Why I Am (Becoming) An Anglican
I grew up in a little town in the mountains not far from here…it was an idyllic place of which I have nothing but very fond memories.
If it had been my choice I would have never left.
Life doesn’t work that way, however, and I was relocated against my will.
Now, some 45 years later, when I return there it is not the same.
The people have changed, their ways have changed, and I no longer feel welcome in the place I have always called home.
Rather than try to turn back the clock and try to impose what was on what is…I simply don’t go there anymore.
That’s how I feel about evangelicalism.
It’s time to go and time to find a new home.
I’ve found mine in Anglicanism.
Instead of speaking about why I’m no longer an evangelical, I would rather tell you what I affirm about Anglicanism.
First, it’s focused on “catholicity” and unity.
We do not define ourselves by who we oppose in the Body of Christ.
There is a seeking of common ground between all those who affirm the historic creeds and confessions that define the Christian faith.
Second, it’s sacramental.
I believe God is acting in the Lord’s table and in the waters of baptism. These are not mere rituals, but means of grace. I can’t explain it, but I do accept it.
Third, it’s ancient.
Anglicanism doesn’t trace it’s roots back to the Reformation only, but back to the early Celts and from there to the Apostles that carried the Gospel to them.
We believe that we worship in the way that the church has always worshipped and we worship in accordance with what the church has always believed.
There is a formal liturgy tied to the church calendar. I’m not making up the service as I go, I’m praying and worshipping with the whole Anglican community all over the world.
Fourth, we have the “39 Articles”.
The 39 Articles are the doctrinal standards of Anglicanism.
The beauty of the articles is in their broadness.
They keep us between the ditches, but provide lots of room to roam.
Pick one and J.I. Packer will see it one way, N.T. Wright another, and Archbishop Ramsey, yet another.
They are all Anglican and all are (or were) in good standing in the communion.
I’m free to study and think and change and grow…and still be accepted in the brethren.
Fifth, it’s not about me.
It’s all about Jesus.
The focus of the divine service is on the Lord’s table and the work of the Trinity on our behalf.
You will be hard pressed to find a personality driven Anglican church…
Finally, we have the Book of Common Prayer.
Words fail me to describe how much I love the beauty and holiness of this book.
I could write much more about this decision, but I will end with this.
I have found the place that was prepared for me, the place where I fit.
It may not fit you.
I will rejoice in the place that you find that was prepared for you.
I can do that without reservation…because I’m (becoming) an Anglican.
Great article and thanks for the explanation. You are becoming Anglican for many of the same reasons I became Orthodox.
(I love my prayer book, too.)
SO beautiful! While I cannot put my thoughts so beautifully, this is exactly why I also have chosen this faith. I LOVE this church and it’s people so very much!
Good for you Michael. You may find that the rhythm of the Church Year and liturgy are a great source of stress relief, comfort and anticipation. Little things like the collects are typically so well done that availing yourself of them will be of great benefit.
Ever since we did the 39 Articles here, it seemed the perfect choice for you. It was my final affiliation, and admittedly the best choice in my years as a believer. It cuts out a ton of crap, and leaves the essentials.
I think I’ve always been an Anglican, it just took me a while to find myself. 🙂
Our common prayer…
“ALMIGHTY God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord.”
There is great similarity in our journeys…just different destinations.
You’re reading my mail…it as just as you said.
All that and the BOCP…
Reuben, those days when we discussed the 39 Articles were the best. Hope you are doing well!
Michael, if I had wandered into an Anglican church that Sunday morning 15 years ago instead of St. Seraphim’s, I might have become Anglican, too. But God had a different route for each of us, knowing exactly what each of us needed.
Amen…and I think God did well by both of us.
I’ve been active (some might say, over-active) on the Internet since the days of CompuServe and I have to say that this news of Michael’s has made me happier than anything else I can remember.
By the way Michael, I might add that following the Church Calendar, Lectionary and liturgy are not signs of weakness, they are signs of strength. Not human strength, but Divine Strength. It is a pattern of worship which trust in the power and effectiveness of the Word. Jesus is always at the center as the object of worship. It allows the one who boasts to boast in the Lord.
Excellent, so very excellent!
You are too kind…and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to be online with you for many of those years.
What will this look like as far as your eschatology?
I concur (without being critical of those in other traditions)…it puts the focus where I think it belongs.
I had no idea that this would be of interest to anyone…I was just answering some email.
Happy for you to have found ‘your tribe’ and church affiliation home.
I inherited three ancient copies of the Book of Common Prayer (1928 edition) and it is, indeed very lovely. The fellowship with the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ historically is sweet and affirming.
Blessings to you, my dear.
It means I’m not obligated to argue about it… 🙂
Anglicanism has a minimalist outline of eschatology… Jesus is coming back.
I affirm this from the prayer book…
“Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
Thank you, Paige!
Good answer! I might become Anglican based on that alone. ?
Awesome Michael. It is who you are. Love you man.
Alex, I think so too. Much love, my friend.
Honestly, when I read the title of this thread, I said to myself, “Wait, I thought Michael was already an Anglican.” After all, if it’s good enough for J.I. Packer…
Will you be seeking ordination in the Anglican church? Are you continuing to pastor your house church?
may i steal the words of Ephesians 3:14-21 and say with all the rest here today, God speed and God bless… you are in a good place on this road indeed
CK… yes and yes.
Which diocese will you seek to join? Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others? Bishop Todd Hunter had quite a spiritual journey himself before landing in your fold.
I’m Anglican too. But for me it means simply that the church I’m part of is an Anglican church.
If you’re more specific about what kind of church you want to attend, you drive further. I think a church of local people is on balance better for mission.
When I moved back to where I live now, my church was just being planted. It was close enough to ride my bike there, I had friends there. If my church hadn’t been there, my next choices would have included a Lutheran church and a Church of Christ. The other three churches I’ve been part of in my life were baptist.
My church is evangelical and would argue strongly that Anglican and evangelical are quite compatible, Packer and Wright being in that category.
Eric (no L) – you are in Australia – what do you think of this?
The Pacific Northwest diocese of the ACNA. Hunter is affiliated with the main body.
Michael, yes–totally understood regarding your declaration. I am Anglican at heart–I have no Anglican Church near me but love the rhythms of the church calendar, the Book of Common Prayer, and the emphasis on the sacraments rather than preaching.
I appreciate that the major themes in Scripture are revisited in the liturgy each week. And I love the ‘sure and certain hope’ that is emphasized at funerals.
My wife and I listen to the Scripture readings from the BCP–as I get older I find great rest in listening. And, Michael, I like the open spaces for theological discovery and exploration within the Anglican tradition. I was once a free-will, pre-tribulation rapturist, dispensationalist, futurist. I am none of those things now. I find I am much more interested in the love of God expressed in Christ, and how the Holy Spirit is demonstrating that through the ordinary lives of his everyday people than I am in understanding theological nuance, if that makes sense. I used to love the argument–I now am more interested in conversation and dialogue. I love the freedom of not having to win.
Thanks for sharing your journey, Michael.
Thank you… and that was very well said on all counts.
MLD: Yes, there is something of an attack on the Church, hand in hand with the push for same-sex marriage.
This is worth a read. He says that most Australians don’t care.
But some of his other recent posts give an idea of what’s going on.
Has anyone influenced your decision to identify as Anglican. I enjoy Tom Wright’s writing and biblical perspective tremendously. Have you read much from him?
J. I. Packer has been a huge influence on me. He along with John Stott, J.C. Ryle and Wright were important. Now, I’m reading Michael Ramsey and he is shaping me as well.
I’m happy for you. (As long as you don’t become obnoxious) 🙂
I’m believing more and more that God uses a lot of these different streams to reach different people at different times. That’s a good thing.
It’s a long walk away from Evangelicalism. I’m about done with mine. I don’t really know where I’m going to land, but I’ll find it in awhile.
I like my freedom way too much to be an Evangelical “christian” (small case on purpose).
Keep us informed about your journey.
Michael…so glad you’ve found a home. We had a brief sojourn into Anglicanism. I affirmed it, my ex-Roman Catholic husband did not like the liturgical aspects of it. We may have found another church home as of late, but I loved the Anglican liturgy and found respite in it. Many blessings to you and yours…
This has been in process for years…and I’m already obnoxious. 🙂
I don’t intend to make it a focus here.
I would commend Anglicanism or one of the other historic traditions such as Lutheranism or Orthodoxy, even if just for a while.
Liturgical services are different enough to be refreshing…
Thank you, my friend.
My own congregation has a lot of former RC’s…and they struggle with the liturgical aspects as well.
I’m glad you’re still here with us…blessings to you and yours.
FWIW, i must agree with Josh the B’s #38… i recall (as an interested bystander) when the original “Late Great Planet…” book hit the market… people did take notice: “maybe there is something relevant in this Bible after all…” and, i think God did use the mass hysteria that followed to get some of His wandering children’s attention, get them refocused – some even found the Faith for the first time and claimed it as their own… and have moved on from there, hopefully
the book came on the scene about the same time that we’d noticed that there was precious little sound teaching, let alone in-depth teaching in the churches… not just the evangelical churches either… how many left the dry dead rituals of the R.C.s looking for life in the Faith? many did… and that was preceded by a surprising Pentecostal outbreak of sorts among certain Presbyterian, Episcopal and R.C. fellowships… i think that, in His timing, God uses whatever it takes
not equating the move to the liturgical churches with “strange things that God does,” just agreeing with Josh and observing that even God uses the foolish things of this world at times… and we move on from there – hopefully
Good article, Michael.
I have been done with evangelicalism with all its hype flash and entertainment, smoke and mirrors mega/multi church trying so damn hard to relevant madness for years. I am still living on its outer orbit until I am certain of my next move. I do know that the time of my departure getting nearer, and Canterbury is a realistic option, particularly under the C4SO diocese.
blessings on your journey.
Lordship salvation (calvinist and others) eventually leads people to become catholic. Anglican is just your next step on the journey to the false doctrines of catholicism.
Good to hear those words! Perhaps your present institution of higher learning is helping to stretch your thinking. 😉
Headed to the great Northwest next week. First night Ashland, then on to the coast!
It’s been awhile since I “stalked” the PP and just recently paying any attention to my twitter acount. Anyway, I can understand your restless ness that would lead you out of where you were into something else. I too this past year or two have left mainstream christianity, and found great peace in returning to the ancient paths. Those of the whole Bible not just the last 1/3rd. I know there are many names flying around about it, but following Yahweh through Torah has been a huge game changer. I finally see how great He really is, have had a depth of peace I never knew was possible, how He truly doesn’t change yesterday today and tomorrow.
He promised when we seek Him we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart.
So very glad you found a piece of home here on earth. ..and peace in that place. Much love big brother
Thanks…there still room for one more here… 🙂
That was funny…tell me another… 🙂
Thanks, Dusty…peace is a good thing.
Thank you for sharing this, Michael! Will be picking up a Book of Common Prayer. And thank you for introducing me, through the PP, to Brennan Manning years ago!
I appreciate the positive, affirming tone as opposed to hashing what you left. I concur with others’ observations that these strands were present over the past several years, but not in a cohesive whole. Well stated. I’m still in limbo as to where my feet will fall…
Going back to the daughters of Rome huh? I guess loving the Catholic Whore makes one want to be one of her harlot daughters with all their pagan doctrines.
The competition for stupidest comment is over.
Isn’t it just as pagan to believe that the Torah is the one doctrine?
Torah = the first 5 books of Moses.
Why would you be concerned about issues with the “Catholic Whore” when you seem to deny the New Testament out of hand?
I’m going to be brief.
We dealt with the Torah observant heresy years ago and I’m not going to revisit it.
We’ll just ban people quickly.
You coming out as Anglican shocks me about as much as Barry Manilow coming out as gay. 😉 But I’m happy you’ve found the next step in your walk with the Lord. Congratulations!
Hopefully that is where the similarity with Barry ends… 🙂
I visit the Anglican Cahedral here quite a bit since becoming a “Done”. I have no illusions they have their own corruption in a closed system hierarchy. And they are politically liberal to the point of praising Hamas. Another Anglican Church I visited for a recital, had a life sized poster of Al Mohler who was teaching a series there. So, ya never know. They all have their political bent. I wish they didn’t.
As a former Baptist of the “no king but Jesus” variety, I don’t do creeds or sacraments as a means of grace. But the Cathedral service is full of scripture and the music, sublime. And they don’t love bomb me but allow me to come as is and worship together.
Michael, your reasons for becoming Anglican are identical to mine even though our backgrounds are different. I was raised Roman Catholic but was a Nazarene for 3 decades. I have found in classical anglicanism a biblical balance between the RC and Protestantism. It is reformed Catholicism. One can be sacramental and liturgical yet affirm the basic tenets of the reformation.
Wow. Wonderful, thank you for sharing your journey. I agree and resonate with so much of this. As another said who also made the journey along the “Canterbury Trail,” Anglicanism has a “sweet reasonableness” about it. Right now we have no Anglican church close enough to attend, which would be my choice if I could “choose.” (Episcopal is a bridge too far for me). We attend a service led by a Lutheran (NALC) pastor, which is very close to an Anglican service. I have my BCP and wonderful online prayer resources through The Trinity Mission. I long for a vibrant Anglican congregation to be part of. Maybe one day in God’s timing.
If you ever want to write about your journey, I’d love to post it here…
Thank you! I would love to. May take me a bit to mull over and put into concise, blogworthy format. I tend to be a little too detail-oriented at times.
Take your time…but I think it will be valuable to our readers.
Send it to email@example.com