St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

The ninth article of the Apostles’ Creed consists of two clauses. The first affirms belief on the Holy Catholic Church. It is appropriate that this article follows directly the article concerning the Holy Ghost; for the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit of God.

The Greek word for church used in the New Testament is ecclesia, which is an assembly of persons called out for a particular purpose. But the Church/Ecclesia referred to here is no ordinary or merely human institution. Its people are the people of God; and are called by Him (St John 1:12-13; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-11). Our Lord also referred to His Church many times as the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. He used a number of figures used to describe the nature, life & growth of the Church. The Church is the house founded upon Christ (St Matthew 7:24-25; 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 St Peter 2:5); it is the field where Christ sows His Word and gathers His harvest (St Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; 24-30); and like a 
net cast into the sea, gathering all kinds of fish (St Matthew 13:47-50). Christ is the True Vine and we are its branches (St John 15:1-8); and from the tiniest of seeds it becomes a tree offering protection to those who nest in its branches (St Matthew 13:31-32). But the Church is understood most fully as the Body of Christ. This society of persons is under Christ and ruled by Him as the head rules the natural or human body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Though the Church/Body has many members, yet all the members are one in the Christ the Head (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:17). But the bond between Christ the Head and His Body is not a natural but a mystical or “supernatural” bond; and the Apostle Paul uses the mystery or sacrament of marriage to describe each of us as members of the Church becoming “one flesh” with Christ as His Bride (Ephesians 5:30-33; Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17). Many Popes, some kings, and not a few local “pastors” have styled themselves, with more or less qualifica-tion, as the Head of all or some part of the Church. But there is only one Head of Christ’s Body, His Church, in heaven & earth; and that is Christ Himself!

The Church is called Holy, but not because it is without fault. The Body of Christ is Holy because Christ its Head is holy; and He makes the Body Holy. St Paul tells us, Christ, as the Husband of His Church, loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 2:25-27) Therefore, through St Peter the Lord admonishes all the members of Christ’s Body, the Church in every age: he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 St Peter 1:15-16; see Leviticus 20:7).