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What Anglicans Believe Today

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Anglicans hold the Holy Bible, as contained in the 66 Book of the Old and New Testaments, to be the highest and supreme authority in matters of faith. It contains all things necessary for salvation, “that whatsoever 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, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation” (39 Articles of Religion). Anglicans also read the Apocrypha “for example of life and instruction of manners,” not to establish doctrine.

Anglicans confess the three great Creeds: Apostles’Nicene, and Athanasian. They also espouse the doctrines of the ecumenical councils, emphasizing the first four in particular. Some of their more unique positions can be found in the historic Anglican Formularies: the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles of Religion, and the Ordinal (which contains ordination services for bishops, priests, and deacons), with the Book of Homilies (an officially-approved collection of sermons) offering commentary on those formularies.

As their history makes clear, Anglicans uphold the episcopal form of church government. This means they recognize three pastoral offices: bishops (the term “bishop” is an English contraction of the biblical Greek word episkopos, often translated as “overseer” in modern Protestant translations of the New Testament), priests (the English contraction of presbyter or “elder”), and deacons (derived from the Greek, meaning servant, minister, or messenger).


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