St. Andrew’s Parish

The Venerable Canon Frederick W. Rivers, Rector
8433 N 12th Street Phoenix, AZ 85020

The traditional Anglican Church affirms what the New Testament, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul teaches: that the two truths of the undivided Church, the Evangelical and the Catholic are actually one truth.

These two aspects of Anglicanism cannot be separated. There is only one Gospel of Christ: it includes both the written Word of God, which is intended to reveal the salvation of the individual, and the order and sacramental life of the Body of Christ. These are not two separate things which the traditional Anglican Church must strive to unite. Our church’s witness to the one Church of the ages is a part of its witness to the Gospel of Christ. Our priests preach the Gospel and expound on the Holy Scriptures, illustrating the full revelation of God to man, but also proclaim the corporate life of the Church and the spiritual meaning of its order.

The traditional Anglican Church from its beginnings and continuing to this day embraces the necessity of both in fulfilling God’s purpose in His Incarnation—for man to be reconciled to Him in Christ and to testify to the Truth to all the world through the Body of Christ, the Church.

There is a danger of a partisanship, if one exaggerates particular experiences or aspects of truth, and of an intellectualism, which misses the meaning of the redemptive act of Christ. Both can lead to a false spirituality that ignores the importance, for belief and conduct, of the historical coming of God in the person of Jesus Christ and the historical society which links them to that coming.

These dangers were already evident in the Apostolic Age. There was the group of Christians in Corinth who needed reminding of historical Christianity and of the one Body. The church in Ephasus was addressed by St. John in his first Epistle, emphasizing that Jesus came in the flesh and that love is based in fellowship with this historical event. And so it continued into succeeding centuries: “spiritual” people needing to be instructed on the importance of both the coming of the flesh of Jesus and the structure of the one Body which is a continuance of that fact.

The Church’s reply to the heresies that developed by the second century was to emphasize the Christian writings, which were gradually formed into the Canon of the New Testament and the succession, from the Apostles, of Bishops as the instruments of the Church’s unity and continuity.

This structure grew and took the form of an organism of Sacraments, Episcopacy, Scriptures and Creeds: its’ goal being to maintain the vital purpose of the Gospel of Christ. This order existed in all geographic areas in which Christianity was believed and practiced for 15 centuries. This structure grew in the Gospel and through the Gospel and expresses the Gospel, and is belittled only at the expense of the Gospel.

It still exists today in some of Christendom, but tragically not in all. The Traditional Anglican Church is one of a very few parts of Christendom where it does exist today and where it can and does save individual lives to Christ.

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