I sometimes hear folks refer to “the Anglican Church”. Is there such a thing?
No. There is no Anglican Church.
There is no Baptist Church, Presbyterian Church, or Methodist Church. These are families of churches. There are certainly Baptist and Presbyterian and Methodist churches, but those churches are not monolithic. Neither is Anglicanism monolithic–there is no single Anglican Church.
Think about it for a moment. How many Baptist groups do you know about? To name a few: American Baptists, General Baptists, Northern Baptists, Southern Baptists. Some of those are types of Baptists, not single denominations. For example, there is both the “American Baptist Association” and the “American Baptist Churches in the USA”: both would claim to be American Baptists. General Baptists make up at least five denominations. By the way, I’m only referring to a few Baptist groups in the United States; there are even more in other countries.
In North America, there are several denominations that claim Anglican heritage: the Episcopal Church, Anglican Church in North America, Anglican Orthodox Church, United Episcopal Church, Anglican Church in America, Anglican Province of America, Anglican Church of Canada, and others. In the United Kingdom, there is the Church of England, Scottish Episcopal Church, Free Church of England, and others. And there are dozens more throughout the world.
Of course, there is a great argument to be made that some groups are only so-called Anglicans because they have long since abandoned the Protestant and Reformed nature of Anglicanism. That’s a topic for another day.
My point is that there is no single worldwide Anglican denomination. Yes, there is something known as the Anglican Communion, which includes a lot of Anglican denominations from around the world–but not every Anglican group is part of the Anglican Communion. There is no Anglican Church.
I recommend that, instead of referring to “the Anglican Church”, we speak of “Anglicanism” or “Anglican churches”.
What shall I render, Lord, to thee
For thy surprising grace,
That thou hast made my soul to see
Thy reconciled face.
That I, who was with stains of sin
So horridly defiled,
Should thus be washed and taken in
For thine adopted child.
When nothing but a bath divine,
Of Jesus’ dying blood,
Could fit this leprous soul of mine
To stand before my God.
Over the past several months, our original content has decreased and our curated content has become a bit overwhelming. Going forward, we will focus primarily on original content. Curated content will be selected with greater discretion and published less frequently. This means that our front page may be updated less often, but the material you find there will be more meaningful.
Additionally, I am overseeing the addition of some classic Anglican works in our digital Library. This project has stalled over the past year, but it is underway once again. I’ll highlight these works as each complete text becomes available. Note that these texts are carefully edited. This means they are not copied—with errors—from other websites. Instead, they are diligently, word by word, taken from faithful sources, with cautious corrections of typographical errors and updated footnotes.
The website is privately funded. There is no third-party advertising on the site. Readers may contribute to the support of our writers by purchasing items from the Bookshop. This helps ensure we can continue producing quality original content.
The bookshop features carefully selected titles that are connected to confessing Anglicanism. A few other items are available that address some current issues that challenge our Christian faith. The inventory is intentionally limited so we can help meet a particular need for relevant resources.
Thank you for reading and continuing to encourage us in this our second year of publishing material that reflects our faith, as J. C. Ryle described it: “The Bible, the Articles, and the principles of the Protestant Reformation.”
Daniel J. Sparks