In this series, Scot McKnight explains why he is an Anglican.
More than twice a month I am asked “Why did you become Anglican?” The answer to the question is complex, and I want to answer that question in part by saying up front that I don’t believe in ecclesiastical superiority. I don’t think any single church or denomination is the one true church. I’ve heard more than a whiff of this from folks as varied as Plymouth Brethren, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic (in spades, frankly), Baptist, Evangelical Covenant, and United Methodists. So in this series I’m not saying that the Anglican Communion is the one-true-and-always-faithful church in the world.
I became Anglican because of the church calendar. (Not only because of the church calendar but it was part of the process.) Non-calendar Christians usually observe Christmas (not always Advent, though it is growing) and Good Friday and Easter. That’s about it. The rest of the year is up to the preacher, the pastor, the elders and deacons, and up to the congregation. Many pastors wisely organize their churches to be formed over time through a series of themes — or books of the Bible (Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper preached through Romans for almost two decades) — but none can improve on the centrality of Christ in the church calendar…more
Why Be Anglican: Worship
I want to dip into “worship,” by which I mean Sunday morning worship service. (I do not equate worship with Sunday morning worship, but Sunday morning worship is worship.)
If the church calendar shapes the church themes, the church liturgy for Holy Eucharist is shaped by a customary set of elements of the worship service. Each of these is needed, each is integrated into the other, and each is formative for Christian discipleship. To repeat from last week’s blog post, I don’t idealize or idolize Anglican worship, but I believe it is a mature, wise, and deeply theological tradition at work…more
Why Be Anglican: Lectionary
I’m not a historian of the lectionary, and it is common property to a wide range of churches and that is why today it is called “The Revised Common Lectionary” and it is available online here.
In essence, the RCL is a 3-year cycle of Bible readings for Sunday worship (and daily readings as well). The lectionary is built on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, with John weaved in over the three years. The Bible readings in a lectionary-based worship service are ordered into an Old Testament lesson, a reading from the Psalms, a reading from an Epistle, and then “The Gospel.” As the church calendar is rooted in the life of Jesus (see the image above), so the lectionary readings from the Bible aim at the Gospel reading and prepare for it and enhance it. This squares the church on the Gospels as the gospel…more
Why Be Anglican: Prayers of the People
No question about it, but in many churches there is not a designated time for the people to pray. Some churches are just too big for that, and even too big for a pastoral prayer. Others are so focused on the sermon that there is not time left for what we Anglicans call the “prayers of the people.”…more
Why Be Anglican: The Collect
The collects of the church reveal the church’s practices and beliefs about prayer; a collect is a set prayer for a set time in the church calendar. In them we see the church’s theology of prayer come to expression. I posted about the collects here and included a reference to a fine book “collecting” the collects: C. Frederick Barbee and Paul F.M. Zahl,The Collects of Thomas Cranmer…more
Dr. Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author or editor of more than fifty books, is the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the USA and abroad. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham (1986) and has been a professor for more than three decades.