Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Distinguishing Marks of a Genuine Anglican Church

By Robin G. Jordan

Does your church fully accept the Holy Scriptures as its rule and standard of faith and practice? I do not mean the Holy Scriptures and church tradition or the Holy Scriptures interpreted by church tradition but the Holy Scriptures alone as its sole rule and standard of faith and practice?

Does your church stand squarely in the tradition of the English Reformation and the Protestant Elizabethan Settlement? Does it embrace the Thirty-Nine Articles as its confession of faith, interpreted in accordance with the intent of Articles’ framers and the historical context in which they framed the Articles and as authoritative for Anglicans as the Holy Scriptures themselves? Is it reformed not only in doctrine but also in practice? Is it always seeking to bring its teaching into closer alignment with that of the Holy Scriptures? Are its practices consistent with its teaching?

Is your church wholeheartedly committed to the spread of the gospel? Do those who attend its worship gatherings and participate in its ministry teams and small groups share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone whose lives intersect with theirs—strangers as well as friends? Do they go out of their way to meet new people and to form relationships with them so at some point in the relationship they can share the gospel with these people? Do they continue to maintain a relationship with the same people if their new friends are not immediately receptive to the gospel? Do they prepare the ground and water as well as sow and reap?

Does your church take with utmost seriousness Christ’s command to go and make disciples of all peoples? Is it adding new disciples to the Kingdom? Is it helping them to grow to maturity as followers of Jesus Christ? Does it send and support missionaries in other parts of the nation and the world? Is it planting new churches, churches that are disciple-making and church-planting churches?

Does your church value the role of the Holy Spirit in giving new life and faith to the spiritually dead and in renovating their hearts, minds, and lives? Is it a church in which the Holy Spirit is discernibly at work in its ministry? Does it encourage people to recognize, develop and use their spiritual gifts in the service of the gospel?

If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then your church deserves to be commended. It also deserves to be called Anglican. 

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