There are many Christian denominations in North America. Each one claims to be a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of God. Each one seeks to be loyal to Jesus of Nazareth as Savior and Lord. Yet each one is different from the others. For example, most of us are aware of the great difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention of churches. But only those who are closely involved know the subtle differences between one kind of Baptist group and another. This book is not about differences between denominations. It is about the Episcopal Church USA. The Episcopal Church is a member of the family of Anglican Churches whose mother Church is that centered on Canterbury, England. This book is not a history of the Episcopal Church or a statement of its doctrines. Rather, it is the presentation of an attractive and compelling way of understanding the distinctive claim that can and should be made for the Episcopal Church. In one sentence, the claim is that the Episcopal Church is called to be both evangelical and catholic. In other words, the call of God to the Episcopal Church in these times, when the one Church of God is sadly divided, is that it should be simultaneously evangelical and catholic. This doesn't not mean that she is to be evangelical in her preaching and catholic in her liturgy. It is not a matter of being sometimes evangelical and sometimes catholic. The Church is called to be catholic and evangelical all the time in all that she is and does.
The Reverend Dr. Peter Toon (1939-2009) was born in Yorkshire, England, and educated in Hemsworth Grammar School, Yorkshire, Cliff College, Derbyshire, and King's College, University of London. He was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1973, and taught theology in both England and America, and was also a visiting professor and guest lecturer at a variety of seminaries and universities in Asia, Europe, and Australia.