What is Anglicanism?
There are four great streams of Christianity: the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox, the Protestant, and the Anglican. Numerically, there are over one billion Catholics, more than 350 million Orthodox Christians, some 80 million Anglicans, and the many types of Protestant (Reformed) churches make up the rest of the 2.1 billion followers of Jesus Christ in the world.*
Anglicanism is a different approach to being church. It is a method for being Christian. It identifies the Bible as the supreme tradition on which Christianity rests, while insisting that further tradition is necessary in order to interpret the Scriptures. The Apostles' and Nicene creeds, for instance, are considered sufficient summaries of what the Bible teaches concerning God's plan of salvation for the human race. The sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist (Communion) are required for living out the method, though the five other sacraments are recognized as helpful and made available as needed to Jesus' followers. The 'holy catholic church' that the creeds mention is the church to which Anglicans (known in some parts of the world as "Episcopalians") belong, without recognizing the Pope's authority over its local churches.
Anglicanism as a Method
As a method, Anglicanism invites all people to encounter Jesus Christ in a community, the parish, that is shaped by the common life of its congregants and clergy, in communion with its bishop and diocese. And it is conscious of the command that we must love God with all our mind, among other things. Part of the 'method' is therefore to treat people as adults who can and indeed must think for themselves. Anyone can find Christ among us, and follow him as Lord with us. We are profoundly convinced that it is the Spirit who converts.
Source: Includes excerpts from 'What is Anglicanism?' by The Rt Rev Pierre Whalon, D.D. Published by Anglicans Online ©