About the Anglican Tradition

acna logoChrist the Redeemer Church (CtR) is affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, a communion of over 1000 churches committed to reaching North America with the life-transforming love of Jesus Christ.  The following Q & A is designed to provide you with an overview of how the Anglican tradition helps to facilitate our ministry:

Why do you use the Book of Common Prayer (BCP)?  Here are 3 reasons:

  1. To be Bible-centered.  We want to ensure that our liturgies for worship are thoroughly biblical in their language. The BCP contains a large amount biblical content and proven to relate to believers coming from a wide variety of Christian traditions.
  2. To acknowledge historical precedent. The ancient prayers, canticles, songs, creeds and liturgies contained in the BCP have been used in worship by Christians for the past 2000 years.
  3. To participate corporately.  Prayers can be prayed together, actively and in unity. At Christ the Redeemer, we project psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs on the screen, but the majority of our liturgy comes from the BCP.

What Are the Sacraments of the Anglican Church?

The Sacraments instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ are Baptism and the Eucharist (a.k.a. Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion).  Sacraments of the Church include Confirmation, Absolution (Confession), Ordination (Holy Orders for sacred offices of Deacon, Priest and Bishop), Marriage, and the Anointing of the Sick which are not necessary for all people. Sacraments (a.k.a. the Holy Mysteries) are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace given by God to help believers mature in their Christian faith.

Why do your Clergy (deacons, priests and bishops) dress differently than the Laity for services and other ministry events?

Not all Anglican clergy dress alike.  During our Sunday worship celebration our pastor typically wears a vestment called an Alb (a symbol of being clothed with the purity of Christ and the “white robes” worn by the Elders in heaven – Rev. 4:4), a pectoral cross, and stoles of varying colors which change with the liturgical seasons of the church year (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time).  You will usually see him wearing a clerical collar which is a symbol of his office as a priest (presbyter/elder) and makes him recognizable in public (like a soldier or policemen who wears a uniform while on duty) which provides opportunities for ministry.  On some occasions you might see him wear other liturgical vestments which are symbols that teach about our Christian Faith.

Why do Anglicans stand, sit and kneel during worship?

The Bible exhorts us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength which means having the liberty to get our whole person – body, soul and spirit, involved in worship.  At CtR you will see  people lift their hands when they sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and pray; sit for instruction; kneel as an act of reverence; and even dance with joy before the Lord during exuberant times of praise.  We believe that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is a reverent liberty to express ourselves in worship both individually and corporately.

Why do some people raise their hands or cross themselves?

Some people like to raise their hands in song or prayer as a gesture of surrender or praise to God. Uplifted hands in prayer while standing or kneeling is a thoroughly Biblical practice, and was a standard prayer posture in Jesus’ day as was kneeling. Others cross themselves because of the central importance of the Cross in the Christian life and as a reminder that we are to be crucified with Christ as a way of life.  Only Christ’s precious blood sacrifice on the Cross, and our faith in Him as Savior and Lord, enable us to boldly enter into God’s presence.  The sign of the Cross is a recalling of that gift.  Making the sign of the Cross also helps to “make visible” the Kingdom of God to spiritual seekers who are looking for Christ-followers.  No one is required to offer any of these expressions of worship, but they are ancient and appropriate signs and customs used throughout the history of the Church.  You may also see members of our worshiping community making the sign of the cross after praying for a meal at a restaurant.

Why do we celebrate the Holy Eucharist (Lord’s Table, Holy Communion, Lords Supper) every Sunday?

The Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion) is considered by most Christians as the central act of Christian worship. It brings to our remembrance the sacrificial blood that our Lord Jesus Christ shed when he died on the Cross for our sins, and is a means of grace that nourishes us by strengthening our union with the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  As a fully evangelical, charismatic, and sacramental church, we pattern our Sunday Worship Celebration after the ancient Christian Church who celebrated the Eucharist on the first day of the week (Sunday). Our liturgy retains the integrity of the earliest liturgies we have found, like the liturgy of Hippolytus from about 215 A.D.

All baptized Christians who are seeking to follow Jesus Christ are welcome at our Eucharistic table.  Those in the congregation who have not yet been baptized, or whose conscience may prevent them from coming to the Eucharist, are invited to come forward to receive a prayer of blessing.   Those desiring to receive Christ as their Savior and follow him in baptism, are invited to come and make their desire known to our pastor who will set a time to help prepare for baptism and the receiving of Holy Communion using the Anglican Catechism

What is Apostolic Tradition and why is it important?

Apostolic Tradition refers to the passing along of the Faith and Fellowship of the Apostles through the life of the Church throughout history. This is carried on through a variety of means; The Scripture of the Old and New Testaments, the historic Creeds, the Sacraments, and the historic lineage of Bishops, Priests and Deacons in Apostolic succession all assist the Church to pass on the Apostolic Faith and Life of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” Church founded upon the chief cornerstone of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Chief Bishop and Head of the Church.  We enjoy fellowship with Christians from churches of many denominations who believe that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority on matters of faith, practice and doctrine; that the historic Creeds of the undivided Church provide a clear and indisputable summary of the Christian Faith; that the Christian Sacraments are a means of imparting the grace of God, and that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today through spiritual gifts and signs given to the Church.

Why Bishops, Priests, and Deacons?

The English word “priest” is a short form of the Greek word “presbyter,” or elder.  At the Reformation of the 16th Century in England, the Anglican Church sought to keep all in the life and witness of the Church that was in harmony with the Scriptures. Bishops, priests and deacons are forms of Church Orders depicted in the New Testament (for more on this see the Pastoral Epistles), and raised up in the early Church under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Many bishops, priests and deacons were proponents of the Reformation and Biblical in their Faith. Thus the ancient Orders were kept as a blessing and an expression of continuity with the historic Church. Faithful Christians disagree on the need for and functions of these Orders, so other forms of ordained ministry were adopted in some other reformed traditions.

How are we the same as, and different from, the Roman Catholic Church?

The Anglican Church is like and unlike the Roman Catholic Church in many ways. We are like the Roman Catholic Church in that we both uphold the traditional Holy Orders of ordained ministry: bishop, priest, and deacon; we both accept the first seven ecumenical councils and the theological statements made by those councils as normative; and most of our churches celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday. Chief among the ways we are different is that the Anglican Church embraces the theological strengths of the Reformation while holding to the supreme authority of Holy Scripture in the “reformed Catholic” tradition. Anglican Churches are not under the jurisdictional authority of the Bishop of Rome, nor do we require celibacy of the clergy. Anglicans generally disagree with the emphasis on and elevation of the virgin Mary in recent Roman Catholic tradition.  While we both believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, our views differ on how this happens.

How are we the same as, and different from, other evangelical churches?

We are both like and unlike other evangelical churches. We are like other evangelical churches in that we uphold:

  • The authority and sufficiency of Holy Scripture
  • The uniqueness of our redemption made possible by Christ’s death on the cross
  • The need for personal conversion to Jesus Christ
  • The necessity and urgency of evangelism

How are we the same as, and different from, other charismatic churches? 

We are both like and unlike other charismatic churches. We share the belief that the Holy Spirit is active in distributing supernatural gifts in the Church today. We believe that the Holy Spirit can speak and work through any believer, even during Sunday worship! Unlike some Pentecostal Churches, we do not believe that every believer must speak in tongues in order to be saved. We do believe that the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 are for the Church today and that they should be sought, received and freely exercised in accordance with biblical guidelines.

How do Anglicans address their Clergy (Father, Pastor, Reverend?)

Like most pastors serving within the Anglican tradition, our pastor is an ordained priest (“priest” is a short form of the word “presbyter,” or elder).  When using a form of pastoral form of  address the majority of people call him”Father Dean” (“father” is a term of endearment used to address priests within the Anglican tradition and Church at large to acknowledge their role as the “spiritual father” of a church family); or “Pastor Dean” to acknowledge his role as a shepherd.  For more info about pastoral forms of address click here.

How important is Anglicanism in your identity?

Our identity has several layers.

  1. First and foremost, we are biblical Christians who love the Church and have a passion to see oneness restored to the body of Christ in the Spirit of John 17.
  2. Secondly, our worshiping community is fully evangelical, fully charismatic, and fully sacramental which the Anglican tradition give us the freedom to express
  3. Thirdly, we blend biblical paradigms for cultivating Christian community (Acts 2:42-47) with an Anglo-Celtic missiology that places an emphasis on worship, hospitality and conversation where spiritual seekers can” belong before they believe”.
  4. Fourth, we are affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), an emerging Province within the global Anglican Communion which unites over 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada into a single Church.  Members of the ACNA are in the mainstream, both globally and historically of orthodox Christianity, who are actively involved in the planting new churches.