"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast", Ephesians 2:8.
The Evangelical party of the Anglican church was founded on the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. In 1738 John Wesley rediscovered the full meaning of this doctrine at a prayer meeting in Aldersgate St., London. The reading of Martin Luther's "Preface to the Epistle to the Romans", was to fire the evangelical revival.
Although the majority of the children of the "great awakening" were to leave the Anglican church, a number remained to found the Evangelical party. Remaining loyal to Prayer Book Christianity, they focused on their love of the "evangel". Within the frame of Anglican form they nurtured a people of God and reached out to the lost. Nurture and evangelism were the hallmarks of Evangelical Anglicans. There were two substantial reasons why Evangelicals remained in the Anglican church:
First, they understood the extent of God's grace. Not only was the promise of their salvation totally in God's hands, but so too the business of building Christ's church. The Anglican church was a strange "old lady", but Christ builds his church on the confession of a true faith. Proclaiming the gospel to the lost and teaching the faithful grows the church, even within a "peculiar" organization like the Anglican church.
Second, they understood the reformed nature of the Anglican church. The Prayer Book reeks of the doctrine of justification. She may be a "peculiar old lady", but she is singed with reformation fire.
For over 200 years we Evangelicals have stuck by the Prayer Book, for they knew that the Kingdom of God is gained by grace through faith. "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty", Zech.4:6. When others around us put their weight on "bells and smells", social activism, intellectualism.., Evangelicals put their weight on the gospel proclaimed. Now the weight is on cultural relevance, people management, marketing... as if the gospel itself is not "the power of God for salvation." Evangelicals need to rely again on the grace of God operative through faith in the proclaimed Word.