Anglican Church of the Trinity
Just what do we mean by these twelve terms we are using to describe the the beliefs, guiding
principles, vision, mission and life of Anglican Church of the Trinity?
And how do they affect what you experience here?
Watch this space over the next couple of months as we attempt to “unpack” one of these terms
each week. We won't necessarily go in order, so be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the
Orthodoxy means "right opinion" or "right belief." That raises the question, "What
is right belief?" For the early Christians, "right" (orthodox) belief affirmed the
over-arching message of the Bible, that a loving God created an essentially good
world where human beings could experience the joy of relationship with him. This
plan has gone awry through human willfulness. God's love for his creation
(including us) is revealed in his plan to restore it to a state grander than its original
goodness. God has inaugurated this plan through his self-identification with us in
the restorative act of his Son, Jesus Christ. Restored or "saved" humanity is now
enjoined to work for the restoration or "salvation" of the whole world. The various
church creeds serve as summaries of such "right beliefs."
By contrast, "heterodoxy" means "other belief." These "other beliefs" were rejected
by the early church because they either denied the created goodness of the world
(including humanity), denied that the world could be restored, sought to escape the
earth as corrupt, or interpreted God's action in Jesus Christ in trivial ways that could
not truly effect the restoration of the cosmos, the world, and humanity. Thus,
heterodoxy tends to be pessimistic about the world, and lacks full confidence that
God has taken the task of our full restoration upon himself. Turning away from
heterodoxy frees us from hating what God made good, and from the impossible task
of trying to "save” ourselves.
Orthodoxy puts us in touch with God’s power to form true human community. For
these reasons, we seek to be orthodox.
Orthodox :: Scripture-Centered :: Liturgical :: Transformational :: Evangelistic
Sacramental :: Prayer-Filled :: Creedal :: Equipping :: Spirit-Led :: Egalitarian :: Classical
We believe that in the Church, spiritual gifts of women and men are to be
recognized, developed and used in all ministries and at all levels of involvement.
In so doing, we honor God as the source of spiritual gifts.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on men and women alike. Without distinction,
the Holy Spirit indwells women and men, and sovereignly distributes gifts without
preference as to gender. Baptism is an identical rite for women and men.
"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no
longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
The Bible teaches that both women and men are called to develop their spiritual
gifts and to use them as stewards of the grace of God (I Peter 4:10-11). Both men
and women are divinely gifted and empowered to minister to the Body of Christ,
under His authority. Women are mentioned among the leaders of the early church
(e.g., Phoebe, Priscilla and Junia in Romans 16 ). The few isolated texts that
appear to restrict women's freedom to exercise their gifts should not be
interpreted in contradiction to the rest of scripture.
As Christian leaders we understand that we are to lead a life worthy of the calling
to which we have been called (Ephesians 4:1, ff). And whenever we fall into sin,
we are to repent and return to the Lord (Book of Common Prayer, page 304).
Therefore, we strive to choose leaders of all ministries at Anglican Church of the
Trinity (including priests, preachers and teachers) according to their gifts and
evidence of their Christian maturity, not according to their gender.
"Equipping" prepares us to bring the Good News to the world and helps us grow to
maturity in Christ.
A focus on equipping in our formation programs, worship, fellowship and life
together helps provide men, women and young people the courage, confidence,
heart, words, example and tools they need to boldly bring the Gospel and their
personal relationship with Jesus into the professional, school, family and
community worlds in which they live and work. Our desire is to bring the Gospel into
the world more than it is to bring the world into the church.
Furthermore, a focus on equipping builds up the church itself. In Ephesians 4, Paul
says that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given their gifts
"to equip the saints [all God's people] for the work of ministry, for building up the
body of Christ…to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ" so that we
are no longer "children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of
It's abundantly clear (to us as a "startup" church that does not yet have any clergy
on staff) that we, the rank and file of the church, are called to minister to each
other! As the Lord brings growth in his time, we shall be careful to avoid excessive
"professionalization" of ministry that would blur our understanding of our role in
equipping all God's people for ministry, service and evangelism.
"The liturgy is, before everything else, the joyous gathering of those who are to
meet the risen Lord." (Alexander Schmemann) As we gather to meet that risen Lord
in the context of the liturgy - that "work of the people" - we use Scripture, prayers,
creeds, hymns and music to focus our minds and hearts on God. We bow before
God in worship. We honor the profound and beautiful work of God by responding
with the best and most beautiful and joyful elements that we can offer. Through the
liturgy we are also reminded that we are part of the body of Christ responding to
the saving power of God through the ages.
As a liturgical church we deliberately re-use prepared readings and prayers in much
of our worship because they are based on what God has said about himself and
about the praise he wants us to offer. We also follow the cycle of seasons of the
Christian church - a cycle that guides us annually through the life of Jesus and the
life of the early church. We observe the feast days and celebration of saints as our
reminders of the ongoing fulfillment of God's promises through His son, Jesus
Christ. In special celebrations for baptism, confirmation, marriage and burial we
respond to the ongoing work of God throughout our lives.
Through our worship we offer repentance, supplication, praise and thanksgiving as
a communal response to what God is doing in our lives. The power and genius of
the liturgy become apparent when we join the "great cloud of witnesses" (as
described in the letter to the Hebrews) by stepping into the drama and playing our
part with voices, movement and response. The liturgy draws us together and
shapes us into community.
"Scripture" is the writings of the Old and New Testaments. With all orthodox
Christians, we believe that God is a personal being, he is infinitely wise, he speaks,
and he addresses himself in propositional terms to his rational creatures to recall
them to himself. This divine speech has been "inscripturated" in human language in
the 66 books of the Bible, where God has revealed himself in a unique, authoritative,
trustworthy, and saving manner. His entire written testimony is focused on revealing
Jesus Christ as the world's Savior and Lord. The Scriptures are described as
"breathed out by God" and "able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus
Christ." Therefore, we center our worship, prayer, study, proclamation, and service
on the Scriptures. Our order of worship is built on the thought-forms and affirmations
of Scripture. In Christian education we place a high priority on a comprehensive and
in-depth study of the Bible in its historical context and as an internally coherent
collection of carefully crafted literary works.
God reveals his truth because fallible humans cannot know it by their own efforts.
What God has revealed is not exhaustive, but it is true, it is necessary for our
salvation, and it is sufficient for our needs. With absolute authority it reveals Christ,
portrays humanity's lostness, conveys divine promises, instructs us, and commands
us. This word of God demands our obedience and assures us of our ultimate
restoration through the mercy of God. With the earliest Anglican divines, we affirm
that the Scriptures are normative and pre-eminent over the insights of fallen
humans' traditions and reasoning. Therefore, we rely on the instruction and
guidance of the Scriptures, as the Holy Spirit illumines them, to order our personal
lives and to govern our life together.
When we say we are a "creedal" community, we mean, at the very least, that we
are interested in the creeds of the early Christian church. These creeds (from credo,
"I believe") are carefully crafted, formulaic statements summarizing the irreducible,
distinctive, core beliefs of those who follow the Way introduced by Jesus Christ.
The creeds are not additions to Holy Scripture, but summaries of the teachings of
Scripture on vital subjects of belief. They are sometimes also referred to as
"ecumenical" creeds, because they are affirmed throughout the entire "inhabited
world" by churches Western and Eastern, Protestant and Catholic, liturgical and
non-liturgical, and those in the developing world.
The beliefs articulated in the early creeds did not originate with the publication of
those creeds. Rather, core Christian beliefs had been affirmed from the earliest
decades of the church, while inquiring minds were working out both the orthodox
implications of the "faith once delivered to the saints" and many unhelpful
speculations about spiritual realities. As dangerous errors became more
widespread and threatened the health of the churches, councils of leaders of
orthodox churches gathered periodically to codify their understanding of the
orthodox faith on contested beliefs, so that the faithful could distinguish erroneous
teachings from received truth and avoid them. Therefore, the issuing of a creed was
a formal acknowledgment of a cluster of beliefs that had long been current in the
churches as doctrinal errors were gaining ground.
Before the formation of the most familiar Christian creeds-the Aposotlic, Nicene,
and Athanasian creeds, which are contained in the Book of Common Prayer-there
were in circulation many shorter capsule statements of Christian truth, such as
"Jesus is Lord;" affirmations like those preserved in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Romans
1:2-4, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, hymn texts like Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians
1:15-20; and statements about the sacraments of baptism and communion that are
quoted today in our celebrations (I Corinthians 11:23-26 and Romans 6:2-4).
As a creedal church, we regularly reaffirm these summaries of what the Bible
teaches about the persons of the Trinity and their working together to secure our
salvation; the birth, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ and his future
return; and the other core beliefs that ground us in the faith we share with
Christians throughout the world.