The foundation of our beliefs:
"All true doctrine, Anglicans believe, is derived from the Bible. St. Paul instructs the Church, 'All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness'
(2 Timothy 3:16). Further, Article 6 of the Articles of Religion states: 'whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the Faith.'"
-Archbishop Robert Duncan, Letter of Commendation in
Stating our Beliefs in the Creeds and Articles
As Anglicans, we state our doctrine in two forms: the Creeds and the Articles of Religion.
The Creeds, "state the clear and unequivocal teaching of Holy Scripture" (Gerald Bray, The Faith We Confess, An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles).
The three historic Creeds that govern and guide our teaching are the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The English word "creed" comes from the Latin word "credo" which means, "I believe."
Two of these creeds, the Apostles' and Nicene, appear in Daily Prayer and the Holy Eucharist so that we proclaim what we believe and believe what we proclaim.
The Apostles' Creed is proclaimed in daily Morning and Evening Prayer. It is also the creed professed in the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Confirmation.
The Nicene Creed is proclaimed during the Holy Eucharist as a corporate profession of faith. This joyful profession follows the hearing of the Word of God in the readings from Holy Scripture and the exposition their meaning in the sermon.
The Athanasian Creed is a statement focused on the church's teaching on the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ (i.e. Christology). The depth and detail of the Athanasian Creed can make it quite imposing, yet its value is inestimable. It is rarely used in worship.
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion
The authors of the Jerusalem Declaration describe the articles as "containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God's Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today."
Teaching our Beliefs in the Catechism
Our main resource for teaching our beliefs is our catechism, To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism (link in title is to a .pdf of the catechism).
The catechism is presented in a call and response, or Q&A, format. It is meant to be used in individual, small, and large groups. The catechism contains Anglican teaching, or doctrine, including the gospel message of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and other elements of Anglican doctrine, annotated and supported with scriptural references.
The purpose of our catechism is, "to be a missional means by which God may bring about both conversion to Christ and formation in Christ (or regeneration and sanctification, to use older words)" (To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism, Introduction).
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, visible and invisible.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father
who with the Father and the Son
is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Praying our Beliefs
in the Book of Common Prayer
What we believe—our teaching, or doctrine—is embedded in what we pray. This is what we mean when we say that our doctrine is to be found in the Book of Common Prayer. We pray our doctrine. The Collect for Peace, prayed on Tuesday morning in Morning Prayer is a wonderful example.
A Collect for Peace (Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This prayer, or collect, teaches us something about God. He is the "author of peace and lover of concord."
This prayer also teaches us something about salvation: "to know you is eternal life." This is a direct quotation of Jesus' prayer in John 17, "And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3).
This prayer further teaches us about the goodness of human life in trusting, obedient relationship with God: "to serve you is perfect freedom."
This prayer then asks for the help, or grace, that we need from God. This is a practical application of the doctrine, or teaching, that salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10): "Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries."
Finally the prayer is offered, "through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord." This is an expression of faith in the Bible's teaching about the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus. It also a statement of his threefold office as Prophet, Priest, and King.