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Church News

'What do Anglicans believe?' guidebook released

by Cara Bentley

A study guide to help students and church members know what Anglicans believe has been published. 

The guide 'What Do Anglicans Believe?' is an introduction to doctrine and understanding the Church's ecclesiology across all 41 provinces around the world. 

Despite some of these provinces, for example, conducting gay marriages and others being strongly opposed to it, as well as differing views on the authority of scripture, the study aims to help churches apply the core beliefs in their own context. 

It covers 'where does doctrine come from?' and 'what is the calling of the church?'

It stresses the importance of scripture, the Creeds, scholarship, church teaching and learning from other churches. On the church's missions it states this is: "To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; to teach, baptise and nurture new believers; to respond to human need by loving service; to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation; to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth."

The Anglican Communion's director for Theological Education, the Rev Dr Stephen Spencer, who helped write it, told Premier: "We all share the Creeds that we say in church quite often and they define the core of our belief and Anglicans agree on that wherever they are. The issue is then how do we understand those Creeds, how do we apply them in our daily lives? 

"This guide is not telling Anglicans how to do that, it's providing them with a simple framework, a simple set of questions to start them thinking...it's not answering all the questions, it's more a way of setting out on a journey that any Anglican in any part of the world can go on."

The Anglican Communion includes the Church of England, the Episcopal Church in America and the Scottish Episcopal Church, as well as the Church of the Province of Uganda, The Church of Nigeria and the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.

 

 

The study guide introduces people to ecumenical texts and asks questions to help students consider the application of them in the life of their churches; including whether or not the life of their church "demonstrates that it is of Jesus Christ and what he does."

Rev Dr Stephen Spencer said that specific issues of debate, such as sexuality, weren't mentioned and that he hopes for unity: "They're not the core of what we believe and so my hope is that this study guide can remind us, as Anglicans, that actually the core of what we believe is so important that we need to hold on to that while we deal with the secondary issues that do divide us."
 

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