For some of you this may be way more information that you want or need (I apologize)… but for the theologians and philosophers out there, I hope this is a sufficient summary of the boundaries of our beliefs.
The best shorthand statement of the content of what we believe as a church is found in the formula set forth by Lancelot Andrewes’ in defining the boundaries of faith and practice for the Church of England:
One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.
We affirm that the Canon of Holy Scripture is central to our Rule of Faith, standing as the ultimate norm of belief and practice. We affirm the Bible to be the infallible and revealed Word of God. Hence we test all things by God’s Word written.
We affirm the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament to be the limits of biblical inspiration.
We also affirm Two Sacraments as ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.
We affirm (1) the Apostles’ Creed, as our Baptismal symbol; (2) the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith; and (3) the creed known in the West as the “Creed of Saint Athanasius”, as affirming the mysteries of the Triune God and the Personal union of two Natures in our Divine Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We affirm the dogmatic definitions of the first four ecumenical councils of the undivided Church – (1) Nicaea, A.D. 325, (2) Constantinople, A.D. 381, (3) Ephesus, A.D. 431, and (4) Chalcedon, A.D. 451 – as representing the true mind of the Church Catholic in the face of heresy and controversy, and the consensus of the faithful as led by the Spirit of God into all truth. The later ecumenical councils (i.e., the fifth, sixth, and seventh) are affirmed as orthodox to the degree that they are consistent with, while adding nothing to, the substance of dogma defined by the first four.
We affirm the witness of the Spirit of God during the formative period of the Church, otherwise known as the Patristic era, contained primarily in the writings and testimonies of the great Fathers of the first five centuries (roughly from the Apostles to Gregory the Great). This witness continues to inform our faith and practice, especially in the areas of polity, worship, and evangelical mission.
One further note…
We affirm and honor our Anglican heritage of the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion contained therein. Nevertheless, we also remain open to fellowship, dialogue and interaction with Christians of all branches of Christ’s Church in the spirit and heritage of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888.
We affirm finally the core values of the Anglican Mission in the Americas, a missionary outreach of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The Anglican Mission has focused on planting churches throughout North America, adding on average one new congregation every three weeks.