Skip to comments.The Thirty-Nine Articles - A Faith For Today
Posted on 02/01/2005 8:24:18 AM PST by sionnsar
[MUCH interesting stuff on this site! Looking through the back issues I found a series of articles on the 39 Articles of Religion, something that doesn't get discussed very often. For those interested, I've collected the links to those PDFs here, as well as links to the Articles themselves as they appear in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. --sionnsar]
The 36 Articles (in HTML)
The 36 Articles (in PDF)
Articles 1-5 The Holy Trinity.
Articles 6-8 Scripture & Truth.
Articles 9, 10, 11 & 18 Sin and Salvation.
Articles 12-16 The Christian Life.
Article 17 Predestination and Election.
Articles 19-22: What is the Church? [The 21st is omitted in the U.S. BCP.]
Articles 23, 24, 26, 32: The Christian Ministry.
Articles 25 & 27: The Sacraments: Baptism.
Articles 28-31: Holy Communion.
Articles 33-36: Organizing the Church.
Articles 37-39: Living in the world.
Woo Hoo! The Big 39! If only the Anglican Communion still believed in these. The Articles are an excellent statement of real Anglican faith.
They also explain why we get to admire much of Calvin AND keep our smells and bells!
N.B. - My comments aren't intended to reignite the interesting Calvinist thread, only to acknowledge that we are, indeed, a Reformed church. LOL!
The idea that reserving the Sacrament is "not Christianity but superstition" or that Eucharistic Benediction is a "dreadful rite" is way off my comfort scale.
He does have a shot at "curious and carnal persons" under Article XVII . . . at least he's brave, although his commentary there shows him to be somewhat Calvinist.
The XXXIX have to be read in the context of the religious wars of the 16th century, as well as of the traditional hatred between England and Spain (and, to a lesser extent, between England and France.)
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
"The idea that reserving the Sacrament is "not Christianity but superstition" or that Eucharistic Benediction is a "dreadful rite" is way off my comfort scale."
Your interpretation of that Article is way off my comfort scale. For the benefit of those who may not have the Article in front of them, the parts of the Article in question read:
Article XXVIII. Of the Lord's Supper
"Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture; overthroweth the nature of the Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."
"The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."
The plain meaning of all this is:
1. No where in Scripture will we find Jesus saying that whenever we take & eat or take & drink, the ACTUAL substance of the bread & wine is miraculously transformed into his flesh & blood - not then & not now. In fact, only in Luke's gospel do we find the phrase, "This, do in remembrance of me." Thus, it isn't even obvious from a plain reading of the gospels (other than Luke) that Jesus expected this ritual to be repeated or, for that matter, that only one of the apostles (or a valid successor of the apostles, i.e. a Bishop or Priest acting on behalf of the Bishop) can change the subtance of the bread & wine into Jesus actual flesh & blood.
2. And, no where in Scripture will we find any command (from Jesus or anyone else) that says any "blessed" bread or wine is to be reserved in a tabernacle or displayed in a monstrance to be carried aloft in religious processions or worshipped & reverenced (as in the Roman Catholic practice).
3. The doctrine of "transubstantiation" HAS given occasion to superstition...not the least of which is a false doctrine of believers, or the accusation by unbelievers, that Catholics practice actual, ritualistic cannibalism.
While Anglicans believe in the "real presence" of Christ in the sacraments of bread & wine, Anglicans DO NOT believe in "transubstantiation" wherein we are ACTUALLY eating flesh or drinking blood. The fact that we do reserve blessed sacraments for later use or practice great care & respect in the handling, partaking, or disposing of these sacraments, merely conveys our reverence for our Lord, who we believe is present & spiritually nourishes us through the consecrated bread & wine.
When I was Episcopalian, I was very "high". I did and do believe in Transubstantiation, and so did our rector.
But the XXXIX was part of the English turmoil of the 16th c. (which is why it was relegated back in the 70s to the status of "historical documents", at the same time the communion service was revised to track the Roman Rite more closely - input of the "high" wing)
Ahem...it was relegated back in the '70's to the status of "historical documents" by the same folks who gave us: female priests & bishops, a watered-down & unscriptural Book of Common Prayer, the practice of Mysticism (including, but not limited to: Druidry, walking the labyrinth, Taize music, Women's "Eucharists" & Buddhist prayer beads on which they've hung a cross & remarketed as "Episcopal" prayer beads). Shall I go on? Let see...abortion, co-habitation, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, unlimited divorce & remarriage, non-celibate homosexual clergy, and same-sex "marriages." All these things are A-OK in the "new & improved Episcopal Church" - thanks to these enlightened, progressive thinkers who decided 30 years ago that the 39 Articles of Religion should be relegated to the status of historical footnotes. Bah!
The loony left was doing its best to water down the scriptural basis for the prayerbook, remove all negative references to homosexuality from the Lectionary, etc. etc.
But meanwhile, the Anglo-Catholic wing was trying to (1) bring the Eucharist into prominence instead of Morning Prayer with communion every fourth Sunday and (2) bring the rite closer to the Roman Rite.
The mess that they got is what happens when you try to deal with the devil.
Which is one of the reasons why we are now Catholics, but that's another whole story . . .
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