I ran into an old friend recently who asked me how I liked the catholic church. I was a bit mystified, and I said something to the effect that I liked them just fine, but why would he ask. It turned out that he had been told that I had become catholic.
Well, I didn’t have to become catholic. I am an Anglican, and Anglicans are already catholic. We chatted for a while, this guy and I, and I was given the opportunity to set straight a number of misconceptions. I’ll address these misconceptions one by one over the coming weeks, but before we get to those, we have to clear up one big falsehood. Remember Goebbel’s concept of “the big lie?” The idea was that if you lie in a small way, no one will believe you, but if you lie in a big way, they will. The bigger the lie, the more likely it is to be believed.
We must realize, I’m afraid, that we are facing a case of identity theft. I don’t mean individuals out there saying they’re me when they’re not, but an insidious type of identity theft, where minions of the adversary are using the name “Anglican” but they aren’t, and there are even groups using the name “Christian” when they aren’t. That’s Satan’s latest attack on Christ’s Church, and it is growing.
What is the real Christian Church? Beliefs and practices can be tested–and proven–by what theologians call “the Vincentian Canon.” St. Vincent of Lerins, in the fifth century, saw a similar sort of identity theft, and he advised that the way to tell what is the true faith is to ask what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. The core of Anglicanism, which naturally passes this test is sacraments, scripture, creeds and the preservation of the same through bishops.
There is solid foundation for this test. Most people will immediately think of Hebrews 13.8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” but did you know there are over a hundred different scripture passages about God being unchanging?
Remember Lot’s wife? Don’t look back, but look forward. Pray for those being tricked by the evil one, but work for the Kingdom of God.
Next time: the ‘three streams’ fallacy.