ANGLICANISM is the catholic faith as expressed through the Church of England. An Anglican is a member of the Anglican Church, or more properly the Anglican Communion. The word “Anglican” derives from the word “Anglo” as in "Anglo-Saxon" and means "English." The Anglican Church originally was the Church of England and indeed the Anglican Church began in England. Today, many centuries later, The Anglican Communion is made up of 38 Provinces that include 77 million members in 164 countries. It is the third largest Christian church, right after Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. "Anglicanism" is the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion. Although considered Protestant by many, the Anglican Communion identifies itself with the catholic faiths. In fact, many refer to the Anglican faith as being reformed Catholicism, while others call it Biblican Catholicism. But, whatever the definition, Anglicanism is a hybrid between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. In the summer of 2006 the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams identified three things that, when held together, make Anglicanism distinct from other Christian denominations and contribute to the essential character of our church. Other denominations share one or two of these qualities. What makes Anglicanism unique is the balanced presence of all three. They are: A reformed commitment to the priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine. A catholic loyalty to the sacraments and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. A habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly. In conjunction with this definition is the principle set down by one of the church's theologians, explaining that Anglicanism is a "three-legged stool." One leg is Scripture; the second is Tradition; the third is Reason. Scripture has priority, trumping the other two when stating dogma. But, the Traditions of the unified Church, when Scripture is silent, is also very important. Finally, Reason must be applied to discern what is meant by Scripture and Tradition and to apply these two to new or different situations. Clearly Archbishop Williams's explanation and the image of the three-legged stool links our reformed heritage, our catholic heritage, and our intellectual heritage nicely, capturing the core strength of the Anglican way of living out our Christian Faith. Christianity – Anglicanism
ORIGINS AND HISTORY
Anglicanism is the name given to the church which historically operated as The Church of England, but which now operates flexibly and autonomously in many nations. It claims to be both Catholic and Reformed – Catholic in its order of ministry, but with a conservatively reformed liturgy outlined in the Book of Common Prayer.
Anglicanism has its roots in the Celtic Christianity of the earliest Britons and in the Roman form of the faith brought to England by Augustine of Canterbury in the 5th and 6th Centuries. The Norman conquest of 1066 opened up English churches to European, and more specifically, French, influence (and anti-French sentiment). German and Scandinavian pressure for church reform, growing English dissatisfaction with papal authority, and Henry VIII’s desire for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon were some of the factors contributing to England’s eventual break with the church in Rome.
From 1536-1539, Henry VIII renounced papal jurisdiction in England and dissolved Catholic monasteries. A national church was created with a Calvinistic doctrinal basis formulated in 1562 as the 39 Articles of Religion.
Anglicanism has two broad traditions: evangelical and Anglo-Catholic. It is often seen as a bridge between Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
There are 70 million Anglicans in the world. They are predominantly English-speaking and although congregation sizes are declining in the UK, they are growing in many communities throughout the world, including...