectionaries (schedules of readings), makes the Anglican way of the spiritual life a truly Bible-reading way. In private devotion classical Anglicans have retained the ancient practice of lectio divina, or “divine reading,” the method of reading the Scriptures used by Christians throughout the centuries to transform the soul more than merely to inform the mind. It includes the four parts of reading, meditating, praying, and contemplating.

  • A Sacramental Way – God made us sacramental beings. He made us a union of spirit and body. He made us in such a way that what happens in our spirits affects our bodies, and what happens in our bodies affects our spirits.  And because God made us this way, He uses physical means to minister to us His spiritual grace. A simple definition of a sacrament is a physical thing that gives us a spiritual thing by the operation of the Holy Spirit. And since Anglicans believe this is the way God works, we lay a great deal of stress on the importance of the Sacraments—on Holy Baptism as the means by which we begin the Christian life, the way we are initially united to Christ; and on the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, as the center of the Christian life, the primary way we are renewed in our union with Christ. We also believe that God works through other means, like the ordained ministry, Confirmation, marriage, confession, and the anointing of oil, to specially bless His people. We feel this makes the classical Anglican way a powerfully sacramental way for the Holy Spirit to work in us His transforming grace.

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