Friday, January 14, 2011
Posted by rog
What thoughts enter your mind when you pass by an Episcopal/Anglican church?
Thoughts that I used to have ranged from weird to liberal and even non-Christian. I had assumed that they had thrown out the truth of the gospel and were attending a church out of a routine or ritual. These thoughts stemmed from the fact that I was opposed to women ministers, thought that the church believed a fake gospel, and didn't understand why someone would want to repeat prayers, sayings, etc... from a book sorta like a chant.
As I attended college, my view of this denomination began to soften somewhat as I began to read scholars such as NT Wright, John Stott, and Alister McGrath. They all attend/work in the Church of England. I however still was unsure about the church until I attended an episcopal church in Ft. Worth one Sunday about two years ago called St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. I didn't understand much of the worship service but 2 very specific things stuck out to me. First, I was surprised at how much scripture was read during the service. I had thought that these people had a very low view of scripture, but based upon the way it was used during the service that was not the case. Second, I was surprised at how much time was spent in prayer. We prayed for the sick, for the lost, for Christians, for the country, for the president, and for the unity of the church. This church read more scripture and spent more time in prayer on one Sunday morning service, than my church did in almost a month.
I soon went out and purchased a Book of Common Prayer. While I still don't understand exactly how to use it, I have found the prayers in it amazing. I have memorized this prayer and have been saying it every day. Its found under 16. The Mission of the Church. The prayer is
O God of all the nations of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in thine image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the prayers and labors of thy holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship thee as thou has been revealed in thy Son; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I would suggest that before you label a church or think that it teaches a false gospel, that you get to know what goes on there (maybe even attend a service).
A few good resources of the Episcopal Church can be found below.
The Book of Common Prayer Online
Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail
The Study of Anglicanism