English and Welsh Orthodoxy: The Middle Way
Many would be surprised that historic Church in England and Wales provided the greater Western Church a "middle way" through through the reforms of the Protestant Reformation. The English and Welsh Church resisted the extremes of the radical reformers and sought to stay faithful to the Apostolic faith, as it was received by them through the ancient Celtic Church and from Augustine (597), first bishop of Canterbury. The English and Welsh Churches chose not to throw out the "baby with the bathwater".
Via Media: "Middle Way"
We are traveling the "Middle Road"
(The Via Media). We are a communion that bridges and transcends: Catholic and Protestant, Charismatic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal.
Defining Historic English and Welsh Orthodoxy ("Anglicanism")
English and Welsh Orthodoxy (Anglicanism), developed from the very beginning of the Christian faith in the British Isles and has endured to the present age, and now is thriving throughout the non-western world. English and Welsh Orthodoxy is inclusive of its Celtic origins, Patristic roots, the Medieval Church, the Protestant Reformation, the Wesleyan Evangelical Revival, the Oxford Movement, and the modern Charismatic renewal.
We measure Anglican history not only from Thomas Cranmer forward, but also from the Reformation backward. Our "Anglican Ethos" is not shaped by its connection to the See of Canterbury, nor by denominational affiliation, but by its relationship to the work of The Holy Spirit in Church history.
The elements of "Anglicanism" as we practice them are: 1. The priority and authority of Holy Scripture as the source of our knowledge of God. 2. The doctrinal guidance of the catholic creeds; Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian. 3. The truth that salvation is, in the final analysis, the gift of God and by grace alone. 4. The use of liturgy which is faithful to Scripture and embodies the experience of the church in worship over the centuries. 5. The historic episcopate, or the order of bishops, as a sign of the unity of the one Church of God. The English/Welsh (Anglican) reformers insisted on the retention of the historic order of bishops. 6. The threefold ordained ministry of bishops, presbyters (priest), and deacons as the ordained ministry which God has led the Church to adopt since primitive times. 7. The two Gospel sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion ordained by Christ for regular use in the Church. 8. The unity of the ministry of the Word and Sacrament in the Service of Holy Communion. 9. The need for regular preaching and teaching from the Holy Scriptures. 10. The recognition that the visible unity of the Church on earth is God's will. 11. The need for a regularly reviewed canon law (church order), to respond to the unfolding needs of the people and the Church. 12. The priesthood of the whole Church as a worshiping and praying community. 13. The recognition of the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit and the impartation of empowered spiritual gifts and ministries in our time. 14. A commitment to fulfill The Great Commission to winning the world to Jesus Christ into the Third Millennium.
We have an Anglican Ethos
Ethos is the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.
We look to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience as our sources of “authority”.
We test all teaching by sacred Scripture (The Bible).
“Tradition” is the historic teachings, understandings, norms, and practices of The Church that align with Scripture. Tradition is found in the writings of the successors to the Apostles (Church Fathers). When Christians are divided over our understanding of Scripture- we can use tradition to gain insight.
We value the role of “God given reason” for understanding our faith. We recognize the role of the humanities, philosophy, sciences, and social sciences in understanding our faith. The renowned Christian writer and Oxford professor- CS Lewis- was an Anglican.
Consistent "Experience", that aligns with sacred scripture, of The Holy Spirit's work in the history of The Church also informs us.
Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience tell us that Christians of good will can disagree on non-essentials of the Christian faith . For example, tradition (attributed to Saint Augustine) teaches us "In essentials- unity, in nonessentials- liberty, and in all things- love."
We are incarnational. The Church is The Body of Christ. Therefore, we are Christ's Church– The Body of Christ, and we exist to embody and live out Christ’s ministry, mission, and presence to all people.
We are sacramental. We believe that the grace of God can be conveyed through sign and symbol: Baptism, Communion, Laying on of Hands, and Anointing with oil…
We have a high view of Holy Communion and, like the ancient- apostolic church, we celebrate it every Sunday.
We can naturally be casual, semi-formal, or formal. It all depends on the occasion. Weddings are usually formal, special holidays, like Christmas Eve, might be semi-formal; while weekly worship services might be casual.
We are passionate about Jesus Christ– the only Lord of history, proclaiming his Gospel, and making disciples to follow him.