Why would anyone join a “brand name” church? (What the heck is an Anglican pt. 2)


The late Robert Webber, Wheaton professor of theology, a convert to Anglican Christianity wrote, “The best way into the future for Christ’s church is one organically integrated with her past. 

The heart of Anglican spirituality is seeking Jesus through common prayer, being formed by a shared immersion in the communal annual reading of the Bible, finding Jesus’ sacred presence in baptism, and weekly participation in the Lord’s Supper and giving ourselves away to the least, last and lost. We emphasize being transformed by God in a prayerful community (God’s calling out “a holy people”) rather than as discrete and disconnected individuals seeking our own subjective experience of God.

For most folks Anglicanism is hard to get their arms around. We tend to focus more on the process of sanctification: becoming like Christ, rather than the event of salvation, as with non-denominational Christians. As such, in America, the Episcopal Church hasn’t been very good at evangelism. So lots of people born in our church leave to “meet Christ” elsewhere – this is a major weakness of ours. Our strength is that it we are phenomenal at giving people a process of spiritual formation: helping people develop spiritual depth. Anglicans do this well because we have access to the deep well of 20 centuries of the church. That is why lots of people seeking Christian maturity join Episcopal churches. In Arizona, for example, 70% of our clergy come from other traditions.

Anglican Christianity is complex and sometimes counter-intuitive. I have found it to be sort of “Master’s degree level” Christianity, whereas most of us are used to high school level Christianity-simple and accessible. It is important to point out that not all need a Master’s degree, but all do need a high school degree. But for those seeking to go deeper-Anglicanism offers a great opportunity.

So I invite you to come pray with us. You will be blessed.

*”Anglican” means “English” and “Episcopal” means “bishops.” The Anglican/Episcopal Church originated in and is in relationship with the Church of England and is led by bishops. Our churches are all over the world. Together we are called the “Anglican Communion.” With around 78 million members, the Anglican Communion is the third largest branch of the Christian family tree, behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. In this article I use Anglican/Episcopalian synonymously. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican Communion’s constituent member church in the United States…although groups of former Episcopalians are now using the name. The disagreements between us are over matters of biblical interpretation, in particular around matters of sexual expression. Many, but by no means all, “traditionalist” Episcopalians have re-affiliated under the banner “Anglican” in the U. S.