Anglicanism and Evolution

Hello all!

As of late, I have come to different views on hell, women in ministry, and evolution. The first two are accepted, at least traditionally, within Anglicanism. For this reason, I’ve been looking into the Anglican Church in North America ( I was wondering if anyone was a part of it and how evolutionary creationism is viewed by your particular church?


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@beaglelady is an Episcopalian. Perhaps she can help?

Edit: I should add that N.T. Wright is an Anglican bishop (in England, not North America, haha), and you can find some of his thoughts on the subject here:

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Yes, I’m an Episcopalian. The Episcopal church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion (Church of England). We have always been very science-friendly, but there are some more fundamentalist congregations around who oppose evolution, etc. My own Episcopal church hosted John Polkinghorne (a prominent scientist and ordained Anglican priest) as a speaker several years ago. And I’m currently taking a 4-part course on Origins at another Episcopal church–taught by a Jewish rabbi who focuses on religion and science issues!

Here is a link to an Episcopal Catechism of Creation.

Hope this helps!

btw, the Anglican Church in North American is something of a breakaway church.


Thanks! I was hoping for that particular denomination, though! So if you know of anyone affiliated with them, please send them my way!

Though I am a (non-confirmed, but baptised and can receive communion) Catholic, I probably lean more towards a liberal form of High-Church Anglicanism (or Eastern Orthodoxy), and may convert to the CoE eventually. Anglicanism has always been pro-science, since the Stuart era, though Samuel Wilberforce was an early opponent of Darwinism. To the best of my knowledge all recent Archbishops of Canterbury have been Theistic Evolutionists.


Never heard of them before (though lest we forget that the Anglican Church did give us Ussher), presumably they are in the Anglican Church of North America, rather than the pretty liberal Episcopal church.

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The Anglican view of scripture is pretty much my view. Scripture contains all that is needed for salvation, it is not intended to teach us all about everything else, as Hooker said.

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Welcome, @Burgardless! I’d be interested in learning why you are leaning that way in those areas.

I see that the website you linked has a contact address.The Anglican Church in North America
You could also talk to a rector of a church near you. I would be interested in hearing what you find out.

I bet there is a wide variety of Anglicans, just as there are a wide variety of other denominations. . Scot McKnight is, I think, Anglican and writes from an evolutionary creation perspective at Jesus Creed. He wrote Adam and the Genome with @DennisVenema

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I went to an Anglican church when I was in college. They are usually under Bishops from Africa or Asia and they are more conservative on some issues than the Episcopal church. I think many of the churches “broke away” from Episcopal bishoprics over officiating/blessing gay marriage or ordination of gay priests. So if you aren’t specifically looking for a welcoming/affirming congregation, it might work out.

The church I went to was liturgical but used fairly modern/charismatic worship music. Women were definitely more involved in leadership than they were in my Baptist home church, but at least then (late nineties) they could not be head pastors/priests. They may have changed on that issue, or it may be something individual congregations decide. Bishops still have to be men according to this document: FAQ - The Anglican Church in North America

I don’t remember evolution or creationism ever coming up. I attended church with a lot of Wheaton College professors and I’m pretty sure some of them were ECs.

I check into Michael Bird’s blog on occasion. (He is a Baptist-raised, Presbyterian trained, ordained Anglican priest and NT scholar in Australia.) I don’t remember seeing creationism/evolution come up there either, but as a seminary student, you might like his blog. Lots of nerdy book announcements and academic theology geared posts.

I think you should give an Anglican church a try. If they more or less match your convictions on major issues and leave well enough alone on evolution, that’s pretty good. Almost all my favorite Bible scholars are Anglican. :slight_smile: Like any denomination, individual congregations are going to have their own flavor based on the leadership, demographics, and mission vision of the particular church.


Indeed, we should never forget that the Anglican Church gave us Bishop Ussher, who in the 1650s, drawing inferences from Scripture, taught that the earth was created in 4004 BC. What was wrong with the idiot? Had he never heard of radiometric dating and other methods of modern science?

You know, the old hall that housed the Haydn planetarium, at the American Museum of Natural History, once had a display dealing with the age of the earth. It included few derogatory sentences about Bishop Ussher’s lamentable ignorance. More recently this part of the museum was completely updated and renamed the Rose Center for Earth and Space. There is still a section on the age of the earth, but it points out, reasonably, that Bishop Ussher merely made an early attempt to find the age of the earth. .

I’m pretty sure that Pete Enns, currently my favourite Bible scholar, is an Episcopalian, or at least attends an Episcopalian Church. He has written some great stuff on evolution and the Bible.


@beaglelady What is the Anglican position on Sola Scriptura? I imagine that it is somewhere between the Catholic and Evangelical positions. I accept Church tradition as authoritative, but reject the Catholic notion where interpretation of the scriptures has to be dictated from above.

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I am Church of England (the orgin of Anglicanism!) and I am interested in how my American brethren are dealing with the issue of evolution.

From what I see in the CoE there is an openess to an evolutionary type creation and a critcal readinng of scripture that is not just “scripture alone” but scripture, tradition and reason. A good triune relationship. I do find though that there are those of a more evangelical tradition that leans towards more literal veiw of creation and don’t like evolution.

As some-one who has lived within the realms of both faith and science all my life (degree in biologial sciences and liflelong church member) I have found a lot of support to explore an evolutionary and critical theology. Such thinking is not uniform and I have found a variety of stances and arguments. The more evangelical folk seem to me more conservative. I have found more inspiration in recent years by writers in the Catholic church like Ilea Delio, and that kind of evolutionary catholic theology.

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Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

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I go to a church is ACNA and it leans Anglo-Catholic. It is pro-science and has no problem with evolution, as long as God is ultimately behind it, really in that regard it is like what you would find in the Episcopal Church. They broke away from the Episcopal Church on other issues that didn’t have anything to do with young earth creationism vs. science. I have heard the church described as “conservative but not fundamentalist.” I have seen a few ultra conservative Anglican blogs where someone complained about the acceptance of evolution, but I have heard no such rumblings in church. I am sure someone who believed in Young Earth Creationism would be welcome to attend and join (the age of the earth is not a church doctrine), but I can’t imagine the church handing out YEC literature or selling YEC books in the bookstore. I can’t imagine a priest proclaiming the earth is 6,000 years old, etc.


The Anglican church in the United States is the Episcopal church. The Anglican Church in North America, the Anglican Mission in America, etc. are not part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Worldwide Anglican Communion includes 45 churches, including the Church of England, The Episcopal Church, The Scottish Episcopal Church, etc.

You might say, “Oh, don’t be picky–isn’t it all the same thing?” But I think that the Anglican church and the Archbishop of Canterbury should be able to define who is fully Anglican. After all, calling yourself a Jew or a Roman Catholic doesn’t make you one.


It seems to me that comes down to church politics on a few questions, not some kind of cult-like status as a breakaway with aberrant theology. The ACNA is recognized as having full communion by the primates in the global south since 2015:

Many of the Anglican churches in the global south are in the middle of some big disagreements with Canterbury, so I wonder how accurate it is to describe England’s authority over the Anglican Church as “global” at the moment. The Anglican Church in North America


I said they were not part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and that is a fact. I neither said nor implied that they were a cult or had aberrant theology. As a matter of fact, they were welcome to stay in the Anglican Communion (which has diverse views anyway), and there are still not a few in the Communion who share some of their views. They weren’t kicked out; they chose to walk away. (But some of there are downright nasty and anti-science.)

You know I was just thinking–that is quite a grouping!

btw, you might try finding a church that is not an echo chamber. Attending a church where people don’t all look alike, vote alike, think alike, etc. can be a good growth experience. As long as your views are welcome you should be okay.



Yeah, I’d be happy to share that with you. I don’t know if there is a private way to do so on here, if there is go ahead and message me.


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