The Anglican Way

I have been a part of the Anglican Church since I was in ninth grade. Even though I wasn’t formally “received” as an Anglican until around ten years later, I considered myself Anglican from pretty shortly after I started attending. I come from a Roman Catholic background, but my conversion to Anglicanism had less to do with what I was leaving than with what I was joining. I never felt any animosity or discomfort with the Roman Church. In fact, I pretty much held on to my Roman theology all the way until I got to seminary. No, I never felt like I was leaving something. I felt like I was joining something.

For many people, that something of Anglicanism is hard to define. People join the Anglican Church for all sorts of reasons. I think those reasons, diverse as they might be, come down to this: for us, the Anglican Church feels like family. It can be a messy and difficult family, but it is a family that we recognize. When I get together with my own family, we don’t all believe the exact same things the exact same ways. We don’t all want the exact same things. We have disagreements and disputes. But we always love each other. My family isn’t, and never has been dysfunctional. We are just a typical family.

That is what you see in Anglicanism, and it is explained very well in The Anglican Way by Thomas McKenzie. You have evangelicals and catholics. You have charismatics and orthodox. You have activists and contemplatives. You have conservatives and liberals. Each thing properly understood, and when not taken to an extreme, has a home within the Anglican Church. It is like a family. We can disagree with some of what others are doing, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t family. This doesn’t mean that there are no limits or boundaries. As we have seen and experienced with the Episcopal Church, one can get to an extreme that puts them outside of traditional Anglicanism and historic Christianity. But just because there are extremes that must be avoided, it doesn’t nullify the real diversity within the body.

Some families are dysfunctional, sadly. There may be destructive people within the family who tear it apart. Some families require everyone to be a certain way, believe a certain thing, or behave in a certain manner. Many denominations are this way. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that any denomination (or non-denomination as the case may be) is dysfunctional if it doesn’t look like Anglicanism. But the metaphor works. In most denominations and churches there are much tighter boundaries. This is what it means to be Catholic, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, etc. It can be hard to have that natural family feel if you exist within a body that expects everyone to be exactly alike in many ways. If you are Pentecostal and you don’t speak in tongues, you are out of the family. If you are an Orthodox Presbyterian and you do speak in tongues, you are out of the family. These are somewhat vulgar over-simplifications, but you get the point.

To the Anglican, both things are acceptable. I am not simply saying that it is ok that some do and some don’t speak in tongues. I am taking it even further than that. It is acceptable to believe in speaking in tongues as a Christian trait, and it is ok to believe that speaking in tongues and such gifts ceased at the end of the first century. It isn’t that both groups are right. Instead, this is about what it means to be Anglican. It means to not look for boundaries to divide us from one another, but to look for that which unites us as a family, even in our disagreement. For us, we recognize that if we are all adopted as sons and daughters of God, then we are family. Families fight. Families disagree. Families don’t always believe all the same things. Those things don’t make the family dysfunctional. They make them real families.

The Anglican Church is a real family. There are those even within New Life who hold vastly disparate, yet equally Christian views. There are those who speak in tongues, those that don’t, and those that think tongue speaking doesn’t exist. There are those that believe in women’s ordination and those that don’t. There are those that believe in predestination and election and those that are committed to their own free will. There are those who hold a high view of the sacraments and those that don’t care if they ever come to the Lord’s Table. All of these are present within New Life. In many ways, New Life is a microcosm of the Anglican Church as a whole.

In so many churches, so many people of disparate views could hardly exist alongside one another. In the Anglican Church, it is assumed that such diversity exists. It is what makes us Anglican. It is what makes us family. It is that kind of a family that I knew I was joining about 22 years ago, that I found so attractive. And it is that kind of a family which allows each of its members to grow and flourish in Christ.

Sermon- 7-13-14- Romans 8:9-17

This past Sunday I preached on Romans 8:9-17.  This is the first of a series of sermons on Romans 8 and 9.  I see Romans 8 as a testimony of good things that just keep getting better as Paul goes further and further into the chapter.  If we are in the Spirit, we belong to Christ.  If we have the Spirit, we have been raised from the dead.  If we have the Spirit, we are children of God.  We are not just children in a generic sense, but we are adopted.  We are brought into God’s perfectly loving family.  We are more than just adopted; we are made heirs with Christ.

The passage ends here, but there is even more good news coming as we learn in the future about the security of our salvation.  Here is the link:

The Anglican Eucharistic Liturgy- Sermon 5-25-14

I know it has been a while since I have linked audio sermons here, but I felt that this sermon (and the one I will link in the next post) is worth posting and worth listening to.  It is an explanation of the structure and flow of the Anglican Eucharistic worship service that I gave because we have a group of about 30 non-Anglicans joining us for the summer and I want them to understand what is happening in the service.

The reason I haven’t been able to post the sermons is because there is a problem with uploading audio that I can’t solve.  So instead, I am providing a link to the church website that when you click the link, the sermon will play on that page.



Sermon- December 8, 2013- The Nicene Creed; December 15, 2013- Expectations

On December 8 I preached about the Nicene Creed, more specifically, about the changes we see to the Creed in the Anglican Church in North America Eucharist Liturgy.  The “changes” were corrections in the translation to return us to the earliest version of the Nicene Creed as accepted at the Council of Constantinople in 381.  I felt that it was important to spend time “in the weeds” on this topic because we say the Creed every week and the changes were noticeable.  It was a good opportunity to show how these changes (in particular the removal of the clause “and the Son” from the line saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father “and the Son”) reflect the original text, and put us in communion with the Orthodox Church, the second largest Christian church in the world.  I would encourage taking the time to listen to this explanation, especially if you like Church History.  It is roughly 26 minutes long.


On December 15 I preached on Matthew 11:2-11 and talked about the issue of expectations.  We are in a season of expectation (Advent) as we await the celebration of Christ’s birth and the return of Christ to bring his final judgment.  The passage was about John the Baptist being in prison and questioning whether or not Jesus was really the Messiah- a doubt spurred by John’s expectation that the Messiah would set the prisoners free.  He was a prisoner and didn’t want to die in jail so he was wondering what was up with Jesus.  But Jesus showed that his purposes are so much bigger and so much better than the expectations and what we would have him do for us.  He didn’t come to just free prisoners on earth, but to free us from our imprisonment to sin and give us the right to be sons and daughters of God, living together with him in his eternal kingdom.

I apologize as this sermon was longer than I intended, coming in at about 36 minutes.


Sermon- December 1, 2013- The Season of Advent and Hope

Here is my sermon from this past Sunday, December 1, which was the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent is the beginning of the Church year and is a season of expectation, anticipation, and most importantly, hope.  We look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises with hope, because we have seen God and his goodness and we know that hope in him will never fail.

This message looked at how important patience is to hope, and how God provides hope even in the midst of turmoil- as he did to Judah even as he was preparing to send them into exile.


Sermons- November 17 and November 24, 2013

On November 17 we had a very special Sunday.  Baby Addie was baptized and welcomed into Christ’s family.  And we celebrated Jim and Linda Marshall as they set forth to move downstate to be with their daughter and granddaughter.  It was a moving and emotional Sunday and the short sermon focused on the sanctity of life, a topic that connected to both the baptism of a child and to a family leaving their lives behind to take care of their grown daughter.  Life is sacred to God, and it is at all stages of life.


On November 24 Wally Stansbury preached for me and his subject was Christ the King.  He looked at the three-fold office of Christ- Prophet, Priest, and King, as it was Christ the King Sunday.  This was a very informative message that is worth your time.  It is about 18 minutes long.


Sermon- October 27, 2013- Ruth 3

Here is the sermon from Ruth 3, the third week of my sermon series on Ruth.  In this chapter Naomi concocts her plan to get Ruth and Boaz together.  Ruth goes to Boaz by cover of night to seek his proposal of marriage/redemption.  Boaz agrees to do so, but first he must deal with a family redeemer ahead of him in right to redeem Ruth.  Through his actions, we learn that Boaz is a good and godly man.  Naomi also learns that God yet has good in store for her and Ruth despite all of the turmoil of their past.


Sermons- October 13 and 20- Ruth 1 and Ruth 2

Here are my first two sermons from my current sermon series on Ruth.  Each sermon in the series deals with one chapter of the book.  In chapter 1, we meet Naomi and Ruth, learn of Naomi’s extreme hardship, Ruth’s loyalty and commitment to her mother-in-law, and Naomi’s belief that God has turned against her.

In chapter 2, we meet Boaz, learn that he is a good man, that he shows great kindness to Ruth, that he is a kinsman-redeemer, and that Naomi realizes all of this and realizes that God may yet have good in store for her and Ruth.  Each message is about 30 minutes long.  I hope you enjoy them.

Ruth 1

Ruth 2

New ACNA Eucharist Liturgies

Here is a direct download link to the pdf of the new Holy Eucharist liturgies from the ACNA.  Holy Eucharist ACNA

It is a long document, 39 pages.  But that is because it contains two separate liturgies and all the seasonal changes.  The Long Form liturgy (the one appointed for Sunday principal service, and high feast day use) is the first 11 pages.  I recommend giving it a good read to familiarize yourself with it.  I think this liturgy is a great step forward for us as an Anglican Province.  I like it better than anything we do from the 1979 BCP, but it is different and will take some getting used to.

To the committee that worked on preparing these liturgies: well done.

Sermons- September 22 and 29, 2013

Here are my sermons for the last two weeks.

On September 22 I preached on 1 Timothy 2:1-8.  I talked about the importance of us praying all types of prayer for all types of people.  This means that we must be willing to pray intercessions and even thanksgivings for those we consider enemies.  And we often find that in so doing, we have a difficult time viewing people as enemies.


On September 29 I preached on Luke 16:19-31.  This is the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  I explained this parable and talked about how the ultimate point Jesus seemed to be making was that the Rich Man didn’t believe the teachings of the faith and thus lived only for himself.  This resulted in the Rich Man being sent to hell where he was in anguish and realized that it was too late to repent and live a life of faith.  We need to be honest about whether we believe the teachings of the gospel, or if we have given some mental assent to it while living our lives in a way that suggests we don’t really- deep down- believe those teachings much, if at all.