What we Believe.
Many faith communities have simple, succinct answers to the questions "what do you believe?" At Incarnation, we could try and do that, but it would be a huge injustice to the vast heritage we base our faith upon. We do believe in Jesus, and we do believe the best way to hear from God is through the Scriptures. But there is much more to it than just that.
We are Christian, in that we adhere to the early Christian Creeds (Apostle's, Nicene, Athanasian). These creeds clearly define God as Triune, and establish both the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. They also give us a strong sense of connection to followers of Christ throughout history, and all around the world today. Our liturgy contains elements that have been used by followers of Christ all around the world for almost 1900 years.
We are Reformed, in that we can trace our spiritual history through the Reformation as it happened in England in the Sixteenth Century. This includes affirming the 39 Articles of Religion, an Anglican confession drafted in England during the turbulence of the Sixteenth Century, that attempted to help the church better explain what it believed. We also affirm the spirit behind other Reformation confessions, including the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
We are Evangelical, in that we believe the gospel (“evangel” in Greek), with its emphasis on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but we also believe this relationship is best lived out in the context of a worshiping community.
Finally, we are Anglican, because we have found in Anglicanism a tradition where all of the above mentioned elements come together. Anglican spirituality, as we understand it, includes the use of a “common” prayer book, rooted in scripture and the traditions handed down to us since the time of the Apostles. This facilitates our private and public worship. As Anglicans, we strive for a “middle way” approach to worship that allows for both unity and diversity within the broader Christian tradition. We desire to follow the lead of Saint Augustine, who said “In essentials, Unity. In non-essentials, Liberty. In all things, Charity.” Our worship, therefore, incorporates some of the best elements from the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Charismatic traditions.
Why use all these creeds and Catechisms, you may ask? Good Question.
The life of faith can be quite complicated. A cursory review of church history will show you that what faith communities have believed over time has changed in many ways, while in other areas it has remained the same. How is one to know, on their spiritual journey, what is true and what is not? Why not benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of those who have gone before us, so that we have guides we can follow and learn from on our journey. Why try to reinvent the wheel? The creeds and confessions we adhere to provide us with a great "roadmap" as we try and navigate the challenging walk that is the life of faith.