What is the difference?

Can some one tell me the difference between:

  1. The Church of England

  2. The Anglican Church

  3. The Anglican-Catholic Church


The first two are the same. The third is somewhat of a problem because it sometimes refers to what is known as the “High Church” sect of the Anglican Church. This sect has Mass and Sacramental Rituals almost Identical to the English language rite of the Catholic Church. The term Anglican Catholic can also refer to those Anglicans who have “Crossed the Tiber” and have re-unified with the Catholic Church.

How Old is Your Church?

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.

If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774.

If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829.

If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1608.

If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.

If you are a member of the Churches of Christ your church began near the beginning of the 19th century in New England. Abner Jones, Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell were some of the most well known originators of your religion.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as “Church of the Nazarene,” “Pentecostal Gospel,” “Holiness Church,” “Pilgrim Holiness Church,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past century.

If you are Roman Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.

The Church of England

The Church of England is the result of the English Reformation of the 16th century. This was the national manifestation of the wider Protestant Reformation. Under King Henry VIII, the English Parliament passed a number of legislative acts that separated the Catholic Church in England from the wider Roman Catholic Church. During the reigns of his successors, more elements of Reformed doctrine were adopted. Ultimately, the Elizabethan Settlement (named for Queen Elizabeth I) placed the Church of England theologically somewhere between Lutheranism and Calvinism. This became known as the Via Media (however, today this is often referred to as the “middle way” between Protestantism and Catholicism, but the 16th century Church of England considered itself Protestant anyway, so . . . .)

So simply put, the Church of England is the established (i. e. state sponsored) church of England (therefore the name).

The Anglican Church

“Anglican” essentially means English. When one says, “Anglican Church” one means English Church. England was originally called Angleland. It was named for the Anglo-Saxons.

The Church of England was carried to all of Britain’s colonies during the 1700s and 1800s. Therefore, there was a Church of England in the American colonies and a Church of England in Canada and a Church of England in Australia. When these colonies gained independence, they didn’t want to call their church “Church of England” anymore because they were no longer English. So, for example, the Church of England in Canada was renamed the Anglican Church of Canada. The Church of England in Australia was renamed, the Anglican Church of Australia.

The Episcopal Church

Other former British provinces chose not to rename their Churches of England to Anglican Churches. Instead, they chose the name “Episcopal Church” (episcopal refers to the fact that the church has bishops).

This first occurred with the Anglicans in Scotland. Obviously, no Scottish person wants to go to a church called “the English Church.” So, they called their church instead The Scottish Episcopal Church to differentiate themselves from the national Church of Scotland (which is both presbyterian in theology and church government, so it does not have bishops).

The Anglicans in the United States did the same thing. They originally called their church, “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.” This emphasized that they were first Protestant and second governed by bishops (it was important to emphasize that even though they had bishops they were NOT Catholics). Later however, everyone just stated calling them “The Episcopal Church.”

So, in short, “Anglican” refers to any church or member of a church descended from the Church of England. The term “Episcopal” refers to the same thing.

The Anglican Communon

The Anglican Communion is the worldwide body of all Anglican Churches throughout the world. These are the Anglican/Episcopal churches that are recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury (the spiritual head and chief bishop of the Church of England).


Anglicans who tend to embrace more Catholic traditions, ceremonies, liturgy, and theology are called “Anglo-Catholics.” Within the Anglican Communion, Anglo-Catholicism is considered a legitimate expression of the Anglican tradition.

Schismatic groups

Besides the Anglican/Episcopal Churches that are members of the Anglican Communion under the spiritual leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, there are schismatic groups that call themselves Anglican Churches as well.

The Anglican Catholic Church was founded around 1977 in the United States. It is a small schismatic offshoot of the US Episcopal Church (which is a member of the Anglican Communion).

The Anglican Catholic Church is not a member of the Anglican Communion.

As Jimmy Durante said in “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” ‘Tell Aunt Bell it don’t make no difference.’

Id like to know the difference between The Assembly of God Church and Open Bible Church. There doesn’t seem to be a dimes worth of difference between them.:shrug:

I’ve sent you a private message about this.

Thanks I find this very informative.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.