October 29, 2012 23 Comments
The wealth of Anglican belief and spirituality is immense and appealing. It stems from Holy Scripture and is defined in the Book of Common Prayer, The Articles of Religion, and The Ordinal (as Aquinas says of the creed, and we may say of our standards, they “are not added to Scripture but extracted from it”).
And then there is the vast amount of literature consonant with the classic Anglican Way – Biblical, doctrinal, devotional, pastoral, and homiletic. Anglicanism has been earnest and industrious in the propagation of the gospel and Christian knowledge the world over. Its endeavors have been appreciated by believers of different traditions, Protestant and Catholic.
The Church of England and its off-shoots have been instrumental in spreading the Word of God and the message of his grace to countless “people of every kind and type”. There is a profound richness in the Anglican blend of Scripture, liturgy, sacramental administration, and pastoral provision, all deeply imbued with an acute awareness of the magnificence of God and the mightiness of his grace.
Anglicanism has ministered effectively to those within the fold and those in the fields of world mission. Home and abroad the churches of the Anglican Communion have labored with sympathetic friends in the faith to make Christ accessible and join souls to God. There has been no Golden Age (better times, yes) and much evidence of checkered history in the Anglican corner of the Lord’s vineyard, but it has been, under God, initially the shaper, and latterly the heir, of an invaluable heritage that, restored by God, has the potential to address mankind very powerfully with the message of the Lord recorded in Scripture and relayed by the Spirit. The great need in our time is for Anglicanism to embrace and activate the bequest that has been entrusted to us as “a witness and a keeper of holy Writ” (Article xx). We are to adhere to, proclaim, and protect the content and integrity of Holy Scripture. We may not deny, deviate from, or doctor, one whit of revealed doctrine. Rather, we are to grow into and firmly grasp every utterance of the Spirit preserved for us in God’s Book.
There is no end in our prayerful research into the mind of God and we can always request the widening of our minds in the comprehension of heaven-sent wisdom. But man, preferring not to yield to the instruction of God, is always tempted to meddle with the divine word, tamper with it, trim it, ignore it, or contradict where it corrects our thoughts and condemns our sinful behavior. Left to ourselves we are not submissive to our Teacher and seek to invent the notions that are preferable to us. We will either tweak the word or cast it aside…
Read on in VirtueOnline here.