What Is the Episcopalian View of Heaven?

by Dell Markey

Episcopalians look forward to the hope of heaven, and are cautious about adding to the teachings of Scripture, whether on heaven or anything else. They base their beliefs about heaven on the teachings of the Bible and the ecumenical creeds - particularly the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed.

Eternal Life

The Episcopalian catechism is designed in a question and answer format. Question 116 gives the denomination's most direct statement regarding its views of heaven: "What do we mean by heaven and hell?" The answer: "By heaven, we mean eternal life in our enjoyment of God; by hell, we mean eternal death in our rejection of God." Episcopalians believe that those who are appointed to eternal life will receive some form of glorified physical body which will never again know sorrow, pain or death.

The Creeds

Episcopalians hold to the belief set forth in the Apostles' and Nicean Creeds that God created the heavens and the earth. Further, Jesus, the Son, ascended into heaven after he was crucified and resurrected, and that he reigns there now with the Father, praying for us. Episcopalians believe that Christ will return from heaven to judge the living and the dead.

Foretaste

According to Question and Answer 102 of the catechism, Episcopalians believe that the Holy Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, which commemorates the death of Jesus Christ through sharing a ritual meal of bread - which represents his body, which was broken, and wine, which represents his blood shed for the remission of sin, provides a foretaste of the banquet awaiting them in heaven.

Obtaining Heaven

According to the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer, the "Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church." Episcopalians believe they share in Christ's victory over sin and death through baptism, and that those following his path will enter the kingdom of heaven. Episcopalians pray for both the living and the dead, believing that those who serve God in life will continue to grow in God's love even after reaching heaven.

About the Author

Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.

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