The Missionary Society of our Canadian Church in its concern for the Native members of the Anglican Church of Canada authorized a translation of Bishop Williams' booklet entitled "Why I am an Anglican". This translation into the Cree language has been undertaken by Archdeacons A. Woolcock and R. B. Horsefield.
Many of our Indian people no longer familiar with the syllabic writing are unable to read the translation in their own language. The present English version is now offered to the large number of Indian people across Canada not only of the Cree Nation but of all the various tribes whose knowledge of the English language is sufficient for them to read this statement of their Faith.
In these days when so many Christian sects are offering a partial emphasis of the Christian Faith it is essential that such a booklet as the present one should have a wide circulation and give the full statement of the Christian Faith in the simplest terms.
The publishers hope that those who read this booklet will derive great benefit from it. To have full conviction of heart and mind, and to have full assurance of the hope of everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord is most necessary for every converted man and woman. The Missionary Society and the translators of Bishop Williams' work commend this booklet to the reader in the hope that it will make clear and plain what the Faith of the Church is. May God the Holy Spirit direct your reading and vour understanding so that you may at all times be able to give full reason for the faith which you profess.
Bishop of the Diocese of Keewatin. Bishopstowe, Kenora, Ont.
1. Question. Who started the Church?
Answer. Jesus Christ, our Lord.
2. Q. What is the Church?
A. The Church is the Lord's way He does His work on earth. All baptized Christians make up the Church. The Apostle Paul wrote: "Now you are together the body of Christ and members of Him, one by one." 1 Cor. 12:27. "And He is the head of the body, the Church." Col. 1:18. "For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." 1 Cor. 12:12.
3. Q. Why did Jesus start the Church?
A. So that all the people everywhere might be told the Gospel --the Good News.
4. Q. When did the Christians begin to work at their religion? A. Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead He ascended or went up into heaven, that was Ascension Day. Then ten days after that came Pentecost Day--the word Pentecost means 50th--when the Holy Spirit came into the hearts of the disciples filling them with God's power. We read all about this in Acts, Chapter 2. We sometimes speak of Pentecost or Whitsunday as the "Birthday of the Church" because on that day Christ's followers began His work.
5. Q. How were the Christians known to be followers of Christ? A. By four things--Discipleship, Brotherhood, the Ministry and the Sacraments.
6. Q. What is the meaning of Discipleship?
A. The word disciple means a learner. The followers of our Lord had learned that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life--St. John 14:6. He is the Saviour bringing forgiveness and making us God's children. St. John 3:16. Acts 16:31. 1 Timothy 2:5.
7. Q. What is the meaning of Brotherhood?
A. Christians were known as 'The Brethren' because they cared for one another--St. John 13:34-35 and 15:12-17.
8. Q. What is the meaning of Ministry?
A. We mean that the disciples were chosen by Christ--St. John 20:21. They were told to preach, to teach, and to guide the work of the Brotherhood of the Church.
9. Q. Who were these first ministers?
A. The Apostles--St. John 20:21-23.
10. Q. What were the Sacraments given by Christ?
A. Two only--Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, to be used always--St. Matt. 29:19- St. John 4:1. 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
11. Q. Did the first Christians think that the Ministry and the
Sacraments were important?
A. Yes: in Acts 2:42, we read: "And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship in the breaking of bread and in the prayers."
12. Q. Are all these the marks of the Church always?
A. Yes: and you find them in the Anglican Church today.
13. Q. Why should people belong to the Church?
A. Because only in this way can anyone be a Christian. Being a Christian and a member of the Church go together just as it was in the first days of Christianity. In the New Testament we read of our Lord's command to the disciples that they were to preach and to baptize--St. Matt. 28:18. All who believed the Gospel were baptized and received into the Christian Family, the Church--Acts 2:41.
14. Q. How were believers made members of the Church?
A. By confessing faith in Christ, by Baptism and Confirmation or Laying on of Hands by the Apostles. See Acts 8:5-8, 12-17; also the Confirmation Service in the Prayer Book.
15. Q. Who were Christ's first ministers in His Church? A. His twelve Apostles first he made His ministers of grace; And they their hands on others laid, To fill in turn their place. Hymn 263.
16. Q. What was the work of these Apostles?
A. To tell how they had seen the Lord risen from the dead, to teach the Gospel, to teach all kinds of people, to organize the Church, to visit, to lead and to strengthen the believers. See Acts 1:21-26. St. John 15:16.
17. Q. Were there other ministers besides the Apostles?
A. Yes: very soon after the Apostles began their ministry, teaching all nations the Gospel, and guiding believers in their Christian living, Deacons were chosen and ordained to look after the needs of the poor and needy people--Acts 6:2-6. Phil. 1:1.
18(a)Q. Were there any other ministers?
A. Yes: after the Gospel had been preached in many places outside Jersusalem, men were ordained to look after the teaching, and the moral life and work of the congregations or Churches that were started.
18(b)Q. What were these ministers called?
A. They were called sometimes Elders or Presbyters (from which we get the word Priest) because as a rule, older men were chosen for this work. Sometimes they were also called Bishops or Superintendents because they looked after things--Acts 14:23. 1 Timothy 3:13. 1 Cor. 4:2. At first all ministers were of one kind--Apostles. They ordained others--Acts 6:1-6. Now we have three grades--Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. They have been given different names sometimes, but their ministry and powers have been much the same all along.
19. Q. What do we mean by Apostolic Succession?
A. The position and work of the Apostles did not end at their death, because other men were chosen to take their place or to succeed them. After the death of Judas for example, the Apostles chose Matthias to take his place--Acts 1: 24-26.
From the beginning men were chosen to take the place of the Apostles in the government of the Church, men whose work it was to do what the Apostles did in the New Testament--organize congregations, ordain ministers, confirm the baptized and look after the Church's business.
20. Q. How were the Apostles able to carry out their ministry? Who helped to feed them?
A. They were helped by the congregations who gave money to supply food for the servants of God, and they also let them stay in their homes. Ministers are helped in the same way today.
21. Q. Does the Bible say anything about our duty to help the Lord's servants?
A. Yes: Jesus said: "Those who preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel." 1 Cor. 9:14.
Ministers who give all their time working for Christ and His Church must be helped by the Lord's people. In the Old Testament we learn that Jacob gave one tenth of all he had to God--Gen. 28:22.
God has promised to bless all who do this--Malachi 3:10. At all times and everywhere, people have given things to their gods--Gen. 4:3, 4. Numbers 7:10. 1 Chron. 16:29. Ezra 2:68.
How much more should the Christian offer to God the help needed to make known the Gospel in all lands, by helping His ministers preach the Good News. Most of all, God wants us to give ourselves. Just to give some money and not to give ourselves to Him is of no use. After we have received the Holy Communion and remembered that Jesus gave Himself for us, we pray: "Here we offer and present unto Thee O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies." 1 Cor. 6:20. Romans 12:1. The Christian must give God his whole life.
22. Q. Why should we give of our money to God's Work?
A. Because Christ gave Himself for us--2 Cor. 8:9. Because in this way we show that we believe--2 Cor. 9:13 God will bless us--2 Cor. 9:8-11.
We should make our offering a part of our worship each week--"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him."-- 1 Cor. 16:2.
23. Q. Why should we go to Church?
A. Jesus said: "Where two or three come together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." St. Matt. 18:20. The first Christians met together each week on the Lord's Day--Acts 2:42, 4:24, 12:12.
Jesus always went to public worship--St. Luke 4:16. We are told to go to church--Hebrews 10:25. We should be with the other members of God's Family, meeting together in the presence of our Heavenly Father-- Psalm 100:4.
Going to church we show our faith in God and so let people see that we are Christians who are obedient to His wishes.
24. Q. How can I worship God in the right way?
A. Prepare to come to church by reading the Bible and praying for God's help. Come to church knowing that Jesus is waiting to bless you and all the people. Come, ready to serve Him, and let Him come into your heart to use you as a blessing to others.
When inside the church, kneel and ask God to bless the service as a way to bring strength and hope to all who are there. Pray for the minister too, that he may be used by God to preach and to minister so that "we may see Jesus".
Join in the prayers and hymns with all your heart. (It is good if every one has his own Prayer and Hymn Book, because they can be used at home as well as in public worship.)
After the service, say a prayer of thanks to God before leaving the church.
25. Q. Why do we use a book in the Services?
A. When we pray together, we must speak together as one-- 1 Cor. 14:33 and 40.
We do not pray from a book but from our hearts. We praise God in singing a hymn and all can sing the same words as written in a book, but we all praise the Lord from our hearts.
We could not sing in the right way if every one sang just what he thought of.
Our Lord gave us The Pattern Prayer or The Lord's Prayer so that all Christians can pray the same prayer. So there must be a pattern of worship, if we are to all join together in offering God our prayers and praises. Common Prayer means prayer and worship to suit every one and our Church gives us all this in the services we have in the Prayer Book.
26. Q. When should I stand up and kneel down in Church?
A. The rule is: we stand up to praise God when hymns and psalms are sung, and when we say the Creed. Also, when the Gospel is read in the Holy Communion Service. We sit to be taught during the reading of the Bible and for the sermon. We kneel of course for prayer. 2 Chron. 6:13, Ezra 9:5, Psa. 95:6, Daniel 6:10, Acts 7:60, Eph. 3:14, St. Luke 22:41.
27. Q. Why do we baptize children?
A. For many reasons. God made a covenant (treaty) with Abraham--Gen. 17:7. Gen. 22:13-18. The children were in this promise too--Gen. 17:10-14. Every Jewish child when he was eight days old was made a member of God's Chosen People. God meant this promise to be for every race of men in all the world--Gen. 12:3. Gal. 3:16. Rom. 4:11-13.
Then Jesus came to make clear all the promises of the Old Testament. He made the old Treaty much bigger and better to suit everyone, so there was given the New Treaty by our Lord called Christianity. Our religion goes back to the promises of God to Abraham--Gal. 3:29. Acts 2:39.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached to the people and said: "For the promise is unto you and to your children". Acts 2:39.
Our Lord told His disciples: "Go baptize all nations into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Truly, children must be a part of "all nations" not only grown ups. The first Christians were Jews, and they could not think of their Children not coming with them into this New Covenant by baptism.
God taught the Jews in the Old Testament days to bring their children into the Old Testament Church when they were eight days old. In the New Testament Church we find that the new way, baptism, took the place of the old way called circumcision--Col. 2:11-12.
So when God put baptism in the place of circumcision He did not say: Keep the children out!
We read in St. Mark 10:13-16 that Jesus took the little children into His arms and blessed them, so we know what Jesus thinks about children.
The Apostles baptized whole families, not just the parents--Acts 16:15, 16:33. 1 Cor. 1:16.
Children have always been baptized ever since the Church began, and today very few people say that children should not be baptized. These people will say: "Doesn't the Bible say, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved'?" Just to read these words we would have to say that first of all we must believe and then be baptized, so shall we be saved from our sins, and go to heaven at last. But the same verse goes on to say: "He that believeth not shall be condemned"--St. Mark 16:16. So that, if a child cannot be baptized until he is able to believe the Gospel, then he is condemned or judged guilty of a great wrong, and cannot be saved. Surely this is not true! This verse St. Mark 16:16 speaks only of men and women it cannot mean little children.
When a child is baptized he is put in God's arms and God adopts him as His child. The little one is now a member of the Christian Family, and it is the duty of the parents and Godparents first to see that the child is taught all about Christianity as he grows up, until he is old enough to take his place in the life of the Church in every way.
28. Q. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is the Laying on of Hands with prayer by a Bishop as we read in Acts 8:17 and 19:6. Confirmation is not joining the Church. We are made members of the Church in Baptism.
Confirmation is when we take upon ourselves all the promises made for us when we were baptized. It is our "coming of age" in the Christian life. Read the Confirmation Service in the Prayer Book which tells you all that this important step means.
29. Q. Why did Jesus give us this Service?
A. That we may always remember that He died for us on the Cross--1 Cor. 11:26. Jesus died only once for our sins. He does not die over and over again for our sins, because His one death was a perfect and a full sacrifice or offering of Himself for the sins of all the world all the time.
Christians are told to be at this Service--St. Matt. 26: 26-28. St. Mark 14:22-25. St. Luke 22:19, 20. 1 Cor. 11:23-28. When we come to the Lord's Supper He feeds our souls with His Presence and so makes us strong to live for Him. This great Service tells us too that nothing can ever part us from His love--Romans 8:39. This Service is called a Sacrament because it keeps us close to our Lord, and He told us to keep having this Service--The Lord's Own Service.
30. Q. How should we prepare ourselves to come to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper?
A. First we must examine ourselves about our sins--1 Cor. 11:28.
Then we must repent, be sorry for our sins--St. Luke 13: 3 and 15:18. Acts 2:37, 38. 2 Cor. 7:8-11.
We must wish everyone all that is good for them--1 Cor. 13:3. 1 St. John 4:11 & 20. Col. 3:14.
We must believe with all our hearts in the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord--2 Cor. 13:5. Phil. 1:16. Heb. 11:6.
We must be thankful to God for all His blessings especially for His coming into the world in Jesus Christ and dying for our salvation--Col. 3:15.
31. Q. What is the Bible?
A. All the books God caused to be written for our learning so that we may know Him and His will for us--St. John 20:31. Rom. 15:4. 2 Tim. 3:15. James 1:21. 2 Peter 1:19-21.
(The writers of this little book hope soon to write more about the Bible in another book.)
32. Q. Did Jesus start many churches?
A. No: He began only one, and this one true Church was meant for everyone everywhere. This is how the Apostles and all the first Christians knew it to be. St. Matt. 16:18--"I will build my church" said Jesus. He does not say: many different kinds of churches, but one kind. St. John 10:16. 1 Cor. 1:10-13. Eph. 4:5.
The Apostles planted the church in many different places --the church as it was started and given to them to look after by Jesus Christ. The Apostles did not divide up this church into different other churches but kept it one as given to them. 1 Cor. 3:4-9.
33. Q. Then why do we see so many churches all differing one from the other?
A. For one thousand years there was but one church. Then later some people began to misunderstand and forget about the one church Jesus gave. Even some of the ministers forgot the meaning of the true Church and taught the people a lot of things that were not in the Bible and not the same as given in the true faith. The Bishop of Rome for example began to say: "I am the head one over all the Church, because I follow Peter, and Jesus started the Church with Peter." More than this, the Bishop went on to say: "I only have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, I open the door to whom I will and lock it against anyone I will. When I shut and lock the door, then it is kept shut for ever!"
34. Q. But was the Bishop of Rome really the head over everything?
A. Of course not! All the Apostles were equal--Rev. 21:14. Jesus did not start the Church on the man Peter but on the truth Peter said about Jesus, that his Master was the Son of God--St. Matt. 16:16-18.
35. Q. Didn't Christ give Peter the right to rule over the other Apostles?
A. No: when the Apostles had a meeting in Jerusalem Peter was sometimes voted against--Gal. 2:11. (Cephas is Peter). Rather, James was the head of the meeting--Acts 15:13 & 21:18. James was the Bishop of Jerusalem.
36. Q. Did Christ give to Peter the power to bind and to loose?
A. Yes: but He gave the same power to all the other Apostles--St. Matt. 18:18. St. John 20:23.
("To bind and to loose" means "He allowed them to bring people into the Church or to tell them, You must stay out. And so all our bishops do, down to today.")
37. Q. Did anyone stand against this wrong teaching spoken by
the Bishop of Rome?
A. Yes: many Church leaders and others spoke against it at different times and in different lands. But not all the people understood religion because the Bible was not in their own language so the people could read it. The Bible was translated into English about the year 1382, and so many Christians were able to read it and said: "This is not what our clergy are teaching us." So from that time the Reformation began.
38. Q. What was the Reformation?
A. If you see the floor of your house is dirty, you can do one of three things. You can say: "Let it stay dirty, I don't care". Or, you can just throw it out and a make a new floor altogether. Or, you can say: "I will clean the floor and it will be like new again."
All these things happened when the people looked at their religion.
The Bishop of Rome said: "It's all right. It's good enough and I don't want it changed." So he held on to it, although it was partly wrong. The "floor" of religion was dirty with some wrong teachings, but that was the way the Bishop of Rome wanted it.
That religion we call the Roman Catholic Religion. Some Christians said: "This religion is very bad! Come, let us throw it away and make a new floor instead, a new religion, to follow the teachings of Christ."
These people left the religion--the old one that Jesus had given, and so they made new ones. Some of these new religions are Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Pente-costals, the United Church and many others. We must not think bad of these people for they were doing what they thought was right, but in fact they did wrong and separated themselves from following the way that Jesus gave us.
Then other Christians said: "True, we have done wrong in following teachings that are not true and we have not kept with God's words as in the Bible. There is only one thing we must do, and that is, we must clean the Church, throw out the dust and dirt of all these wrong things. Then the floor will be clean, just like it was from the start, the same floor with all the true teachings Jesus gave us all."
So these people cleaned the Church and of course did not lose it in any way. When you wash your face, it is the same face but now it is clean! Just the same with the Church at the Reformation, it was made clean. This is the same Church that is called the Anglican Church, so called because it was cleaned and kept the same in England. (Anglican is an old word for 'English')
39. Q. How did the Church come to Canada?
A. More than 200 years ago Englishmen and Frenchmen came here to trade, and in 1811 they began to settle at Red River. Then in 1820 a minister for the settlers was sent for, an Englishman called John West. He called four Cree lads whom he met by the Jackfish River to come to school which he was going to build at Red River.
From this beginning the Church grew. Two of these Cree boys were later on ordained. One was named Henry Budd, he was the first Indian to be ordained in Canada or the United States.
In 1844 the first bishop came to Red River, by water from Montreal, and he saw how much a bishop was needed at Red River. So soon there was sent a bishop from England to live in our land. His name was Bishop Anderson.
There is so much to tell about this great story of the Anglican Church growing bigger in Canada, that we cannot say everything here. But now we have more than thirty bishops and more than 2,000 clergy, of whom twenty are Indians, Crees and others.
40. Q. How is the Church organized and kept going?
A. Congregations elect leaders. A congregation chooses two church wardens to see that the church building and all the property is kept in good condition. Other people are also chosen, they are called a Vestry, to help the wardens. Then a few people are chosen to go to the big meeting called the synod when the bishop calls a meeting for all the churches. As a rule two men from each congregation are chosen to go to synod and represent their congregation.
Once every three years all the bishops and clergy with some of the chosen people from each Church meet together for the General Synod. This big meeting is for ten days, and people from every part of the Church through all Canada attend. Each part or diocese is represented.
41. Q. What are the chief things the Church does?
A. The same work as Jesus gave his disciples to do, that is, to preach, to teach, and to heal the sick--St. Matt. 10: 7, 8. St. Luke 9:2. St. Matt. 28:19-20.
So the Church carries on this same work. General Synod heads three committees to look after all this work. One takes care of seeing that the Gospel is preached in all the world; another committee sees to the teaching and the third to the good of everyone, and that means helping to make people strong in health of body as well as in soul.
42. Q. What are these committees called?
A. Following the order given above, they are:
1. The Missionary Society of The Anglican Church of Canada, called the M.S.C.C.
2. The General Board of Religious Education, called the G.B.R.E.
3. The Council for Social Service or the C.S.S.
43. Q. Will you explain more about these three committees?
A. The M.S.C.C. look after the spiritual needs of people, and wish to make the Gospel known in all lands. They choose ministers who will go to all people to preach the Gospel, more so, to the people who have not heard the Gospel yet. This takes a lot of money, of course, and the money we give is used to make this work real. Our gifts help missionaries to go to all parts of the world. Not only does our money help other people, but in our own land too. A lot of people here at home are too poor to pay all the money to keep the Church going, so the M.S.C.C. help to pay from all the money given by all the Christian people of the Church. In this way too, help is given to our Indians who are learning about the Church so that they can teach others. Even this book is printed for us because the M.S.C.C. is helping to pay the cost.
The G.B.R.E. These people are very good at teaching, and get lessons ready for children so that they can learn about God and all that the Christian Faith means. Then they make books for us all so that we can learn more and more about our religion.
The C.S.S. These people are very interested about all that has to do with our health of body. Where there are poor people, and anyone in need, the Council for Social Service try to help. Just now the Council is very interested in the Indian people, and want to help them. One way is by telling the Government all about the difficulties of the Indian people and asking for right things to be done by the Government. Also, the committee works hard at trying to get peace amongst the nations, and to help the orphaned children and prisoners, and those poor people who have allowed drunkenness happen to them. Every kind of wrong and evil is opposed. All these good works we help when we send our collections in to the bishop.
Blessed are they who do such things, says Jesus--St. Matt. 5:7.
44. Q. What is the Woman's Auxiliary?
A. In the year 1885 an Eastern Canadian lady called Mrs. Tilton gathered together six of her friends to see how they might help the Church. From this meeting there grew the W.A. Every woman who is an Anglican can belong to it.
45. Q. How does the W.A. work?
A. First they are required to pray for the work of the Church that it may be blessed and grow everywhere.
Then to learn how the Church is growing and to make it known.
Then to help all ministers and church people, by prayer and giving to their work. Especially to try to help the Church where they live. Young women and girls too have their auxiliaries called G.A. and Juniors. It is good for them to follow the example of the adult members.
Babies can be enrolled too--they are called Little Helpers so as to be brought up in the service of the Lord.
46. Q. Of what use is all this work?
A. Of great use. Jesus started the Church to do His work here on earth as it is done in heaven. So that we may know how to do His work, we must be sure of God's call to us and try to do His will in all things. St. Paul thought very much of his call to serve the Master--Eph. 3:12-15. He called on the young man Timothy to try with all his strength to please Christ--2 Tim. 2:3, 4, 15.
There will be times when we shall find it hard to be true to our Master Jesus, and to do His work. But do not be sad because Jesus knows all about us and will always help us to keep trying.
He said: "These things have I spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have a lot of trouble, but be happy, I have won over the world." St. John 16:33.