Why *another* book on Anglicanism? Winfield Bevins explains!


Anglican Compass’s latest book, Simply Anglican: An Ancient Faith for Today’s World by Winfield Bevins, is available for purchase in both Kindle and paperback editions. The following post is an excerpt from the book.

Since I became an Anglican I have had countless conversations with those who are seriously exploring Anglicanism but don’t know where to start. Sometimes daily, I am asked by people, “What is Anglicanism?” As former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said, “The word ‘Anglican’ begs a question at once” (Anglican Identities, 2).


At first glance, the Anglican tradition can seem quite complex and inaccessible to those coming from other traditions. In an effort to answer questions newcomers often have, I have written a short introduction to the Anglican tradition. It is my hope that it will be a helpful resource for everyone, regardless of what their background may be.

Maybe you are wondering, “Why another book on Anglicanism?” After all, there are endless books on the subject, many of which will be featured in the “Recommended Reading” sections of this book. However, many of them are either too academic, or written for those already within the tradition, while others are focused on all of the problems facing Anglicanism. Therefore, I have intentionally chosen a different approach, one that is simple, yet thoughtful and graciously orthodox. To borrow a phrase from my friends at Anglican Compass, I want to “help you navigate the Anglican tradition with clarity and charity.”

While I am a North American Anglican, I am writing broadly for all those who are exploring Anglicanism in different jurisdictions around the world. Whether you find yourself in New Zealand, England, North America, or Nigeria, I hope this will be a helpful introduction as you seek to navigate the rich and beautiful liturgical tradition of Anglicanism.

As an author, I have the unique perspective of one who has discovered the Anglican tradition relatively recently but has been a part of it long enough to want to share it with others. I am like a person who has found a priceless treasure and, rather than keeping it all for myself, I want to share it with the world! As you read, I hope you too will discover that the Anglican way brings together the past, present, and future through a foundation built upon the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Another reason I wrote the book is that Anglicanism has undergone major changes in the last century. In fact, Anglicanism has radically changed even in the last few years, and this book is an attempt to reflect the current realities within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Anglicanism has grown into a worldwide family of churches, which has more than 80 million followers in 161 countries, making it the third-largest body of Christians in the world. Anglicans speak many languages and come from different races and cultures. The explosive growth of Anglicanism has created many new realities. For instance, there are now more Anglicans worshiping in Nigeria than in England, Canada, and the United States combined (Timothy Tennent, Invitation to World Missions, 31).

Simply Anglican can be used by individuals or small groups who are exploring the beliefs and practices of the Anglican faith. I have also included questions in the back of the book that can be used for personal reflection or group study. You will notice sidebars in each chapter with a quote from the experience of someone who was new to the Anglican way. (These come from the “Anglican journey” stories told at Anglican Compass, unless otherwise noted. See https://anglicancompass.com/tag/anglican-journey/.)

In keeping with the Anglican emphasis upon prayer, I have concluded each chapter with a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. Finally, throughout the book, you will meet other pilgrims who have embraced the Anglican tradition. Wherever you are on your journey, I hope you will find this introduction to the Anglican tradition both encouraging and helpful.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Anglican tradition, Simply Anglican is the clear and charitable guide you’ve been waiting for. Winfield Bevins provides an accessible overview of Anglican history, theology, and worship. With discussion questions and recommended reading at the end of each chapter, plus a glossary of terms in the back, this book is the ideal introduction to Anglicanism!

Here are some ways you can support the book (and, through the book, our work here at Anglican Compass!):

Published on

September 21, 2020


Winfield Bevins

Winfield Bevins is the author of Simply Anglican and numerous other books and the Director of CREO Arts. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and daughters.

View more from Winfield Bevins


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