Christmas Eve Worship
Why Choose the Anglican Church?
By The Rev. Quintin Morrow, St Andrew's Church, Fort Worth, Tex.
One of the great triumphs of capitalism of course is the multiplication of choices for the consumer. If you have ever traveled abroad you cannot help but notice that while most of the world's population must content itself with three kinds of ketchup we in America can choose from thirty. That kind of choice can be a wonderful think. But that kind of choice can have a deleterious effect as well -- especially if it creates a culture in which people thing they have a right to a multiplicity of options, and that this right applies to every arena of human existence.
Modern American culture has certainly made a supermarket out of religions. There are more "brands" of religion in our country than in any other country on the planet, and all with sometimes subtle and sometimes outlandish distinctions between them. Spirituality has literally become a designer enterprise with every conceivable preference and permutation made available to the potential proselyte. I even read recently of a "church" in San Francisco dedicated to promulgating the "gospel" of jazz great John Coltrane.
But it does no good for us to wrinkle our noses in disdain at this phenomenon and pretend that our church still has a preferential cultural claim on the vast majority of un-churched Americans. It doesn't. We must now compete with other spiritualities and other churches to get a hearing with people as to why we thing we have something unique to offer them. We mustn't change who we are -- that's not my meaning. But we must clear out throats and invite people to our church, and with the inviting, provide them with compelling reasons to, as Philip said to Nathanael, "come and see" (John 1:46).
The Anglican Church is an historic church, with roots going back to the time of the Apostles. While it is true that novelty is interesting, it is also undeniable that things that have stood the test of time endure because of their quality.
The Anglican Church is a catholic church that holds fast to, and proclaims, what Christians in all times and is all places have believed. The Greek word katholikos, from which we derive our English word "catholic," has two distinct but related meanings: The first is "universal," and the second is "that which belongs to the whole." The content of the faith we declare to be true is not simply the pious opinions of a select minority on the "Sceptered Isle," but what Christians everywhere and for all time have accepted as true. Our church is not the church in toto, but a part of the whole.
The Anglican Church is a reformed church that emphasizes the authority of Holy Scripture and the truth that we are made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Antiquity does not equal verity. The 16th century Protestant reformers purged the medieval church of centuries of man-made accretions that obscured the grace of God and restored it to a simple gospel based upon the Word of God. The motto of their work was "Post tenebras lux" -- "After the darkness, light."
The Anglican Church is a biblical church that proclaims and strives to live by the unchanging truths of God's Holy Word. One gets more Bible on Sunday morning in an Anglican Church -- in the prayers, the liturgy, the readings, and the sermon -- than in any other church in the nation. It is only the Word of God that possesses the power to change the human heart and alter destinies; consequently, saints and sinners alike ought to get as much of God's Word and as little of man's ever-mutating opinions as is possible.
The Anglican Church is a liturgical church that worships with the biblical and time-honored Book of Common Prayer. The prayer book saves us from the tyranny of man-centered worship, and the tyranny of becoming the "church of what's happenin' now," and frees us and teaches us how to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
The Anglican Church is a welcoming church, which invites all kinds of people from all walks of life to come and meet the Lord Jesus Christ.
Statistics indicate that three-quarters of visitors to any church are there because they've been invited by someone. Won't you invite someone to "come and see?"
-- Reprinted from The Anglican Digest