When I was maturing as a Christian in my 20s, we chose not to defend the denomination of our heritage. Of course! Instead we defended the Gospel (if indeed it can be defended). We were not into being 'Anglican', we were into Jesus. We believed that the Anglican church was a good place to preach the gospel, but that is as far as the denomination was useful. We talked about the Anglican Church as a 'real estate agent' - an owner of property - and that was it.
The reason, then, that I pursued faith within the Anglican denomination was simple: Absolutely everybody who was significant in my Christian faith was Anglican (or trained as Anglican). I figured that out pretty easily. And almost all of them had trained at an Anglican Seminary in the city in which I grew up. So I put 2 and 2 together: if they could give me Christ, then I could pass Him on.
So off I went to seminary.
Here in the United States, denominations (for better or worse) play a large part in people's lives. The heritage of many here in the US counts for something. Christ Church NYC has formed itself as a church in the "evangelical Anglican tradition." So I have had to think more about being 'Anglican' than ever before. And yet at the same time, we have wanted to (of course) remain dynamic, Spirit-filled, Bible-based, God-entranced, and Christ-focused.
On Monday, I want to begin presenting to you Dr. Paul Barnett's "Ten Elements of Historic Anglicanism". Dr. Barnett was the Anglican Bishop of North Sydney from 1990-2001. Dr. Barnett's Ten Elements were inspired by the comments of J.I. Packer in "Speculating in Anglican Futures" in New Directions (Sept 1995), 6.
I emailed Dr. Barnett and he has agreed to let me post his Ten Elements. Dr Barnett concludes the article thus:
I echo and endorse the sentiment of J.I.Packer that, "Anglicanism embodies the richest, truest, wisest heritage in Christendom."Strong endorsement, yes?
Would you like to hear Dr Barnett's 10 reasons why being Anglican might be this significant? And my own thought processes along the way?
Yes or No?
Pic on Flickr by petecarr.