What Is the History of the Anglican Church?

The Anglican church began with King Henry VIII’s disassociation with the Roman Catholic Church. Anglicanism continued to develop in the 1600s in England before spreading to other colonies.

In the sixteenth century, when the Protestant Reformation was beginning to take place in continental Europe, King Henry VIII had already been showing discontent with the Pope. The final straw was the Pope refusing to grant Henry a divorce; upon this, the king made himself the head of the Church of England, with more authority than the Pope. However, the only major change that occurred was disassociation with Rome.

While Anglicanism began to adopt Protestant doctrine under King Edward VI, the religion didn’t distinguish itself significantly until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. She appointed bishops and introduced the first Book of Common Prayer. Therefore, she was the first to truly organize Anglicanism into a new church. Anglicanism still caused some turmoil within the nation; the church’s insistence on Scotland adopting the new book of prayer was one of the factors that caused the English Civil War.

Anglicanism eventually spread to other British colonies. The Anglican Church had a notable presence in the American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War, until those congregations evolved into the separate Episcopalian church.. However, the church did not participate earnestly in missionary work overseas until the 1800s. Around this time, Anglicanism’s doctrines were still changing, accepting Catholic and other theologians’ influence.