Like all churches, we are often asked, “What do you believe?” What Episcopalians believe is simple, to some extent, but not simplistic.
A true answer might be to say that we believe in God, in Jesus Christ the Son of God, and in the Holy Spirit.
- There is one God, who is a Trinity of Persons.
- The Lord and Father of all, First Person of the Trinity, created all things at the beginning of time.
- Jesus Christ, the very human rabbi from 2000 years ago, was and is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, and our Savior, who died for our sins (giving grace).
- The Holy Scriptures (the Bible) are the revealed word of God, written by human beings under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, who is the Third Person of the Trinity. The Bible contains all things necessary for salvation.
The Episcopal Church is not primarily bound together by a shared position on academic theological questions or by tests of doctrine. Rather, we are bound together by our love of God in Christ Jesus, by our love of our neighbor, and our shared traditions and experiences of God in the worship and the life of the community. An important dimension of those bounds is the use of the Book of Common Prayer to guide our worship, noted for being liturgical in form. The Book of Common Prayer spells out the all the sacraments of our common faith.
That is not to say that Episcopalians don’t believe specific or particular things. It is just that each member of our community is able to think for herself or himself, to wrestle with doubt and the questions of faith, and to arrive at conclusions which may be different than those of other members within the community.
This openness has led The Episcopal Church to a number of positions, what you might call beliefs, that actually are somewhat unique among Christian churches. These ideas and practices are not so much points of doctrine, like you might learn in Sunday School or a theology class, but are defining characteristics of our church.
Not only does The Episcopal Church accept and welcome a wide range of theological ideas and thoughts, we also accept and welcome all people. We do not discriminate against anyone or any group for any reason.