The Three Streams of the Anglican Tradition
It is commonly said that there are three streams that nourish and give life to the Anglican tradition. While each local church tends to accentuate one of these streams more than the others, Anglicans as a whole are committed to holding all three streams together: the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the Spirit. Anglican churches are unified around these three streams, though diversified in their expression.
Anglicans believe that we meet and experience God through the Scriptures, God’s inspired Word that contains all things necessary for salvation. The Scriptures reveal the story of God working to restore his good creation from the effects of sin and death through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is the story the church finds itself a part of, and so it is the story that we strive to embody in our own context. The liturgy and lectionary ensure that Anglicans are among the most Bible-reading Christians in the entire world.
Anglicans believe that we meet and experience God through the Sacraments, especially in Baptism and the Eucharist. A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace; it identifies a place where God has promised to meet his faithful people. Though God is indeed present everywhere, we encounter him through the Sacraments in a unique way. The Sacraments, along with the liturgy itself, reminds us that this physical world matters—indeed, our bodies matter—and one day it will be filled with the light and life of God. The Sacraments are a foretaste for the church of that coming heaven-and-earth reality.
Anglicans believe that we meet and experience God through the Holy Spirit. By definition, the church is made up of those empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus Christ in seeking first the kingdom of God. Anglicans trust that God works through his Spirit in a variety of ways: in baptism and the Eucharist, our prayers, the laying on of hands, serving the poor, anointing with oil, and healings, among other things. And since the Spirit of God is among the people of God, each person is called upon both to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit and to utilize the gifts of the Spirit.
To explore these three streams more in depth, be sure to attend one or more of our Three-Stream Saturdays on October 13, 27, and November 10 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. A light breakfast will be provided along with nursery care. We hope to see you there!