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Documents Index

Historical Documents

A word about the word ‘catholic’.

When you see the word ‘catholic’ in some of the church creeds, it dates to the early church and means the universal church, the overall church, “all God’s children”.  In our use, we do not mean the Roman Catholic Church, led in the Vatican by the Pope.  We have great respect for them, while having some notable differences with them.  As you peruse this website, please bear this in mind.

The Creeds generally were responses to groups attempting to introduce their peculiar beliefs, heresies, into the life of the Church.  The Creeds were designed to try to keep us “on one sheet of music”.

Special to Anglicans is the Book of Common Prayer, originally written to enable the people to worship in their own language.  Nestled within it are the Articles of Religion.  If you want to know what Anglicans believe, this is a fantastic place to start.

To Be a Christian

“To Be a Christian”… It is a wonderful thing, but what does it mean? I mean in detail… How are we saved? What are our responsibilities? Will it impact our lifestyle? In what ways? What are all the benefits?

Throughout my 20-year career in the Navy my primary responsibility was counseling Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. I counseled countless people, but increasingly toward the end of that time I found that more and more, Christians were coming to me that didn’t seem to know very much about being a Christian.

Historically, the Church used an approach called a Catechism. From the introduction by the theologian J. I. Packer: Within a century of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Christian congregations could be found from Spain to Persia, and from North Africa to Britain. By this time, the catechumenate for would-be Christians (from the Greek katecheo: “to instruct” – a period of 1-3 years’ instruction leading to baptism at Easter) had become established Christian practice. This pattern of Christian disciple-making continued for some centuries before falling into disuse, as nominal Christianity increasingly became a universal aspect of Western culture.

Two things are among the many reasons I really like this work:

  1. It’s written to use by and for people who don’t know anything about being a Christian.
  2. It’s written with an introduction, then a question-and-answer format. Like a FAQ.

What does it mean to be a Christian? The Anglican Church in North America hereby offers an answer.